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TBD11-2: Desperate Times —

March 20, 2013

Biggest Dickweed

Trigger warning: This post thoroughly discusses an episode The Biggest Loser, including the abusive bullshit as well as the weigh-ins.

Last time on Biggest Dickweed…

Jillian became possessed by the demon Astaroth, Crowned Prince of Hell, and transformed into a hideous Boob Troll. While Jackson spewed like Vesuvius all over Jared’s fat pants, while Boob Troll got a pukeboner. Oh, and Gina snapped her ankle, or whatever.

Time to Fill

You want to know what part of this season’s Biggest Loser I’ve been looking forward to the most besides the end? The episode where they make us watch footage from previous episodes as a way to tug at our heartstrings on more time before the finale. Because if there’s one thing I love about the Biggest Loser, it’s the recycled footage used to drive their point into the ground [see: Sunny and the red dress, Biingo and the chocolate ice cream, all the gluttony photos of the adults].

Whereas the last recap was like a feast of terrible to analyze, this first segment is like leftovers night. There’s some interesting bits, but it’s not as good as the first time and you’d rather be back at the feast. So, we’ll try to fly through this part, noting a few interesting moments along the way, then get onto to climbing that damned mountain. And yes, Gina does climb that damned mountain.

Unlike me, recap day is Bob’s favorite part. As he tells the camera, “I love what we’re doing today on The Biggest Loser probably more than anything else we do. And it’s the time that we get to sit down with our athletes and reflect on their whole journey. I can’t wait to see just how far everyone has come.” Personally, I’m looking forward to comparing the chunkinesses of Jackson’s stomach samples.

Fortunately, Jackson’s first up and, of course, we start with his fat Mormon missionary video.

Start With Superfatty

Whenever they want to reminisce on Jackson’s fat past, they always start with this shot.

“I have to change my life right now and if I don’t change I feel like I’m never going to be able to,” Jackson says as we see him stuffing his face.

Jackson Eats

“Yes, I’ll have the fried salad and the fried fries with a fried Coke and and deep-fried battersticks.”

“This is the moment,” Jackson’s voiceover continues. “This is when it needs to happen.”

We see Jackson being called onto the show, Jackson working out, Jackson puking, then Dolvett saying, “You throw up, you keep going; you throw up, you keep going. Eventually, you’re going to stop throwing up.” Cut to Dolvett laughing as he watches this footage.

“Every time I’ve thrown up this week I get right back to work because I’m not here to give up, I’m not here to quite, I am here to win.” Listen, Jackson. I know you’re in a contest and all, but I hope you know that if you just dialed it down a few notches, you wouldn’t be throwing up. Of course, you wouldn’t lose weight as quickly either, but that’s the tradeoff between health and contests.

Then Jackson talks about almost throwing up in the bubble gum pit, and they’re both cracking up:

Dolvett and Jackson Laughing

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! YOU’RE GOING TO PUKE FOREVER! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Then Jackson talks about coming out of the closet in 9th grade and feeling worthless. Dolvett assures him him he’s good enough. Then Jackson says to the camera, “When I first came to the ranch, I didn’t realize that this is just as much conditioning for your mind as it is for your body.” Brainwashing is like that. “I really do believe I’m good enough. That’s not something I’ve been able to say for a long time.” My question is, will you be able to say that if you don’t stay skinny? Because that’s the real problem.

And now we’re on to homecoming. Hooray! Everybody’s happy to see that you’re not fat anymore!

Finally, there’s a message from Fat Jackson to Thin Jackson: “You just need to keep going on the path you’re going on and never, ever look back. You need to look at your weight in the rearview mirror. You have to keep fighting and never let yourself get back to this point.”

Nice touch.

After film, Jackson tells Dolvett, “I came onto this place a sick, sick kid.”

Then he says to the camera, “One of the things that I’ve learned since coming to the ranch is weight loss is 100% mental. You have to want it more than you want to eat a cupcake. You have to want it more than you want to watch TV instead of go to the gym. You have to want it more than anything.” You have to want it more than you want your freedom or your dignity or self-worth. Unless you want your self-worth firmly tied to how thin you are or are not, followed by the gamble that you can be among the 4.4% who lose and keep off 20% or more of your body weight.

Then Dolvett makes one of those dickweed assumptions the trainers are known for. “For the first time in your life, you’ve got control.”

“You’ve saved my life. There’s no way I can repay you.” I don’t remember for sure, but I’m guessing there’s some sappy music here.

“You can repay me,” Dolvett says seriously. “Just promise me you’ll take care of yourself.”

“Absolutely,” Jackson assures him. “I’m never going back to that.” That thing! That repulsive thing in the skin-tight oxford shirt and tie! I want to wear sweaters and bowties and fleshpants!

Gina’s next. It’s a flashback to her in the dress with the white trim from this gif. “I weighed 140 pounds at my wedding. So, in less than five years I have gained 100 pounds. I’m scared to death that I’m just gonna die. I often think about my husband remarrying when I die and I always visualize some 25-year-old, young and perky and blonde and full of life, and that makes you really sad to know that you’re already planning your husband’s next wife.” So the videos start with what I’m calling their Most Pathetic Moment, or MPM. After Gina’s MPM, we see her being chosen from the crowd at the first episode, followed by her working out. Hmmmm… I’m starting to notice a pattern.

Bob says to Gina as she’s working out, “Something is broken, Gina. Something is broken, baby, and we gotta find it. You gotta have those eyes wide open.”

Then a scene from one of the early episodes wheremakes Bob a little closer to being the thing that’s “broken” when he tells Gina, who is taking a break from hitting a tire with a sledge hammer. “This is not The Biggest Loser resort and spa,” Bob snipes.

“I’m hot!” Gina shoots back at him.

Bob cajoles her, “Come on. Let’s get it together.”

“Let’s don’t,” Gina snaps. “I hate you.”

And from episode 6, when Gina tells Bob, after he’s been a dickweed, “You rip my ass to shreds every time I see your face!” and he says in his dickweedy way, “Well, you need to be able to handle it.”

Gina gets better at exercising, Gina holds the bar that keeps her from falling of a building,

Then she says to the camera, “When I started here on the ranch, I was afraid of everything. I was afraid of living. I was afraid of dying. I just couldn’t find the right path for me. But I’m a completely changed person and overcame so many obstacles I never thought possible.” Aaaaaah, remember when we all hated Gina and then she got in a coffin and we hated her slightly less?

