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'The Biggest Loser': Bob comes clean about game play

February 18, 2009 |  9:20 am

Bob Harper: Keeping it realLaura manned up. Tara showed some weakness in her iron-willed demeanor. Filipe was scolded for wearing a bench like it was a baseball cap. Kristin and Mike lost 12 pounds and 10 pounds, respectively, and seem to be on the verge of gaining some momentum. Shanon, who fell below the yellow line and was up for elimination, truly seemed to have no idea what she wanted, whether she wanted to stay or go. We know what Shanon's mom, Helen wanted: She wanted to keep herself at The Ranch, and urged the others to send her daughter home. (Was that selfish? Or just real?)

What else did we learn this week? That the demented minds behind "The Biggest Loser's" gut-busting challenges haven't even begun to run out of ideas. That you don't need a gym to get a good workout. And that the childhood game of musical chairs just might be a good way to burn calories. 

OK, now that we got all that stuff out of the way, let's talk about the REAL news out of last night's show: Bob pulled the curtain back on how much the trainers get involved in game play.

Quick recap: At last week's weigh-in, two of Jillian's competitors, Dane and Blaine, fell below the yellow line. As Bob left the room to let the elimination take place, he turned to his teammates, and whispered repeatedly: "Dane and no one else." That was code for: Send Dane home because he's the bigger threat.

Blaine, however, made an impassioned plea to the house that he be sent home so he could see his wife and their newborn child. The players complied.

When Jillian found out, she predicted Bob would be peeved. "NO ONE defies him," she said.

Kristin admitted being scared to break the news to Bob, like a little kid who  just got caught breaking something.

Steam poured out of Bob's ears. Arms crossed, jaw tight, he absorbed the news: "OK, well, you kept a really big threat in the house." Then he went off: "Don't ask for my input if you're not going to take it."

But he was only getting started: "I want everyone here to succeed, but this is set up as a game and the only way to keep my team here is to advise them to play the game.... They left a very big threat in the house. I think it's a mistake."

But what do you think? Should Bob and Jillian get involved at this level? Or are these decisions that should be left up to the players themselves?

Me? I like it. We only get a fraction of what goes on at The Ranch, so I want the additional insight into the decision-making process. I think Bob just told it like it is. The trainers have a level of objectivity and expertise that the players' don't -- and the contestants would be foolish not to take advantage of that if they are serious about trying to win $250,000 and potential endorsement deals.

--Rene Lynch

Photo credit: NBC Universal

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