Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Biggest Loser Season 11, Episode 13: Thankful for the Ranch

Note: There will probably be a few spoilers in this one too, so if you have an episode waiting on your DVR, feel free to come back later.

At the beginning of this episode we see the entire team file into the kitchen, broken-hearted after Justin's departure.  Kaylee, after her attempt to throw the weigh-in, seems to have a change of heart. She decides to give the ranch another chance and see what she still has to learn.  All of the players feel tired of the gameplay, and we find out that this is one of Kaylee's reasons for wanting to go.  They all resolve to be grateful for the time they have left on the ranch but to stop trying to control everything.  I thought this was a great attitude to take.

As if to underscore this theme of being grateful and going with the flow, Allison has a surprise for the contestants. After she shows them a video of the day they all found out they had been cast for the show, she asks if they have ever though about what happened to the 12th team, the duo that didn't get cast on the show after making it through the initial casting.  Vance and Leann, dressed in white, come in to show them what happened to those people who didn't make the cut.  To make it onto the show, they have to weigh-in and show that they have lost at least as much as the person with the lowest weight-loss percentage, Kaylee, who has lost a little more than 25% of her weight.  We don't have any idea how much they weighed before, but it's pretty obvious just looking at them that they have not lost as much as the people on the ranch.  They have lost a respectable amount of weight (30 and 45 pounds) but have not approached the crazy numbers of people who get to make losing weight a full-time job.  The White Team leaves right after the weigh-in.  I thought that they should have been given just one workout with the trainers to help them see what kind of things they were capable of if they pushed themselves.  The cruel lesson seems to be -- "If you hadn't made it on the show, you'd be like these guys." I know that it's the reality, but it seemed like a lot to put the White Team through for such little benefit to them. At least they didn't have to take their shirts off.

There is a kind of weird pop challenge this week, with two players from each team carrying small rubber balls across a field on a big flat board with a hole in the middle of it, suspended on two long sticks.  It's sort of like a stretcher. Players have to try to carry the balls without dropping them and then maneuver the balls through the hole into a basket.  It looks very difficult.  Kaylee and Austin, though, seem to have it all worked out. They work together really well and beat everyone else in getting their 10 balls in the basket.  (I wonder, is there off-screen chemistry between these two youngest contestants?) The team that wins gets a 1-minute advantage in a later challenge and the team that loses has to spend a week off-campus.  It is close but the Red Team ends up losing.

Jen and Courtney have to spend a week away from the ranch.  They are given a budget of $1000 to spend and lots of options on how to spend it. For example, they can choose to have a personal chef cook all of their meals for them for $700 or have a fully-stocked kitchen with BL-approved foods for $500 or shop for themselves for $300.  They decide to shop and cook for themselves.  They easily decide on a gym membership for another $300.  To have one day with their trainer Brett would be $200.  There are also some spa treatments, phone calls home, and a dinner out on the menu.  Jen, who doesn't seem to have clicked with Brett, suggests they work out on their own and use the money for phone calls home and spa treatments and a "girl date" of dinner out. Courtney seems to agree, but in a confessional interview, she says she didn't want to go along but was afraid to speak up.  Brett has to feel totally dissed, since they end up having $50 left in their budget, and if they had cut back on their phone calls and skipped dinner out, they could have had their massages and still worked out with him.  I thought, though, that one day with a trainer, even the best trainer, might not be enough to make a huge difference in their weight loss.  And, I have to say that I agree with Jen, Brett does  not seem to be a terrific trainer.  His workouts don't match the intensity of Jillian and Bob's.  Brett is a good sport and gives them a workout plan to follow on their own.  They end up staying at a luxurious house and seem to fully enjoy their time off-campus.

They come back for the big challenge: An Easter Egg hunt.  This is where the whole alternate reality of the show gets funny.  It was probably January when they did this challenge, but they had to pretend to be all excited about Easter egg hunting and a "sneak-preview" screening of an Easter-themed animated movie that was probably not really made yet, maybe just a few scenes.  They were all excited to meet some handsome movie star I didn't recognize.  The team that won the egg hunt got tickets to the movie premiere.  The movie looked awful, at least from the scenes we saw.