Then there’s her reunion and her message to herself:

You gotta stick this out, it’s so important to your children, your husband, and your parents. Remember how you felt: fat, full, unable to catch your breath, unable to walk. You don’t ever want to feel like that again. You want to take your life back now and make sure that it’s that way for the rest of your life.

After the film, Bob says, “Gina, you can do anything that you put your mind to. There’s nothing that can stop you now.” Honestly, there was nothing that was stopping her before, except perhaps a distorted belief of what health and fitness looks like.

COMMERCIAL BREAK!

And we’re back. Jeff’s flashback begins with his MPM, obviously. “My weight is my biggest regret, hands down. I live in the basement of my parents’ house. What 24-year-old really wants to say that? I don’t want to blink and be 40 and still be sitting here alone. That’s terrifying.” Because if you’re fat, you’ll live in your parents basement alone for the rest of your life. Unless, of course, you’re me, a fat guy who moved out of his parents’ basement and in with the love of his life at age 24.

Being fat doesn’t keep you in your parents basement any more than getting thin moves you out. It’s amazing to me what these people believe their weight is preventing them from doing. It’s all psychological. There is no physical barrier caused by Jeff’s fat that prevents him from moving out. It’s psychosomatic. So what prevents him from leaving?

Jeff talks about losing his dad at 17. “One of the things he did share before he was about to pass was that he wanted me to lose the weight, and I feel like if I make this change that he would be extremely proud of me,” Jeff says. “And I don’t know when the last time that I can say that he was, you know, really proud of me.” If there’s a psychological block, it’s that. If he was depressed after the death of his dad, that can definitely contribute to weight gain. But Biggest Loser acts like weight loss cures the depression. It doesn’t necessarily, and to present it as if it does is mystical thinking.

“Jeff really holds back,” Bob says, as we see Jeff working out. “He’s the kind of guy that wants to set his goals really small…” Cut to a shot of the time Jeff lost nothing.

Zero

Jeff’s goal this week was zero pounds, which is what he got. Who’s the biggest loser now?

We then see Bob in the theater say “Ugh!” in his melodramatic fashion after seeing the zero. “… so he doesn’t have any kind of failure. It’s like, I don’t want Jeff to live like that any more.”

We see Jeff working out and Bob praising him. Then Jeff says to the camera, “It’s kind of nice now to have someone to push you to be better than you thought you were. To have someone believe in you more than you believe in yourself.” Jeff is starting to seem like he’s getting a substitute father figure in Bob, which seems like a psychological bandaid at best.

Now it’s Jeff’s reunion, following by his message to himself:

Jeff, if you’re watching this today, hopefully you havee learned to love yourself and let others love you. Believe that you can be loved because you deserve it. Remember what it’s like putting on this fake front and how much it bothers you and how much you hate it, and never let yourself get back to this place. I’m gonna bid you farewell, and hopefully you’ll never see this person ever again in your entire life.

After the film, Jeff cries. “I just wanted this whole experience, like, more than anything because I knew that without it, you know, I wasn’t gonna be able to change.” Jeff said.

Bob says to the camera, “When I saw Jeff’s video,” he starts to cry, ” it really upset me because I saw that boy in that basement, and he just seemed so vacant, just looks like a boy that has just given up. And I just don’t want Jeff to give up on his life because I feel like there is so much waiting for him.”

Then we see Bob say to Jeff, “There is a life out there and world outside that basement. And you’re gonna be able to see it and it’s gonna be a great world for you.”

It already was a great world, Bob. Nothing in the world has changed except, now Jeff has been on TV and lost a ridiculous amount of weight. If he wasn’t dating when he was fat, he certainly will be now. Plus, there’s the whole Francelina thing.

Joe’s next and I gotta tell ya, I don’t like Joe. I think that if Biggest Loser needed to demonize someone through editing, it should have been Joe.

Joe starts out saying, “I want to live an authentic, healthy, happy, fulfilling life and where I am right now is not allowing me to do that at all.” Bullshit, Joe. When you were fat, if you wanted to get healthy, you could have chose to do so. You weren’t powerless. Biggest Loser locked you away for 100 days with no contact to the outside world and in the care of three brutal trainers who make you exercise 46 hours per week and eat 1,200 calories a day. That is neither authentic or healthy.

Out of Shape

No, Joe, go use the restroom, honey.

We hear about Joe’s football background and his dad having a heart attack. “It’s do or die,” Joe says. “Otherwise I’ll end up like my father did on that that table, getting my chest ripped open.”

Clip of Joe’s “break” during episode 4. when Joe took a break after complaining about pain. “Why are you out here?” Dolvett asks him. “You know who should be out here right now? Jackson, or maybe one of the girls. Not the former athlete.” Yeah, Joe, former athletes are so stupid, they don’t instinctively know how to stop working out when their body is in pain.

We then hear Joe say, “And now I just need to trust him and I know everything will happen” followed by a shot of him losing 11 pounds on the scale.

“When you believe in yourself and you work hard, this is what happens,” Dolvett gushes.

Joe “swims with the sharks” (aka, swims 500  yards to shore). Then it’s his family reunion with his creepy twin brother. And then the message to himself:

Joe, how amazing is this feeling just to have your body back, your health, your awareness of who you are. Don’t lose it. Don’t ever go back to where you were. Stay in control.

LOOK AT IT!2

Yeah, man, stay in control. Pop that belly zit.

Live life to the fullest. Don’t get trapped. This is where you wanted to be. Stay here.

After the movie, Joe says, “It’s amazing to see where I was.” Yeah, it was a real trip to Narnia, Joe. “It wasn’t about finding Joe. It was about going back to Joe.” How the hell do these people keep misplacing themselves? This seems to be the source of the problem.

“You’ve lost more than weight, brother,” Dolvett tells him. “You’ve lost a lot more than weight.” Yeah, you’ve lost your ability to ever enjoy another slice of pizza again without overwhelming feelings of guilt, anxiety and shame. So, you’ve got that going for you.

Last but not least (again), Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin

I can see Fatlantis from here.

Fat Danni says, “There’s so many things that I want to do in life and I’m too afraid to do it because, ‘Oh, she’s that fat girl. She can’t do it.'” Exactly.

Oh, and remember this?

