'Biggest Loser' Recap: Game Play Gone Wild

Jennifer L. Nelson
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I don't think I've ever been more infuriated by contestants on The Biggest Loser than I was during last night's episode.

The show opened with Ali's announcement that after only a few weeks as black versus blue, the teams were bring broken up once again ... into pairs. But the contestants didn't get the privilege of choosing their new teammate: the winner of a "temptation" challenge did.

The temptation involved dining out at a restaurant, and each contestant was invited to choose one appetizer, entree, and dessert from what appeared to be a typical Italian menu. The rules were simple: the player who scarfed down the most calories -- and they had to polish off their entire plate for the calories to count -- would win the opportunity to determine the new teams of two.

I can usually look the other way when it comes to temptation challenges that require contestants to control themselves in a room overflowing with dozens and dozens of cupcakes or donuts (because when does that happen in real life?), but what's with encouraging these obese people with out-of-control eating habits to walk into an Italian restaurant and not only order fried calamari, but lick their plate clean?

Really, NBC? Yes, it's a game, but don't pretend to be a show that teaches people how to "change their lives" if you're going to turn around and ask contestants to do the exact opposite of everything they've learned about applying healthy living habits to real life.

Being the rat that he is, Brendan walked into the restaurant fully intending to order anything fried or drowning in cream sauce, regardless of whether he especially liked the entree or not. He had a handful of competitors, but in the end nobody could compete with his arancini bolognese, rib-eye steak, and creme brulee. Big surprise: he opted to pair the big huge men with the big huge men, and leave half of the remaining four females to be picked off in one fell swoop.

Ada had a hissy fit because she didn't want to be paired with a woman. Even worse, she had been under the impression that she and Brendan were BFF -- and assumed he would have her back like he did Frado and Patrick's. I feel for her; that woman is ridiculously strong, and it was entirely unfair that her fate might rest in the hands of someone who has proven unable to shed more than five pounds per week: Jessica. Meanwhile, Ada is second only behind Mark for the highest percentage of weight loss in the house, and she's on a mission to prove that women can be just as tough as men. She's a machine, and I'm rooting for her. The girls ended up winning probably the strangest challenge in The Biggest Loser history: building towers with 150 pounds of teeny tiny sugar cubes to represent the amount of sugar the average American consumes in a single year.

Then there's Lisa. Here's a single mother who has been saying for weeks that she wants to go home. The reason she originally auditioned for the show? Her daughter was rushed to the hospital for symptoms of dehydration as a result of starving herself ... because she didn't want to be like her mom (yikes!). Lisa has offered to sacrifice herself more than once during eliminations, constantly insists she's "ready" to lose the rest of her weight at home, and continues to say that she only "60 percent" wants to remain on The Biggest Loser ranch.

At the restaurant, she opted not to compete in the challenge, but then went ahead and ordered a 1,400 calorie dessert. Just because she wanted it. And because she had "saved her calories" by barely touching her appetizer or dinner. But at least her justification made total sense: "There's no dessert on the ranch, and it's not like I would eat this at home." But she goes ahead and devours a dark chocolate tart on a reality weight loss show with all of America watching. Right.

For some reason, Elizabeth went out of her way to ask Brendan to pair her up with Lisa, who continued to insist that she would give it her all for the sake of her teammate. Unfortunately, she made the mistake of saying that to Bob during the workout -- and he promptly threw it all in her face. Anyone who has left their kids and life behind to take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunities this show presents to people who could drop dead in five years probably shouldn't whine about wanting to leave. It's an excellent way to make enemies.

Bob and Jillian ripped Elizabeth a new one at the weigh-in when they found out that Lisa was acting as Elizabeth's personal chef all week. She's not happy unless someone else is taking care of her. When she and Lisa both pulled an eight on the scale -- huge numbers for them -- they stood there sulking because they had just gotten yelled at.

Jillian turned on Lisa for telling Ali she truly wants to be on the ranch and is, in fact, trying her hardest to lose weight. Then Jillian turned on Bob because he keeps trying to convince Lisa that she actually wants to stay. Then Frado and Aaron butted heads over Lisa's comment that she was just a "placeholder" and will never be voted off because she's not a threat. Then Jesse joined in and started dropping bleeped-out expletives. And on and on and on.

There has never been such an immature catfight break out during the weigh-in on this show, and it's becoming more and more difficult for me to convince myself that it really is about weight loss and changing people's lives. You would think that saving your own life would become slightly more important than a check and assuming the title of The Biggest Loser. Oh, yeah, and then there's the whole saving your own life thing.

Believe it or not, it was two of the boys who fell below the yellow line. Aaron's 14 pound loss last week screwed him: his body could only give up four this week. Another surprise: Jessica shed an incredible 12 pounds and carried Ada and her six pound loss to safety. The other female team -- Lisa and Elizabeth -- was of course up for elimination, though they both lost a very respectable eight pounds each.

Here's where I start to get really agitated. Lisa and Elizabeth received only one vote, from their fellow female contestants. The rest of the men voted for Aaron and Jesse ... presumably because they're a much, mich bigger threat to their future in this game than Elizabeth and Lisa. Patrick bawled his eyes out, while Brendan looked happier than a pig-in-you-know-what.

There's always game play on this show. And that's understandable. But what I don't understand is these men acting as if they're all one big happy family, and that they genuinely care for each other, but then going ahead and sacrificing two of the players with the most need to be there and the most drive to continue their weight loss journey ... for two people who are merely biding their time on the ranch and frittering away the opportunity.

Typically when someone legitimately asks to go home, the rest of the players send them home. Frado and his followers are a bunch of cowards; I'm sure they'll be so very proud when one of them ends up taking home the grand prize because they beat out a couple of women who don't even want to be there.

In a first for the show, Jesse and Aaron were interviewed live by Bob at the end of the episode. They say they couldn't care less about the money, and Jesse said he's looking forward to the first day after the show's finale: which will truly mark the start of the rest of his life.

Finally, someone who gets it.

What do you think about last night's rampant game play, and Jesse and Aaron being sent home over Lisa and Elizabeth?

 

Image via ET Online

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