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Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Biggest Loser: Season 9 premiere

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Biggest Loser Season 9 - It's probably blasphemous for me to say this, but I'm having a bit of a hard time getting into this season. It's seems a little like a freak show and I have to wonder if it's really safe to put people this size through this kind of exercise.

I'm not alone. According to an article in the New York Post (beacon of responsible journalism, I know), Jillian has some reservations as well.

The episode opened with each of the teams participating in very public weigh-ins in their hometowns. That would be hard. It's one thing to weigh in on national television on a taped program. But live in front of the people you live and work with? That's hard core.

You know it's a season of big boys and girls when someone steps on the scale, weighs in at 346 and you think "hey, that's not too bad." Five people weighed in at over 400 pounds. The lightest contestant was Cheryl at 227 pounds. The heaviest was 30-year-old Mike who weighed 526 pounds.

This season's contestants come to the show in teams of two. Of the 11 teams, 7 of them are parent-child teams. That's a real wake up call for me as an overweight mother. What kind of example am I setting for my children? What kind of future am I creating for them? That thought makes me even more grateful for my Better U opportunity.

The first challenge was for each team to ride a stationery bike for a total of 26.2 miles, which actually doesn't seem like a terrible challenge, although I hope they had some extra-large, cushy bike seats. The two teams who finish the challenge last would be sent home immediately. The first place team would win immunity.

The winner was the green team, a mother-daughter named Miggy and Migdalia.

The challenge was not without its low points, though. Cherita, the mother of the mother-daughter blue team, was overcome with excruciating cramps and had to be removed from the bike, despite her valiant efforts to continue on.

As a result, the blue team was one of two sent home. The other was the yellow team. Of course, there was a surprise in store for them. Before their limos left the ranch, they were stopped by Bob and Jillian who informed them that they would be going home for 30 days. At the end of 30 days, the team with the highest percentage of weight loss would be able to re-join the other contestants at the ranch.

As I promised, I did some exercising during commercials. Bob and Jillian offered some exercises that you could do with a partner, so Annie and I did those together for several commercial breaks. Let me just say that my abs are in sorry shape!

The first workouts in the gym sounded more like a maternity ward -- the wailing, shrieking and gnashing of teeth -- than a gym. And it wasn't just the ladies screaming. This was also the scene of a double product placement. Not only the Brita pitcher, but the Brita pitcher available in the hardware aisle at Walmart!

Probably one of the funniest things was watching Cheryl going ballistic in the gym -- screaming, kicking, beating the crap out of a punching bag. I bet that felt good!

After the gym, the contestants shared their stories with each other. Seems a lot of them are looking for love. Hmm...a possible story line later?

Ok, second funniest moment was when Bob said "I'm a sadist." That's like Oprah saying "I'm poor." Laughably untrue.

Finally it's time for the first weigh-in.

Team: Player/Starting Weight/Pounds Lost -- Player/Starting Weight/Pounds Lost (Total%)

Green: Migdalia/265/-16 -- Miggy/240/-13
Gray: Koli/403/-29 -- Sam/372/-18 (6.06%)
Orange: Cheryl/227/-14 -- Daris/346/-29 (7.5%)
Black: Andrea/298/-14 -- Darrell/413/-30 (6.19%)
Brown: James/485/-23 -- John/484/-23 (4.75%)
Red: Lance/365/-21 -- Melissa/233/-19 (6.69%)
Purple: Patti/243/-23 -- Stephanie/264/-18 (8.09%)
Pink: Ashley/374/-21 -- Sherri/218/-17 (6.42%)
White: Mike/526/-34* -- Maria/281/-13 (5.82%) *A new Biggest Loser record!

Mike only had to lose 25 pounds to keep them on the ranch. As I told my Mike, that guy probably could have lost that in one trip to the bathroom. (Well, what I said to Mike was a bit more colorful, but you get the idea.) His 41 pound loss meant that the brown team was below the yellow line and one of the "half-ton twins" would be sent home.

That would be a tough decision to make. Going in the brothers weighed only one pound different and they both lost 23 pounds. If it were me, I might have just flipped a coin. In the end, James, who has a bad knee and ankle, but who does not have to return immediately to work and can go home and focus on his weight loss, was sent home. In his final commentary, he said, "America, next time you see me, you're going to be able to tell me and my brother apart because I'm going to be the more handsome, skinnier twin."

At home, James has already lost 100 pounds in two months!

All right, I'll admit it. By the end of this episode, I was hooked again. I still do worry that these mega-contestants can handle the kind of workouts and challenges set before them. But you can bet that I'll be watching to see how they do.