Hey, it’s Sandy the paramedic again, and he’s tending to Danni while Jillian humiliates her on national television. What a tender moment.

“Wake up. Wake up.” Jillian screams, as we see Danni and Jillian are cracking up. “You will go home, Danni. Do you understand me? You’ll go home, Danni! Wake up, Danni!”

Then Jillian says to the camera, “I know what the contestants are physically capable of even if they don’t.”

More footage of Jillian being an asshole because that’s her schtick. Footage of Danni winning all the challenges. Footage of Danni and Jillian’s special relationship. Crying. Pride. Aaaaaaaaaaaaw. Reunion! Then the message to herself.

Danni, I know you’re struggling so hard, but I want you to see how far you’ve come and where you were.

LOOK AT IT!

LOOK AT IT! LOOK AT HOW GROSS YOU ARE! EEEEEEEEEEEEEEW!!!

Look at that picture of where you were and make sure you never want to go back to that. And right now I just hope you’re feeling that confident feeling that you know you had inside you. [Footage from the reunion of her flaunting it] And you did it. And you’re gonna keep doing it. So just remember that. And you’re so excited that you did it. And you know you can keep going.

Sitting in her chair now, Danni says, “Wow. I forgot I started that bad.”

“You found yourself,” Jillian says. “And you just soared.” Like a penguin! “And you became everything” voice breaking “that I had hoped you would be. You are that hero.” You are DietWoman!

“I don’t think there was any way I could make this transformation without Biggest Loser,” Danni says to the camera. “I thought I wasn’t worth it. And they made me feel worth it. The Biggest Loser gave me my life.” Yikes. If you’re getting your life from Biggest Loser, you may want to hang onto the receipt.

And that’s it for the sappy recap that caught up those tuning in for the last few episodes. Pretty harmless stuff, though.

It’s the next segment that’s shitty squared.

It’s Biggest Loser Challenge, which is this weird segment that’s usually some kind of commercial/product placement disguised as some great new footage of some community doing something. Sweeney says, “We’ve asked America to take the challenge and here’s one 10-year-old girl who’s done just that.” That 10-year-old girl is Breanna Bond who you may recall from a December 2012 CNN story titled “Girl loses 65 pounds in fight against childhood obesity.” It begins:

Heidi Bond was desperate. No matter how much she cajoled or threatened her daughter, the 9-year-old refused to finish their workout.

Used to this struggle, Bond pushed harder, encouraging Breanna to complete the four-mile loop. She had already lost weight, Bond reminded her. She couldn’t give up now, or her hard work would be for nothing.

Breanna ignored her mother and turned for home.

Watching the 173-pound girl walk away, Bond’s heart sank. She realized this was a fight she wasn’t going to win in a war she couldn’t afford to lose.

Guess whose diet plan Heidi used.

That’s right, Dr. Splenda’s 100% Fatty-Go-Bye-Bye plan that comes with colored charts and magic lights that making dieting FUN!

On Biggest Loser, Breanna doesn’t mention Dr. Splenda.

We see Breanna playing catch with her brother.

Brianna Now

“About a year ago, I almost weighed 200 pounds,” Breanna says,as they show this photo.

Nearly 200

“People would call me names at recess when I walked out of the door and that’s not a good feeling.”

Mother and Daughter

The woman seems to be Breanna’s mom from what I can tell.

Then Breanna’s mom says, “We have always been struggling with Breanna’s weight. Doctor’s were telling me that everything was okay, that she would grow into her body, but then when she was 186 at 9-years-old I just knew I had to step up and do something about it.”

Her Mom

is she in her psychiatrist’s office?

The point about the doctor telling her Breanna’s weight was fine came up in the CNN article too:

By the time she was a year old, Breanna weighed close to 25 pounds. Bond asked their pediatrician whether she should be concerned, but he assured her Breanna would grow into the weight.

Over the next few years, Breanna packed on the pounds. In preschool, she was bigger than any of the other kids in her class.

What matters for the growth of children is consistency, not where they fall on the chart. If your kid is in the 98th percentile from birth to 10 years old, that’s a consistent growth pattern. They’re naturally larger. If there are spikes in weight, up or down, then there’s something to discuss. But high, consistent weight is not as big an issue as fluctuating weight. Most pediatricians know this and don’t freak out if a child is in the 95th percentile growing up.

But clearly this has been an issue with Heidi since Breanna was at least a year old. My first question for Heidi would be, how many diets has Breanna been on prior to Dr. Splenda’s?

“My mom started giving me healthier foods and got all the junk food out and we started exercising for an hour a day,” Breanna says. “Seeing Biingo, Sunny and Lindsay push theirselves every week helps me to get more motivation. Today, I’ve lost 72 pounds and I feel better than ever.”

Girl-Before-and-After

Click to see Breanna’s before and after pictures.

“If I could do it, anyone can do it.”

Of course, according to the CNN article, there’s a bit more to it than one hour of exercise per day.

Breanna and her mother now work out at least an hour and 15 minutes every day. Breanna has also joined a swim team, a competitive cheer team and a basketball team to stay active.

“Sometimes my body just says, ‘Lay down, I don’t want to do it,'” Breanna says. “My mom keeps me going.”

Someone needs to explain to Heidi that swim team, cheerleading and basketball is considered exercise.

By the way, remember how Dr. Splenda expressed concern for the 6-year-old girl who lost 17% of her body weight after one year and described it as “a significant amount of weight”? Well, 72 from 186 is 39% at age 10, more than double the 6-year-old’s body weight. How sustainable is that amount of weight loss for a child?

I feel sorry for Breanna. There’s a way to help kids get healthier, but this isn’t it. This is a recipe for lifelong weight struggles that oftentimes push a person’s weight higher and higher each time.

And now, Biggest Loser is normalizing child dieting. Blood brilliant.

That’s Quacktastic!

After commercial a commercial break, there’s a meeting with Dr. Hosinga, the show’s resident medical hack.

“Out of all the contestants, I’m really most proud of Danni,” Dr. Hosinga says. Wow, he’s most proud of Danni? Is it because she’s made such a drastic improvement in her health?

“I want to show you what I think is the best transformation at a three-month that we’ve ever had,” Dr. Hosinga says. “This is you day one.”

Danni Before

On day one, you were nothing but a torso.

“Oh my god,” Danni gasps.

