I haven't been enjoying the more recent TBL finales as much as the earlier ones. For Season 2, which was the first season we watched, the cameras went home with the finalists for a few days to give us a sense of their routine while losing weight on their own. There was actually some new footage.
Now the finale just rehashes the same footage that has been rehashed all season. How many times do we need to see Ashley fall off the treadmill or see the footage of her crying over the memory of her dad while she is, inexplicably, wearing a button tied to her forehead with string? I am sure that Daris is as sick as I am of the "I will make you proud. And I will make myself proud, too!" footage of him on the scale for his first weigh-in at home. All of it was great TV the first two or three times around, but it's like telling the same joke over and over -- it loses its punch.
I really get the sense that NBC is phoning it in, raking in as much cash as they can for as little expense as possible as they wind down the TBL franchise. I noticed that there were no casting announcements during this year's show, which suggests to me that, as I suspected, Season 10 will be the last season. Jillian is moving on to other things with her new show and her quest to become the next Oprah. There is now a Biggest Loser spa to take the people who think that the only way they can ever lose the weight is to get on the show -- visiting the spa is probably economical in comparison to leaving your job for months at a time. I am guessing that if the spa does well, there will be franchises. I'm not sure what Bob's plans are, but I can imagine him switching over to a celebrity clientele. Maybe he will help Kirstie Alley lose her weight next time she regains it back. Maybe Oprah will kick Bob Greene to the curb and hire Bob Harper instead.
The only thing that provided drama during this season finale was watching the 23 weigh-ins (all the contestants, plus Shay, who hadn't lost a lot in the last year) and seeing how much everyone had lost.
I was very sad for Koli, who was not chosen for a finalist spot. I was torn between him and Daris. Koli had been imagining that confetti moment for the longest time and would have had it, if he had been the third finalist. He lost a larger percentage of his weight than anyone else. He didn't do a very good job of pleading his case, but it didn't really matter -- Daris was such a heartthrob that I don't think he would have had a chance anyway. Daris looked really good in his jeans and sportcoat, but I thought Koli's pink pants and tie were a strange fashion choice. There was a weird moment when Alison reminded everyone, again, that Daris had never had a girlfriend before getting on the show and then had him point out his new girlfriend in the audience. Daris had one of his weird adolescent breaking-voice moments when he said, "Yes, I have a girlfriend, and she's beautiful!" The girl was beautiful, but she obviously wasn't thrilled about being on TV.
The contestants who competed at home were brought out in groups of four. All were dressed up and it was fun to see them in clothes other than their Biggest Loser t-shirts. None of the clothes the non-finalists wore stand out to me as exceptionally bad or exceptionally good. Most contestants had something in their original t-shirt color, though Maria chose to wear black instead of white, which was probably a good decision. I was surprised that people who didn't look that much different to me had lost so much. You can get all the weigh-in numbers at the season's Wikipedia page. It seemed that some contestants, like the twins, had stopped losing when they left the ranch. The biggest success story, to me, was Cherita, who never stayed overnight on the ranch but lost almost a third of her body weight completely on her own.
There was some suspense with these weigh ins. Ashley's mother, Sherry, had a great number. Melissa looked for a second like she might challenge her, but she didn't lose as much as I had thought. She didn't get knocked out of competition for the at-home prize until the second-to-last group came up to weigh in. Darrell, the dad from the Black Team, beat her, and then was beaten out by Koli. Koli did win the $100,000 prize, but you could tell he was still really disappointed. When Alison asked him how he felt, he said, "I just want to go home and be with my family," and his eyes were welling up. That's the danger of building up drama for live television -- no one really can predict how things will turn out.
When the finalists came out for their weigh-in, it was pretty obvious that the only way that Michael could lose was if they weighed him in wearing the pie-plate sized glittering skull belt buckle he was wearing. Daris weighed in first and had lost an impressive 48.55% of his body weight. Ashley looked good and was obviously happy even though she didn't win. She just beat Daris with 48.93% lost. Michael had actually lost more than half his body weight -- he lost 264 pounds to weigh in at 262. He had his confetti moment and then the camera cut away.
Something that surprised me was looking at the Wikipedia page and realizing that only 4 of the contestants ended up in the "Normal" BMI range at the end of the show. Even Daris still qualifies, barely, as "overweight." Because the show keeps having larger and larger people on, fewer are "movie-star gorgeous" at the end, though many of them look good and seem a lot happier.
I'm looking forward to seeing Jillian's new show. I'm ready for something new.