This season of The Biggest Loser is all about “Paying It Forward.” Brian Williams and Michelle Obama are terrified for our future! So instead of gathering everyone up at the ranch fresh off their final bacon binges, trainers Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels and host Alison Sweeney bopped around the U.S. to seven different cities for some mass workouts. I actually love this idea, because it weeds out the potential losers who have the faultiest joints, worst attitudes, and the tendency to black out soon after breaking a sweat. Then again, the scenes from next week suggest that at least some of the premiere’s also-rans will be showing up. So maybe the no-ranch-for-you business was all manufactured drama for a more compelling season premiere. On reality TV? You don’t say!
Even though, as Bob pointed out, the thousands of heavyweights who auditioned “ALL need to be here,” the producers had already sifted through packs of wannabe contestants to find the ones they wanted (read: the ones with the most tear-jerking personal histories). So what we saw tonight were the “first challenges” among each city’s three finalists. Only two from each city would be granted immediate status as a full-figured cast member. I’ll try to break this down in less than 500 steps with some nifty bolded categories. Here we go!
Largest: Aaron, 29, graphic designer
Best Sob Story: School counselor Sophia, 28, didn’t want to be “a fat cyclist” anymore and wanted to be able “to wear a white dress and not feel like the marshmallow fluff woman.” Which is sad enough, and also oddly aspirational, because as far as I know, there’s no definitive marshmallow fluff woman. But also: Sophia’s brother died in a car accident. His motto — “Do work, son. Do work.” — should come in handy when Jillian straps her to a treadmill and starts pulling out tufts of her hair.
Made It Through: Sophia and Jesse, a 27-year-old law clerk who has stopped answering his phone.
Largest: Adam, 26, whose mom — a second mother to professional quarterback Matt Leinart — died from a heart attack at home.
Best Sob Story: Shockingly, not Adam’s. Instead, 27-year-old consultant Ada has a father who not only hates that she’s fat (ho hum) but blames her for the deaths of two siblings. There was a kiddie-pool drowning when she was 2 or 3, and a car accident when she was 16. (Another baby sibling died of SIDS.) Oh, man. Why am I doing these Sob Story blurbs? Worst idea yet.
Made It Through: Ada and Adam. Montina, 25, who’s done backup vocals for Beyoncé, ended up having a bum knee during the 500-step challenge. She needs to show up at the ranch so I can call her Fontina Cheese.
Next: Hey, Jillian, how’s this gonna work? “I manipulate her with every card I’ve got.”