'The Biggest Loser' Begins Season 11
'The Biggest Loser' Begins Season 11
Eleanor Bryan
Eleanor Bryan
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Welcome to Season 11, where the contestants are beefier, Jillian makes a pledge to stop yelling, and we have silhouettes lurking around, claiming to be new trainers. It's a brave new world out there, people! Things are changing! We have the biggest cast in Biggest Loser history, a new mystery location, and two new mystery trainers! It's like a whole new show!

New Twists and Turns

This season the contestants play as couples. See them all get the news that they made the show:

What is interesting to note is that over half of the couples this season are parents and their children. During the initial weigh-in, Bob makes a comment about this being the new norm for the typical American family, which is incredibly depressing but true. Three minutes into the show, we already have a very perky Alison wearing a very confusing dress and talking to us about obesity rates while workout footage plays in slow-mo behind her. (Seriously, the dress is hot pink with some kind of zipper/scarf combo at the neck. There is also some kind of lapel going on there. I want to know who dresses this woman, I really do.) 

Everyone shuffles into the gym. They are all apple-cheeked and peppy, cheering and generally thrilled to be there. Due to the workout footage I have just seen, I am simultaneously proud of their enthusiasm and terrified for them.  Why aren't they shaking in their little sneakers?

Bob and Jillian come in amid cheers and hug everyone. They ask why everyone looks so happy. They laugh delightedly at the thought of the grueling workouts these people will suffer at their hands. Alison tells us that coming up is the MOST SHOCKING TWIST IN BIGGEST LOSER HISTORY. After the weigh-in, of course.


The first team up is the Brown team, Ken and Austin. They are the first of several father-son teams this season. They say that obesity runs in their family, and Austin reveals that he is used to blaming his family for his weight. It breaks my heart to see his dad Ken's face when he says this. Austin and Ken weigh in at 773.

Courtney and Marci, the Aqua team, are up next. Their family runs both a Dairy Queen and a health club. Courtney is only 21 and, at 323, is the largest girl on the show. Prior to shooting, she has already lost over 100 pounds at home, so her attitude is one of the best. She knows what it is like to work, and she seems excited to be pummeled into the ground and yelled at. Bob and Jillian already love her, especially Bob. Her mom, Marci weighs 238.

The Orange team consists of Ana and Irene. They are a mother and daughter pair. Their combined weight is 510. 

Next is the Red team, Q and Larialmy. They are husband and wife and weigh 738. 

The Pink team is a mother-daughter pairing. Deni and Sarah weigh 517 pounds combined. After being weighed, Sara reveals that, two months prior to coming to the ranch, she lost her second pregnancy due to her weight. 

The Blue team is another father-son pairing, this time of Arthur and Jesse. At 507 pounds and standing at 5'8", Arthur is the largest person that TBL has ever had on the show. Jesse, his father, is 293. Arthur has already lost more than 150 pounds but still has to lose 300 pounds to reach his goal weight. However, Jesse has to be the nicest, friendliest, most upbeat person I have probably ever seen. If I had to lose 300 pounds, I would want Jesse to be there while I was doing it. 

The Green team is the father-daughter pairing of Jen and Jay. They clock in at 678. At this point, we've been through a lot of emotions and seven weigh-ins. Alison manages to keep a perfectly controlled level of concern on her face the entire time. I wonder if it is painted on?

Sisters Hannah and Olivia are the Purple team, and they weigh in at 509.

The Gray team is father-daughter team Moses and Kaylee. Moses weighs 440, and Kaylee weighs 233. 

The Black team consists of twin brothers Dan and Don. If I were ever to do a scientific experiment, I would use these two guys. Dan and Don look so much alike as to be almost indistinguishable. They are both cops, both live in the same town and both have incredibly sad stories. Don shares that his son recently disowned him because he was so disgusted by his father's obesity. Dan's son, on the other hand, died a year ago as the result of a drug overdose. As a cop, Dan feels that he has failed both as a father and as a policeman. Before his son's death, he had lost 100 pounds, much to his son's pride, but since the death he has gained it all back. 

