Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One Tough Cookie

This week's The Biggest Loser saw the return of the blue and yellow teams from their month-long stays at home, back on the ranch for a head-to-head weigh in to determine which team got to stay on the ranch. Even though Cherita and Victoria of the blue team lost a combined 63 pounds, they fell short of the yellow team's 76-pound combined loss. Sunshine lost 25, and O'Neal lost an eye-popping 51 pounds at home. I knew as soon as I saw him that he'd lost a good deal; it was that noticeable. By winning, they got immunity and would cast the only vote at the final weigh in of the episode, if one was needed (if a team with one player remaining fell below the yellow line, no vote would be needed).

In honor of Super Bowl week, the immunity challenge saw one player from each team hitting football tackling dummies. The first person to hit it 1,000 times won. It was a close race between Lance (red team), Sam (gray) and Michael (white), but Michael came out victorious by only 3 or 4 touches. Sam wasn't happy, but he directed the displeasure at himself, not Michael, admitting he wasn't a very good loser. He and Koli are very competitive, and I like that competitiveness in them. The pink team came in last, which meant they would each have a 1-pound disadvantage at the weigh in.

It was a tough week for Miggy, having to go back to the Biggest Loser house without her daughter and teammate, Migdalia. As if that wasn't bad enough, she had to be rushed to the hospital and into surgery to remove her appendix, a cyst and a mass. This is where the tough cookie part comes in. One day after the surgery, she came back to the ranch and walked 13 miles. The next day? 18 miles. Then 14 the next. Wow, is she tough and determined. Even after Dr. Huizenga told her that she had 8 or 9 extra pounds of water in her body from the surgery, she still managed to lose 5 pounds and keep herself safe.

The numbers were lower this week, with only three people hitting double digits -- Daris with 12, Michael with 13, and Sam with 10. Melissa of the red team hit a milestone when she lost 5 pounds to dip below the 200-pound mark. But with Lance only losing 4 pounds (the lowest of any of the guys), it looked for most of the weigh in that one of the red team's members would be going home. That was until John (the sole remaining member of the brown team) stepped on the scales and only posted a loss of 6 pounds. He needed 7 to be safe. His departure was hard for him, the trainers and the other contestants. He seems to be a genuinely nice guy, and one who made a lot of friends on the ranch. It was nice to see that he has now lost more than 100 pounds, and is working out with his twin brother, James, who was voted out in Week 1.

What did you think of Miggy's determination and toughness this week? Have you ever pushed through pain to do something you or others didn't think you could do? How do you feel about John's departure?


Michelle Butler on February 3, 2010 at 9:02 AM said...

I thought it was kind of funny that Melissa was mad at Lance for not losing enough when she had two weeks in a row with no loss total (+1 and -1) and was not "mad" for her not losing enough.

I thought it was cool that Mike won the challenge. Miggy was impressive - and one tough cookie like you said.

Joan on February 3, 2010 at 9:05 AM said...

I have never cared for Miggy nor Migdalia. I think they have major issues beyond weight and health. That said, Miggy did seem less resentful, angry without her daughter there. As to her determination? I think she took an extreme chance with her health extending herself SO soon after surgery.

My DVR did not capture the results so I did not know that John was the one who had to leave. I kind of wanted him to be there for make over week...dude...get rid of the freaky beard!

I am, however, ecstatic that the red team is there. I LIKE Melissa. I don't think she is an evil witch. I do not "know" the complete science of weight loss that Jillian does, so I cannot conceive of her throwing a weigh in.

I'm proud of her and her husband both standing up to the public tongue lashing they received. Jillain needs to tone it down. She is getting beyond a trainer into a screaming out of control whack. IMHO. Go Melissa!

Michelle Butler on February 3, 2010 at 9:50 AM said...

From the Programming Insider:

Over at NBC, a one-hour repeat of one the network's few hits, The Biggest Loser, finished fourth at 8 p.m., with a 3.3/ 5 in the overnights. That led into the two-hour original edition at a 6.2/ 9 from 9-11 p.m., with a consistent performance in every half hour as follows:

The Biggest Loser (NBC)
9:00 p.m.: 6.1/ 9 (#4)
9:30 p.m.: 6.2/ 9 (#3)
10:00 p.m.: 6.1/ 9 (#3)
10:30 p.m.: 6.3/10 (#3)

Considering the severity of the competition, The Biggest Loser is worthy of "honorable mention."