“Is that how you remembered yourself?” Dr. Hosinga asks.

“Not at all,” Danni says. “I think that was the problem, I avoided seeing what I really looked like.”

“This is you at day 101,” Dr. Hosinga says.

Danni Before and After

Remember kids, health improvements are best determined by a before and after picture of your torso.

Okay, three things that are fascinating here. First, this is the only visit from Dr. Hosinga this episode. The only “transformation” worth noting, at least according to the editors of the show, if not Dr. Hosinga himself, is the size and shape of Danni’s belly. I’ll be curious to see if they mention Gina’s type 2 diabetes in the finale, but the fact that the show chose to emphasize this meeting with Danni over a more obvious medical issue like Gina’s is telling.

The other, more fascinating fact that gets revealed is one of timing. Remember, all this episode they’ve been referring to this as “week 11.” We’re supposed to be swept away in the fantasy that it has been 11 weeks since these contestants were fat, lazy slobs. Nevermind the fact that “week 10” was actually two weeks spent at their homes. Even during that episode, Allison Sweeney kept talking about how they had lost so much weight in “10 weeks.”

Well now we have Dr. Hosinga giving us a definite time frame for these “transformations”: 101 days. Assuming this photo was taken after week 10, that should by 77 days (including the two-week at-home time), but here we have an additional 24 day, which means the show has lasted 14.5 weeks. But perhaps I’m just confused. Perhaps the disconnect between time as we know it and time moves faster in Biggest LoserLand. Perhaps the space-time continuum is distorted on the ranch so that one week lasts 9 days. Yeah, that explains it. Or maybe the show is just that shamelessly manipulative that they can’t even represent time accurately. Either way, it’s fucked up.

Finally, am I the only one who noticed that in these before and after pictures, Danni’s before was taken in Jackson’s bloody fleshpants and a sports bra, but the after were taken in her bra and panties?

Oh How I've Studied Your Records

Oooooooooh how thoroughly I’ve studied your medical records with lotion and tissues.

“Oh my god, I look like I have abs,” Danni says.

“You set a new Biggest Loser record, certainly for this time frame.” Yeah, for giving Dr. H an erection. “You’ve gained 19 pounds of muscle.”

“What?” Jillian squawks.

“It was such a massive amount, I didn’t believe it, so I checked it three different ways,” Dr. Hosinga says, referring to the video of Danni jumping rope and this x-ray.

Danni Mime Skeleton

The image on the left was when Danni was a mime pretending to carry suitcases.

This is a fascinating image, particularly when you zoom in. Yes, it shows an incredible amount of muscle growth. When you zoom in, you can say the more opaque, white part of her body where the muscle is and then you can see the fainter outline of her body comprised of fat and flesh. So if you look closely, you can see what Danni’s outer body looks like… and then you notice something else:

Skeleton

On the left, Danni’s arms are being held out to exaggerate the shape of her body, whole on the right, they’re comfortably at her side. Even when it comes to x-rays, The Biggest Loser distort reality by making her skeleton look fatter than it is. Am I the only one who finds this level of manipulation so incredibly disturbing?

“Nineteen pounds of muscle?” Jillian says to the camera. “Men don’t put on 19 pounds of muscle in three months. This is amazing. This girl’s a machine. This is a true testament to how focused she’s been every single step of the way.” Personally, I wonder how much muscle Gina put on, considering she outlasted Danni in the endurance test of the episode 9 challenge of hanging onto a bar that held 40% of her body weight. She outlasted the men and Danni.

But Gina isn’t Danni. Danni is younger and more traditionally attractive, particularly now that she’s thin. TBL knows the audience cares more about Danni’s transformation than anyone else’s, which is why the show has focused on her so much.

“I’m looking like, ‘Why is this woman the knockout picture post-up of this whole show?'” Dr. Hosinga says. “It’s the muscle.” Oh and the boobs and butt and everything else I have on my flash drive at home.

“This is honestly the first time in my life I feel like I can dream and I can do anything,” Danni says to the camera. “You know, my parents said it to me all the time, ‘You can do whatever you want. You can do it.’ I’m like, ‘Well, no, I’m not pretty, I’m not thin, I can’t do this.’ But you look at me now — I have changed, I’m a whole new person and I am so much better for it.”

Remember kids, if you’re not thin and pretty, you can’t do this. But once you get thin like Danni, you can dream and do anything you like.

With the appointment over, it’s hug time!

Hug For Danni

“Come on over and give Dr. H some sugar.”

And then, Jillian and Dr. Hosinga are about to say goodbye and it leads to an awesome handshake/hug.

Awkward

Brothers don’t shake hands. Brothers gotta hug!
[Click to see Dr. Hosinga’s awkward handshake-to-hug transformation]

While Jillian is thin, she’s certainly no Danni. Dr. Hosinga’s not going out of his way to squeeze her body.

And now we move on to the final challenge the season in the mountains!

Mountains

The hills are alive with the sound of weight loss!

Sweeney tells the contestants they’ve been tested every way possible: ran, swam, survived an obstacle course. “You even fell off a building,” she says like they’re a bunch of fucking Terminators.

The contestants will have to drag a sled up the mountain and stop at 10 posts along the way representing the last 10 weeks. They will add weights equal to whatever they lost that week, representing every every pound they lost. We then see a morph of the contestants standing on the scale and going from their current weight to their starting weight. The first person to the top wins a one pound advantage.

Jackson says to the camera. “It’s really nerve-wracking to be putting the weight back on.” Jackson is terrified of metaphors. “That’s our biggest fear at the ranch. So running up this mountain with all of our original weight is going to be very difficult for us.”

Symbolism

TBL has to spell it out since they don’t trust the audience to get the symbolism on their own.

Danni says to the camera, “One pound advantage, that’s the biggest prize you could ever give us for anything. People have gone home over one pound every single week.” Every time there’s a challenge and there’s a prize, there’s corresponding footage of Danni saying “That’s the biggest prize you could ever give us for anything.”

“Hey Danni, if you win this challenge, you’ll win a swift kick in the ass.”

“That’s the biggest prize you could ever give us for anything.”

If there’s one thing TBL can count on from Danni (aside from representing the fat-girl-gets-hot angle) it’s hyperbole.

But what about Gina? She sprained her ankle this week. Surely they’re going to give her a pass this time around.

