The Biggest Loser AustraliaMon-Fri 7pm, Ch10
And so this is Christmas. Well, it’s not actually Christmas, but for the contestants, it must have surely felt like Christmas when they were made over, dressed up and paraded for the entire world to see. Then again maybe not, but for the eliminated contestants it must have certainly felt like Christmas when they were given the opportunity to re-enter the game. On the other hand, they did have to do it via a so-called haunted location, so maybe it didn’t feel that much like Christmas at all. Maybe it felt more like Palm Sunday.

But whatever season it is and whatever Christian holiday with suspicious links to pagan festivals is fast approaching, on Biggest Loser it was certainly a week when things happened. Things started happening at the weigh-in, where Michelle and Kasey had immunity and Lisa had a 1kg penalty. Michelle went first and everyone was shocked when it was revealed she had only lost 300 grams and came oh so close to forfeiting her immunity. Kasey was next and restored the equilibrium somewhat with her 2.4kg loss, taking her below 100kg for the first time in a long time. She said that getting below 100kg had been one of her goals, because “I said that I wouldn’t ride my horse again until I was less than 100kg, because the Equine and Other Pack Animals Union has been on my back about intolerable working conditions for my horse. It’s been horrible watching my dad and my sisters all going out riding together, knowing that I can’t go with them. It’s much the same when they go out to the pub together. They all pile into the station wagon and when I go to get in they say ‘Hey Kasey, there’s not enough room. Wait until you’re under 100kgs then you can come.’ Also, when they’re all sitting in the lounge room watching TV and I walk in and they’re all like ‘Hey Kasey way to fill the empty spaces we were enjoying. Why don’t you wait until you’re under 100kgs before you come in here?’ Actually, come to think of it my family are a pack of arseholes! ”

Graham and Margie were next and weighed-in with over 6kg losses each, but Lisa put herself into the first elimination chair with a meagre half kilo loss after the imposition of the 1kg penalty. She was soon joined by Alex after his 2.5kg loss wasn’t enough to push Lydia into elimination. Around the elimination table, things got heated. Margie said that Lisa wasn’t a threat to anyone, but Kasey pointed out that as one of three red team members, she was a bigger threat than Alex. With Michelle and Kasey the two ‘swinging’ voters, they broke the back of the red team and eliminated Lisa. This upset Margie no end, and Alex accused her of bullying. “I’m not a bully” she barked, as she repeatedly punched Alex about the head. Whether this violent attack was a case of Margie being a bully or just the beginnings of Alex’s ‘makeover’ we may never know.

The next day Alex apologised to Margie, stating that he “may have misheard” what she said. Margie was nonplussed with Alex’s efforts and said “he can apologise until the cows come home as far as I’m concerned”. And so Alex did keep apologising, until Tiffiny, Mish and Hayley finally returned, and then everyone was happy.

Meanwhile, Shannan, who had been off doing his own thing for some time, returned to our screens with his own secret mission. The eliminated contestants arrived by barge at a location that may or may not have been secret, to be given the chance to compete in the game again. Hamish, there to rekindle his romance with Michelle. Bek, there to finish the job she started. Shane, there to familiarise viewers with who the fuck he is. Selena, there so she can decide she doesn’t want to be there anymore. And Ryan, there for ballast. The first thing Shannan did was try to eliminate some of the weaker returnees by giving them salmonella poisoning administered through a raw egg. Unfortunately for Shannan, food hygiene laws are far too stringent in this country, and no one died. So he opted for punching them in the ring instead. The boxing ring that is.

After a good round in the ring, the eliminated contestants were taken to the ominously named Q Station, a former quarantine (hence the Q) station (hence the Station) that was used to house immigrants, returned service men and women, and eliminated Big Brother contestants, until it was certain that none carried communicable diseases gained from their travails. Shannan informed the contestants that Q Station was haunted, which caused Brenda much fear, so she said that they would all have to cuddle up close together, which caused all the other contestants much fear.

Meanwhile, back at camp, the contestants received a much needed self confidence boost from the trainers when they were forced to roll around in mud like pigs, and then hosed off outside like cows. However, this was just a precursor to one of the most dramatic aspects of Biggest Loser, the ‘makeover’. Normally, the contestants are attired in ill fitting, poorly made, rash inducing polyester outfits and every skin blemish is highlighted for the world to see, while the trainers wear tight fitting, expensive outfits, have fake tans and spend 5 hours in make up before shooting each scene. However, to show us the results of all the hard work they have put in, the contestants are dressed in quality clothing, given new hairstyles, made-over, and asked to stand around in softer lighting, so that the remaining imperfections are well hidden.

As if making them wear quality clothes that still don’t quite fit wasn’t humiliating enough, the contestants were then forced onto a catwalk. Now correct me if I’m wrong but if you saw these people doing a catwalk show at your local Westfields you’d have to ask yourself whether 99.9% of the world’s attractive people had been just been annihilated by a maniacal, homicidal, ugly criminal genius and that the organisers had found it necessary to scrape together a group of passersby to showcase their wares. However, in the context of the metamorphosis experienced by the contestants on Biggest Loser, this is meant to be the moment when they show the world the “new” them. And for the most part they look okay, but then that’s the whole point of a stylist isn’t it? You never hear an interior decorator claim that a room is “too fat, so come back to me when it’s lost a significant amount of weight and I’ll be able to do something with it”. They would have looked better even if they hadn’t lost weight.

After showing off their new bodies and clothes, the contestants headed out on the town for some much needed R and R. This gave the eliminated contestants the chance to sneak back into the camp, where they were directed to ‘the bunker’. Ryan noted that a sign at the entrance said “No authorised persons allowed” but since all of them haven’t had the authority to be people from some time they were allowed to enter. There they were all amazed at how far the remaining contestants had come, while Hamish drooled over Michelle to such an extent that his spittle shorted a couple of monitors.

While the excess saliva was being mopped up in the bunker, the contestants were split into groups of two to partake in one of those life skills so important to help you lose weight and keep it off: raft building! Alex and Michelle managed to make a serviceable raft, while Margie and Graham decided to eschew any raft making at all and just use Graham as a raft. Lydia and Kasey completely missed the point and built a life sized model of Pat Rafter, and then spent the next hour and half arguing who would be the first to “mount” their Rafter. As a result of the flawed decision making process Alex and Michelle came in first and were rewarded with a 1kg advantage each at weigh-in. For the losers, Lydia and Kasey, the penalty they received was that they were to be locked in their bedrooms until the next weigh-in, WITHOUT their Rafter doll.

As the week drew to a close, we were all left wondering who will be the next to go, and who of the eliminated contestants would be the next to return. Will they all return? Have we all descended into some Kafkaesque nightmare where the eliminated contestants will keep returning and where Margie will keep bullying and where Selena will keep leaving, over and over and over again? No, that seems unlikely.