All the girls have to collect balls. Even Nathaniel.

There is a belief amongst certain members of the community that positive thinking and self-belief can lead you to great things. That focusing your mind on your goals can make them attainable and bring your wishes closer to fruition. That exemplary behaviour should be rewarded by affirmation and reinforcement, and that bad behaviour should be punished with … er, punishment.

And it is these people that believe in powerbands, which are ostensibly rubberbands you wear around your wrist that supposedly concentrate energy and help you to perform at your peak. It is these people who have thousands of post-it-notes stuck up around their homes, telling them just how damn great they are. And it is these people who believe in “The Secret”, the philosophy that if you want something, all you have to do is ask, and visualize receiving the thing you want and the universe will deliver it to you. Funny. I don’t remember wishing I had a small penis.

But when you’re crap, you’re crap, and all the positive thinking, all the affirmations, all the cliches couldn’t change Sharlene from what she always was: a middle aged woman grown soft from living in an affluent society. Sure, she’d lost some weight, but when it came to the crunch she just wasn’t able to stay upright on a rocking boat, instead falling over and hitting her head, the result being that she couldn’t take part in the following challenge. Because she couldn’t take part in the following challenge, which was a race where the order of finish meant the order of selecting the plate of food with the least calories, it meant she got lumped with the remaining plate of food which surely would be the one with the most calories. And it was. And so she was eliminated. Of course, this robbed viewers of the opportunity to watch Leigh cry like a recently weaned baby as his mummy was voted out in the elimination room. Cest la vie.

At the weigh-in, the tension in the air was palpable, which is ironic considering that the tension in most of the contestant’s skins was long gone. Hayley pointed out to a stunned audience of five contestants that “there were only five contestants and soon there would be only four.” But it was just the first in a seemingly never ending series of shocks.

The first on the scales was Sarah, who now holds the title of “the fat one”. She continued her small but steady weight loss plan, losing 2.24%. Sarah likes to remind herself of the fable of the Hare and the Tortoise, figuring that if she keeps it slow and steady she should be a good chance of winning. However, she clearly has no knowledge of the end of that fable, where the tortoise, reveling in his stunning victory, finds the limelight too bright and succumbs to gluttony and greed, ending his life as one of those people who are overweight that he ends up appearing on television shows like “Embarrassing Bodies” or “Medical Marvels” or “I shouldn’t be alive!” and has to be airlifted out of his house just to allow someone to wipe his bum.

Commando pointed out that the changes in Sarah had been immense. When he first met her, he said, she was sitting on the lounge eating a bowl of ice cream. Now though, she was rock climbing, before sitting on the lounge eating ice cream.

Any minute now, Shannan is going to dive in and perform unnecessary mouth-to-mouth, while Leigh holds Lara's hand...

As it transpired, and as it has transpired all series, Sarah’s methods were far from successful having lost the lowest percentage of body weight, followed by Meg. So it was these two, Meg and Sarah, who would face elimination together.

The voting went as would be expected. Leigh had orders from Lara not to vote for Meg and voted for Sarah. Kellie had some misguided family loyalty influencing her selection and voted for Meg. For his part, Joe voted for the person most likely to hate him, Meg.

So after the dust had settled from the elimination (the dust having risen because Shannan and Commando had decided to have a wrestle in the driveway just before the elimination) the trainers headed back to the homes of each of their respective families for a little surprise.

Commando paid a visit to the Moons. He found Jodie and Rebecca training hard on the bikes together. “Were you expecting me ladies?” he asked. “No not really” replied Jodie. “You weren’t supposed to be here for another half hour.” With that faux passe out of the way, Commando asked the girls how the training and dieting was going on. When they gave a non-committal answer, Commando demanded a tour of their fridge and freezers.

What Commando found in the freezer at Jodie’s house stunned him and rocked the Biggest Loser foundations to the core. Ice cream, party pies, chicko rolls, gerbils, and hot dogs. What he found in the draws sent a shiver down his spine. Chips, chocolate biscuits, cream buns, gerbils and marshmallows. Commando pulled out the garbage bags and began throwing out all the junk food and living sexual playthings. Unfortunately he also threw out Jodie’s 10 year old son’s diabetes medicine and he fell into a coma soon after. But hey, who’s fault was that? The kid was a red head, after all.

Tiffiny caught up with the Duncans at home. She surprised Sarah-Jayne, who was sitting in her lounge room innocently eating a salad, oblivious to the television crew and cameras, with a plate of what “I affectionately called, the Pasta Disaster.” Tiffiny’s affection for recipes, is undoubtedly a result of her inability to form meaningful and long term friendships.

Obviously Tiffiny would make an excellent drug and alcohol counsellor. Once her charges were off the junk or the booze, one can just imagine Tiffiny teasing them with a full bottle or a loaded syringe.

But on this occassion it was cheese laden pasta. Sarah-Jayne’s mouth said she wasn’t interested but her eyes told a different story. Sarah-Jayne put down her salad and looked at the pasta. What ensued next is open to conjecture, but we have the transcript of what Sarah-Jayne said so you can make up your own mind.