“My injury’s put me at a disadvantage but I’m going to try as hard as I can to win this challenge,” Gina says. Fuck, really? And this is the woman Jillian berated endlessly for being a slacker? Fuck Jillian.

But enough sympathy, we have a race to run. Ready, set, go!

Snow Race

Sledding: You’re doing it wrong.

At a few of the weeks with the weights, the contestants talk about their favorite, or least favorite, weeks, which revolve around the results on the scale. We also see Joe and Danni competing head-to-head and hear about their episode-long rivalry.

“Carrying all this weight on this sled is miserable,” Jeff says. “I can’t believe I used to carry all this on my body.”

Fat Jeff

Being fat is just like being a thin person dragging sleds full of weight plates up a snowing mountain.

“It’s starting to become a struggle and it’s just a harsh reminder that I’m never going to be doing this again,” Jeff says, counting his chickens before they’ve hatched.

Of course, Gina’s lagging behind because SHE HAS A FUCKING SPRAINED ANKLE!!!

At the week 5 post, Jackson says, “It’s the lowest amount I’m putting on the sled, but it’s the heaviest at the same time.” Oooooh, it’s like a zen koan. “I spent all night racking my brain for what I did differently and what I could change so I would never get a one-pound weight loss again.”

As we go to commercial, Joe and Danni are tied. It’s so exciting!

Nearing the End

Will Joe finally beat Danni without her suffering a terrible injury during the challenge?

But is Joe really in the lead or is it going to be a repeat of the episode 5 challenge where Lisa is clearly about to win just before the commercial break, but Danni miraculously beats her.

After the commercial, Joe does in fact win.

Once Jackson and Joe cross the finish line, we then see Gina lagging way behind because SHE SPRAINED HER FUCKING ANKLE! Jackson runs to help Gina, followed by everyone else. Sweeney notes the touching gesture.

Snow Queen

The Snow Queen reigns over all she surveys.

“This mountain and this climb today is truly a metaphor for this journey I’ve had here,” Gina says. Yeah, it’s a metaphor for what a bunch of dicks you’ve been surrounded by, because this is the “help” they gave Gina.

Helping Gina

“We just came down to keep you company while you ‘push through the pain.'”

Nobody actually helps Gina bear her load or, God forbid, give her a shoulder to lean on. Finally, Gina crosses the line and a snow orgy ensues.

Snow Orgy

“OH GOD YOU SNAPPED MY PELVIS!”

After Joe wins his prize, they head back down the mountain as the contestants have a snowball fight and frolic through the powder.

With the challenge out of the way, it’s time for a word from our sponsors.

The contestants are in the kitchen around the stove, where Danni is stirring a pot of Progresso soup, when Dolvett pops in for a visit.

Jackson says, “Diet is going to be the hardest thing for me when I get home.” Well, Dolvett is here to tell you that when you go home, you can eat Progresso soups to get thin.

Progresso Soup

Progresso Soup: The processed food approved by The Biggest Loser.

Dolvett tells us this soup is what you can eat at home! Hooray! Finally, we know what we get to eat at home. Thanks Dolvett!

Finally, we go outside, where the kids and contestants are reunited.

Goodbyes

As always, Bob’s fashion sense is impeccable, what with the knee-high black socks and all.

Here’s the key takeaway you need to read: Bob says to everyone, “I just have to say what an honor it’s been to have the kids with us this season. It’s the first time The Biggest Loser has ever done anything like this. You guys have set such a high bar for any other children that come on to our show in the future.”

If you started this season fighting to keep kids off this show, then you need to pay attention here because this is not a one-off situation. Biggest Loser will keep bringing kids on and putting them on diets and teaching parents that this is a perfectly acceptable thing to do if we don’t keep fighting.

Of course, Bob says to the camera that this is the solution to fat kids: “I think this is what’s going to help change America when it comes to childhood obesity.”

But anyone who grew up as a fat kid can tell you that dieting is not a permanent solution. It’s a temporary state of being that inevitably reverts over time if the kid encounters stress or life changes or hunger. This is just the beginning of what Biggest Loser has in mind, and they even “played it safe” this season by not making it a contest. But who knows what future seasons will bring.

Bob says to the kids, “We still have our goals that, uh, we want to be able to achieve.”

Weight loss goals? Nah, weight loss isn’t important (*cough*25%weightloss*cough*).

Biingo’s goal is to join the baseball team, Lindsay wants to join the cheerleading squad and you can probably guess Sunny’s goal.

The infamous red dress.

“I still have one very important goal, that I do need to accomplish by finale and that goal is to fit into that perfect dress,” Sunny says to the camera.

Finally, Jeff says, “I can’t wait to see what the kids look like at the finale.” Because, let’s face it, that’s what really counts, right?

Freaks and Geeks

We’re finally at the last last chance workout, which means there’s going to be lots of footage of Dolvett and Jillian screaming “LAST LAST CHANCE WORKOUT!” along with all the other screaming they do.

“The stakes are high in this last last chance work out,” Dolvett says to the camera. “My strategy is very simple. I’m gonna kick your butt, period.” Isn’t it cute how Dolvett still punctuates his sentences verbally question mark.

“I’ve been the biggest loser on campus now for six or seven weeks,” Gina says. “I should be in the top three. I’m gonna finish and I’m gonna finish strong.”

“There’s a red line at stake, gentlemen,” Dolvett says to Jackson and Joe. “I don’t want to see either one of your faces beneath that line.”

We then see Jackson talking about Joe’s one pound advantage and how the odds are stacked against him. “If I don’t get my best burn I’ve ever gotten in this workout, there’s a chance I could go home or my fate’s gonna lie in the hands of America.” Clearly, Jackson is more motivated this episode than any other, which, if you’ve been reading these recaps for a while, portends doom for his weigh-in.

We then cut to Jillian working out with Danni. Jillian says to the camera, “Danni’s been doing great all season long and now she’s falling apart a little bit.” Falling apart? Man, that must be serious. She must be slacking on an epic scale.

We see Danni doing some resistance training outside with Jillian.

Danni Stretch

Next time, do me a favor and wrap that rubberband around Jill’s next, won’t you?

Then, Danni stops to bend over and stretch her back.

Danni in Pain

Remember Danni, pain is not your body’s way of indicating a physical problem.
It’s weakness leaving the body.

“Can’t do it?” Jillian asks.

