Feb 05

The Biggest Loser — Week 5 (Episode 6)


When I write these weekly recaps, I usually like to intentionally bury the lead a little bit and not just dive right into the episode.  Maybe see if I can make some type of positive connection to the content of the show and relate it to what I’ve been through or what I’m going through in my daily life.  Unfortunately, with The Biggest Loser, we reach a point every season where that’s no longer possible.  Where the storyline of weight-loss and overall health gets completely replaced by the fact that this is not only a reality show – but a game show at its core.  That happened this week.

Before we begin…as always…

[notice]Very Important!  This piece will ALWAYS contain Spoilers.  If you DVR the show and haven’t watched it, come back when you did.[/notice]

Episode 6 of NBC’s The Biggest Loser was called “Lead by Example” – a theme that the show has always tried to promote during its run.  People who have learned the lessons of health and weight-loss need to step out into the rest of the world and share it – a notion that I obviously believe very much in.  Sadly, the Producers chose a week to share that message where the show was making their annual turn into being all about gameplay over weight-loss.

The episode, which officially marks the half-way point of the Contestants’ time on the Ranch, opens with the teams being informed that, at this week’s weigh-in, the weight-loss of only one person from each would decide which team “lost” the week.  The representative would be chosen with a random dice roll by that teams’ trainer at the time of the weigh-in.  The show actually gains points in my eyes here as, in seasons past, they’ve revealed people who would not be weighed at the end of the week in advance and those folks have taken advantage of that opportunity by sand-bagging all week to “save” weight or, in some cases, loading up on water right before the weigh-in to tip the scales and the game.

The announcement was greeted by a mini-breakdown from the Blue Team’s Gina, but that was really the last even somewhat interesting thing that happened in the episode.  The rest of the show was filled with product placement (Subway), celebrity cameos (like Laila Ali – a Subway spokesperson) and about five minutes of the saddest parkour I’ve ever seen.  The rest of the time was spent with brief cuts of the workouts and a lot of “talking head” interviews where the Contestants talked about “not letting the team down this week”.

Oh… and one other small thing…

The Biggest Loser continued their repeated efforts to completely bastardize the word and concept of bullying.

In previous episodes, Red Team Trainer Dolvett Quince was the main culprit in the quest to exploit bullying to create good TV, but, have no fear, the entire show program jumped in this week.  Bullying was talked about more than exercise.  And, while this isn’t the place to go into a long-winded diatribe on my “Boy Who Cried Wolf” stance on bullying today, kudos to NBC for really beating the crap out of a buzzword without any legitimate thought.  Hmmmmm….kind of sounds like a bully.

Dolvett Quince trains Jackson Carter (Photo Courtesy: NBC)

Dolvett Quince trains Jackson Carter (Photo Courtesy: NBC)

But, alas, the bullying stuff wasn’t even the worst moment for Dolvett this week.  Oh no, that belonged to a head scratching moment he had with his oft-vomitting Contestant Jackson Carter.  During a teary meltdown about his inability to keep down his Jenny-O turkey (I can do product placement too) during workouts, Dolvett lead his minion in a chant of “I’m good enough” in an attempt to motivate him to get back after it.

“I’m good enough”


That’s the message we’re trying to send to America?  That’s the message that morbidly obese people who are literally dying from a self-induced “disease” need to hear?  That’s how you “Lead by Example” as the episode’s title indicates?

“I’m good enough”


Good enough means it’s OK to stop.

Good enough means you’ve gone as far as you need go.

Good enough means there’s nothing left to learn.

If you want to succeed in ANY facet of life, it’s never “good enough” to stop moving forward.

You can’t parent “good enough”.

You can’t be a “good enough” spouse… friend…leader…

Good enough is NEVER good enough…and that’s not a bad thing.

Back to the show, the challenge was a little Eat This, Not That meets ABC’s Wipeout as Contestants attempted to walk across a balance beam, avoiding swinging logs and then matching calories counts to five meals on the other side.  To no one’s surprise, the White Teams’ lone member (and my pick to win it all) Danni Allen took home yet another competition and was rewarded with letters from home.

At the weigh-in, the roll of the dice brought a matchup of three potential Finalists on the scale with Danni (White Team) going head to head with fellow “Remodeling Clay Player to Watch” Joe Ostaszewski of the Red Team and the undefeated Blue Team’s Jeff Nichols of Monroe, MI.   When all of the numbers were in, it was the Blue Team who suffered their first defeat of the season with Jeff’s six pound weight-loss (-1.82%) not enough to keep his team out of the voting booth.

In the end, the Bob Harper’s Blue Team elected to send home 51 year-old David Jones of Kiefer, Oklahoma.  On one hand, as someone who feels the show should be all about the weight-loss, it’s hard to argue with their decision as David, who has been suffering from a knee injury since early in the show, had the lowest percentage of weight-loss for the week.  Bad timing for sure as this was the only week where Jones was at the bottom of the numbers on his team.  Where I find it most unfortunately for this decision is that  David appears to be one of the few people left on his team that really “gets it”.  He gets that the weight-loss is more important than the game.  In fact, during the weigh-ins, he was the only one to consistently recognize that the weight-loss numbers that they are putting up are amazing “in the real world”.  He applauded Jeff, saying “good weight-loss!” while the rest of the team was dejected by its impact on the game.  When someone really “gets it”, I’m always sorry to see them go.

Look… I get it.

I’m watching The Biggest Loser through a different lens than the one that is intended.  It’s about entertainment and I’m trying to hold it accountable to a bigger message.  That may be unfair on my part.  Maybe it’s “good enough” for them?  But, as the episode title tells us…. “Lead by Example”….


Thanks for checking us out again this week!  Come back Monday through Saturday for new content!


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