The final team is the Yellow team, and the heaviest team on TBL this year. That's including the team with the heaviest guy on TBL history. The Yellow team consists of Rulon, former Olympic gold medalist in Greco-Roman wrestling, and his friend Justin. They clock in at a combined 839 pounds. While they are the heaviest team this season, I think they could do very well due to Rulon's previous athletic training and his familiarity with this type of physical discipline. Bob says that it is not uncommon for people who have spent their lives dedicated to one extreme of fitness, he says, can just as easily slide into the other extreme. 

See the contestants get some messages from home:


After everyone has been weighed, introduced, and the necessary tears have been shed, Alison reveals the first of this seasons many surprises. The first night will not contain a workout, but rather their very first challenge. She tells the contestants that no one will be getting eliminated. Rather, they will be competing for trainers. Everyone is so relieved! Both Bob and Jillian are great! Either one will be fine! 

But wait. Alison reveals that this season there will be two. New. Trainers. Two new trainers?! Impossible!  Everyone is outraged. Some of the contestants seem to be legitimately angry.  How can it be The Biggest Loser with anyone but Bob and Jillian?  Everyone rants and raves and I begin to feel a little sorry for the two mysterious people, standing in silhouette all the way off-camera.  I wonder how long they had to stand there with the spotlight and the wind machine, posing and being shadowy, with no one wanting to be on their team? 

But wait! It's not over! Alison reveals that, at the end of the challenge, each team will be able to pick between Bob and Jillian and immunity for a week, or the Mystery Trainers and immunity for four weeks. Everyone gets a little perkier.

Alison points each group of two to a manual treadmill. They can take turns and organize the work however they want to, but the order in which the teams finish a 5K is the order in which they will get to pick their trainers. So it begins.

A 5K to Remember 

The Yellow team starts off very quickly. Their goal, according to Rulon, is to set a quick pace and then tag the other one as soon as they feel they can't go any further. It seems to work for them, and they are the first ones to finish a kilometer. Gray comes in second, followed by Aqua. Courtney actually says, "Hell no. This Olympic gold medalist is not going to beat me!" Bob is in love with Courtney. I think Bob might want to marry Courtney at this point. 

Yellow and Gray struggle for the lead. Kaylee, of the Gray team, is running on the treadmill where most are just walking. Moses, her dad, is so proud of her that it makes my heart melt a little.

Yellow finishes first, followed by Gray, Aqua, Green, Brown, Purple, Pink, Red, Orange, Blue and then Black.The Black team is kind of sweetly bewildered to discover that they are in such bad shape.

The Yellow team picks the Unknowns, who are still standing in the mysterious shadows. This totally floors me. I had thought that everyone would go with Bob and Jillian, for sure, but apparently four weeks of immunity is just too good a deal for most people, because the Gray team goes with the Unknowns, too. 

Other teams are a combination of relieved that there are still spots left with Bob and Jillian, and outraged that anyone would NOT pick Bob and Jillian. Courtney in particular looks like she wants to hit them right in the face for being so stupid. She, of course, picks Bob and Jillian. The Green team also picks Bob and Jillian. The Brown team picks the Unknowns and immunity. The Purple team picks Bob and Jillian. The Pink team picks the Unknowns. The Red team is up next. At this point, if they pick the Unknowns, their camp will fill up and all the other teams will automatically go with Bob and Jillian. The Red team goes with the Unknowns, and I am shocked. I never thought the Unknowns would fill up first, and apparently neither did Alison because she is looking about as surprised as Alison ever looks. 

First Workout

The next morning, Bob and Jillian's team explain what happened. Bob and Jillian play clueless, as if they have no idea what the entire focus of this season is. Their acting is kind of hilarious as they pretend to be shocked at the addition of the new trainers. "These people picked us!" they say to the cameras. "If they go home now, it will be all our faults because they trusted us and we let them down." Bob and Jillian do a sad face at the camera for about four seconds before they go into mega mode and get everyone on the treadmills. Jillian says that she is "not going to yell this season, but rather ask people to do what she wants." Bob thinks this is hilarious and says so over clips of Jillian screaming herself hoarse at every single contestant. "I WILL BE IN YOUR FACE LIKE THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY," she tells Dan (or is it Don?), nicely. 

