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Monday, April 03, 2006

'TV' Has Been Crowned The Biggest Loser



It's no secret (except from the Russians, so shhh!) that I've been avidly watching The Biggest Loser (the new Australian version) on Channel Ten these past several weeks. We're now down to the final four contestants, which means there's only two or three weeks to go before the finale (and then we're straight in to Big Brother! Wifey's so pleased*).

* Not.

I thought it was high-time I gave the show a proper review, especially seeing it's so close to being over and has been something many people appear to be watching (including my Mum - hi, Mum!).

I will begin by breaking down my thoughts on each contestant, going in alphabetical order by their given name.





Name: Adriano 'Adro' Sarnelli
Age: 26
From: Newcastle, New South Wales
Occupation: Car restorer
Height: 174cm
Starting Weight: 136kg
Ideal Weight: 85kg or 97kg (depending on whether you believe the numbers listed on the official Biggest Loser website or the contestants' own interviews in TV Week before the show got underway)
How's He Going? He's about halfway there (112kg according to the website)
Final Four? Yes
Motivation: "For my wife and daughter"
Personality: Adro has a tough-looking exterior, but he's actually a loving family man; a sweetie
Best Moment: Winning the racetrack challenge and getting to spend some time with his wife and daughter (who had learned to spell her name while he's been away - his daughter, I mean ... his wife's still working on it); his great abilities on the soccer field
Worst Moment: Eating 11 cupcakes to get immunity (which he didn't get) and suffering the wrath of Jillian and Bob afterwards. (Jillian 'roasted' him - in front of the other competitors - much worse than Bob did, and Adro now dislikes Jillian and looks only to Bob for training and dietary advice ... which he claims is what helped him get his massive 7.2kg weight loss two weigh-ins ago. It doesn't explain why he lost so little weight this last week, however.)





Name: Artie Rocke
Age: 42
From: Queensland
Occupation: Hospital kitchen assistant
Height: 177cm
Starting Weight: 156kg
Ideal Weight: 90kg or 96kg
How's He Going? Who cares (138kg when evicted halfway through the series)
Final Four? No
Motivation: "Hot body, here I come"
Personality: Nasty
Best Moment: Hard to think of one
Worst Moment: Hard to think of just one. Artie was a real bitch on the show, having befriended Tracy and Fiona before filming even began, and forming an alliance that eventually saw his and Tracy's undoing. It certainly killed The Blue Team's chances of progressing in the game. Artie was a weakling who followed Mother Duck Tracy's silent commands and did whatever she did, said whatever she said, and thought whatever she thought. He was a total embarrassment but was at his most amusing right back in episode one, where he was thrilled to be chosen by Trainer Bob to be in "his" Blue Team.





Name: Catherine 'Cat' White
Age: 27
From: Victoria
Occupation: Administrator
Height: 169cm
Starting Weight: 157kg
Ideal Weight: 85kg or 88kg
How's She Going? 144kg when evicted early in the series
Final Four? No
Motivation: "To fit in my wedding dress!"
Personality: Nice, but a bit naive
Best Moment: Too far back to remember any - can anyone supply me with a suggestion?
Worst Moment: She seemed to tear up a bit, but there's nothing really wrong with that on a reality show (bearing in mind that this was filmed over Christmas, accounting for all the extra crying about being away from their loved ones and probably contributing to some contestants' sadness, nastiness, etc)





Name: David Hilyander
Age: 33
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Occupation: Screen printer
Height: 172cm
Starting Weight: 196kg
Ideal Weight: 99kg or 127kg (quite a difference!)
How's He Going? 189kg (when evicted in the first week of the series)
Final Four? No
Motivation: "I don't want Mum to bury me" (presumably not some sick habit she has)
Personality: Lovely
Best Moment: Completing the walk to the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge (after struggling with his breathing); then getting annoyed with Jo for her crocodile tears after the event so she could take the spotlight off him and put it onto her
Worst Moment: None that I can recall





