Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Biggest Loser Kicks Off Another Season

It was a night of big numbers on the first episode of the new season of The Biggest Loser. For instance, one season after Shay was the biggest contestant in show history, that non-enviable title has been handed off to Michael, who tipped the scales at the initial weigh-in (held in each contestant's hometown in front of friends, family and community members) at 526 pounds. Twins John and James' combined weight was just a few pounds shy of half a ton. Collectively, this is the heaviest group of contestants of any season so far. And as Jillian said, "That's not a good thing."

But big numbers weren't just part of the negative side of things. More on that later.

The Biggest Loser is big on surprises, and the contestants got a big one as soon as they walked onto the Biggest Loser ranch. On day one, barely out of the cars that brought them there, Allison told them that they would be taking part in their first challenge -- riding a bike the equivalent of a marathon, 26.2 miles. The twist? Only the first nine teams to finish would be staying on the ranch. The last two teams would be sent home immediately. I had a very negative reaction to this, as did my husband. He said, "That's just so wrong!" I agree. I know it's shock value, but I just think that everyone is so happy to be there at that point, thinking they're going to have this awesome chance to train at the ranch, at least for a week, that it's cruel to snuff out that joy so quickly. Especially for someone who is there to make what very well might be a life-saving change.

During the challenge, the green team, made up of the mother-daughter pair of Miggy and Migdalia, just smoked it! I don't think they slowed down the entire time and as a result finished first, in less than an hour. I'm tired just thinking about it. Not far behind them was the gray team, cousins Sam and Koli. The last two teams were the blue team (mother and daughter Cherita and Victoria) and the yellow team (the father-daughter team of O'Neal and Sunshine). The blue team had a hard time because the medical staff that was on hand made Cherita quit because she was in such pain. I was really sad to see the yellow team have to leave because I really liked their interview early in the show, and Sunshine's words about not being happy and wanting to find love nearly broke my heart.

As the two eliminated teams were leaving the ranch, their cars were stopped by Bob and Jillian, who told them that they would be competing at home and that they would come back in 30 days. Whichever team has lost the most will be back in the game.

Something that struck me when we were getting to know the contestants was that three teams mentioned how their culture contributed to their weight problems because those cultures revolved so much around food. These were Italian for Michael and Maria, Tongan for Koli and Sam, and Puerto Rican for Miggy and Migdalia.

Now, back to the big numbers. When it came to the weigh-in at the end of Week 1, some impressive losses were posted. Chief among these was a 34-pound loss for Michael, a record for the most weight lost in week one. Patti of the purple team lost 23 pounds for the biggest percentage loss of a woman ever. Several guys besides Michael shed lots of pounds: Koli, 29; Daris of the orange team, 29; and Darrell of the black team, 30. And in true twin fashion, James and John each lost 23 pounds. Unfortunately, it wasn't enough to keep them safe because of the percentages. The rest of the contestants had to face a heartbreaking decision -- which twin to send home. In the end, James was sent home. But in the transformation moment, he revealed that he's down 100 pounds. He still has a long way to go, but that's a huge start.

While exploring the Biggest Loser site now that it's been updated with the new contestants' information, I discovered that Abby from last season has a blog on there now. I read the blog she posted last night about finding our inner warriors, inspired by Jillian challenging Cheryl of the orange team to move away from her meek self and find her inner warrior, and found myself nodding. Check out Abby's blog here.

So, what were your impressions of the first episode? Did you connect with anyone in particular?

3 comments:

Michelle Butler on January 6, 2010 at 9:32 AM said...

From the Programming Insider:

Ratings-hungry NBC got some much needed good news last night care of aforementioned two-hour The Biggest Loser: Couples season-opener, which averaged a 6.4/10 in the overnights from 8-10 p.m., growing in every half-hour as follows:

The Biggest Loser (NBC)
8:00 p.m.: 5.9/ 9 (#2)
8:30 p.m.: 6.2/ 9 (#3)
9:00 p.m.: 6.6/10 (#3)
9:30 p.m.: 7.0/11 (#3)

Comparably, this was on par with the 6.8/10 for the also two-hour season-opener on January 6, 2009. Keep in mind, of course, that the strength of The Biggest Loser always falls within the adult 18-49 demographic. The Jay Leno Show, which always scores its biggest audience of the week outside of The Biggest Loser, finished third at 10 p.m. with a still uneventful 4.4/ 7.

Michelle Butler on January 6, 2010 at 9:39 AM said...

I really liked the Green Team and Cheryl. I admired their strength and determination.

That said, the first show is never my favorite. It seems like a shock and awe (or horrify) show season after season. It's also astounding how big they are getting. The first season or two, some of the women weren't even over 200 pounds. Does the increased size make them more inspirational? more dramatic? Asking them to weigh in front of their friends and family just seemed so cruel - though it does increase the shock and horror factor.

The bike "marathon" was interesting. It was 26.2 miles collectively, right? So, each player did about 13.1 miles if the split was even? It is kind of surprising to see them asked to do that right away. It made me wonder how big of a deal physically it was to do that. Is it as hard as being asked to run a mile right off like the beginning of last season? I just don't know how cycling compares to other forms of exercise.

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) on January 6, 2010 at 12:31 PM said...

I'm not sure how cycling compares to running, but I would imagine the running is harder. I know it is for me. Of course, I say that not having been on my bike since college, I think.

I'm guessing two things is happening regarding the increasing weight each season: 1) They probably think they can increase viewership if the changes will be more dramatic and 2) we, as a country, are just getting fatter every year.

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