The contestants have arrived, settled in, got comfy and have had their weight’s checked for the first time. Now it’s time for the hard stuff to begin. And what better way to initiate a gruelling season of hard work and determination than with an old fashioned training session!
When we left the contestants last night, Bek spat the dummy over trainer Tiffiny Hall’s torrid training session, causing the trainer to kick her out of the gym. We’re reminded of this before having a look at tonight’s episode.
Back at camp and we are again reminded of the dummy spit. Bek is on the bike with Tiffiny urging her to keep up a fast pace while holding a metal pole above her head. After conceding defeat, Bek throws the bar away and screams at Tiffiny. ‘I can’t keep it over 100 (rpm)!’ she says, before Tiffiny kicks her out of the gym.
Silence follows as Tiffiny angrily composes herself. It isn’t long before Tiffiny goes out to talk to Bek who claims she has been pushing as hard as she possibly can. Tiffiny breaks the news to her that what she considers ‘pushing’ isn’t considered pushing to her. She knows she can do more.
Tiffiny asks for her trust, but Bek isn’t sure that she can trust her yet. Tiffiny accepts that she has to earn Bek’s trust, but she tells Bek that she has to earn her respect, which she hasn’t done yet by nearly hitting her in the head with a metal pole. Bek apologises for this.
Opinion point: Do you agree with Bek’s stance to not trust her trainer?
Tiffiny tells us that Michelle has true ‘ninja’ attitude and we see how well she is doing in the training session. She feels like she will be sick, so Tiffiny quickly gives her a bucket which she utilises VERY well. Like with Shannan’s team, we already have two contestants down and out!
Back to Shannan’s team, and the boys are still trying to raise Ryan from the boxing ring. Shannan tells him that there’s no excuse for Ryan- he has dealt with his type before. It isn’t long before he and the team convince Ryan to get up and the team heads straight back into training.
Hamish is helping Ryan however Ryan again collapses, this time on a stack of tyres. Shannan is quickly over to his aide to get him up. Ryan refuses to move, so Shannan lays it out bare- he is the heaviest contestant the show has ever had anywhere- so either he gets up and changes his life, or he stays there and technically dies.
Shannan gives him some very inspirational words and hopes to get him up. With the help of the team, Shannan manages to get him standing again, and the glimmer of hope Shannan needs to work with him shines bright.
Shannan ends his training session with some more encouraging words before we head to the Commando’s over 30 men. They are out on the courtyard moving tyres and doing other Commando-style army exercises. To Commando, his biggest concern is older contestant Alex. It isn’t long before he can expect to be found in a pine box!
Alex attempts to do a push up, but the Commando isn’t impressed and gets him to do another one. The Commando does not let up with Alex. He pushes him to the brink of vomiting but it seems as if Alex isn’t able to cope and he collapses just short of the end of the routine!
The Commando asks him to get up, and after thinking of his family, he gets back up and continues with the training session. He refers to his mother as he gets up, prompting the Commando to ask about his mother.
Alex tearily tells us about his mother’s health struggle. Afterwards, it is back into the training session and funnily enough, I can’t see any other contestant on the field. Alex is able to complete the training session to the Commando’s satisfaction.
The end of training looms and the contestants are seen relaxing on the couches. That is before Hayley enters the room. Hayley asks how they’re going, and they’re all surprised. Hayley says she wants to chat with them and ask them about how they got to CBL.
Michelle is first and she says she’s been overweight since year three. She has always been the chubby girl and doesn’t know what it’s like to be thin. She says she’s never had a boyfriend and when asked if she’s ever considered a relationship, she begins to break down. She details how she’s found people who she thought were interested in her, but later found out they were being friendly. It’s not fun. She’s never kissed a boy.
As she cries, Hayley too gets emotional. To break the mood, Brenda cracks a joke about her batting them off with a stick when she gets out. Hayley promises her that the more weeks she is at the camp, the more she will learn to love herself. She thanks Hayley for the advice.
Luke is next and says his future is based on changing his lifestyle and weight. He needs to be happy with himself to find love. He knows girls don’t want a fat boyfriend. Luke feels he is already falling in love with himself, and he too gets teary.
Lydia is next and she talks about her love for her horses and how they are everything to her. She cries as she says that despite her love for her horses, people still judge her for riding them at shows. Lydia wants children and wants someone there to support her when she does.