Name: Fiona Falkiner
Age: 22
From: Melbourne, Victoria
Occupation: Retail assistant
Height: 175cm
Starting Weight:
Ideal Weight: 66kg or 70kg
How's She Going? 86kg according to the website
Final Four? Yes
Motivation: "Boyfriend wanted - no more losers"
Personality: Dopey ('young') and very selfish. Easily swayed and yet to realise how she comes across to others
Best Moment: Very few. I guess her ability to power up the steps at the stadium, and the rock-climbing wall at last week's challenge; also the fact that she finished the bricks challenge even though her heel was getting so badly blistered
Worst Moment: Almost every time she 'water-loaded', told everyone about it, and smiled at them (effectively taunting them, silly girl); her inability to say the word 'immunity' (she pronounces it 'ammunity'), and her tendancy to say she feels 'vulnerable' in EVERY STINKIN' INTERVIEW! Let's not forget that she also ate too much bad food one week and actually gained weight when she wasn't trying to (I think that was the 'box of chocolates' temptation week, which was a stupid move in itself), ... and of course her involvement in the three-way alliance with Artie & Tracy that effectively shut down The Blue Team and was unnecessarily hurtful to many (Harry & Cat especially)





Name: Harry Kantzidis
Age: 35
From: Melbourne, Victoria
Occupation: Plumber
Height: 190cm
Starting Weight: 178kg
Ideal Weight: 110kg or 139kg
How's He Going? 155kg when eliminated halfway through the series
Final Four? No
Motivation: "To make my boys proud" (I think he has a weird fascination with his testicles)
Personality: Started out a sweetie, took a turn for the worse and came across as a monster, then became a sweetie again before being eliminated
Best Moment: Crying about his son being embarrassed to be seen with him; achieving a great weight-loss in his final week but knowing nothing he did would save his neck against the alliance between Tracy, Artie and Fiona; his reactions to watching the DVD message from his wife and kids
Worst Moment: His behaviour on the soccer field with Adro; his verbal abuse of The Red Team after one of their earlier eliminations





Name: Jo Cowling
Age: 33
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Occupation: Real estate agent
Height: 165cm
Starting Weight: 108kg
Ideal Weight: 75kg (both sources agree at last!)
How's She Going? 100kg when voted off in the second week of the series
Final Four? No
Motivation: "To be hip, happening and healthy"
Personality: Painful
Best Moment: None
Worst Moment: Any time she smiled that freaky 'Joker' smile of hers; eating the cake in the aircraft hanger and hamming it up so much; crying at the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge because people weren't fussing over her; talking with Ruth and Kristie as if the three of them had some kind of bond (thankfully the others didn't agree and they voted her off)





Name: Kristie Dignam
Age: 32
From: Perth, Western Australia
Occupation: Company director
Height: 164cm
Starting Weight: 104kg
Ideal Weight: 56kg or 65kg
How's She Going? 91kg according to the website (but she 'water-loaded' this week because she has immunity)
Final Four? Yes
Motivation: "My five kids need a Mum" (and it sounds like their Mum needs her tubes tied)
Personality: She's a strewd game-player, but I'm convinced she's a lovely person
Best Moment: Remembering the labyrinth clue from the day before (Fiona didn't seem to!); joining forces with Wal; doing so well on the sand dunes challenge; breaking down about her father and the issues behind her weigh-gain; winning the bricks challenge; choosing to help Shane rather than Ruth in the bricks challenge
Worst Moment: Helping Ruth and Fiona through the labyrinth; it also annoys me that she can say the word 'immunity' properly (unlike Fiona), but says 'somethink' instead of 'something'





Name: Ruth Almeida De Campos
Age: 28
From: Newcastle, New South Wales
Occupation: Mother
Height: 169cm
Starting Weight: 155kg
Ideal Weight: 85kg
How's She Going? 135kg when eliminated earlier this evening
Final Four? No
Motivation: "New slimline model - coming soon"
Personality: Whinger and weak and a complainer and a defeatist (but nice enough, I guess)
Best Moment: 'Taking Fiona on' in a verbal argument after the room-swap practical joke went awry
Worst Moment: Every time she gives up or breaks down or stops trying (especially with something like the bricks challenge)





