Its Loser Vs Loser tonight; but if you’re one to stick in Nine’s corner of the ring, Excess Baggage should definitely pack a punch. Eight celebrities have each paired up with an ordinary Australian. They won’t be judged on weight loss- specifically, they’ll be judged on how healthy they get (to be explained later I’m sure). In tonight’s premiere, we watch the likes of K-Fed, Ajay Rochester, Christine Anu and Dipper go head to head for the first time. Ladies and gentlemen, the weight…is over!
The sun rises over the outback as we are introduced to the eight celebrities. We see clippits of what they feel about themselves. Interestingly, Ajay Rochester admits to having to starve herself to keep her job on The Biggest Loser. The voice-over then turns the attention to the eight ordinary Australians. Some guy name Matt (paired with Ajay) has a daughter with Down Syndrome. He blamed himself for it, and he breaks down telling us this. Just a gut feeling, the ordinary Australians will have more interesting stories.
The teams will have to undergo eliminations- the first I’ve heard about this- meaning there will be one winning team!
We get a preview of what we can expect over the ten locations (including the Whitsunday’s and the Kimberley) these contestants will head to. We see a few shots of some very powerful scenes, from crying celebrities, to bust ups- this looks promising!
These contestants are changing their lives for their families and themselves. So let the game begin.
The sun is rising and we are drawn by satellite image to… The Kimberley- site one for this epic series.
It’s 6am and the temperature is already 28degrees. Host Kate Cebrano welcomes us to the region- it’s hot, it’s humid and it is inspiring!
By light plane, the contestants- the eight ordinary Australians- are arriving at the location. On the plane, the ordinary contestants have time to introduce themselves. We have Lana Pilakis- a 30 year old woman who has never been kissed.
Matt comes back on screen to discuss his diet and he seems very emotional, as he would be.
Kate tells us that this journey will take these contestants across the country and deep within.
The contestants arrive confused but excited. They head into 4WD’s to Kate Cebrano who Matt thinks is hot!
She invites them to the location. She doesn’t waste any time, telling them that they will now be meeting their celebrity partners. The contestants are excited and over the hill, the celebrities arrive. Darryn Lyons, Mr. Paparazzi and Celebrity Big Brother UK star is already the loudest of the bunch. Oh, just a reminder, if he’s shirtless, look away- it’s quite a sight!
Ajay Rochester is also quite loud and she’s not afraid to name THAT OTHER weight loss show. We also see introductions for K-Fed, Dipper, Gabby Milgate, Christine Anu, Brant Webb and Kate DeAraugo and why they are famous.
Opinion point: Who is the most famous of this bunch?
Kate welcomes them all and tells them that they will face no diets, no lock down, but lots of physical and mental challenges. Christine wants to take what she learns here and bring it back with her.
The winning team each week (I’m guessing challenges determine this) wins $10,000 for charity, and at the end, the winners will win $100,000 for shedding the most baggage.
We then find out how these contestants progress. To be successful, contestants have to make the most improvement in their overall health. They will be scored in three key areas- body fat percentage, waist circumference and fitness.
Ajay loves the lack of focus on just weight loss. No one will be eliminated until the half way point. There on in, the bottom two teams will face elimination until only one team is left.
Kate tells them that over the next few days, they will be meeting the show’s expert panel of judges. Kate notices that they are already in teams. I can’t remember the teams off the top of my head, so I’ll name them as we go along. Throng has a post detailing the teams- I may link to it at the end of the blog.
Kate also notices Darryn and his partner’s similar taste in pink clothing.
It’s day 1 of competition, so Kate thinks it is time to start! They all head towards their first challenge and she wishes them good luck. Kate tells us that at each location across Australia, the teams will face a spirit challenge. This is a physical challenge that highlights the environment they are in. There are no winners or losers and along the way, the contestants will find items that will remind each team that they have a lot more in common than they think.
Opinion Point: How important are these sort of challenges?
They arrive at the challenge where Christian, their physical trainer and coach, greets them. He knows they aren’t fit and tells them that at one point in life, he too was overweight, and knows what it is like to be bullied for it.
He pumps them up (oh, and by this stage, they are all wearing their team colours) and they head to the starting line of the challenge. Lana is on Dipper’s team. They are team Orange. Dipper asks why Lana is here and she says she wants to be thin. Lana loves knowing Dipper is her partner as he is from AFL. She cringes at him singing the Hawthorn theme song, though!
