I know it’s a bit late to ask, but since this is my first recap of the new year, how was your New Years? Make any resolutions? Like losing weight, perhaps? Then The Biggest Loser recaps are the recaps for you. Not because they’ll inspire you to do anything, but because they’re usually so crappy you’ll probably throw up. And as Lindsey and Nicole will attest, nothing makes a body lose weight faster than a quick purge. Preferably after snorting a Hefty bag of coke off of Fez’s ass.
Anyway, here in TVgasm’s Colorado Springs offices, we also resolved to lose weight. Of course, our other resolution was to drink more microbrews, so it looks like I’ll be jogging to the liquor store from now on. Fortunately, I made an inspirational Biggest Loser tshirt to remind myself of my goals.I don’t know why the producers decided to mess with a successful formula, but this season of the show is totally different than what we’re used to. Instead of following the same contestants for 14 weeks, The Biggest Loser: Special Edition (TBL:SE) follows two teams for two weeks. One hour at the Ranch, one hour at home. (Tonight’s episode was a two-hour special, however.) This is going to make my job a tad harder, unfortunately, as we don’t get to know the contestants nearly as well. For example, it took me six weeks last season to discover Dr. Jeff’s vaginankle. Oh well, at least we still have Caroline, Jillian, Bob and the Scale-O-Tronic 4025 around to lend an air of familiarity. And by familiarity, I mean built-in jokes.
Caroline starts off telling us tonight’s two families both gained weight because of depression stemming from a family crisis. Don, Melony and Ravee Samuels, from Atlanta, because their mom developed kidney cancer; Otto, Shaun and Erica Muha, from Tampa Bay, because their son volunteered to join the Air Force and go to Iraq. Now, I’m not one to quibble, but it’s not like the Muha’s son was drafted; he volunteered to go fight, so I hardly think what they faced is a crisis. Whatever.
To fill time, we get some montages of the two families before they go to the Ranch. Erica, the Muha daughter, says she has a 4.8 GPA. When did the Tampa school district start grading on the metric system?
Here’s an uninteresting twist: we get to see the “Day of Surprise”, when the families learn they’re going to the Ranch. The Muha family is spending a typical Sunday at home, as the dad says, eating. What’s not so typical (I hope) is there’s a crew in the house filming their dinner. A delivery person brings a package that contains Jillian! Oh wait, it’s just a DVD of Jillian. Considering her robotic delivery, it’s easy to see why I was confused. The DVD tells them they’ve been selected to come to the Ranch. The family acts surprised, but I think the fact that NBC was there filming their Sunday dinner may have tipped them off to what was happening.
Next up is the Samuels family, or as they call themselves, “Team Showtime (Snap!)”. Don wants to look more Denzelish. The Mom is the former Miss Black Atlanta (1983). The daughter says that God blessed her with a voice, but she doesn’t have the look. Has she never watched American Idol? I mean, she’s no “Velvet Teddy Bear,” but she’s definitely got it going over Guarini.
The Samuels are spending their “Day of Surprise” at their favorite soul food restaurant, when they receive a DVD player with a message from Bob. I’m surprised the package didn’t also contain a stick of incense and an advance copy of the The Tao of Bob.
Wow, so far the S in Special Edition seems to stand for Sucky. But I’m sure things are about to pick up, because it’s time for Caroline and the twins.
An unapologetically plump Caroline meets the two teams in the gym, where she gives them the opportunity to say goodbye to their favorite food. Unlike Season Two, however, she doesn’t give them the opportunity to eat any of it. Which means we’re spared the sight of Don going down on the Red Velvet Cake.
Time for the first Weigh In. The families will weigh in now, stay at the Ranch for 11 days, then get weighed again. The team that’s lost the highest percentage of weight then will win a five-night stay in the luxurious Green Valley Spa in Utah. Or, as the Amazing Race: Family Edition’s Rolly Weaver calls it, the state that God forgot. After the 11 days, the teams will go home and (hopefully) continue losing on their own. A few months later, they’ll return to Hollywood for one final weigh in. The team with the biggest percentage of weight lost then wins $50,000.
Hey, I just realized we’re 14 minutes in and there hasn’t been a single mention of inspiring a nation. No wonder I’m so bored. At least my Nyquil mixes nicely with the Jaeger.
The Samuels weigh a combined 617 pounds. The Muhas, meanwhile, register an even heftier 724 pounds. I swear, Otto Muha could lose ten pounds just by shaving down. Momma Muha says getting on the scale in her sports bra and shorts was “definitely the lowest point in her life.” Wait a second, I thought her son joining the military was the lowest point in her life? I’m getting the feeling this woman experiences a new life low point every hour or so.
After a couple of days of normal workouts (of which we see surprisingly little), it’s time for the first challenge. The families meet Caroline in the middle of the dessert. (I know it’s supposed to be desert, but my way is funnier.) The challenge? Carry a giant ice cream sundae across the dessert. Oh, the humanity! As Caroline tells them, “instead of gaining calories by eating giant sundaes, you’ll be burning calories by carrying them.” The sundaes look really heavy, which makes me wonder why the teams didn’t try eating some of the ice cream first in order to lighten the load. It’s like the Aesop’s Fable where the guy picked the heaviest bag to carry because he knew it had food in it, so the longer the trip went the lighter his bag would get. But, I digress.
The winner of today’s challenge gets a new computer, digital camera and printer. Weird. How’s that going to help them lose weight? Even weirder is the producers’ decision to have the teams accompanied across the dessert by two random ice cream trucks. Maybe they should call this Biggest Loser: Twin Peaks Edition.