“No,” Danni says. “My back keeps seizing.”

“I keep seeing the Danni that I knew weeks 3, 4, 5 and 5,” Jillian says to the camera as we see footage of Danni being exhausted or slacking or both. “It’s the first time that that girl has emerged in a while. And that’s not good.” What’s not good is that Jillian mistakes back pain for being out-of-shape, as Dannie was in those early seasons. The editors mistake it to, by juxtaposing pictures of Danni exhausted with Danni in pain.

Danni-Pain

Click to see the images that compare Danni’s back pain to her early days on the ranch.

“I can see that she’s struggling, beating herself up, ‘It should be perfect,'” Jillian says to the camera. “What’s happening here?”

What’s happening her is that Danni is beating herself up because she has been taught by you, her trainer, to mistrust her body’s pain signals and she is starting to hit a wall in how much of that pain she can tolerate. If anyone has instilled a sense of perfectionism to a fault, it’s you, Jillian.

There’s a commercial break and when we return, Danni’s on the treadmill and she suddenly stops. “I’m just a little light-headed,” Danni says. “But I think it’s probably more a panic attack. I don’t know why.” Yeah, if you’re running on a treadmill for a while and you start to get light-headed, it’s probably just a panic attack. Nice deflection.

“Well, I can —” Jillian says. “I can tell you why.” Of course you can, Jillian. You’re Sigmund Fucking Freud over here. “There’s a lot going on. Everything’s going to be okay.” How fucking insightful.

Then we see Jillian tell the camera again, “I keep seeing the Danni that I knew…” followed by this new shot of Danni slacking.

Danni Pain

Hmmmmmmm… more bending over in response to pain. Could it be a pattern? Naaaah!

We see Jillian shake her head at Danni doubled over in pain. Then she tells the camera, “”I need to see if we can’t get to the bottom of what’s really going on.”

Aaaaaaaaaw, this may be the last Biggest Loser Moment (BLM) of the season. BLMs are the times trainers interpret fatigue or injury as some kind of “emotional block” and have a one-on-one talk with the contestant to solve the real underlying issue. Today’s BLM: back pain? Nah, you’re just crazy.

“Okay, you outside,” Jillian tells Danni.

Outside, Danni dutifully scapegoats. “I feel like I’m putting all the hard work I did on today. I don’t know why I’m doing that to myself. And I get mad when I see other people who haven’t worked as hard and I did everything right and that they could take it away from me, and I think I’m putting that on myself today and I don’t know why.”

This comment is amazing because she is clearly talking about Gina. Gina is the only contestant who is even close to Danni in terms of total weight lost. And here we go again with the claim that Gina doesn’t work as hard as everyone else. But if that’s true, then how has Gina been the biggest loser week after week after week?

It’s this moment that turns me off Danni entirely. She seemed like an okay person before this, but now she’s just a colossal, entitled whiner IMO. If Gina didn’t work as hard as Danni, then how did she outlast her on the side of the building? You don’t build that kind of muscle slacking off.

This is just more of the same villainizing Gina that everyone has done since the show began.

Later, we see Bob praising Jeff and Gina, telling them “We’ve achieved a lot in 11 weeks.” Or 14.5 weeks. Whatever.

“You were like that father figure, that someone that, you know, you want to help mold you, you want to help develop you,” Jeff tells Bob.  “And so that was one of the reasons why I wanted you to be my trainer.” Yes, but what happens at home when Jeff’s replacement dad isn’t around to shower him with praise?

“You have no idea how much that means to me,” Bob says, looking touched. “You have no idea.” Bob then tells Jeff to step outside with him. Oooooh goody, one more BLM!

“I can’t believe I’m doing this right now,” Bob says, starting to cry unprecedented tears.

Bob Crying

“Did you ever know that you’re my hero? You’re everything I would like to be…”

“I never want you to go back to that person I saw in that video yesterday,” Bob says as we see that shot of Fat Jeff in bed. “He broke my heart and I’m not going to be able to quit thinking about him. And I saw him so sad and I saw him just lost. I don’t want that for you at all because you’re a good man.”

There’s a great wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then Jeff says, “He’s saved a lot of lives over the years and he’s definitely saved mine.” Yeah, just think of all the lives he’s saved until they ultimately regained the weight and thus jeopardized their lives.again.

“This is what The Biggest Loser is all about,” Bob tells the camera. “It’s about caring about these contestants. And I really, really care about these contestants. And I really, really care about Jeff.” Yeah, if there’s one word I associate with Biggest Loser, it’s compassion.

Here’s the thing about Bob’s tears: yeah, I think it’s absolutely possible for Bob Harper to grow emotionally attached to Jeff and that his tears are genuine. I think it is definitely possible, as Bob seems to be this bizarre mix of asshole trainer who tries to be understanding as well. As with all the trainers, what they do on the show is an act. They’re paid to be humongous dickweeds because that’s what people like to see. There is a real person there, though, and occasionally we get glimpses of it.

I think Bob is a well-intentioned asshole. He really does want to help contestants and believes The Biggest Loser is that help, in his opinion. Within that mindset and perspective, he believes he’s being compassionate. But if he simply looked at the long-term failure rate of the show, and if he were genuinely concerned for Jeff’s well being, he wouldn’t be quite so sanguine about Jeff’s weight loss.

Or perhaps the tears are due to the fact that Bob knows Thin Jeff’s reversion to Fat Jeff is inevitable once he leaves and that’s what he’s mourning. Who knows.

All I know is that we finally made it to the weigh-in!

Once again Danni shares her sour apples with the camera. “It doesn’t matter who was on top over all [Gina], who was the biggest loser overall [Gina], who was the biggest loser last week [Gina], it’s all on this week. This weigh-in is everything.”

Joe’s up first with one-pound advantage. “The way I’ve trained and what I’ve done all week, I shouldn’t have to use that and if I do, I’m glad I have it.”

Joe loses five pounds and there’s sparse clapping. Bob looks particularly bothered.

Bob No Teeth

Look kids, Grandpa took out his teeth!

“Considering the work that I did this week, it’s letting me know that the more you lose, the harder it is to lose it,” Joe says.

Then Bob has the gall to say, “That makes absolutely no sense to me, actually.” How does this make no sense to you, Bob? For the past few weeks, we keep hearing about how the more weight you lose, the harder it is to lose it, which is why the contestants have to work harder than ever. Hell, it was even in the letter they sent home to contestants during episode 10: “Remember, the further you get in this competition, the harder it is to lose weight.”

