The Biggest Loser Australia – Mon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
These days Aesop’s fables are forgotten and we get lessons in morality from television. American sitcoms have become the ideal vehicle for the US to shove it’s morality down the throats of the rest of the world. Witness Two and a Half Men, a riotous half hour of dick jokes, telegraphed one liners and three dimensional characters missing at least two dimensions. Or what about Two Broke Girls? Loosely based on the art house movie “Two Girls, One Cup”, two girls battle poverty and an inadequate US health system while constantly referring to genitals and acts of sex involving genitals. And then there is New Girl, a typical ‘fish out of water’ scenario, where a recently dumped young woman moves in with three total strangers, learning that most of life’s problems can be solved with a positive attitude, a brief discussion, and partial nudity.
Which brings us in a roundabout way to this week’s episode of Biggest Loser. In scenes resembling the Ant and the Grasshopper, though not physically of course, hard work paid off, while idleness was punished. However, and this is a big however, the morality of the tale was confounded. Because the person who was punished was punished by giving her exactly what she wanted.It always seemed obvious that the young pups would be below the yellow line. Selina’s slacking off, Margie’s treachery, and Michelle’s constant day dreaming of the George Clooneyesque Hamish had left them bound for a poor week, and things weren’t made any easier when Selina was forced to weigh in early. When it came to elimination, though, the tables were turned as the young pups were given the opportunity to decide which of their team would be going home. Although the temptation to eliminate Margie must have been strong, the fact that Selina had practically begged to be eliminated was enough for Kasey and Michelle to grant her that wish. Selina felt she could definitely do it on the outside, and after elimination we found out that she was definitely right having shed an earth shattering 700 grams in the 4 weeks since leaving the show. Take that Tiffiny!
With the contestants still reeling from the shock of Selina’s elimination, more surprises were in store when Hayley unilaterally announced that the red, white and black teams would now be disbanded, causing great consternation amongst the contestants, much like at the end of the Great War when the Kaiser’s forces where disarmed and sent home with only a tin of Bully Beef and a partially used ration card to help them survive. The contestants were now competing in the singularity, and so it was announced the standings based on percentage of weight lost. Margie and Lydia were third and first respectively, with Alex in between. Alex admitted that he didn’t mind being “stuck between two girls” but will have to wait for Michelle to overtake Margie and move into third before that can happen.
After some happy and uneventful training sessions the contestants convened on the oval for the weekly ‘contest’ where they were confronted by life size cardboard cut outs of themselves at the start of the series. The two dimensional nature of the cardboard cut outs had many confusing the real Graham with his paper based alter ego, until they checked the side view. The contestants had to run 400 metres and set a time, then, with backpacks filled with the weight they had lost, run another 400 metres. What the point of the cardboard cut outs was supposed to be is anyone’s guess, unless they were there to act as a defacto audience for the race. With Michelle, Lisa, Simon and Graham all coming the closest to their original times second time around, they raced a third time to see who would take this week’s ‘walk’. Lisa and Michelle were loose skinned neck and loose skinned neck the whole way, with Lisa winning by a mere second.At the end of the walk Lisa chose the mystery box because that’s what everyone does these days. Returning to camp she explained to the others that she had to choose two contestants who had to be chained together twenty four seven until the next weigh-in. After considering all the possible combinations, she announced to the assembled throng that she felt she couldn’t go past Alex and Graham, basically because walking around Graham just takes too damn long. Alex seemed to take it all in his stride, at the time, while Graham remained tight lipped and stoic, possibly because he didn’t want to show how upset he was, or possibly because he was in fact a cardboard cut out.
As it transpired the Graham back at camp was indeed the cardboard version, as the flesh and blood version had returned to his birth town, Carcoar, with Commando in tow. He had returned to show the townspeople just how far he had come, and to prove it put on a little demonstration. With Commando calling out the repetitions by number, for the benefit of those country folk who couldn’t count, Graham proved to his family, friends and acquaintances that he could now lift a barbell, sans weights, above his head a number of times. Everyone was impressed, save for one woman, an octogenarian who had to keep asking “What did he say?” and “What is he doing?” and “Who is that hunk of spunk in the tight black singlet and the khaki pants?” Whether she was Graham’s grandmother or just the town idiot was never explained.
When Graham returned he was greeted with the sight of a cardboard cut out of himself chained to Alex. It was quickly explained to him that, rather than Alex having developed a fetish for Graham, it had been decided that he and Alex would be chained together until weigh in, and the cardboard cut out had offered to stand in, but only until the real Graham returned. Graham’s relief rapidly turned into shame when Alex announced he’d rather be chained to an entire NRL team after a heavy night on the “turps”, wandering a hotel hallway in search of a soon to be embarrassingly nonexistent toilet, than be tied up with Graham.With the mystery power revealed and the implications dealt with, it was time for temptation. Haley Lewis welcomed the contestants by trying to say “hello” in Japanese, but stuffed it up so bad that she ended up comparing the Japanese royal family to “some particularly dirty and lazy pigs living in their own faecal matter”. Not since Dawn Fraser stole a flag from the Emperor’s palace at the Tokyo Olympics has an Australian swimmer offended the Japanese people so appallingly. The reason that Hayley had created a diplomatic nightmare for DFAT was to introduce the theme for temptation: sushi train!
Sushi train: 20 dishes travelling past the hungry eyes of the contestants, with four prizes of varying value and one immunity. The contestants were told if no one played, Michelle would retain immunity from last week. Margie, Graham, Simon and Lydia all gave it a go, and Margie gained immunity. Graham thought he had finally met someone who he could spend the rest of his life with when an eel came slowly past him, but, cruelly, the relationship met a swift end when Graham was forced to eat his new friend, accompanied by the jeers of Margie.
To round out the week, the contestants faced off against each other for the first time in a 42 km marathon on various pieces of exercise equipment, with the winner gaining a 1kg weight advantage. Starting with a 21km race on exercise bikes, Margie, Graham, Lydia, Michelle, Lisa and Simon finished ahead of Kasey and Alex, thus advancing to round two. Round two involved 10km on a cross-trainer. Lydia, Margie, Lisa and Michelle all finished ahead of Graham and Simon, who were both eliminated. At one stage it looked like they might be eliminated for good, as Simon pitched forward and almost fell flat to the ground, with only the bulky presence of Graham there to cushion his fall. Such was the concern held by everyone there that paramedics were called and took Simon away on a gurney. Graham, sensing an opportunity, said he was also feeling a bit light headed, but alas was forced to remain upright for the rest of the episode.
Lydia and Margie were one and two on the cross-trainers so advanced to the next round, a 5km sprint on the treadmills. By the end of the episode, with less than one kilometre to go, it was Lydia only barely in front of Margie, but with Margie coming home strong. And by the end of the week the morality tale had been turned on its head. The lazy and workshy had been granted their wish. Doing the wrong thing had been rewarded with immunity. And a cheat had prospered. What would Aesop make of all this?