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The Biggest Loser recap: Trimming the Fat

A mini-challenge before the weigh-in keeps the pace of the show moving along comfortably, and the final vote comes down to clever game-play strategy

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Kristin Cathy
Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

The Biggest Loser

TV Show
Current Status:
Bob Harper
Reality TV

Even during the automatically-makes-me-happy lines of the Biggest Loser theme song (”What have you done today to make you feel prou-duh?”), I wasn’t sure if I was ready for tonight’s episode. After Tuesday’s no-B.S. hour packed in actual event after actual event (as opposed to manufactured, edited-in drama), I didn’t think last night’s show would be able satisfy me like the previous evening’s action. Since the weigh-in, which should be inherently interesting since we find out how much weight the contestants have lost, is usually the longest, most drawn-out part of the show, I feared that an episode comprised solely of 12 people standing on a scale wouldn’t hold my interest. Much to my amazement, the pace chugged along effortlessly, like a 4.5-speed walk on a 6 incline (to put it in treadmill terms). Perhaps it was because, edited as two separate entities, each hour had a beginning, middle, and end of an appropriate length. Or maybe it was because The Biggest Loser is better when it follows its own advice: portion control, baby. Instead of a two-hour overload, we get two one-hour treats — like two 100-calorie packs instead of a family-sized bag of Doritos. Think about it, NBC. The two-night format worked well this week.

The challenges both took place during Tuesday’s episode, so I was curious as to how they would beef up tonight’s show to include more than just the weigh-in. Simple solution, really — just add another challenge and you’re set. Er, actually, a ”pop quiz.” From the Prevention magazine paraphernalia scattered everywhere when the contestants filed outside to meet Alison, it was pretty easy to figure out the sponsor behind the segment (you know, just to hazard a guess, I’d go with Prevention magazine). Liz Vaccariello, editor in chief of the magazine and author of The Flat Belly Diet, played the part of Alex Trebek for the quiz, which turned out to be a measly three questions long. And they weren’t very difficult questions, either. Seriously, try for yourself:

1. Switching from regular cola to diet cola will help you live longer, True or False?

2. Which diet change helps you live longer, (A) cutting fat or (B) cutting calories?

3. Which exercise helps you live longer, (A) pushups or (B) squats?

Answers: False (I guess my three Diet Coke-a-day habit isn’t really going to help me out), B (don’t cut too much fat because it’s necessary to help your body run), B (this would be more encouraging news if I could do squats without losing my ability to climb stairs the next day). How many did you get right? (Be honest.) I got the first and last right. Both teams guessed correctly on number one, but the black team pulled ahead by guessing the next two questions correctly. They not only won a three-pound pass for the weigh in, but each team member won a trip for two on a ”Fountain of Youth vacation package” (whatever that is) to St. Augustine, FL. Random vacation destination, but okay — I’d take it. And the Prevention magazine sponsorship was actually natural, unlike yesterday’s ”Ziploc = nutrition” debacle (because a health and wellness magazine actually has something to do with weight loss, unlike plastic bags).

The Prevention ad pop quiz was immediately followed by the night’s Blatant Product Placement (TM), this time for Valley Fresh Steamers ready-to-microwave frozen veggies. Though I found it hard to believe that Mandi would make lunch that didn’t include vegetables (and leave a gaping hole on her plate just asking for some greens), the commercial-within-the show was another natural fit. There’s no doubt Bob read his lines off index cards, but convenient, steam-in-bag veggies strike me as the kind of thing dieters might want to learn about.

NEXT: The weigh-in results