Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 4: No Time to Waste

Because of the President Obama's State of the Union Address, The Biggest Loser was shortened back to one hour instead of the usual two.  I really like the show better in this format.  When the show was first on the air, it was a one-hour show.  When it was extended to two hours, we really don't seem to have gotten much extra content, just recaps after every commercial of what we had seen 90 seconds ago.  With only one hour, we were not treated as if we had a short-term memory disorder.  We also saw a little less whining and drama.  As much as I enjoyed the State of the Union Address, I don't think we need to have one every week.  But going back to the one-hour show or, alternately, having a two-hour show that was really two hours of good content, would be a nice development.

Even though the show was shorter, it was action-packed. The Ranchers had another temptation. This time they were confronted with a room that was filled floor-to-ceiling with temptation foods, specifically, the favorite foods of each contestant, which included: cheesecake, monkey bread, cake, pizza, ribs, fried chicken, cheeseburgers, and my old college favorite, macaroni and cheese from a box.  I was shocked to find out that the latter is more than 1,200 calories if you eat the entire box.  I used to do that regularly when I was in college, and I was really thin back then.  Contestants had to stand, in teams, in the room for one minute.  The person who ate the most calories would be able to send one team to the Unknowns' training facility. 
With the exception of the boxed mac & cheese (I got sick of it after college) and the cheeseburgers, I like all of the foods featured.  Even though it looked good, I doubt they were as tempting as they would have been normally because they were probably all cold.  They were also out of context: One of the contestants said that she loved her cheeseburgers when she was out with her friends having a beer.  Wolfing one down in front of a television camera would have been a very different experience.

Most of the contestants seemed anxious at being confronted with their old favorites.  A couple of teams held hands so they won't be tempted to eat anything. A couple said something like, "Looking at that makes me sick."  Arthur played up his interest in having a slice of pizza, but even though he was the only one who participated in the temptation, he grabbed a  fried chicken drumstick, which he figured was one of the lowest-calorie foods in there. He said he didn't want to get sent away from the Ranch where he felt he was succeeding. I could understand that. He chose the Green Team, a father-daughter team who had been leading the weight loss all along.  They didn't seem happy at the prospect of being the new kids at the Unknowns' gym, especially since they wouldn't have immunity.

Despite all the angst over having to leave the ranch, the Green Team seemed to enjoy their experience at the Unknowns' training camp at the Biggest Loser Resort in Malibu.  For one thing, they didn't have to cook or clean -- they had maid service and ready-made cafeteria meals with calorie counts.  I think that if we had more time, this episode would have been made into an extended advertisement for the resort.  The Green Team were good sports and got a warm welcome from the Unknowns.  They had fun working out with new people and new trainers. Even though they had to learn how to spar and use the new equipment, their training at the ranch had them in great shape, so they had a chance to see how they stacked up.

There was kind of a Price-Is-Right-meets-Biggest-Loser challenge, with the Green Team coming back to compete on behalf of the Unknowns and the rest of the Ranchers competing together. They had to guess the number of calories in one serving of each of the temptation foods.  It was a four-digit number. I don't remember the exact number, but it was over 8,000 calories.  The contestants had to put big numbers on a rack and then hoist the rack to the top of a big tower using a rope and pulley. It was set up so the bigger team had to pull harder to make it fair.  They started with the first digit and hoisted their number up.  If it was right, they got green lights and could go on to the next digit. If it was wrong, they were told whether they had to go higher or lower and got another shot.

It was close but the big team beat the Green Team.  They had been competing for letters from home, and the Green Team's loss meant that the Unknowns would not get letters. The rest of the Ranchers did.  We got to hear excerpts from a few of the letters.  Don's estranged son sent him a tiny piece of paper that said "You can do it." We heard more and found that his son had not "disowned" him in anger, but had found it too painful to be around his dad anymore.

We didn't get to see the weigh-in because of the tighter timeline, but some of the previews make me think I know who goes home next.  It looks like another person threw the weigh-in and purposely gained.  As someone said, that's an insult to all of the people who wanted to be on the show but didn't make the cut.

Looking forward to next week's episode!


  1. ditto for me on the boxed mac and cheese. I mixed in sauteed onions, mushrooms and tomatoes and would eat the whole thing too. I was in a nutritionist's office years later and discovered boxed mac and cheese was at the top of that chart for really bad for the body (non)food.

    I didn't think of the price is right - but you are very clever - that IS what it was. I figured average of 700 calories each dish which would have put it at 6300 and it was 2000+ higher than that.

    I agree - the green team were very good sports and I think the experience was probably beneficial for them - experience the different training and environment. I personally would have loved to been the green team and gotten to see both sides of training. And it is nice they were able to bond with both sets of players. hopefully they do not go home over it. I am always very suspicious of someone else cooking (salt).

    I did catch (first episode) that son refused to enable and walked away from Don (and probably whole household of codependency/enabling layers). I always think of that situation when they have to cut down the walls to get someone out of a house - because obviously the rest of the household was enabling for years and years. So I wondered what (audience) reaction would be to someone putting down their foot and refusing to be a part of distructive behavior. I don't read any other reviews (other than yours) so I don't know what kind of discussion there has been on the son.

    How in the heck did they used to get show and weigh ins done in 1 hour (minus commercials)? We blink through commercials and recaps, so our watching time is much shorter than 2 hours. Will there be two weigh ins next show? or will next show be continuation of this same 'week'?

    good post

  2. I'm hoping they continue with one hour episodes, those two hour ones are reduced to one hour because I fast forward through commercials and 'coming up on...' and the after commercial recap. Did you also notice there hasn't been any product pedaling? No talks about how Extra is only 5 calories or Brita makes good water or Ziploc for your snacks. That was getting pretty tiring for me.

    I would have liked to be Green Team as well, seeing the other facility and teams. Why aren't they cooking their own meals though? Isn't that part of weight loss - learning about food and quantities?


"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