This won’t come as a surprise to viewers of previous seasons of The Biggest Loser, but last night’s Season 9 premiere included a lot of bodily fluids. Mostly in the form of sweat, but drool and vomit had their fair share of screen time, too. There were also a lot of fat people. Really fat people. As Bob, Jillian, and Alison repeated many times over the course of the two-hour debut, these are the biggest contestants to ever grunt their way through the show.
This is both awe-inspiring—if a man weighing over 500 pounds can do squats, surely we can get our butts off the couch—and anti-climatic: If a man can lose 200 pounds and still be so big he has to buy two seats on a plane, well, jeez, it kind of makes you want to eat a Twinkie.
Besides featuring the heaviest contestants yet, Season 9 introduced a few new switch-ups to keep things as cringeworthy as possible. Most notably, all the teams team endured public weigh-ins in their hometowns. Because apparently it’s not enough to do it in front of millions of TV viewers. So the contestants had to walk a gauntlet of family members, co-workers, friends, and onlookers, doff their shirts, and stand exposed as the crowd alternately gasped and cried at the numbers on the scale. Oof.
And then, just like that, they were off in their Town Cars and en route to the Ranch. Despite the knowledge that they'd be greeted by two tiny sadists masquerading at trainers, all eleven couples—mothers and sons, fathers and daughters, brothers, spouses, cousins—seemed genuinely pumped.
More than 7,000 Pounds of People
Within five minutes of arrival, before Jillian and Bob even had the chance to fly in from the Land of the Taut and Tan, the contestants were taken into the gym for their first challenge: Each team had to complete 26.2 miles on stationary bikes. The team that came in first would earn immunity. The two teams in last place would go home without ever getting the chance to eat a bowl of fiber-rich oatmeal or spew spittle on national television. It was actually kind of a bummer. Unlike with other reality shows, you really want all these people to succeed.
The Green Team, a Puerto Rican mother-daughter duo from North Carolina, took first place with an impressive performance by mom Miggy, who closed her eyes as if possessed and nearly sang her way to the end. Woman’s got some serious grit.
It’s difficult to feel too attached to any of the teams yet (they sort of blend into one giant tub of weepiness at first) but the two last-place teams—Yellow and Blue—were comprised of four of the more appealing people to emerge so far, especially O’Neal and Sunshine, a father-daughter pair from Minneapolis. I, for one, was sad to see them leave so soon.
But wait! Before you get too broken up about their departure, you should know that before they were even 50 yards away from the gym, who should jump out of the bushes but Jillian and Bob, announcing that the journey for our two seemingly eliminated teams was not actually over. They would be going home for 30 days. Then they would be brought back. Whichever team lost the largest percentage of weight in that time would get to stay at the Ranch. Jillian and Bob said they would be there to help them along the way, but that part was never explained. Apparently, people from the Land of the Taut and Tanned can teleport, or fly, or something.
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Feel free to talk amongst yourselves as the contestants sweat and drool and grunt and cry and get thrown humiliatingly from their treadmills like giant rubber balls. It’s all standard Biggest Loser stuff.
The Interminable Weigh In
We had to sit through a lot of false suspense and irritatingly timed commercial breaks to get there, but in the end not one, but two records were broken at weigh-in. Patti, from the Purple Team, lost 23 pounds, the most weight ever lost in one week by a female contestant. And our largest contestant, Michael, who started at 526 pounds and is competing with his weepy mom, Maria, lost 34 lbs., the most weight ever lost in a single week by any contestant.
It’s hard not to root for Michael after this. He was just so excited, and when he “flexed” his enormous stomach and asked jokingly if his abs were showing, you couldn’t help but like the guy (even if he would totally be one of those awful Jersey Shore Guidos if he was skinny).
The Sweet Sorrow Part
First-week good-byes are the easiest, but this one was maybe more painful than most because, for a moment, it seemed as if we were going to get to watch a giant pair of identical twins, who collectively weighed just shy of half a ton, compete for the title. And who doesn’t love twins? Plus, John and James started just one pound apart and then lost the exact same amount of weight the first week. It was eerie, I tell you. Eerie.
I don’t know how the other contestants decided who to vote off (ok, it was the one with bad knees and a pool back home) but James is gone and we will now have to watch John without his other half. Which, you know, makes it kind of like watching everyone else.
Oh, but here’s the good news: James (the one with the bad knees and the pool back home) totally rocked it once he got voted off. He lost 100 pounds in two months. Which just goes to show, he coulda been a contender.