Elise Hayes on February 3, 2010 at 11:12 AM said...

Miggy's attitude really seemed to change this week. I know it was a tough week for her, but the extra challenges seemed to make her really think about whether she wanted to be there and how hard she wanted to work. When the doc cleared her to walk, she walked...and walked, and walked. For the first time in a while, I really felt she *wanted* to stay.

I haven't watched the show for long, but Jillian did seem a bit harsh at times. I get that there are often emotional problems underlying the obesity issues, but those seem like major, major problems that need to be addressed in a more sustained way than a single cathartic meltdown.

What I do respect, though, is that the contestants who don't get cut get the opportunity to stay at the ranch for a significant period of time...and that does seem to me to create a real opportunity for healing. And even the contestants who leave are given the help of knowing that the show's producers will be back to check on them within a certain time-frame. That external check must really help motivate people to try to incorporate the changes they had started to make at the ranch into their everyday lives.

I was flipping to "Clean House" during the commercials (first time I'd seen that show) and watched it primarily out of a horrified fascination with the packrat mentality that led to houses being filled to the brim with STUFF. The leaders of the show tried to show the people whose houses they were cleaning out the problems they were having, but it was a one-shot fix: the team cleaned up the house, gave it a make-over and then left. There was no follow-up on how the houses looked one week later, three months later, a year later. And while the problems that had led to the packrat problem were generally exposed, that didn't help the people actually get past them. I don't plan to watch the show again--it felt very voyeuristic, in an exploitative kind of way.

I was comparing it to Biggest Loser (which has its own kind of voyeuristic fascination), but really respected the long-term support that Biggest Loser builds into their program: I feel like they're genuinely trying to help people. Yes, Jillian pushes hard and goes for the big, emotional catharctic storm as part of her healing approach (something I'm not a huge fan of, although I can see it sometimes being helpful), but I do feel like the contestants get some long-term help to make some real changes in their lives.

Michelle Butler on February 3, 2010 at 11:54 AM said...

I've not seen Clean House, but it is a really interesting comparison with The Biggest Loser - as is other reality shows in general. The shows want drama and conflict and "interesting" television. Basically, they want ratings so they can charge for big ad dollars. :)

I would guess that the producers of TBL want the trainers to push for big, emotional cathartic storms and want to set situations up that will lead to conflict. As we know, conflict makes story. They'll want to construct compelling narratives and may force character into situations for the plot. They want good tv.

I don't know if there are counselors around the ranch. There are certainly other medical professionals around, so it may be possible. I'm really reaching the point that I think other (emotional) issues are a major underlying cause of obesity - but that resonates with my experience. I know every body's journeys are different. But, confronting these emotional issues makes for good television - and it may have the extra benefit of helping the person at the center of it all.

I do think that part of the appeal of TBL is it's about major change - and change is hard, full of conflict and not necessarily always pretty - at least in my experience. And, it's about the person at the center of it all.

I don't think I've watched TBL for years because of the voyeuristic aspects. In a lot of ways, it's really helped me be more successful in my own journey to becoming healthy.

There was an interesting article in last week's Washington Post about another cable tv show about losing weight. It explores the exploitative question and may be of interest: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/15/AR2010011503127.html

Michelle Butler on February 3, 2010 at 12:03 PM said...

p.s. I would have HATED to go through this journey on national television. I admire all the contestants for having the guts to do it.

Elise Hayes on February 3, 2010 at 4:26 PM said...

I don't think long-time watchers of the show are in it for the voyeuristic aspect--I think fans watch because they become interested in the people involved and the drama of the enormous changes those people are undergoing.

But for me that was part of the difference between "Clean House" and "TBL"--I wouldn't be tempted to watch "Clean House" again because it's NOT about the participants' personal journeys. To hook me long-term, the show has to make me care about the people involved (and after this week, I've got a lot of admiration for Miggy!)

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