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'The Biggest Loser': The worst-case scenario

April 28, 2010 | 11:13 am

The unthinkable happened: Father and daughter fell below the yellow line. Together.

Before we get to that, the contestants faced a Texas-sized challenge — raising awareness about obesity in the Lone Star State, which lays claim to five of the country's 10 fattest cities, according to at least one survey. We saw the contestants embracing all they have learned: When they went to local radio stations to invite the public to run, Sam explained that it's now easy to turn away fattening food and unhealthy habits because "it feels good to feel good." Michael urged them on as well, saying, "I found the strength, and you can too."

Can't say the "people" of Texas took to it wholeheartedly. But a hard-core handful did, running a 5K with the contestants who just 15 weeks ago couldn't dream of accomplishing such a feat. (Daris ran the race in just over 20 minutes — quite impressive.)

And you can't help but feel that a handful of lives were forever changed, such as C.J.'s: "I can't walk through Wal-Mart without taking a cart, and I just walked a 5K!"

We also saw some fissures starting to show in this close-knit group: te yellow and gray teams determined to be the final four and relying upon each other to do so, while Ashley, Michael and Daris pulled together and ran stairs in their off time, equally determined to hang on to each other to make it to the end. It was also apparent in the calf-wrangling competition, when Sam helped Koli, Sunshine helped her dad, O'Neal, and Michael helped Daris: All realized that the prize — immunity — would make the difference.

Bob and Jillian huddled with the masses in Texas, encouraging adults and teens alike to take control of their health. Note to "Biggest Loser" producers: Please revisit the obese teen who stood up in front of her school to talk about how miserable she was being overweight and how painful it was to be teased. We need to find out what happens to her. (And hopefully Jillian will continue working with her. That girl needs a lifeline.)

I was glad to see Jillian knocking some sense into Daris, who is starting to fret about the game. "Don't let this little stupid stuff bog you down," she said. His goal coming into "The Biggest Loser" wasn't to make the final four, it was to lose well over a 100 pounds and regain his life. He's doing that. He just needs to keep doing that and let the rest take care of itself.

But the big news was, of course, the devastating results of the freezing-cold weigh in. The weight loss numbers were solid -- all in the 4-, 5- and 6- pound range. The two exceptions being Koli, who lost just 1 pound — he's lucky he won the walk challenge and had immunity this week — and Michael, who lost an astonishing 15 pounds. Just a reminder that, despite all his progress, Michael still has 100 pounds or so to lose. But he is well on his way.

Sunshine and O'Neal fell below the yellow line, a crushing result not just for them but for the rest of the contestants and us. Theirs is almost a fairy-tale perfect father-daughter relationship. It will be missed. Of course, O'Neal begged everyone to send him home and keep Sunshine: "Please respect me ... there's no need for no deliberation, just go ahead and vote me out."

And they did, even though the wiser choice might have been to send Sunshine packing because she is a contender to win this thing. You just know that somewhere, Melissa was screaming at the TV: "This is a game, people!" 

So wonderful to see O'Neal back at home with his wife and boys, putting on his own shoes and riding his motorcycle (with his wife's arms able to wrap around his middle.) And who else but O'Neal could deliver a line like this? "I feel like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire dancing up and down," he said of his newfound ability to easily navigate the stairs inside his home.

Unc, you will be missed.

— Rene Lynch