The Biggest Loser: Episode 1 (season premiere)
by Jason Hughes, posted Sep 16th 2009 12:48AM
(S08E01) Last year was the first time that I got sucked into The Biggest Loser. But I was quickly drawn in by the inspirational work these contestants were doing to transform their bodies and their lives. And, as with any reality show, I got hooked by many of their dynamic personalities.
One contestant stood out early on. Mainly because Daniel Wright was the largest contestant in the history of the show. But it was his spirit that stood out even more. I was crushed when he was cut from the show, largely because of the poor attitude his partner displayed. But, as reported earlier, Daniel's back again this season as a part of their theme of "Second Chances."
That's not the only change going on at The Biggest Loser Ranch. The "Couples" theme is back, but unlike in past seasons where people came onto the show in pre-existing pairings, this time they meet on the Ranch and then form into couples. From there, they will stay or go based on their combined weight loss percentages.
The final "twist" involves a major change with the trainers. Don't worry, Bob and Jillian aren't going anywhere. They're the heart and soul of the show ... in that order. In a brilliant move by the producers, they've eliminated the competition between trainers. No longer will it be Team Bob versus Team Jillian. Now it's team Biggest Loser with two trainers working side-by-side.
This is so much better for the contestants. Different people are motivated differently, and as anyone who's watched the show knows, Bob and Jillian come at their training from opposing angles. Both are compassionate and demanding, but Bob shows support while Jillian utilizes brute force of will. Together, they're a force to be reckoned with.
This is good news, because The Biggest Loser has broken their own record. There are four guys who weigh more than 400 pounds. And there's Shay, coming in as the new heaviest contestant in Biggest Loser history. In one of the many touching moments of the night, Daniel selected her to be his partner. He's been there, and he feels he can motivate her.
He's going to have his work cut out for him, because she tried to quit on the very first day. The Biggest Loser is hard work. Right now, it's easy to see a bunch of overweight people who've done this to themselves. Nobody made them eat all that food and sit around and get enormous, so we judge them harshly and dismiss them. But it's the people trapped inside of those bodies that we fall in love with. Right now they're as much victims of their own minds as they are their bodies.
To show how bad it's gotten, the season started with a 1-mile run/walk. And two of them wound up in the hospital. One of them was still there when the episode wrapped, having missed the entire first week of the competition. Luckily, she had her partner there to help pull her through. More than ever, The Biggest Loser is trying to show us what we as a country have done to ourselves. These people are us, or they will be if we don't change.
Casting did a fantastic job of pulling this season together. Already, there are several contestants that I'm rooting for. You can't help but have your heart broken by Abby's story of losing her entire family in a car accident. And Sean, one of the heaviest contestants, was somebody I expected to not like when we first met him. I'm not sure what it was, but by the end of this first episode, he was someone I was rooting for.
The thing about The Biggest Loser is that you can feel good about supporting almost anyone on the show. They're all doing something positive for themselves and their families. How can we not get behind that?
There was some pretty slick editing. Without noticing it, by the time the night ended and Alexandra was sent packing, I didn't even realize that she'd had almost no screen time. We had no real opportunity to get to know her, so her elimination didn't impact the feel-good vibe of the show in the slightest.