They come across a bundle of rocks where a package is waiting for them. They find bangles and Lana breaks down- they belong to her sister. Cue a more in depth look at her life. Her sister requires 24-hour care and she reveals that she does not discuss openly with her parents the future of her sister. She feels her parents will leave her to care for her, but she feels she can’t do it at this stage. Her sister’s name is Renee. She has autism.
Lana forgot to pack the bangle with her, so she is happy to have it in her hand.
They head off after a quick hug.
After a quick break, the soaring sun beats down on the contestants. Ordinary Australian Nathan is paired with singer Christine Anu as part of team Yellow. Ordinary Australian John is paired with Brant Webb in team black.
Lisa is with Darryn Lyons in team Red and these two seem to get along quite a lot. Darryn wants a team member who can face ‘volcanic situations’. Lisa is missing her daughter and with the heat, she is already struggling. She cries and Darryn tells her to get over it. She asks Darryn not to doubt her.
Renae is paired with Kevin Federline in team Blue and we get a back story of how Kevin got fat. He blames mostly, the ordeal with Britney Spears.
They reach their bundle of rocks and inside is Renae’s dancing trophies. With that, the pair finds out a similarity they both share- they love dancing! We see an in-depth look into Renae’s life and we find out she is missing her dancing lifestyle. Kevin knows the feeling.
Ajay, who now lives in LA apparently, is paired with Matt in team purple and they too stumble upon their bundle. Inside are pictures of Matt and his three kids- one of which as we know was born with down syndrome. Matt was a carrier of the DS gene, causing him to blame himself and begin a binge.
Ajay wants to help him so much.
Christine and Nathan get to their bundle and there is a microphone wrapped up. We find out he wants to be a Broadway actor but doesn’t have the body for it. Christine wants him to sing something from Jesus Christ Superstar, but doesn’t pressure him to do it straight away.
Opinion point: If you were put on a show like this, what one item would you like to unwrap?
After the break, the contestants are coming to the end of their spirit walk. Darryn and Lisa get to their bundle and Lisa breaks down when a picture of her daughter is revealed. Lisa feels that her daughter is her rock, and feels the picture is to symbolise the fact that she needs to toughen up. During her pregnancy, her husband cheated on her with her best friend. This caused her to pile it on. Pretty heavy stuff.
Now here comes a doozy. Darryn utters these lines to Lisa; ‘You need to start loving yourself before you can even try and love anyone else’. Yes, what other show has been promoting that exact concept for their current season? Hmm.
Darryn tells her to start leading, to stand up and build.
20m to go and the contestants are just taking it step by step. By the end of the walk, they can turn back and enjoy the sights. Christian congratulates them on their first success and tells them that they are off to Home Valley station for a shower and a feed!
Kate tells us that they will be staying locally at every location they visit. Fitness sessions will be held but won’t be compulsory and contestants are free to do and go anywhere they want outside of challenges.
The rooms for this site are very luxurious!
The sun goes down on day one as the contestants head to the dining room which has been filled with a smorgasbord of healthy, and not-so-healthy food. They can take what they want as it is their own responsibility to eat what they are supposed to.
Gabby was hoping that the show was going to do this for her. We see a back story of how she binges at night.
Sitting down, Kevin and Ajay discuss how much coke they used to drink. Inside, a Scottish (possibly Irish, but I doubt it) woman named ‘Dr. Joanna’ enters and announces herself as the nutritionist.
She discusses her background, saying she did a PhD in weight loss here in Australia. She tells them that on this journey, they won’t be calorie counting and they won’t be dieting. They won’t be restricted to anything. As she says this, Darryn continues to eat. It looks like vegetables, so that’s good.
She wants to see what is on everyone’s plate. She goes to Nathan first and he has no red meat on his plate as he thinks it is bad for him. Joanna tells him it is good for protein and tells him that they need it to increase their muscle building and weight loss achieving skills!
She shows them her meal and shows how she has a palm-sized portion of protein-rich meat combined with half a plate of ‘plant-food’.
We randomly cut to Nathan and his back story and we see how he makes a very fattening iced coffee.
Kate calls herself a binge eater and we relive her ‘tuckshop lady arms’ comment she got from Kyle Sandilands on Australian Idol.
She discusses how she never gets the exercise and eating right at the same time.
After Joanna’s short session, they already feel more ‘educated’.
Joanna tells them that she is a judge and she will judge them harshly if she sees them starving themselves. Hmm, pressure much, I quite like this idea- it would pressure me into eating absolutely properly.
She gets them to fill up and have a good night’s sleep, telling them that tomorrow is their health check and their first fitness session. They are all excited.
Opinion point: Whose journey are you most likely to ‘follow’ this year?