Hayley asks why someone wouldn’t be there in the first place and Lydia breaks down saying she doesn’t know why someone would want children with her. This makes Hayley lose it and break down with her. Hayley doesn’t understand that, saying that she can see the other contestants bonding with her. Hayley says it is their mission to make her love herself.
Opinion point: Do you feel a sense of greater emotional effect when hosts and trainers react heavily to the contestant’s stories?
After the break, we head back to the lounge room and Hayley heads to Shane to talk about his son. Shane describes how much of a bond he shares with him. Shane cries as he tells the group that the first three words that came out of his mouth when speaking to him the other day were ‘love you, Dad’. Powerful. He’s never heard those words from his mouth before. He says his son is worth fighting for.
To Selena and she feels her problem started when her parents broke up when she was a little kid. Selena feels that if she was the perfect daughter, her mother would have loved her more. She then recounts with great emotion how she feared for her life going to school every day.
She recounts one severe event and how she was so fearful of telling her mother that she instead told her she was hit by a car. Woah, absolutely devastating.
Hayley has tears rolling down her face as she tells Selena that she has so much to offer.
Selena feels that this is the perfect opportunity for her to regain her life. She says that by opening up, she feels relief.
Lisa is next and she feels her pregnancy started her weight gaining, not helped by the fact that one of her children passed away due to supposed Anaphylaxis. She says she has to learn to live with it, but never forgets it. She has a tattoo of the letter ‘B’ for Brayden with a halo (to symbolise a little angel) and a devil’s tail (to symbolise a little terror) on her arm.
Simon is next and he says that when he was in his 20’s, he was fit and healthy and found the love of his life to have a family. He stacked on the weight and suddenly, his wife couldn’t do it anymore- ending the relationships. It was a quick break up, less than a month apparently. He spent too much time making sure the kids could get over it that he didn’t have time for himself. He breaks down, so Hayley reassures he is in the right place. Simon feels he has made friends already in the game.
With that, Hayley thanks them for the chat. The scene changes and the music deepens and quickens as we head to the warehouse. The contestants take a seat facing a black mat and Dr. Swan. He is here to talk to them about their obesity. He tells them that they are the heaviest group they’ve ever had on The Biggest Loser Australia, weighing in at 2430 combined kilograms. He reiterates that Ryan is the heaviest contestant in the world.
He says that most of that is fat. That’s 1.5tonnes of fat in that very warehouse. He wonders if they know what that looks like. The contestants groan as the doors open and a tip truck enters. Oh, what could that be carrying?
The truck begins to drop what we’ve all been waiting to see- but it’s time to go to an ad break.
Opinion point: How far is too far when it comes to this show putting on ‘visual demonstrations’ like this?
Out it pours. I thought it would be white, tofu-looking fat, but it isn’t It looks like raw organs- and judging by the look of the contestants faces and gagging, it smells.
Looking at a pan shot of the room- that fat looks MASSIVE compared to the group of contestants- and it incorporates what makes up 60% of them.
Swan tells them that this is killing them- this is giving them cancer. Dr. Swan tells them that there have been cases where people have died because they’ve had an accident and they couldn’t fit in the ambulance.
Brenda is in tears it is making her that sick. She has to swap positions with Michelle. Norman (his first name) tells them that they have also calculated their bio-age, and he invites Paul Taylor from the Body-Brain Performance Institute to come in and discuss their findings.
Paul explains what a bio-age is- basically how old they are based on their health. To begin with, we start with Ryan.
His biological age is 29 however his bio age is massive- 44 years of age. A fifteen year increase. Ryan breaks down at that realisation.
Simon is next. His chronological age is 40. His bio age is 54. A fourteen year increase. He too breaks down at that. He is ready for the work it will take to get him healthy.
Brenda is 40, but her bio age is 49- nine years extra. She doesn’t want to turn 50. Norman tells her that 50 year olds don’t have babies, possibly explaining her inability to have one. She breaks down when she reveals she has tried to have a baby for seven years.
Alex is next and he is 50. His bio age is a very scary 71 years- 21 years gone. Alex cries, unable to accept this truth- he is technically a pensioner.