Name: Shane Giles
Age: 38
From: Ballarat, Victoria
Occupation: Geologist
Height: 170cm
Starting Weight: 154kg
Ideal Weight: 100kg or 104kg
How's He Going? On track (122kg according to the website)
Final Four? Yes
Motivation: "To be lonely no more"
Personality: Shy and reserved but very sweet and good-humoured
Best Moment: Turning his 48-hour earlier weigh-in into a success ... two weeks in a row! Also, being the quiet achiever who is underestimated to other contestants' peril; his sense of humour and willingness to go along with his beard being shaved off (and yes, he looks much better without it); not to mention how well he did to lead Fiona to victory in the raft challenge - remember, he cut the majority of both pieces of wood with the saw, and they won convincingly; his comeback to Wal for "Red is dead", which was "Blue is through"; being named after a character from Buffy
Worst Moment: I can't really think of one, but the way he watched some other contestants during the earlier episodes of the series made them think he was glaring at them or being creepy - I know this wasn't the case, but unfortunately that's how he came across and coupled together with his shyness and reserved nature, many of the contestants (and presumably viewers as well) had jumped to the wrong conclusions about him




Name: Tracy Moores
Age: 44
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Occupation: Plus size model / stylist
Height: 175cm
Starting Weight: 109kg
Ideal Weight: 70kg or 80kg
How's She Going? Really couldn't care less (98kg when she was eliminated halfway through the series)
Final Four? No
Motivation: "To love with the light on" (too much information - I suspect the producers edited her phrase a bit)
Personality: Pure evil
Best Moment: None
Worst Moment: Almost every incident that involved her: The pathetic mock walk-out after the room-swap practical joke went awry and they stopped at the gate but tried to maintain their self-righteous indignation and pretend it wasn't a lame-as-hell bluff (but it didn't work); her bitchy attacks on Wal, Harry, and everyone in The Red Team; the way she attacked the members of The Red Team when they were down (in her interviews with the camera), and then when The Red Team had the opportunity to do the same to her and didn't, she attacked them anyway and carried on as if The Red Team were the ones who had acted disgracefully (completely hypocritical behaviour - she clearly comes from a very bitter and loveless background to be so vindictive and blind to her own maliciousness); the way she tried to pass herself off as being so mature and intelligent when she was really so incredibly immature and missed the point entirely (particularly in relation to how her alliance with Artie and Fiona brought down the entire Blue Team and how hypocritical her view of The Red Team was)





Name: Vladimir 'Big Wal' Milberg
Age: 42
From: Townsville, Queensland
Occupation: Fireman
Height: 195cm
Starting Weight: 176kg
Ideal Weight: 107kg or 115kg
How's He Going? 140kg when eliminated last week (but I remember the post-show bio on him said he'd lost 51kg when they caught up with him, which puts his weight at 125kg and closing)
Final Four? No
Motivation: "To save more lives"
Personality: A joker and a rough diamond, but seemingly good-natured and a down-to-Earth kind of guy. It should be noted, however, that many people dislike him (not me, though)
Best Moment: Convincing Tracy to hang around rather than walk off - so he could take great pleasure in voting her and Artie off the show a few days later and make no bones about why he was doing so (tell it like it is, Wal! Even when they flatly deny what we've all been seeing on film for weeks!); winning almost everything he competed in; pulling the short straw the one time he wasn't selected by his opposing team to sit-out the challenge (ha!); having the biggest one-week weight-loss in the history of The Biggest Loser
Worst Moment: Having such a go at The Red Team for their evictions in the first couple of weeks (this was his way of stirring things up); his comment "Red is dead" while he was on The Blue Team; taking on Shane's comeback of "Blue is through" once he'd changed to The Red Team; oh, and 'Vladimir'??