The egg hunt was pretty basic. They searched a big field for painted wooden eggs (that's what they sounded like, anyway) and one Golden Egg that was supposedly "worth its weight in gold."  Olivia finds it and is dismayed to find out that it's not immunity, it's not extra pounds at the weigh-in, it's "THE ONLY VOTE." If any team but Blue loses the weigh-in, she gets the only vote.  Hannah likes that idea, but Olivia isn't happy. Both Rulon and Jay know that they have to win immunity to be safe, because if Hannah is up for elimination with either of them, they can count on going home.

At the weigh-in, Hannah unfortunately does not lose any weight. Whether this is on purpose or not, it gives the impression that she is trying to throw the weigh-in so one of her teammates gets sent home. There may be future repercussions for that.  She also tattles on Rulon for eating "a whole bag of tortilla chips." And sure enough, there is footage of him eating chips and salsa in his bedroom like it was his job.  Everyone said that they knew he was "eating crap" but didn't say anything to him because he's an Olympic athlete and should know what he's doing.  The thing is, Rulon was an Olympic heavyweight wrestler.  Eating well might not have been part of the deal for him.  Also, he told Jillian last week about his feelings of unworthiness, and that conversation may have stirred up feelings that he felt the need to numb.  He doesn't lose much, and Jay pulls a good number.  It looks dire for Rulon until Courtney and Jen weigh in.  The week off campus hurt both of them.  Courtney loses 2 pounds, and Jen loses nothing.  They come to the conclusion that the decision not to "buy" Brett is what hurt them, but would one day with him really have changed anything? My guess is that the real problem might have been the decision to eat out.  Even though their choices were stellar (swordfish salads, no dressing, extra greens, with lime), their sodium is completely controlled on campus. Who knows what kind of marinade might have been on the fish?  Jen seems happy at home, though, and she continued to lose.  We get a scene of her shopping with her girlfriends for the first time in a "normal" store.  She tries on some really weird, stripper-suitable outfits.  Hopefully her friends talked her into choosing something a little more subdued off-camera?


  1. totally agree - sodium in restaurant meals is usually an automatic. When they ordered - I did NOT hear them say no sodium, no sauce, no butter, no oil, yes dry grill, or yes steamed (my mantra when placing orders).

    But, when I saw the bag of chips, realized sodium is not as controlled at ranch as I thought.

    I remember the soy sauce (Bryan Washington, season 4, Kim was his trainer). At the time I was shocked they would have soy sauce in kitchen (even if it is lite sodium, still going to be way too much sodium).

    Wouldn't it be REALLY interesting to see how the kitchen is actually stocked?

  2. There was something this episode that I thought was really weird. The teams are all divided up by trainer, and Moses is on Bob's team. But he did the boxing workout that he was so excited about with Jillian. Does that mean that even though the players are assigned to one trainer, they can feel free to train with any of them? This seemed to defeat the purpose of the "trainer teams."
    I would love to see how the kitchen is stocked. It always strikes me how little they focus on food on this show, which seems to me the one thing people trying to lose weight could actually benefit from. Most people don't have the option of working out for hours and hours, or paying for a personal trainer to design their program. But they could control their diets based on what they learned on the show, if only the show would focus more on that (other than the occasional staged "ad" for Progrsso light soup)

  3. I don't understand why they even brought in the white team. Where they saying to the white team "look at how much weight you DIDN'T loose on TOP of not being chosen in the first place to come to the ranch." I hope they come back in the end and beat everyone else.
    Courtney is starting to really grate on my nerves. I don't see her as a positive person at all. She always seems to be blaming others or justifying herself whenever the trainers are around. I think she was really blaming Jen for not buying the trainer, since she broke down when Brett came in the room. I've seen her do that before when there was trainers around. Stick with your decision instead of trying to blame others and justify it when your on the scale. I was praying she would get voted off I was sad to see Jen go.
    I also notice a budding romance between her and Austin. Not Austin and Kaylee. Really I just noticed her having a crush on him, but who knows with all the editing going on.
    I also agree with mrszeno review about needing to see more food choices besides the FAKE!!! adds. those are crazy.
    Keep going on the reviews, love reading them, normally agree except for this one.


"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