Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 8: Total Chaos

Note: There is no way to do a good recap this week without revealing a very big spoiler. So if you still haven't watched your DVR'd episode and you don't want the surprise spoiled, click away and come back later!

Right after last week's elimination on the Red Team, the Black Team was brought into the elimination room to hear that this week, there would be a double elimination. Not only would there be team weigh-in and elimination as usual, but there would also be a red line.  If you aren't familiar with Biggest Loser Lingo by now, the red line means that the player with the lowest percentage of weight loss is sent home, no questions asked, no negotiation, no voting.  This always throws the players into a panic, and this week was no exception.

Cara and Brett take their players to a mixed martial arts studio to get an especially good workout. The workout looks similar to the usual Red Team workout, lots of boxing and fighting moves, throwing around heavy bags, etc.  I guess the main difference was a change in scenery.  The gym is owned by one of Rulon's friends from his prizefighting days, and after the workout, Rulon gets a chance to catch up with him. He confesses that he was nervous about the meeting, since they hadn't seen each other since Rulon was in fighting condition and he expects to be judged for his massive weight gain. Instead his friend is impressed by the fact that Rulon has already lost more than 100 pounds.  Rulon seems to get a big charge out of this, which is nice because he seems so hard on himself most of the time.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, a lot of attention is focused on Arthur, who had an amazing 20-pound loss last week after some pretty mediocre numbers. Everyone is afraid that Arthur will have a bad week and get sent home.  Bob spends a lot of time with him and with his dad, Jesse.  Jesse has a great attitude. He's not thinking about the elimination. He's thinking about what he needs to do right now, he says.

Both teams compete in what is one of the goofiest challenges I have ever seen. The two teams have to maneuver huge inflated rubber balls as a team while wearing boxing gloves. They have to bounce the balls overhead as a team across a football field, and just to make it even more difficult, no player can touch the ball twice in a row.  As usual, the Red Team quickly settles into a routine, while the Black Team is in total chaos.  Each player thinks they know the best way to accomplish the task and everyone wants to be the hero.  They don't even get smart enough to copy the Red Team's successful strategy.  At one point, one of the girls gets in a shouting match with Jesse.  They get nowhere.  The Red Team moves all six of their balls across the field before the Black Team successfully navigates one.  It's a disaster. Worse, the prize for this is a THREE POUND advantage in the weigh-in.

Now every player on the Black Team is completely convinced they will lose the weigh-in. They are all terrified that Arthur will have a bad week and will have to go home. Everyone is freaked out and starts considering strategies for setting up the weigh-in so that someone who "doesn't need to be there" will go home.  Everyone except, of course Arthur, who is feeling good about his weight loss progress, and Jesse, who trusts the process.  He is angry with the other members of the team for assuming that they will lose and even angrier that they suggest that he should consider putting himself forward as someone to go home.  "Just because I'm old doesn't mean you put me out to pasture!" I am really in agreement with Jesse at this point.  All the talk of throwing the weigh-in is ridiculous.  Even if Arthur did get sent home, he had already lost 100+ pounds on his own before appearing on the show.  Eliminated players seem to get a lot more support than they used to to help them be successful.  By this point, everyone should be thinking about how they can transition successfully to at-home play.

That doesn't stop the Martyr-Off on the Black team, though. Deni wants to gain weight so none of the "kids" have to go home. So does Marci.  So should Jesse, they seem to imply, if he was any kind of a a father. I felt a little crazy just listening to all of this.

Moses is worried that his daughter, Kaylee, will go home because she has already lost a lot of her weight. Last week she would have been the player with the lowest weight loss.  He has a plan too: He wakes her up every morning for an extra workout.  Cara is also a little worried about her, and she decides to spar with Kaylee to show her just how far she has come.  Kaylee is obviously pretty good and seems to fling Cara around the ring.  My husband observed, "That's because she's in a higher weight class." Cara would have been used to fighting people her size, probably under 100 pounds, and Kaylee weighs about 180.  Cara gave Kaylee a sort of left-handed compliment, though, "I didn't go that easy on you," which suggested that she let her win.  Cara is much more skilled a boxer than Kaylee, but Kaylee definitely seemed to have the strength advantage, so I wouldn't count her out in a fair fight.