Joanie said...

Hey! I'm first!!!

I got home from my road trip, taking Dani back to college, just in time for the beginning of the show.

Those are some big contestants! Was there only one married couple? Funny... I was wondering who was going to be the "bad guys" this season? It usually takes a few weeks for the gloves to come off.

It'll also take a few weeks for a favorite to emerge for me. I've been historically not in favor of pink teams in the past. These ladies look scarily like Helen and her daughter from season 7. Some similarities from past seasons ... a set of Tongans, Helen /daughter look alikes.

My kids, fortunately, favor their dad with slim figures and high metabolism. I am all alone in my roundness in my family.

The bike ride was ROUGH!!! I"m surprised only one person needed medial assistance.

Cheryl cracked me up! She might be a favorite for me. That quiet little mouse became a lioness in the gym! Go Cheryl!!!!

I was really happy to see how well James is doing at home. I think he might be the fellow to beat at home!

Can't wait to see what the coming weeks bring!

Michelle said...

By this point in my fandom, I'm a little leery of so many family teams. There's a lot of baggage that comes along with it, you know? I liked Season 6 Michelle (hey, with a name like that...) but got really tired of her abandonment issues. I hope this doesn't turn out like that. And the Tongans? While I like them, it's too much like Filipe and Sione. They won't have their own story, they'll have F & S all over again.

But generally, I like this group.

Eternal Lizdom said...

We tuned in and watched.

I rode the bike at the gym today for about 5 mins. Nowhere near 13 miles in that time... and it's harder than it looks!! I used to think biking was easy- until I started using the stationary bike at the gym and tried riding my own bike around the neighborhood.

I thought that bike thing was SO unfair. These people were coming in at different levels of total unfitness. Even with their "2nd chance," it was still unfair, IMO. It hurt the mission of the whole project.

I loved Jillian and Cheryl's gym moments. I think Cheryl came in touch with some powerful emotions in there!!

Shelley said...

We decided to DVR this season since we've never watched the show before, but I only made it about halfway through. Watching everyone get weighed in front of their entire towns was a big, big turnoff for me. Why humiliate people who are already in a bad, bad place? You don't achieve such levels of overweight with there being ISSUES involved and it was just cruel, IMO, to pile on to what these people are already suffering.

I really hated that and we turned it off. I stay tuned here to see if things get better, though. We still have the DVR set to tape the whole series.

Jessica McCoy said...

This was the first season that I haven't picked out someone who just really got on my nerves or that I knew was going to be trouble! So far my favs are the green team and Cheryl!

Amy said...

Shelley, they've never done the public weigh in before. I didn't like it either. Some of the tactics -- like Jillian screaming at people in the gym -- do seem a little cruel. But I guess in my mind I think that sometimes we need to be shaken to see what's really in front of us. I've found that there is also a lot of compassion and true concern on the show as well.

wendy f said...

Hi, I'm new to this blog, but I love what you wrote, thanks. I'm a huge BL fan, my daughters and I watch it together and love it.

I have to say that I almost lost my love for the show when they were sending to teams home so soon. I felt so bad for those families and everything they had been through to get there: try out, joy of going, presenting their 'whole' selves in front of so many other people....just to have to turn around and leave! That's too humiliating and just sad. There was some relief that they get to come back in 30 days, but I felt like our emotions were being jerked around.

We definitely think romance is to be found this season! We also think that Lance (red team) might get on our nerves after a couple of weeks, we'll see. Just thought the "She's Hot!" comment about Allie was inappropriate since his overweight wife was standing right next to him.

Looking forward to this season and your blog, thanks!

Jenny McB said...

Hey, I got dejavu too with the pink team. I agree about the size of the contestants, it's downright scary. But it was interesting that they were on bikes for the first challenge, I think there was a lot of flack about the mile run last season.
No favorites here for me yet.
Great review of the show.

Sharon said...

My thoughts exactly, Amy!
It does NOT seem safe. And what about the medical reviews that we saw last season? Have they just not gotten to it, yet? Shouldn't that be one of the FIRST things they do, say, before biking 26.2 miles!!! I was yelling at my tv. Felt so sorry for the contestants.

Something about the pink team annoyed me.
The red team seemed odd, too, like they'd be able to do this on their own.

I was so glad the white team did well, and the orange team. Something about the guy from the orange team really has me hoping he makes it to the end. Aside from his adorable hair. ;)

Amy, good work exercising during the commercials. I meant to try what they demonstrated, but accidentally deleted it. :(