I was able to find some information on the web about the mystery trainers, and although trainer Brett Hoebe seems to have some training credentials, I'm afraid that Cara Castro, a boxer and actress, may be Trainer Kim, Part II. Blogger Lisa Johnson writes:
She is very pretty and a two-time Golden Gloves boxing champion with amazingly gorgeous hair. She has been trying to establish an acting career since 2007 or so and is represented by agents in Hollywood. It appears, however, she has zippo for certifications. I can’t find one single reference to a fitness certification anywhere. I also couldn’t find a reference to her being a personal trainer anywhere. I don’t know if she’s ever had clients in real life.NBC's execs will never learn: Being a hot girl does not make you qualified to be a trainer for morbidly obese people. It might be an anti-qualification, as Fitness-Model-Turned-Trainer-Kim proved. Even the new guy seems excessively interested in showing off his own body, which doesn't bode well for the future of the show. Apparently some of the contestants working with the new trainers had good numbers in their first week, but we will see if they have staying power.
The players participated in a challenge to win a chance to choose their trainers. I thought it was interesting that more than half of those who could choose their trainers decided to work with the unknowns and get four weeks of immunity, rather than picking Bob and Jillian. But Bob and Jillian were surprised that anyone chose not to take four weeks of immunity. My thought pattern was that the trainers would be a big determiner of your success, and a bad trainer could do more harm than good. But the flip side is that if you get four weeks on the show learning new fitness and food habits, maybe you would be enough in "the zone" to do well even if you got sent home, while the contestants on earlier episodes who got sent home early on often don't do as well.
There are some very compelling contestants this time around, as usual. There is Rulon, a former Greco-Roman gold medalist. His partner Justin is listed on the site as a "gym owner, city worker, and bounty hunter," and I don't think they really knew each other before getting on the show. I find it surprising that both Justin and Marci own gyms but are obese enough to be on this show. Marci's daughter, Courntey, seems to have spent more time at their other business, a Dairy Queen, from her casting video. (By the way, have you checked out the instructions for casting videos? Now I know why the videos always seem so humiliating, because the instructions ask for that. I guess they want to make sure people are willing to put it all out there if they are going to be on the show.) There are identical twin police officers Dan and Don, who both have had tragedies related to their sons -- one had a son die of a drug overdose, while the other's son disowned him. There is green team member Jennifer who just seems to kick butt. I think she's going to be another Tara. And of course, there is Arthur, who is over 500 pounds. Both Arthur and Courtney already lost over 100 pounds before being cast on the show, and are still the largest man and woman there. Courtney is tough and determined and feisty. Arthur keeps flapping his huge hanging belly at Bob and Jillian when they ask him to do things, as if to say, "You can't expect anything of me, I'm fat." But he is able to do way more than I would have thought a man of his size could do, probably because he is still fairly young.
I know this show has warped my mind when I see 300-pound men weigh in and think, "They aren't that big, why are they on this show?" The women under 250 seem positively tiny. This is a very large cast, both in numbers and in starting weight.
The episode was really good for a premiere, other than the phony "mystery" of the new trainers. Still, I'm feeling like this is the beginning of the end. It doesn't seem like they can do anything truly new, other than bringing bigger and bigger contestants on. At some point they have to hit a limit of what's safe.
Are you still watching? What do you think? Any favorites so far?