After the break, it is day 2 and the contestants head to their first fitness test- which will remain constant across the ten weeks.
When they arrive at their fitness test, Christian tells them that it is a ten part challenge. He asks if they are ready, and of course they are.
He tells them that they will be scored out of ten and that they will get their scores tonight. These scores will be one of their three ‘benchmark’ figures which will be revealed to start their weight loss challenge.
Matt is scared of Christian, feeling he will ‘smash’ them. They undertake their first test- how many push ups they can do in one minute. Ajay seems to find the experience to be more of a joke- possibly hindering her overall score (correction: She hadn’t started).
We look at her back story and we see that she ballooned over time due to her mother’s constant criticism of her.
After that test, it is onto the squat test. The rule was that their bum had to touch a wooden bar to count as one squat. That looked painful.
They also have a chin up test (how many they can do in one minute) and a boxing test (we see John’s back story through this one- he calls himself disgusting but wants to be a normal dad). Brant, his partner, has a few more problems to tackle- his smoking being one of them. After a confrontation, he talks about how he doesn’t really care about its effect. He was quite rude about it as well. He doesn’t even think the smoking will affect his fitness. We have a look at his very prolific back story.
Opinion point: Could Brant really be a villain on this show?
Christian asks him to take one last puff and Brant all of a sudden has confidence to quit his addiction.
Back to the test and other challenges include sit-ups, something Dipper can’t do. He is disappointed. We see a back story of how he got to where he is. We review his AFL career and how he ballooned- he forgot to take after himself. He wants his old life back.
The sprint is next and inspirational music plays as Dipper smashes the course in 6.72 seconds. However, he feels he can do better. Other contestants also find some success in the sprint- Lisa being overly proud at her sub-10 second time.
Ben is next for the sprint, and we look at how he wants to be a police officer but how he can’t achieve that due to his BMI.
The final test is a 1.6km run back to camp! Brant thinks Christian is insane. Before they begin, let’s have a look at their website!
It isn’t a race, but Christian wants them to remain focussed.
They begin their race and it isn’t long before Ben to feel tortured! Matt, who has just given up a 40-cigarette-a-day smoking regime, isn’t running.
Ben is slowly moving to the back of the pack as others overtake him.
As Kevin runs, we are told that in 24-hours his fitness will turn for the worse.
Kate is running and she reveals that she doesn’t perform anymore as she doesn’t feel confident.
Brant is first to finish the race, followed by Dipper. Darryn and Ben are next to cross the line, followed by Kate and Lana. The rest finally cross the line with Lisa pulling up the rear. She is forced to run to the end by a screaming Darryn.
Someone: ‘She’s coming’
Darryn: ‘So is Christmas’
Kate tells us what we’re all thinking- Darryn and Lisa aren’t bonding like the rest of them.
They all cheer for their success but Lisa and Darryn are talking. Darryn feels he let her down by not thinking about her enough.
As the episode ends, the sun goes down and we see what’s coming up tomorrow- including a check in.
To end the episode, we see some camera entries. Gabby can see cracks forming, and we are drawn to a camera entry by Darryn, who accuses Lisa of crying too much. Lisa meanwhile doesn’t know how she will cope with him.
Kate tells us that there is a real danger if they start to fight.
First episode down and hey, that wasn’t too bad. For a show with such a bad promotional package, the production was sleek, the emotion was high (at times) and advice seemed helpful. Most importantly, the show is already starting to grow on me- I so totally want to watch again tomorrow!
But that is based on first impressions. Looking deeper and the show was a little dull. Not in a non-event sort of way, but just due to the lack of depth. I think this show had the same problem as some of Biggest Loser’s episodes had last week. There was a lot of stuff happening and while it was easy to keep up, I felt the show maybe tried to tackle a few too many things. The fact that the episode ran way over time sort of proves this rule.
But most noticeable I think about this episode is how it didn’t feel as if there were ad breaks every five minutes. I think that is a testament to the production quality of the show and I definitely suggest for people to try this out. Kate as host is brilliant and she doesn’t hog screen time. It is a show about the contestants and the advice-filled trainers.
Production Values (visual and audio techniques, overall ‘bling’ of the show): 4/5
‘Sell-out’ factor (Cross-promotion and product placement free?): 2/2
Entertainment Value (emotional feel, storyline, eventful?): 2/3
Courtney’s Verdict: 8.0/10
REMINDER: My Kitchen Rules airs 7.30pm on Seven, however AndrewB will be blogging that live. When it’s up, just click ‘My Kitchen Rules’ above to read all about the premiere.