Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Biggest Loser Week 13: Fat = Money?

This episode started with a very weird "pop challenge" where the contestants were tortured to win a relatively small amount of money. Each player had a round wooden tray on a high hinge and a goldfish bowl full of quarters. Players could stack as many quarters on the tray as they wanted, but they had to be the one to hold the tray up the longest to win. Each quarter would be swapped out (by Total cereal) for a $10 bill. Some of the contestants immediately started loading up their trays with quarters, but Sunshine had an unusual strategy: She didn't put much money on her tray, figuring she could hold it up longer if it had less money on it. She wanted to win, it seemed, more for the mental advantage that winning would give her than for the money. The difficulty of the challenge came from the stress on the shoulder from holding up a relatively high tray for almost an hour. It seemed no coincidence to me that the two players who won, Michael and Sunshine, were both tall. The sad part was that, although contestants could theoretically win $10,000 in this challenge, Michael won $1000 and Sunshine won $650. Total cereal got a fairly cheap ad for this one. (The contestants were supposedly interrupted while eating breakfast to participate in the challenge, and guess what they were eating?)

Why were contestants willing to put up with all this pain just to win a few hundred bucks? Apparently, they are all broke and deeply in debt. Terrifying financial guru Suze Orman, with her weird "I'm going to bite you with my freakishly white teeth" double-row smile and bizarre habit of Enunciating. Every. Single. Word. visited the contestants to tell them that she could predict their future by looking at their FICO scores. She apparently got it right last year when she predicted Danny C. would win. I'm not convinced, and neither is Ali Vincent. I agree that if your money is a mess, it's probably a reflection of other problems, but I think that Suze just got lucky last year. Even Ms. Orman herself backed off from her original prediction that Koli was going to win based on his FICO score when she learned he didn't count calories, and switched her pick to Sunshine.

Sunshine would also be my pick to win it all, though I think Koli could also make it to the final four. I am not as sure about Sam -- he is a super-stud and seems invincible, but he doesn't have much weight left to lose, and some of the other contestants are just getting started.

Contestants were sure to look thrilled at their chance to talk to a real, Oprah-approved financial expert, but their excitement seemed more genuine when Danny C. showed up to talk about his struggles with weight and debt.

After this segment, there was a much more exciting challenge. Contestants competed to win 2 very cute 2010 Mazda 3s. Participants had to run around in the rain to chase giant balloons with keys attached to the string, grab a key, and try it in both cars to see if the key would start the car. It was a long, wet, cold challenge, but eventually Drea and O'Neil won, though O'Neil said that he wanted to win the car for his daughter, Sunshine. I think that the moment he handed the keys to her was one of the sweetest moments I have ever seen on this show. I'm a big fan of both of them.

The rain continued as the contestants worked out in the gym, Danny C. working out with the contestants and reliving old times. Jillian decided that it was Victoria's week to have a breakthrough, and made her run sprints over and over again. Because Victoria joined the show late, she's still way behind the rest of the contestants both in fitness and in her level of awareness of the issues that got her to the point where going on this show seemed like a great opportunity. When Jillian successfully proves to Victoria that she can do more than she thinks she can by making her run 30 sprints in a row, instead of being proud of herself, the normally-smiling Victoria is furious with Jillian. Bob takes the other contestants outside to work in the rain and the mud while Jillian has a heart-to-heart talk and boxing session with Victoria, who realizes that she never felt like she deserved her parents love ("they deserved a beautiful child") or anyone else's. While the contestants were outside with Bob, they rebelled and dragged him through the mud. Bob is a fairly good sport about it and sics the raging crowd on the obviously terrified Jillian just as she and Victoria are coming out to join the group. After running back into the gym to tear off her fancy ski jacket, she realizes that resistance is futile lets them drag her through the mud, off-white Uggs and all. Then, of course, we have the Last Chance Workout revenge session.

This week's weigh-in was really dramatic. Sunshine weighs in first, and I think she will have a great week as usual. Instead, she has a loss low enough that she spends the rest of the weigh-in fighting off tears, afraid she will be sent home. Everyone knows she's a threat to win it all. Most of the contestants have great weeks, and she feels more and more hopeless as the weigh-ins go on. Then Drea weighs in with an even lower percentage, and it looks like it will be Sunshine and Drea. That would be bad for Sunshine, because Drea has been around longer and has more alliances. I think it was interesting that both women who won cars had crummy weigh-ins. Sam weighs in last and has lost nothing. It's not surprising, because other than some loose skin, Sam looks like he has nothing left to lose. Sam is a huge favorite with everyone on the ranch, so Drea gets to take her shiny new car and go back to Ann Arbor to a huge crowd of family and friends.


  1. Im seeing a trend every week, someone who has worked harder over the latest week then they usually work in any given week ends up not losing much, and in the bottom 2. Im thinking that they are possibly pushing themselves soooo hard but not backing it up with extra calories (good ones) to support the extra effort. I know when I work out TONS and only eat say 1300 cal, I don't lose any weight.
    They don't show everything so it's hard for me to tell, and the disclaimer says they are monitored by doctors, but it's every week, someone is up there not understanding the small loss.

  2. I agree that some kind of trend is going on but like you mentioned we don't get all the facts. Plus, and I am sure you have noticed, when they normally really focus a show on someone that person is usually at least under the yellow line if not the one sent home. I can normally figure out who is going just by who that weeks show focuses on. Of course I am surprised every now and then but generally that is how it seems to go. So maybe it just seems like the person that goes home had an extreme week, when in fact many of the contestants did it is just we see more of that person for the episode. I don't know just a thought.


"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07