Then there are the 'professionals' who help make the show what it is:






Name: Bob ('Robert') Harper
From: Los Angeles, California, USA
Role On TBL: Initially Trainer of The Blue Team; now Co-Trainer to all remaining contestants
Personality: Cheerful and encouraging
Best Moments: Returning from his mother's funeral in LA to meet up again with The Blue Team; joking around with Fiona about her tears; To Ruth: "There's no crying on the beach!"
Worst Moments: Only thanking The Blue Team for their support during his mother's funeral (when The Red Team also spoke well of him and wished him all the best and dealt with it alongside The Blue Team); not publicly thanking Jillian for training both teams during his absence (I'm sure he thanked her, but it didn't go to air)





Name: Jillian Michaels
From: Los Angeles, California, USA
Role On TBL: Initially Trainer of The Red Team; now Co-Trainer to all remaining contestants
Personality: Someone who seems to motivate by raising her voice; generally seen to be angry; is more kind and wise than she is probably given credit for being
Best Moments: To Wal: "Get up, woman!"; jumping into Shane's arms and hugging him when she discovered that he was still there and Wal was the one who had been eliminated; helping Kristie and Ruth deal with deep emotional baggage in their lives that have contributed to their weigh-gain; helping Fiona with her sore ankle after the latter fell off a walking machine that was turned off at the time (when Bob appeared not to be interested - in fact, one of them had to continue training everyone else)
Worst Moments: Trying to appear as an equal Trainer to Bob when she clearly hasn't got the contestants' respect as much as he has; forcing Shane to shave off his beard before he was perhaps ready for that psychological barrier to be removed; telling the girls to "get your flops" when they were heading off to the beach (she meant 'flip-flops', or jandals, or thongs, depending on where you live - these are the pieces of footwear she meant, but 'flops' doesn't translate well from American!); her insistance on pronouncing 'Queensland' as 'Queenslynd'





Name: Ajay (sometimes spelt 'AJ') Rochester
From: Sydney, New South Wales
Role On TBL: Host (which means she has to say all those cheesy lines)
Personality: Lovely, and she has quite the weight-loss story to tell! (Check out her bio on the website)






So what's my gripe with the show? (If you noticed the title of this post, you could be forgiven for wondering where I'm headed with this.) Well, unfortunately I don't think the title of 'The Biggest Loser' is necessarily going to be awarded to the right person, come the finale. Clearly, Wal has been the show's biggest loser. The fact that he was eliminated because he's a threat to the other contestants only goes to prove that fact even more. But because of all the other things they fill the show with (the teams, the votes, the challenges, the temptations, the immunity, the percentages, the rewards and so on) losing weight simply isn't enough. In fact, to win the game, you've got to come middle-of-the-road throughout the series (in order to avoid elimination), or win absolutely everything so you are never in a position to be voted off. It's crazy; even Wal couldn't keep avoiding the elimination room.

Now I know this way is more entertaining and it can still be anyone's game, but unlike The Amazing Race, this show isn't based on luck and opportunity. Or it shouldn't be. The Biggest Loser purports to be all about having a healthier dietary and exercise regime, and losing as much weight as you can. When David, Cat, Harry and Wal are off the show, you've got to wonder what the hell it's really coming down to.

Adro, Fiona, even Kristie ... these people don't have massive amounts of weight to continue losing (I'm not saying they're super-slim already). 'The Biggest Loser' is just a weird title to bestow on someone who has lost a lot less than the other contestants who were eliminated because they were doing too well!

I dunno. I'm of two minds about the whole thing. I hope Kristie or Shane wins it, but I think Wal deserved it.

And if you agree with me that he played a great game, did exceptionally well in the challenges and on the scales, and managed to entertain the masses while he was at it, then in the end, didn't we all lose out?




.

8 Comments:

At Tuesday, April 04, 2006 12:32:00 am, Blogger thr said...

