Wednesday, February 05, 2014

The Biggest Loser Season 15: FINALE

Unfortunately, the Biggest Loser finales have gotten a bit dull. In the early days, there used to be some footage of the contestants at home, struggling, trying to find a balance with their weight loss goals and their real lives.

Now, most of the clips are the same clips that we have seen over and over. David's story about his first wife's death. Rachel saying she is tired of being sad and alone.  There have to be so many other clips that they can use, but the producers choose to recycle the same ones again and again. I can understand this at the finale, where some people might be tuning in for the first time, but the way the clips are recycled for all the other episodes makes me think that they believe we get amnesia every week and forget everything we know about the contestants. This is probably my biggest pet peeve about the show.

There were some fun clips this time that we hadn't seen before: Jillian challenging Tumi to do 20 flights of stairs, and Tumi doing 32 instead.  Some Dr. H clips of the contestants getting their final health check-ins. I enjoyed these and would like to see more of that kind of thing throughout the season.

There were a lot of little attempts to inject some variety into the show as the contestants were brought on in groups of threes to weigh in.  Most contestants only got about one sentence in each.  Holley invited Bob to join her at the Olympics.  Ruben sang a song.  Jennifer's daughter got one last public commentary on her weight -- not cool. The kids from the last season stood up and waved from the audience, too, and will have to deal with public speculation on how much they may have regained. I'm just going to say that I think it would be better if kids were not a part of this show in the future, given the potential for harm.

Clothes: I thought that Allie's white dress was gorgeous and very slimming.  Jillian's leather dress was fun and much more flattering than some of her other finale wear. Dolvett looked handsome, as always (Yes, he has a strange personality, but he is a gorgeous man. Let's give him that). Bob looked like he was trying to look as strange as possible -- a hipster in a biker jacket.  Jillian had said in one of her podcasts that she thought Bob went out of his way to annoy the producers with his appearance, and this was probably a winning combo in that respect.

Most of the at-home contestants' clothes were nice.  I loved Jennifer's sequined purple dress.  Fernanda looked HOT in her pink dress.  Holley wore a normal lipstick color, and had shaved Olympic rings into the side of her hair, which I thought was clever. I was glad to see Marie's hair looking cute and chic and not styled into her swoopy makeover style. She fell down the stairs but wasn't hurt -- those stairs are a known hazard, so they had people there to catch anyone who gets a heel caught.

I'm sure a lot of people will say that Ruben and Holley didn't lose enough weight. But they have lost enough to make a difference in their lives, and they had their own goals. Ruben's size is part of his trademark, and Holley has to be careful to maintain her strength as she loses.  Even Hap, who hadn't lost much by Biggest Loser standards, lost more than 1/5 of his body weight. I hope he will continue to work at it on his own. He still qualifies as morbidly obese on the BMI scale.

Instead of giving the weigh-ins in the order that they weighed in on the show, I have them sorted here by percentage lost. The final three are highlighted. As you can see, Tumi would have been in second place if she had been in the finale, and the prize for second place is... ZERO! So she was much better off going home.  The top three at-home contestants were all on Jillian's team. As always, I appreciate the Biggest Loser wikipedia entry as a great source of this info:

Contestant Age Height Starting BMI Current BMI Start Most Recent % Lost Finale % Lost
Rachel 24 5'4" 44.6 18 260 150 42.31% 105 59.62%
Tumi 41 5'8" 48.5 21.9 319 221 30.72% 144 54.86%
David 43 6'2" 52.5 24 409 243 40.59% 187 54.28%
Bobby 28 6'3" 44.7 21.2 358 231 35.47% 170 52.51%
Marie 30 5'6" 40.2 22.3 249 150 39.76% 138 44.58%
Craig 30 6'1" 50.8 29.4 385 307 20.26% 223 42.08%
Chelsea 28 5'6" 38.9 23.6 241 157 34.85% 146 39.42%
Jennifer 42 5'7" 41.7 25.4 266 182 31.58% 162 39.10%
Jay 38 5'10" 42.6 26.3 297 193 35.02% 183 38.38%
Matt 38 6'3" 45.7 27.9 356 263 26.12% 223 37.36%
Fernanda 32 5'7" 39.2 25.5 250 208 16.80% 163 34.80%
Tanya 40 5'7" 41 27.4 262 174 33.59% 175 33.21%
Holley 24 5'8" 53.4 37.7 351 277 21.08% 255 27.35%
Ruben 35 6'3" 57.7 42.9 462 377 18.40% 343 25.76%
Hap 26 6'5" 47.8 38.2 403 316 21.59% 322 20.10%

