The Biggest Loser: producers go too far

I’ve long thought that the producers of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser” try too hard to manipulate the game itself, and last night they went way too far in doing so. The more I think about it, the more clear it becomes that last night’s challenge was a ploy to have Arthur, the so-called “unhealthiest” contestant in the show’s history, sent packing–or more to the point, figuring out a way to have the evil red team send him home.

It began innocently enough, as the contestants were told at the start of the episode that they would be going home for two weeks to return to normal life for a bit, and then return to a 5K challenge. The contestants, based on how they finished in the 5K, would get to choose their trainers–i.e., if they wanted to stay on their team or switch teams. Now think about that for a second. How did they think that would turn out? Arthur would finish last and be forced to switch teams, because there had to be at least one red team member that would switch to the black team–Jen, who knew her days were numbered with the red team’s “alliance.”

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The Biggest Loser: abbreviated episode

Last night’s episode of “The Biggest Loser” was cut short because of the President’s State of the Union Address, so it ended in a “to be continued” fashion, which was fine by me. So here is what went down…..

You may remember that last week the twins, Dan and Don, each GAINED nine pounds. NINE. So the rest of the ranch group was extremely annoyed with Don after they voted Dan off. Kind of like, “How dare you throw the weigh-in like that!” And who could blame them? Don tried to argue that they did not fix it, but really? Bob and Jillian were even more pissed, and Jillian, as she usually does in these situations, told Don not to insult her intelligence.

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The Biggest Loser: the masks are off

So in its third episode of the season last night, NBC’s “The Biggest Loser: Couples” revealed the faces of the “unknown” trainers–Cara Castronuova and Brett Hoebel. Man, it’s gonna suck having to write those names and trying to remember how to spell them! But in all seriousness, these two seem tough as nails. Bob and Jillian tend to have soft sides, and these two seem like they don’t have any–they both are all business.

Then they showed the “unknown” camp, and how Rulon and Justin were calling out a couple of their fellow contestants for not giving their all last week, when they lost the weigh-in to the Biggest Loser ranch contingent. They called out Q and Austin, both of whom realized that they indeed had to step things up.

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The Biggest Loser: bitter rivalry developing

It’s on. The producers of “The Biggest Loser” have now created a rivalry that goes beyond what they have had before–a rivalry between those on the ranch and “the unknowns.” They know who the competition is, but not the other two trainers or even where they are (less than ten miles away at the Biggest Loser Fitness Ridge Resort).
They promise we’ll see the faces of these trainers next week. At this point, whoop-dee-freaking-do. But the rivalry is very real. That’s because, the “unknowns” lost more weight with five teams last week than the ranch group lost with six teams.

So this week, host Alison Sweeney proposed a challenge to each group–if the ranch team lost a higher percentage of weight this week, they would all have immunity and also $10K to split among them. For the unknowns, they all had immunity anyway, so their incentive was the $10K as well as pride. And I don’t know if it was all staged, but this unknown crew is damn cocky. They proved that by sending the ranch group a few dozen donuts for temptation purposes. Poor Arthur, all 500-plus pounds of him, almost ate donuts that were crushed under their boxes that he and his teammates had stepped on. Thankfully he didn’t give in, but yikes!

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The Biggest Loser: no fear of the unknown

Last night was the season premier of “The Biggest Loser: Couples,” and it sure was interesting. The producers always try to keep both you and the contestants guessing, and last night they did that, and in fact they are still doing it as you read this today. That’s because the two trainers they added this season still have no identities, and why they won’t just come out and say who they are is just plain annoying. But more on that in a bit.

At the start they focused on Arthur, who at 5’8″ and 507 pounds is the largest person in density this show has ever seen. This season also includes Moses, a 400-plus pound man who is of Tongan descent, just like Sam and Koli and Filipe and Sione were in seasons past–proof that those folks love to eat and eat bad things. There is also Rulon Gardner, the wrestler who won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympics and also competed in the 2004 games, but who is now over 400 pounds. The theme is couples too, which only means that the contestants were brought on in pairs–parents and children, siblings or just friends.

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