Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Biggest Loser Review: Season 14, Episode 9, Fear Factor

 As usual, proceed at your own risk.

The challenge in this episode is one of my least favorite kinds, the "Gang up on your enemy" challenge, this time to see what player is spending a week away from the ranch.  It allows players to make their friends and enemies clear. It was fun to see rivals Joe and Danni both taking care of each other before helping other players. They seem to realize, in a way that other players don't, that strong competition makes them better. It is clear from this challenge that most players want to get rid of Gina after her ridiculous behavior last week.  At the last minute, however, Jackson steps up and volunteers to be sent away instead.  He wants the chance to spend time off the ranch before he is sent home to troubleshoot any problems and have a chance to deal with them.  At the last minute, Allison adds that a second player of Jackson's choice will be going with him, and he seems at a loss until Jeff volunteers. If Jeff can't get away from Gina by sending her away, he will take himself away.  Jeff and Jackson seem to get along pretty well, and it wasn't clear what other player Jackson had a connection with now that Francelina is gone.

(By the way, didn't Francelina look great in her photos?)

Jeff and Jackson's house is a nice but modest ranch in some generic neighborhood with a small inground pool, a few pieces of exercise equipment, and empty cupboards for Jeff and Jackson to fill by going shopping.  They seem to make virtuous choices with food and make the best of their lackluster equipment by going out hiking and doing some interesting garbage-can-themed workouts. Still, we get the sense that they are not doing the kind of intense workout they get on the ranch. Jeff says he volunteered for the "mancation" because he fears failure, and when we see the life he was living back home, we get a sense that he was not living, but just existing. When we see where Jeff started, it's amazing how far he has come.

All of the contestants, and the kids, are given chances to face their fears. Interestingly, we never see what Alex's fear is. She has always seemed a bit shy, and maybe her biggest fear was something that wasn't appropriate to air on national television, or maybe it just didn't make for interesting TV. 

Gina's fear of close spaces was engineered by Jillian into getting into a coffin for 20 minutes with the lid closed.  Jillian says that by quitting and quitting, Gina is not facing the changes she needs to make and is on her way to dying. There are enough hints here to suggest some relationship issues or other issues that Gina is avoiding dealing with by inventing fake drama.  Gina claims that she has never been in a situation where people don't like her before coming to the ranch, but then lists a string of relationships she has ruined with her crazy behavior.  She claims that last week "wasn't me," but it seems pretty obvious that she didn't just start this behavior when she got to the ranch. When she can't control a relationship, she sabotages it. 

I didn't really understand what Bob was doing with Joe and swimming in the ocean. 500 yards is not that far for a strong swimmer like Joe, but without goggles? And Joe's fear of sharks does not seem completely unreasonable considering that he lived in a gulf coast state, so I'm not sure why Bob says that's not his real fear. 

My favorite was Jillian's intervention with Danni, forcing her to get onstage to sing. I was shocked when Danni chose to sing "The Star Spangled Banner," which is a notoriously difficult song, with it's high and low notes. She may just get a lot of baseball game gigs after this performance, though, because she did very well. It was clear that her fear was more about being seen than singing.

The challenges with the kids all fell flat to me. Sunni's fear is talking to her mom about her weight, but her mom should not have had to have such a difficult and embarrassing conversation on national TV. I felt bad for her. Her original angry reaction seemed honest, and then it seemed she was given a script so that the TV audience could feel that the conversation worked. I don't think that she was really happy about any of it.  Biingo's fear of vegetables was pretty strange, and it looked like Bob's solution worked fine but was a lot of work.  I am hoping that eventually Biingo will be able to eat vegetables without having them turned into baby food and snuck into his meat (p.s. why not just use baby food rather than homemade purees?). I have learned to like veggies after being similarly veggie-phobic, so there is hope.  Finally, Lindsay's talk with a guidance counselor that has diabetes was probably the most successful of the kid interventions. At least she didn't have to work with the cheerleaders again.

The challenge this week was another Biggest Loser staple, the "hold onto something for dear life" challenge, this time while dangled off the side of a building on a diving-board-style platform. The diving-board things actually hit a couple of contestants in the face as they fell.  I was rooting for Danni to get immunity, but it was Gina. Interestingly, without immunity, Gina definitely would have been under the line at the weigh-in.  That challenge saved her.

I was amazed by the weigh-in numbers this week. Everyone had incredibly big losses.  It seems to be partly a result of the terrible numbers last week (again, I suspected some players held back in the hopes of ditching Gina), but even Danni had her second big loss in a row. My husband has observed that at some point in the season, the losses really accelerate. We also saw the contestants in their girdles for the first time in the season.  Everyone looks better with a little Lycra. I was not at all surprised about the player who was sent home, because I had just observed that besides Gina, there was only one player I wouldn't miss much.  I did feel bad for the player when I saw the at-home scenes, which just confirmed some earlier observations I had made about relationships that might have made weight loss difficult for that player.


  1. 9:32 PM

    Yes, Francelina looked amazing! I am SO rooting for Danni, and am really enjoying the program this season after years of not watching. Also very much enjoy your reviews.

    1. 10:08 PM

      Danni all the way!

      And I forgot to mention, next week is Makeover Week!

  • 11:00 PM

  • 11:02 PM

  • 11:12 PM

    I too noticed the goggles and was confused by the swim. Something might have been edited out that would have had it make sense.

    Thought the same thing about the star spangled banner - you are right, she did a great job.

    Still think Gina needs meds, especially after this episode.

    Please explain girdles, do not know what you mean.

    1. 6:17 AM

      This week, instead of weighing in wearing sports bras or bare-chested, the contestants wore tight sleeveless shirts. They always switch at some point to this and they appear to be wearing Spanx or a girdle underneath. In the weigh-in, the effect is that they all suddenly look much thinner than they did the week before.

  • 1:08 PM

    I did notice the shirts, had never noticed anything underneath. Thanks.

    honestly, They are all still looking very large to me. Am hoping someone has some sense with their makeover clothes next week. The love of the strapless never makes any sense to me as large busts and strapless just are not good combination. Very few people can wear strapless with no support.

    I thought Alex's dress ( at home, in dressing room) was WONDERFUL.

    I was very confused about her mother though, because for some reason, I thought they said she was very tiny, and she was not tiny (in same dressing room footage). I had idea that they had said size 6, thought I even remembered a bathing suit shot.

    Am I dreaming?

    1. 1:23 PM

      There was a shot of her in a bikini in Alex's audition tape. They said she wore a size 6 -- maybe that was the smallest size she could fit into? I don't know -- I didn't pay that much attention. What I got from it was that she seems to compete with her daughters, which is an unhealthy pattern. You could always look at Alex's audition tape online.

      Alex's mom might tend to yo-yo too, as a lot of women do.

"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07