B-man,

Frankly I think AJ has put back a shedload of weight. Forall teh weight she's lost- she claims to be a size 12. pffft! 16 more like

Wal for President!

Thr

 
At Tuesday, April 04, 2006 12:28:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

I agree - at first I wondered why she was doing the show if she was so big, but I guess that might not be fair, considering what she's been through.

However, not everyone is going to know her story or research it for themselves. Maybe they should have done a brief 'spot' on her in the first episode, so we had some context.

Or maybe she should be doing the dieting and training that the contestants are doing, but not being weighed or being put up for eviction?

If Wal's going to be President, Kristie should be his Vice. And Shane can be Speaker of the House or something ...

 
At Wednesday, April 05, 2006 12:07:00 am, Blogger abetterjulie said...

They cheat by using kilograms! It just isn't as impressive that way.

 
At Wednesday, April 05, 2006 1:14:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

I can't tell if you're trying to goad me into an argument, here, or not.

A friendly argument if any, of course. :)

America is reportedly the only place left in the world that hasn't yet "gotten with the program" and switched to the more logical and easier to understand/translate metric system.

They're not cheating - it's an Australian show and in Australia we don't talk in terms of pounds and ounces.

Just like we all do in relation to mathematics and currency, the rest of the world works in a Base 10 system when it comes to measurements.

Even American Star Trek creators knew that the metric system was the way of the future, and in their version of the 23rd century, the metric system is the universal system used by all. In fact, they often make little jokes about how long it took "the America of the early 21st century" to stop dragging its heels and join everyone else in the real world.

But I'm not going to be goaded ...

Hehe.

(Even if you were just being funny, I enjoyed researching this topic on Wiki and hope the links inspire further reading for all ... Can you tell I was trained to be a teacher?)

 
At Wednesday, April 05, 2006 3:37:00 pm, Blogger Riss said...

Wal still has a chance of winning the other Biggest Loser prize... They play the game in the house to win the $200,000 and whittle it down to whoever loses the most out of three, but then the rest of the contestants have a chance to win also - maybe Wal is going to do well there and beat Tracy and Artie again.
At least with the US version we had some idea of the fame of the personality hosting the show but I haven't ever heard of AJ. After reading her bio, I am amazed at what she has overcome. There was a small mention of her weight loss when the contestants arrived at the house for the first time but I had no idea about the rest.
The show has motivated me to join a gym again after about 10 years so it can't be too bad, really.

 
At Wednesday, April 05, 2006 4:24:00 pm, Blogger BEVIS said...

Actually, I didn't want to say anything too soon, but I get the feeling Wal (and the other eliminated contestants - but especially Wal) might still have a chance to take out the main prize.

Rumour has it one of the eliminated contestants will be brought back into the running. You heard it here first!

Stay tuned ...

 
At Wednesday, April 05, 2006 7:55:00 pm, Anonymous ZlatkoT said...

I totally agree about The Biggest Loser not being juxtaposed with it's contestants. Kristie & Fiona I feel are whingers, they cry but once they win a challenge they act all smug, or if there is any alliance formation, it is only to win the money, NOT to lose weight which is something i've found that made the American version much more appealing, if I want to watch some random person win money i'll watch Wheel Of Unfortune.
Still I hope Shane wins, he & Wal have probably been the only two IMXO who look majorly hot & different.

 
At Sunday, April 09, 2006 1:02:00 am, Blogger BEVIS said...

ZlatkoT, welcome! Well, like I hinted before, it looks like Wal or one of the other eliminated contestants could be coming back into the game this week. You can probably tell that much from the ads they're currently playing.

And because Shane and Fiona are below the yellow line this week, I really think Shane's time is up. Adro and Kristie would be stupid to keep Shane in the final three with them, as he has a much better chance at beating them in the finale than Fiona does. (But as you know, I'd prefer that Wal, Shane or Kirstie - in that order - won it.)

We'll just have to wait and see what happens!

 

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