Ah, the weigh in. The end game of a week of Biggest Loser. The culmination of a week of tears and tantrums, of struggles and showdowns, of penny farthings and tricycles. It’s where east meets west, north meets south, and Richard Wilkins meets someone with a personality.
This weigh in had special significance for the contestants because it was their first. After a week of starving themselves and the excruciating pain of full time high energy exercise, this was the opportunity to see if they had made the best decision of their lives, or if they would have been better off engaging in a more sustainable regime of moderate exercise and healty eating like everyone else.
As we’ve come to expect, some of the contestants recorded some astounding results. Jarrod, of the Duncan family, lost a whopping 14.1 kilograms, and thus was rewarded with being named this weeks biggest loser. The title was bestowed upon him not so much for his weight loss, but more because of his propensity to embrace laissez faire economics whilst calling himself a devotee of Keynes. What a twat!
However, whatever the reason for Jarrod’s title, his weight loss helped the Duncans to be the family to lose the most weight after the first week, closely followed by the Westrens. On the flip side the Moons and the Challenors failed to lose enough weight to finish in the top two. Whether this was because the Moons and the Challenors exercised less and ate more than the others, or they were so incenced by Eddie McGuire’s description of Western Sydney as ‘felafel land’ that they deliberately refused to expel for the week any bodily waste in protest, I cannot say for certain. What I can say for certain, though, is that it was the latter.
So anyway, the outcome of the Challenors and the Moons standing up for their principled beliefs was that they each had to choose one member of their family to be up for elimination, and then the members of the Westrens and Duncans would vote on who to expel. The Challenors put up Greg, while the Moons decided they could do without Rebecca if need be. At the vote, Hayley Lewis told the voters that their decision could end the dream of one of the contestants. Unbeknownst to her, Greg’s dream was to run over Andrew O’Keefe with a segue, so the vote would (hopefully) have no impact.
Unfortunately for Greg though, he was voted out of the competition, by 4 votes to 0, notwithstanding there were 8 voters, once again proving that the Biggest Loser franchise, along with Junior Masterchef, has no concern for the appaling standards of mathematics in this country.
The elimination of Greg bore a striking resemblance to the Godfather. No doubt Greg was the Fredo Corleone of the Challenor family. There they were, meeting in secret, deciding who was the mole (not Tiffiny) who they would sacrifice, who had broken omerta, who was the weakest link. The family closed ranks, and put Greg up for elimination, much in the same way that Michael arranged for someone to put a bullet in Fredo’s head. The parallels were striking. Joe, the leader, looking like Michael Corleone, influencing decisions, plotting against others, calling the shots. Damien, the level headed Tom Hagan, a consigliere for the Challenor family. And Nathaniel, the weepy one, who is torn between the love of his family and getting rid of a dead weight. Clearly he is the Dianne Keaton character.
So that was that and Greg was gone. However, come Monday, the whole point of the show, that a person gets turfed each week to save the sewage system, was brought into the spotlight and interrogated, tortured, and mercilessly picked at like a scab on a 9 year old’s knee as the other families focussed their ire on the Challenors for putting up a member of their own (the Challenor’s) family for elimination, in clear breach of the rules that they had to put up a member of their own (the Challenor’s) family for elimination. Even Michelle, ever the Pollyanna, was shocked into a semi catatonic state at realisation that her family had done what they were contractually obligated to do.
The runctions caused by one family doing what was expected of them was such that towards the end of the week, the remaining members of the Challenor family were forced to attend on their brother/uncle and apologise for the way that they treated him. It was a sight that could break a heart of stone, as well as the sturdiest of leather lounges. There was Greg, sitting in the Easy Chair (though not so easy for the chair), leaning forward, not knowing what to expect. There were the rest, sitting on the lounge, or in Damian’s case, balancing precariously. It was reminiscent of a meeting of men who like to dress up and pretend to be that old man who enjoys having children sitting on his lap, and is suspected of breaking into people’s houses and leaving keepsakes for children. You know who I’m talking about. Gary Glitter.
Yet what happened next was truly moving. Nathanial, Damian and Joe, poured out their hearts to Greg and begged forgiveness for the terrible deed that they had done. Greg, after wading through the excess cholestrol, revealed another side of himself other than the selfish, narrow minded, couldn’t give a rat’s arse Greg we had all come to know and tolerate. He looked at each of his family members, as a tear came to his eye, and begged their forgiveness for being a member of Opus Dei for the last twenty years. Or something like that. I may have looked away for a moment.
Meanwhile, back at Camp Biggest Loser, the contest continued unabated. Leigh was wrestling with one of humankind’s greatest moral dilemmas: whether to take the money and run, or stick it out and wait for the celebrity endorsements. Leigh had won $25,000 in this weeks temptation, in which there were a number of picnic baskets (the producers know how to rub it in don’t they) placed on a table, containing either heart stopping family favourites such as fried chicken, tim tams, an Iranian sheperd boy, or a bagful of money, literally. The contestants greed for the money overcame their new found respect for their bodies, as Jodie, Meg, Jarrod and Leigh all decided to partake in temptation. Jodie’s basket contained a fried chicken leg woth 250 calories, which she devoured with glee, all the while decrying the unfairness of Australia’s current industrial relations system. Meg got stuck with a plate of “oh my sweet jesus that’s a lot of food”, worth a whopping 2000 calories, though being the trooper she is, ate the whole plate and only enjoyed ten tenths of it. Jarrod, the smug insuferable bastard that he is bound to become, found a tim tam worth 100 calories in his basket. But it was Leigh who took out the major prize. $25,000, but with a catch. To keep the $25000, he had to leave the show. And not just leave the show, but leave his soon-to-be-if-he-ever-grows-the-balls-to-ask-her fiance, Lara, to withstand the masculine charms of Nathaniel. It was a no brainer for Leigh, who chose to stay on the show and fight Nathaniel for the love of Lara. Plus, Lara still had his testicles.
The rest of the week passed as a blur, as challenge after challenge was thrown at the contestants, and each occassion, the contestants would stand up, say that nothing would beat them, before sitting back down again, have a little vomit and then swoon 19th century lady style. It was inspiring stuff. The Challenors won the curling challenge, and their reward was to punish the Duncans by requiring that they live on Chinese food for a week.
So what did we learn from week 2? We learnt that blood is thicker than water, but not pork fat. We learnt that $25,000 can’t buy you a better life, and in some bizarre parallel universes, it can’t even buy you a wedding. We learnt that the more weight Sharlene loses, the more she comes to resemble Beverley D’Angelo. And we learnt that no matter what the rules of this crazy show, the contestant’s overreactions to every little thing will always be a constant.
The Biggest Loser Australia: Families – Sun 6:30pm; Wed/Thu/Fri 7:30pm, Ch10.
Image sources: Channel 10.