Shane is 38, but his bio-age is 58, a 20 year increase. He’s almost the same age as his dad. Commando says some of this can be put down to his smoking. In a flashback, the Commando gives him patches, but the camera was very keen to show that the brand was Nicorette. Hmm, some very hard-hitting product placement there. But by not smoking, Norman tells Shane that he has already added five years back.
So I guess we aint seeing all of the ages as we head back to the next training session! Tiffiny and her crew go into the ninja den for a debrief. She reminds them that all that fat they saw is under their skin.
Tiffiny wants them to get back their lives, so she makes them all write and sign a contract she can hold them to. The other contestants are also made to do the same thing.
Now, it is time for Big Brother cam! We see the contestants getting up early in the morning and training. Hmm, can’t see the blue team. They get up at around 7.30am (90 minutes later) and just go to the living room. Having committed to waking up at 6am to train, I can’t see Shannan being too happy about this.
Opinion point: What do you think about the boy’s slack attitude?
After the break however, we don’t address this issue, instead we head to the weigh in room, which has now been transformed into a very 70’s style Wheel Of Fortune game show studio! Yep, it’s temptation time!
Hayley welcomes them to their very first temptation- Wheel of Temptation. She tells them that temptation is a struggle between what we should do and what we want to do. To play temptation, the contestants have to eat the same calorie-rich food that brought them to the competition in the first place. She tells them that the winner of this Temptation is cool, sweet immunity.
Opinion point: Is a game like Temptation which encourages unhealthy eating really appropriate for a weight loss television show?
She then explains the rules of the game. She points to the wheel which has 26 segments. Three have the word ‘immunity’ with the others having numbers on them, ranging from 50 to 1,000. If they land on immunity, they get immunity. If they land on a number, they must eat that number in calories.
The contestants are already confused. The game will continue until someone wins immunity. At first ask, the contestants are not interested. With that, more immunity segments (now 9 in total) are added. Will people play? People are feeling it- James in particular, but he knows Shannan will kill him.
With that, they add more immunity stickers to bring the total to 13 immunity segments- giving them a 50-50 chance at immunity. The calorie range has also been lowered from 50-1000 to 50-350 calories. A tray of goodies comes out and each plate of food is placed on their corresponding calorie segment.
On the 200 calories segment lays 40g of cheese crisps. On the 50 calories segment lays two small pieces of chocolate. Who likes chocolate?
At 350 calories is a cheese and tomato ham sandwich- the most unhealthiest option on the board.
She tempts them further with the thought of immunity at weigh in day. James is so tempted and the contestants are asking him not to try it. The blue team almost threaten him not to in those cutaways.
Will he give in? Well, we’ll find out tomorrow I guess!
Again, a brilliantly produced episode filled with all the elements I’d expect from The Biggest Loser. However, this episode is definitely a downhiller in comparison to the first two episodes. Obviously, this one had the product placement courtesy of Nicorette. But other than that, I was also a little annoyed at the constant change in scenery. At one point we were in training, then we were sitting at the couches having an intense D&M sesh. Then we were sitting in front of one and a half tonnes of animal fat, calculating bio ages. Then we were writing letters and getting caught on camera, sleeping in. Lastly, we found ourselves in a somewhat heavily edited Temptation round. Individually, I don’t mind the content of these scenes, but there was too much happening in one episode.
For example, we heard about the intense life stories of the contestants in the D&M session. We also had to hear more of them in the bio-age session. As a result of this, and the other elements all crammed into this episode, we didn’t get to see the bio-ages of the other contestants. Surely a quick flash up on the screen would have been OK. The contestants who had life stories to tell could have done it in the D&M session, and there would have been no reason to have spent so long discussing each contestant’s bio age.
To accommodate this, the temptation scene, which seemed to have been hurriedly added to the end of the episode, could have been left out until tomorrow. I guess they’re doing it this way to have that ‘flow on effect’ for viewers who are more casual, something I applauded yesterday, but for tonight, the inclusion of the temptation just busied up the episode.
Production Values (visual and audio techniques, overall ‘bling’ of the show): 4.5/5
‘Sell-out’ factor (Cross-promotion and product placement free?): 1.8/2
Entertainment Value (emotional feel, storyline, eventful?): 2.0/3
Courtney’s Verdict: 8.3/10