Well, I thought I had it all figured out. Just before last night’s elimination on The Biggest Loser, we were treated to a montage of Sam, voiced over by a tear-soaked Koli delivering inspirational Nike ad-ready lines like: ”Before, he was just a cocky kid with no future.” All that was missing was Ruben Studdard’s version of ”Celebrate Me Home” playing in the background. Because, really, it was obvious: Sam was going home. He had already described how tired he was earlier in the episode. He would only be packing on pounds of muscle from here on out, making it difficult for the black team to pull big numbers during the weigh-in. And, of course, he had that whole montage! Foreshadowing, right? Right?!
Wrong. Oh, damn you, reality TV. I’ve watched you for 10 years, and you still manage to surprise me! Though Sam had all but packed his bags, ”Mama” Cheryl was sent home — and only one contestant voted for Sam’s ouster. And, yes, I’m sad to see Cheryl go. She was a quiet force, and also one of the sweetest people left in the competition. But I will say one thing about her elimination: I’m just glad it wasn’t O’Neal.
After all, O’Neal was the star of last night’s episode. So much so, that I worried we eventually would watch him bite the dust, based on all his airtime. First, we had to watch him endure the cruelty of the members of the blue team, who walked in the room after elimination one-by-one, without telling him that Sunshine had survived the elimination vote. Is it just me, or did O’Neal go grayer in those five seconds? He was sobbing, banging the table like it was a Whack-a-Mole board, and was thisclose to throwing his hands up and screaming ”Khhhhaaaaannnnnn!” Yet there Sunshine was, walking into the room with a blue shirt for her dad, and a face that seemed to say something like, ”Oh my gawd, Dad. So. Embarrassing.” But O’Neal saw the Sunshine in his life — I bet after 24 years, Sunshine is pretty sick of Stevie Wonder, don’t you think? — and he was raring to go. So much so, that he delivered this epic speech:
”This is our team. And it’s time for me to step up. And I’m stepping up right now tonight. I’m sorry for Miggy being gone, but she’s gone now. And a man that live in the past, don’t live at all. And I’m telling you guys, we have to start acting like a team. This is the time right now for all of us to gel. We’re all individuals as the fingers on our hands, but we come together as a fist. And that’s exactly what we’re gonna do. We’re not going to just shoot the sons-of-bitches, we’re going to rip out their living Goddamned guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks!”
Okay, I’ll admit I stole that last part from General Patton, but this really was the Biggest Loser equivalent of the general’s 1944 address to the troops. And it sure riled me up — I’m all for the underdogs, but after that, I couldn’t help but start rooting for blue! (The blue team is mighty lucky: Miggy for O’Neal was like trading smog for a rainbow.)
NEXT: Sunshine pulls her dad through