Last week the Black Team was concerned about Arthur, so they helped him figure out how to modify his diet  so he was eating less calories. This week they seem convinced that the only solution is for someone to gain weight.  Throwing a weigh-in is a bad strategy, but it has been done before.  The problem this time is, just like in the challenge, they don't figure out a strategy.

The weigh-in starts with the Red Team, and the numbers aren't that great. I think my suspicion that the boxing workouts aren't as effective in burning off the weight is probably part of it, and as others have observed, the Red Team may never have gotten the hang of cooking their own meals since they started off at the spa.  Kaylee and Moses have a great week, but the rest of the players seem worried.  For a while, it looks like Rulon might be going home. Then Jen weighs in, and she has gained weight.  It may have been stress over her dad leaving, or maybe she was ambivalent about being there by herself. It seems certain that Jen will be going home, as player after player on the Black Team weighs in. Arthur, the focus of so much stress, did fine on his own. As the "parents" start to weigh in, we see gain after gain.  Marci gains a pound and proudly said she did it for her teammates. Jesse gained three pounds and said he did it to save his son. Then Deni weighs in and she has gained 8!  Did they all need to gain weight? It's crazy.  But each one wanted to be the hero, and they obviously didn't have a strategy.

The funny thing is that if they had not done this, they would have easily won the weigh in. That huge 3 pound advantage was only 1/2% for the Red Team, nothing really in the scheme of things. Jen would have been the player under the Red Line if the Black Team hadn't sacrificed. It's good in a way, because Jen is one of my favorites and I didn't want to see her go.

The Red Team says they are proud to have "won" the weigh-in, but they would have had one player under the Red Line and would have had to vote another player off too.  Brett and Cara's methods don't seem to be getting results.  They can thank the total chaos on the Black Team for giving them the only chance they had at viability.

It was great to see the eliminated players doing well on their own.  "Going home" may be scary, but it isn't a death sentence.


  1. I thought it was interesting that Marci seemed to be the leader of the plan to throw the weigh-in but then Jesse and Deni were the ones who went home.

  2. I don't understand why they didn't vote Marci home! She's about 180 lbs & not going to help them win any weigh ins if they stay red/black. At least Jesse was losing & had weight to lose. The black team just insured they'd keep sending team members home.

    Enjoy your blog! :)

  3. Helen Phillips, Biggest Loser 7, with her daughter Shanon immediately came to mind as I watched this week's show. Because Helen threw her daughter under the bus without a moment's hesitation. (Shanon went home, did not do well, and no one seemed to notice what her mother had done.)

    I imagine there is an ENORMOUS amount of guilt for both of these (current season) moms.

    Deni did talk about it. And it was refreshing to hear. Not saying her actions (gaining) was smart. Just saying she was obviously devoted to her plan because she took strong action.

    Marci has two obese daughters. One who stayed at home is not as heavy as Courtney, but very heavy. Don't even get me started on the fact that this woman owns a gym and a DQ and has her morbidly/super obese daughter working at the DQ . . . If they keep the DQ in the family it will say a lot about their true understanding. Eric Chopin, season 3, winner kept his deli and I think STILL has it even after his regain.

    On these mother's actions this week - I think it is logical they have not yet found their balance or stride - they go too far one way and then too far the other way. (and I suppose it is actually enabling.)

    On the games. Often the teams end up very lopsided. And often the games are not at all fair (other seasons) in view of the difference in size, strength, speed of the different teams. I noticed, this season, the games are FAIR. Either team could have won the ball game. It did not require huge speed or strength. It was challenging, but not brute strength challenging.(I actually thought balls were very clever based on the idea of being totally fair. The train game as the same - both teams were capable of winning because the food questions gave huge advantage.)

    Did you notice Red team talked about big hike every morning? Cross country cardio.


"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