Soon, people are puking, falling over and of course, sliding off the treadmill onto the floor. Bob and Jillian love this because then they get to stand on said fallen person and shout discouraging things at them. This time, it's Arthur and Bob yells, "HOW MUCH DO YOU WEIGH?" at him about five times.

Super Top-Secret Undisclosed Location Fit Camp 

Suddenly, we are in Super Top-Secret Undisclosed Location Fit Camp. OK, so they don't call it that, but they do scroll the words "Unknown Training Base" across the bottom of the screen like in a spy movie. We get a voiceover of both the unknown trainers talking about themselves. The guy is some kind of martial artist and was "pre-med science," whatever that means. He equates his "pre-med science" with why he is such a good trainer.  Because training is science. 

The girl is a boxer. She wants to teach her contestants to fight. Still, we only get to see their backs. We still don't know who they are, but we do know that they are self-described badasses. I guess that's something?

Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch

Bob takes Arthur outside and they do some soul-searching. Apparently Arthur is another former athlete who has let his athletic prowess go to seed. Though he was never an Olympian like Rulon, he was an All-American football player in high school and attributes his weight gain to getting a desk job and "just not moving anymore." He has already lost 150 pounds and is frustrated at the thought of having to lose another 300. He calls it "losing my dad," because 300 is almost what his father, Jesse, weighs. Bob encourages him not to think of that but to instead to focus on each day as it comes. They bond, and once again I am amazed at how Bob and Jillian can be so mean to these people and are still met with their unconditional love. Stockholm Syndrome?

Oh, and just for fun at the end of the day Jillian makes them push her pickup truck up and down a couple of hills. No big deal.


At the weigh-in, we find out that Unknowns will not be present tonight. Because they're too secret, I guess. It feels weird to not see half the contestants for a whole month, but Alison does reveal that the Yellow team had a combined weight loss of 59 pounds, and that Moses lost a whopping 41 pounds, which is a record in Biggest Loser history.

The Aqua team goes first. They lost 29 pounds for a total of 5.17%.

The Blue team lost 38 pounds for a total of 4.75%. Arthur lost 31 pounds but Jesse only lost 7, and the look on his face is so sad when he sees his number and feels like he let his boy down. Aw. Also, Alison tells the Blue team that they are the heaviest team in the competition, but they actually aren't. It's the Yellow team. Maybe her awful dress is confusing her. I know it's confusing me.

The Green team lost 46 pounds for a total of 6.78%.

The Purple team lost 32 pounds for a total of 6.29%. I am so glad to see women doing well this season!

The Orange team lost only 22 pounds and 4.31%. If they don't beat the Black team, they will be going home. The Black team loses 40 pounds and 6.71%!  For two guys who have never worked out before, this is a big deal and they are happy.  However, this means that either Irene or Ana of the Orange team will have to go home.

See their plea:


The elimination is short and sweet, with limited drama because this is, after all, only the first episode. As mother and daughter, both Irene and Ana think the other one deserves to stay.  Ana wants her daughter to have an experience she never did, and Irene wants her mother to stay because it is more critical to her health. 

Both Aqua and Green vote for Ana to go home because both of these are parent-child teams, and they agree with Ana's impulse to save her daughter over herself. Purple votes for Irene to go home because Irene asked them to, but then Blue votes for Ana to go home because they are both fathers and understand the need to protect your child. Irene tells Ana that she is her biggest fan and they have a tearful goodbye.

It's all OK though! Since being home, Ana is down to 205, and she looks pretty sexy. She loses weight by salsa dancing! That's probably the most fun way to burn calories that I have ever heard of.

So there we have it. The big, mysterious first episode of the new season contained some surprises, but in all the episode wasn't anything we aren't used to. We still hung around with Bob and Jillian and watched people throw up. Our Unknown people were kept ... well, unknown. Do you think we'll see more of them next week?

Be sure to check out our early picks for the final four!

(Image courtesy of NBC)