Bob continues. “No offense Joe, but I’ve seen you with your shirt off. You got plenty more fat that needs to be burned off of you. Five pounds in the final week for Joe is shocking to me.” Oh Lawd, I do believe I have the vapors.

Vapors

Fortunately for Bob, the General was there to catch him.

Joe continues to defend himself, “I look at it this way: this week wasn’t my consistent week and wherever that falls, wherever that lays, I let go and let God at this point because I’ve done everything I can every week, so that’s how I look at it.” All the while he’s smiling like a jackass.

Smile Through the Pain

Smile through the pain, Joe. You’ll be done soon enough.

After being sufficiently humiliated, Sweeney tells Joe he lost 125 pounds since coming to TBL. Everyone claps except Jillian.

Jackson’s next and he tells the camera, “I’m really nervous because Joe just lost 5 pounds. I did the same workouts as him and ate very similar to him. So I’m nervous that I’m going to be pulling probably around his number.”

Sure enough, Jackson loses five pounds, and everyone is shocked.

Gobsmacked

Bob is gobsmacked by Jillian’s shirt. What is this, The Pirates of Penzance?

“Five pounds is devastating,” Jackson says, starting to cry. “I just want to be biggest loser so bad. I’ve worked so hard to get there and it just feels like it’s slipping further and further away from me.” Get used to it, Jackson. There’s no way you’re catching up to Jillian or Gina, unless you start puking every time you — oh…

After the five pound reveal, Jillian shields her face with puffy sleeves as Jackson says, “I’m confused by the numbers, so they’re freaking me out. That’s all. They’re just freaking me out a little bit.” That’s the great thing about living a weight-centric lifestyle: the scale has the power to freak you out.

” This is the final win,” Jillian says to the camera. “This is when the scale explodes underneith you. What is happening right now? These guys are like fizzling.” Yeah, they, like, totally suck!

Bob says to Jackson, “This is the final weigh in here at The Biggest Loser which is a weight-loss competition and that’s why I’m freaking out.” Bob really emphasizes the “weight-loss competition” part because, let’s face it, we’ve been led to believe this is all about health and getting their lives back on track. It’s not. It’s a weight-loss competition, plain and simple.

“I get what Bob is saying, those are some low numbers,” Dolvett says to the camera. “This isn’t off to a good start at all. I’m predicting low numbers across the board, so I’m hoping Joe and Jackson still have a chance at this thing.”

Gina’s next, and she says to the camera, “I’ve done everything I could possibly do this week to be above the red and yellow line given my injury, but I’m the biggest loser in the house and I hope I can keep it up.”

Gina loses two pounds and everybody gasps, hands over their mouths.

“Does that surprise you?” Sweeney asks.

“Yes, I’m surprised,” Gina says, realizing she’s screwed. “I’ve never lost that little before and it’s certainly not because I didn’t work this week.”

“But you’ve never had a number like that before,” Bob tells her. “The fact that you’re standing up there with a two-pound weight loss at the final weigh-in before the finale and you’re not falling apart right now and you’re not yelling, screaming, jumping up and down, this is a big deal. You want to talk about improvement, you know what? It is what it is, right babe?”

The improvement Bob is referring to is the fact that Gina didn’t throw a tantrum on the scale when she only lost two pounds. Except Gina hasn’t thrown a tantrum at any time except when Jillian flipped out on her. In fact, the only people who have freaked out about Gina’s weight are her trainers. During that same Jillian-tantrum episode, Gina lost four pounds and the trainers proceeded to freak out and say “that’s not a Gina number” as though it were some objective reality she was violating.

The only time Gina has yelled or screamed has been in response to other people being an asshole to her. That’s it. Anything else is a tale told by idiots.

In the end, Gina accepts her fate graciously and says she’s just happy to have made it this far.

“This is what’s it’s all about,” Bob says. “This is huge for Gina.”

Yes, finally Gina has overcome the biased editing of Biggest Loser. Way to go, Gina!

Jeff’s next and he has to lose more than six pounds to stay above yellow line. Jeff loses 11.

Bob cries out, “That’s the number” before running up to the scale to give Jeff a hug because that’s how much he loves him.

Jeff says he had three goals going into the show: “Make it to makeover week, lose over 100 pounds before leaving the ranch, and to be able to bust through that old disgusting picture of myself on that stage at finale.”

Finally, Danni’s turn. She has to lose more than two to not be eliminated and more than four to be finalist.

Jillian says to the camera, “She’s worked harder for this than any other contestant this season.” Yeah, there’s no bias there.

Trainers Nervous

Seriously, what the hell is Jillian wearing?

Danni loses 11 pounds. Gina blows Danni a kiss from the peanut gallery.

Danni says, “I’m excited to prove to America that if I can do it, you sure as hell can do it.” Yeah, that’s certainly what this proves. America, if you get incarcerated at a workout/fat camp for 100 days and are forced to work out 46 hours per week and eat 1,200 calories per day, you can do what Danni did!

“I just love you, buddy,” Jillian says, clearly emotional. “I do, I just love you. You’re fantastic. I don’t know how many times I can tell you, so, like, really honey, I just love you to death.” She loves your boobs too, Danni.

That gives us this final leaderboard.

Final Standing

As a result, Gina goes home, but she’s smiling as she goes.

Gina Gracious

After painting her as a whiny baby all season, Gina finally get’s a kind camera treatment.

“Someone once said I was a gracious southern woman and tonight I proved it, Gina says to the camera.

Except, didn’t Gina say in episode 10, “I want to be accommodating and I want to be gracious, but you know what? I’ve been gracious my whole life and look where it’s gotten me.”

See, here’s the thing, Gina: being gracious did not get you “there” (meaning fat, I’m guessing). That’s just Jillian’s theory from episode 9, and now you’ve adopted it as your own. And now that the “graciousness” claim no longer serves it’s purpose, you’re allowed to go back to that personality trait you’ve had all along without recrimination.

It’s only when Jillian needs something to hang her psychobabble hat on that she grabs some random personality trait to blame. In your case, it’s your gracious nature. Don’t listen to Jillian. Never lose that.

