'The Biggest Loser': Heba's not going anywhere
The show got underway with an early morning wake-up call and an in-the-dark challenge -- how funny was Alison Sweeney's awkward segue to snapping on the night vision goggles?? Contestants were surrounded by baked goods and chocolates, and the person who ate the most calories would be rewarded with the power to reshape the teams. No surprise that Heba jumped at the opportunity to seize control, which peeved her teammates, particularly the husband-and-wife team of Phil and Amy, who were trying to cook up their own strategy.
Granted, Heba can be mighty annoying, but at least she was being up-front. She announced her plans to the teammates and then angrily waved the donuts around to show the night-vision cameras what she was doing. And then wolfed them down -- for the good of the team, of course.
Phil, meanwhile, fumbled around in the dark for some peanut butter cups and refused to answer when Heba demanded to know whether he was eating. C'mon Phil, be a man. You could have told Heba that you, like her, were playing your own game. Instead, he later claimed he was rendered temporarily unable to speak due to the combination of peanut butter and chocolate in his mouth. Uh huh. At the very least, you should have eaten enough to best Heba -- who handily won the challenge.
That was bad news for Amy and Phil. Heba keeps telling us again and again how hard life is for her without her husband, that she should not be crossed because life is so hard without her husband, blah blah blah. Well, Phil and Amy crossed her and paid the price: Heba vindictively split them up, as well as the mother-and-daughter duo of Shellay and Amy.
But was it wise hand over Phil -- who was one of two men dominating on Bob's blue team -- over to Jillian's all-female black team? Jillian loved it -- "I feel really lucky...we need a boy on our team," she said, and predicted that he will be her "secret weapon." Bob, meanwhile, went through the roof when he learned that Heba had traded away one of his top earners -- I mean losers. Bob predicted that such moves done for personal reasons always create a backlash. We shall see.
The next challenge was insane: trekking up and down a mountainside for 14 hours in temperatures that at one point reached 108 degrees. (The two times wisely made a pact to take a two-hour break during the hottest part of the day.) In total, they logged over 160 miles. Brady, by himself, logged over 20 miles -- many of which he ran: "It's amazing, you know, in just five weeks that you've knocked off enough weight and gained enough endurance to perform like that." I'll say. Bob also remarked that Brady has made "Biggest Loser" history by performing pull-ups at Week 5 -- a first. His superhuman performance helped deliver victory to the blue team -- which won a pivotal 2 lb. pass at this week's weigh-in.
The weigh-in started with Michelle being asked whether she planned to stay or go. Michelle was supposedly considering leaving the ranch because she felt that she was being disloyal to her father by being there with her mother. (The two had a messy divorce.) But I didn't really buy it -- I think she does indeed feel torn between the two, but I don't think she was ever really planning on leaving. I think she was trying to prompt a showdown with Mom, who essentially abandoned her after the divorce. But Mom didn't bite. (By the way, how did Jillian manage to wrangle a phone call for Michelle? Aren't phone calls won or earned through a challenge or something?)
As much as everyone must have been hoping against it, Heba continued to lose big -- she lost a total of eight pounds, helping her team to victory at the weigh-in. (She is going to regret that unattractive celebratory dance she did.)
During the elimination, the black team clearly embraced having a strong competitor like Phil on board and turned against one of its weaker members: Shellay. To her credit, she absolved everyone of any guilt, and told them all that she loved them.
Completely random thought: I know this isn't a charity, and "The Biggest Loser" is in this to make money. But that whole interlude with Bob and Amy in the kitchen just felt like a badly disguised commercial for dairy farmers. The show can do better.
-- Rene Lynch
Photo credit: NBC Universal