Eventually, the Muhas win what turns out to be the most boringest challenge ever.
Back at the Ranch, Jillian said that working with the entire Muha family showed her how they enable each other. So her challenge will be getting each family member to focus on their individual goals and not worry about everyone else. That, and trying to refrain from over-enunciating every other word that comes out of her mouth.
Unbelievably, the next challenge is even lamer than the sundae race: an open book quiz. Time for Erica Muha to put that 4.8 GPA to work. By reading. I tell you, there are few things that make for better TV-viewing than watching two families read a book. I wonder if they’re going to re-run tonight’s episode on the Paint Drying Channel? Still, at least I didn’t get stuck recapping Martha’s Apprentice.
Muhas win again. And Otto starts getting all cocky about winning two challenges in a row. “We’re on the high road, and they’re on the low road” he says. So far, Otto is definitely the biggest loser. Mother Samuel, meanwhile, is likening their time at the Ranch to an “emotional rollercoaster. Every feeling you have in your body, it’s there.” Even that loving feeling, Melony? Or have you lost that?
At the Last Chance Workout, Don starts taunting Jillian, who tries to get all ghetto on him. Unfortunately for her, she sounds so ridiculous even Zenmaster Bob makes fun of her. However, Don’s playful banter seems to upset Otto’s chauvinistic sensibilities. So, in order to defend Jillian’s honor, he challenges Don to a race. No need, Otto. The Terminatrix is perfectly capable of defending herself. With one single low-level gamma burst she could kill everyone in the gym. Or, at the very least, sterilize them. Don and Otto continue to snipe at each other, thoroughly embarrassing their wives in the process. They decide to go outside and race, fatmano e fatmano. Of course, Otto’s confident he’ll win. And of course, he doesn’t. Finally, the Samuels win something.
Time for the Almost Final Weigh In. Over the past 11 days, the Muhas lost 58 pounds, or 8.01% of their total weight. That means the Samuels have to lose more than 49 pounds to win the spa trip. On his way to the scale, Don says his palms are sweaty. Also, his knees are weak and his arms are heavy. There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti. Sorry, I just lost myself in the recap. Okay, snap back to realityÃ¢â‚¬Â¦ Don loses 23 pounds, which is so overwhelming to him he says he can’t even speak. Three times. Which kind of diminishes the whole “I can’t even speak” vibe. The Samuels end up losing 55 pounds, or 8.91%, to pick up the victory. Told you Otto should’ve shaved down.
The game isn’t over yet, though. Because now the teams have to go home and work out on their own. In a few months, they’ll return for a final weigh in.
When the families arrived back home, they were surprised to see their living room furniture had secretly been replaced with Folgers crystals. And a bunch of new exercise equipment. They also got new appliances and a kitchen full of healthy food and snacks. So now, as a new DVD of Jillian tells the Muhas, they have no excuse not to keep up with the program. Otto says they’re not afraid of Jillian; they’re just afraid of letting her down. Otto is a liar.
The next hour is all about the family’s struggles sticking to their fitness regimens. Here are a few of the lowlights:
Ravee complains about being around her friends when they’re eating big old hamburgers and fried chicken, because she can’t eat either of those. Nobody said she can’t eat a big old fried hamburger, however.
Otto says between being a husband and a father, it’s hard for him to find time to work out. Hey, that’s the same thing I told my wife last week. If you substitute “father” with “drunk”.
Melony goes to the doc to check on her cancer. He says she has a choice: she can either live or die. Where’s Dr. Jeff when you need him?
Don says he wishes he could race Otto again right now. “You think I smoked him the first time? Oh my god, he’ll be smokedÃ¢â‚¬Â¦. like smoked ham, baby.” He’ll also be crushed. Like something easily crushable. A spinach can, perhaps?
“I yam what I yam.
Even a surprise visit from the trainers can’t salvage this hour. Bob is being totally unZen tonight, and the site of Jillian in a bathing suit totally killed my buzz.
Bob and Jillian leave each family with a copy of their audition tapes to remind them of just how bad they used to look. Everyone was mortified by the footage. Especially Erica, who refuses to even watch. If only I had that luxury.
Time for one last montage before the final weigh in. Otto tells us he’s wearing clothes that he hasn’t worn in “six or seven years.” My question is, who keeps clothes that long? Especially clothes that don’t fit? Besides EdHill and the Weaver girls, of course.
At the final weigh in, friends and family of both teams are there to cheer them on. Caroline, Bob and Jillian are back too. What is with Caroline and final weigh ins? She looks like a goth Muppet. I hereby dub her Mistress Piggoth of the Eternal Lash.
Welcome to my nightmare.
It’s been nearly five months since the two teams first showed up at the Ranch. After they get a good look at one another, Caroline asks Otto if they think they’ve won. “We’ve already won,” says Otto, because now they’re “healthier and will live longer.” Wow, for once Otto’s not being cocky. Or is he? After all, he is a Muhahahahahaha!
The Samuels weigh in first, and lose a combined 144 pounds, or 23.34% of their total weight. That means the Muhas have to lose more than 169 pounds. At this, you can totally tell they already know they’ve won, but they still try to play it off all cool. Gotta say I’m disappointed Otto didn’t start shouting “in your face, Charlie Murphy!” to Don. That’s what I’d have done.
Turns out Otto had reason to be cocky, though, as he lost 89 pounds and his family lost a combined 219 pounds. Don’t know what that works out to percentage-wise, but it doesn’t matter as victory belongs to the Muhas!