Tiffiny: Do you think you could eat it now.
Sarah-Jayne: I couldn’t eat a whole bowl. Well maybe a small bowl, or two. You know, I really don’t want the pasta, but I am going to have one spoonful just to show myself what I’m missing out on … I mean just to show myself how disgusting it is. Here it goes, and in the mouth hmph … Oh sweet Jesus yum! I mean yuk, yukky yuk! Mmmmmm that’s disgusting(ly good). Oh Tiffiny this is so bad I’m going to throw the rest out. I’m just going to go into the kitchen and scrape it into the bin. No, don’t follow me Tiffiny, we have a very small kitchen. OK Tiffiny, can you hear me in there? Ok, I am now scraping the pasta into the bin. Scraaaaaaaape! That was the sound of the spoon on the plate. Hmph. Mmmmmmm. Screeeeeeet! Oh look, it’s so thick with cream and cheese it won’t come out of the bowl. Damnit. I will have to remove it from the bowl with my tongue and then spit it out into the bin. Sluuuurp! Mmmmmm. Buuuuuuuuurp. Ah, boy that hit the spot. So, Tiffiny. Next time you come round, would you mind bringing some black forest cake and a packet of Twisties to show me how well I’ve done, because, man, I so don’t want to eat that sort of stuff anymore?

Michelle was next to catch up with her family, the Challenors. She reminisced about the early days.

Michelle: I remember 11 weeks ago being hit by the almighty truth. I also remember being hit by a god awful smell. Well, you boys have certainly lost some weight. But that smell is still here. What is it?
Greg: Underpants.
Nathaniel: Damian’s underpants to be precise.

However, one of the most moving moments of the season was shown in this segment. We got to see Nathaniel, barely a boy at the start of the series, blossom into a man when he faced one of the greatest challenges a person can meet: going down a water slide, on your own, at an empty water park.

After the Challenors, Shannan dropped in to see the Westrens. Shannan said he was anxious walking into the Westren household, because he “didn’t know whether Lara would say yes or no”. Yes or no to what was not made clear. His passage was made easier by the fact that the family had strangely left the door unlocked and he was able to walk in unannounced to Craig, Sharlene, Emma and 17 tv and film crew, enjoying a late afternoon lunch. We also saw a softer side to Shannan, when he spoke with Emma and asked “how’s you goin love?”

Shannan asked Craig what it had been like when Sharlene came home. “Ah, it’s been emotional” he said.

“I mean, obviously I’ll be saving some money now. No more late nights at the pub and certainly no more bi-weekly call in to the local brothel. Though hopefully I can bring Sharlene around to some experimentation and we can get take-aways. And I’m not talking about Chinese food. Though I don’t mind if they’re Chinese. Hey? You know what I’m talking about don’t you Shan?”

But for Craig, it wasn’t all beer and prostitutes. He said it was like he’d gone back 25 years, and he couldn’t believe how beautiful Sharlene was. Because she’d never been that beautiful before. So, acting on his suspicions, he hired a private investigator to look into it whether the person posing as Sharlene was in fact Sharlene. At the time of filming the private investigator’s response was non-committal.

And so with the reminiscing and revisiting done and dusted, the purpose of these home visits was revealed. Each evicted member of each family would weigh-in, and the one from each family with the greatest percentage of weight loss would get another chance back at camp Biggest Loser. The end result saw Lara, Emma, Rebecca and the one that looks like the long lost, but completely illegitimate, son of Herman Munster, head back to the compound.

There were the usual reactions from the surviving contestants. Sarah was aghast. Leigh was agog. Kellie was alarmed. Joe was a cock. Yet there was nothing they could do. Except complain. Which they did.

Two would be allowed to stay and two would be sent home. The first one to be sent home would be decided by way of a ball stealing. Ironically, none of the participating contestants had any, so the producers decided to provide them with 10 basketballs each. The person with the most balls at the end of each round would be safe. The person with the least balls at the end of the last round would be going home. You would think Nathaniel would end up being the person with the least balls, but in fact it was Lara. She was sent back home to stay in the shed at the back of the Westrens house until Leigh returned and made an honest woman of her.

So the final returned contestant to be eliminated would be decided by a good old fashioned weigh-in. The non-eliminated contestants all were given immunity so approached the weigh-in with confidence. Well for one of those contestants the confidence was misplaced. Joe had, in fact, gained 100 grams, because he had put off “laying a cable” until after weigh-in. As a result, his immunity was stripped and he was up for elimination, with none other than the one that looks like the long lost, but completely illegitimate, son of the actor who played leather face in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, leaving Emma and Rebecca to remain for another week.

However, the elimination was not decided by the good old fashioned, hate filled, popularity contest known as “the vote”. Instead, Joe and Nathaniel faced each other in a rowing race. At the end of Sunday night’s episode, they were neck and neck, with only a few hundred metres to go.

Which begs the question: how can you be neck and neck in a race where your feet, legs, hands and arms are in front of your neck?


The Biggest Loser Australia: Families – FINAL WEEK – Wed/Thu/Fri 7:30pm & Sun 6:30pm & Mon 7:30pm (finale), Ch10.
Image sources: Channel 10.