Jeff and Danni are the finalists, while America votes on Jackson vs. Joe, and you know who I’m rooting for. We also learn that these four will spend a week at the Biggest Loser resort before going home for an unspecified amount of time.

At the very end, we get some super-optimism.

Jeff says, “Since being at The Biggest Loser, a lot has changed for me. I’m very happy. I’m very excited to see what every day has in store for me. I look to my future and I see nothing but bright skies and endless possibilities.”

Jackson says, “I’m finally in the right space in my head and in my body that I can achieve anything I want to.”

And Danni says, “You can’t just play a game and end in the third quarter. You’ve gotta finish through the fourth quarter. Finale is the fourth quarter, and I’m gonna take it all the way. The athlete is back.” This is an interesting claim when contrasted with her comment in episode 10: “I feel beautiful and I’m not that athlete anymore. You don’t see the beast that everyone called me.”

Finally, we see Gina’s progress at home.

“Before the Biggest Loser the biggest problem in our marriage was my insecurity because of my weight,” Gina says. “I couldn’t keep up with him. We then see Gina watching her husband golf from her golf cart.

Golfing

He walks the 18 holes, while Gina follows in a cart because she’s that lazy.

“The greatest fear that I had was that he would be pushing me around in a wheelchair in the next few years. But now…” shot of Gina dropping her fat pants.

Gina-Fat-Pants

No wonder Gina was so fat, she had a man in her pants!

“…not only can I keep up with my husband, but on some things I can outdo my husband.” Shot of Gina and husband reaching the top of some government building’s stairs at the same time. “So he’s not having to take care of me any more, we’re just taking care of ourselves.”

As an added bonus, Gina makes a commercial for TBL.

“Before the Biggest Loser I was teaching my children very poor eating habits, and now I want to teach my kids what I learned on the ranch about how important it is to eat breakfast,” Gina says as we see her and her family walking to Subway.

Going to Subway

Everything I learned from Biggest Loser is inside Subway.

“So I’ll take them to Subway where they have these three fresh fit sandwich choices that are all under 200 calories and six grams of fat or less.” Wow! A breakfast sandwich that’s under 200 calories? That’s awesome!

Until you look at the fine print in the photo above: “Calories and fat contents refer to regular 3″ SUBWAY Fresh Fit subs…” Wow, you mean Subway has developed a 200 calorie sandwich that’s three inches long? That’s amazing!

Gina lectures her children on eating breakfast at Subway and then she says, “They both have a shot at living long, healthy lives now because of what I”ve learned on the ranch.”

Yeah, that’s worked out so well for the other former Biggest Loser contestants, so I’m sure getting second-hand information will yield even greater results.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I like Gina. I think she got the shaft royally, and that the producers set out to paint her in the worst possible light. Gina has repeatedly been dismissed as a slacker and a trouble-maker, when all available evidence points to the contrary. The only difference between the real Gina and the one on this show is how the trainers and other contestants talked about her and the clips that the editors chose.

If there were any justice on The Biggest Loser, then they would have played up the fact that GINA CLIMBED A FUCKING MOUNTAIN WITH A FUCKING SPRAINED ANKLE!!!

Maybe she no longer has a shot at the title of biggest loser, but fuck that noise: Gina is the Strongest Winner. In spite of it all, Gina continued to build her strength and endurance until she could both outlast Danni on the side of the building and hike that mountain in what must have been excruciating pain. These are epic achievements and Gina was given short shrift on her accomplishments because it would have tainted the “Gina sucks” message they were promoting.

And so, for this final episode, I’m officially naming the editors and producers of The Biggest Loser as the biggest dickweeds for shamelessly tarnishing Gina’s reputation to drive their narrative of convenience. They needed a bad guy and they twisted Gina’s footage to that end. Anyone watching with a critical eye could see that Gina’s assertiveness could easily be spun in the proper hands as strength of character or obnoxious pushiness. TBL chose the latter, and dragged her through the mud for the sake of the narrative.

If you think this is wrong, sign the petition to stop Biggest Loser and join our boycott.

Previous recaps

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6 Comments leave one →
  1. DeAun permalink
    March 20, 2013 4:46 pm

    I think the two X-rays might be from two different people. The pelvises look different. In fact, I am tempted to say the one on the left is a man.

    • Amber permalink
      March 24, 2013 4:31 am

      My husband is a long time X-ray tech, and he says the shot on the left was taken with her lying belly down, and the right one with her lying back down. There’s also the issue of scaling because her head is tilted differently but they wanted her X-rays to be the same height.

      His other comment was wondering how anyone authorized such a non-medically necessary, full-body scan. That’s a significant radiation dosage, especially for a reproductive age female.

  2. Lindsay permalink
    March 20, 2013 8:40 pm

    I wasn’t aware it was possible to measure an exact number of pounds of muscles gained. Is that really a thing? I’m not sure how Danni could lose that much weight in that short amount of time and have apparently no loose skin on her stomach. Certainly not what happened when I went down that road, and I lost the weight slower and was a bit younger too. Did they showcase anybody else’s belly, or do they only choose to showcase those who the weight falls off in the most pleasing of ways?. I believe you are right in that Danni is the favorite because she appeals more aesthetically to the viewers.

    Also the product placement on this show is kind of hilarious to me.

  3. Elizabeth permalink
    March 21, 2013 12:26 pm

    I loved Grandpa took out his teeth! I have never watched this show, but Shannon’s dissections are pretty damn funny! It’s good to be able to laugh at something so horrible.

  4. March 22, 2013 8:35 am

    Weight loss has nothing to do with psychological health. Barriers to self-worth and achievement may be broken, temporarily, from the rush of grandiosity that such a spectacle promotes. A couple of years hence, you could take the same group of contestants and have the same scenario played out at their new heavier weights, with contestants trying to fight the same dissatisfaction with themselves and life. Weight loss is bogus psychotherapeutic modality that promises realization of the false self, which is by definition an impossible task.

  5. Ann Mouse permalink
    March 22, 2013 9:00 am

    After “watching” my first season of TBL through your recaps, I’ve learned that 1) I haven’t been missing anything, and 2) this show is supremely disgusting.

    Looking at past contestants is enough to keep me from wanting to succumb to pressure to hop back on the diet wagon. And yet while I fight this issue out with my family, they are convinced that the only reason the prior contestants regained their weight is because they stopped trying/didn’t commit to their “lifestyle change”. *sigh*

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