Of the final three, I thought David had no chance of winning. Oddly, he lost more than Bobby, but it didn't look that way, maybe because of the loose skin he might still have after such a big loss.  I didn't like his shiny suit or his stubble -- he looked like a TV preacher to me, or a used-car salesman.  They let him weigh-in last so he could have his moment.  He gave a little rambling speech that got cut off because they were running out of time. I loved that Bobby wore a tuxedo, and his transformation was the best, in my opinion. I loved his joke that with his obsessive thinking about her, "Rachel's going to make me straight." It was perfect.

Of course, all the talk is about Rachel's drastic weight loss.  I was alarmed at how thin she had gotten. She looked fit and healthy (and was at a healthy BMI) when she left the ranch. I'm afraid she may have sacrificed her health to lose as much as possible for the finale, and she now classifies as underweight.  Her face looked gaunt and all the muscle she worked so hard to build seemed to have vanished.  Jillian and Bob had looks of shock and concern when she walked out.  Her outfit was strange to me -- with the little wingy sleeves and the silver sparkles, she looked like a  space angel. 

I feel bad piling on with all the negative attention she has gotten.  I'm hoping that she will find some kind of balance for her real life. She may have really wanted that $250,000 and been afraid not to do as much as she could to win it, and Rachel doesn't seem like someone who does things halfway.  Just winning alone might have been incentive enough, even without the money, because she likes to win.  I don't think she should have a goal of maintaining at 105 for good, and it sounds like she doesn't plan to do so.

I have to wonder if Dolvett gave her bad advice as she was prepping for the finale. He might not have had enough experience to tell her what she should shoot for.  She could have stayed as high as 117 and beaten David, and stayed in a healthy weight range.  Of course, she didn't know how much David or Bobby would lose. In the long run, of course, I wish her all the best. She won my heart with her toughness, and I don't want to lose sight of all the good just because she went a little too far to win the prize. 

The Biggest Loser, ultimately, isn't about health or fitness. It is a television show, and a game show at that. There are all kinds of incentives to do crazy things to win.  So many of the winners can't maintain long term (Eric, Ryan, Matt).  I don't know if the good things about the show could be kept while getting rid of the bad ones, but it would be nice if it were possible.  I hope that these contestants, at least, can make the most out of their "Second Chance" and go on to lead happy lives. 


  1. Hap concerned me, because he has gained since he left the ranch. Assuming he was actually trying to lose (once he got home) that is really alarming.

    What would be the telling point with Rachel is whether or not she thinks she looks good. If she thinks she looks good, then she has flipped from one side of the eating disorders coin to the other (which happens). In other words, the problem didn't get solved, it just has new symptoms.

    She might be embarrassed to say - no, I don't think I look good either, just did it to get the money, turning right around and putting on 10 lbs. because 10 lbs would make a big difference and put her back in normal range.

    What we saw might not even be what she looks like, because she might have dehydrated/starved herself for the event. Actresses do a variation of that for red carpet events (drop dairy, carbs and processed to lean themselves down for pictures).

    I pulled up the wiki stats for many seasons last night during the at home part, before I saw Rachel, and simply looked at who was in normal BMI range and who was not. It was very interesting.

    1. Oh, you are right. I didn't even notice. Definitely a bad sign.

  2. Honestly I fast forwarded through most of the clips. I could tell I had seen them previously. Totally agree, with all the footage they must have (like the stair climbing thing) could show all new stuff and we would LOVE IT.

    Agree about the kids. Should not be included.

    And honestly, I could not tell the kid had lost 30 and the husband 50. I could not tell what the daughter thought, because she always has the same smile on her face. Not sure if it goes over her head, she is glad for attention, or she is dying inside. Same face in all the clips.

    1. I just felt for her, it was not fair for her to be pulled into her mom's drama. It made me dislike Jennifer, which isn't fair either. I'm sure that is why she was chosen for the show.

      I agree with Jillian that there is real gold here, but they keep giving us lead:

      I forgot to mention it in my review, but I don't like the way they have the contestants make disapproving faces at their former selves -- it is mean-spirited. As Jillian said (yes, I know I'm a total fangirl), that's the person that did the work to make the change, so be grateful.

  3. David said - it took great bravery on my part to take the first step. And so tonight is not the winning step. The winning step was the first 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