Welcome. Back. Jillian. Have you missed her? Oh gosh, I have. Jillian is back this season with the show’s main focus shifting to combating childhood obesity. There are three child contestants this season: Sunny (16), Noah — aka “Bingo” (13), and Lindsay (13). The rules are different for them, as they should be. These three will spend some time on the ranch, but will stay mostly at home. The trainers will check in with them regularly and they have immunity for the entire season. While there has been some controversy with having contestants that are kids, the way they have the rules set for them makes it a brilliant example of the ongoing need to put an end to childhood obesity. The kids are called “Ambassadors for Change” on the show, and simply want to fix their respective eating habits while they’re still young.

The Return of Jillian

Now for the trainers. Enter Bob, and the crowd predictably goes wild. He is the only face on the show that has been there since the very first season. How does this man still look the same as he did back then? Perhaps his whole “healthy lifestyle” thing could be the key? Next up is Dolvett. Mr. Hard Work, Dedication. Let’s be honest, he’s a beautiful man with an incredible attitude. Last, but not least, Ms. Jillian Michaels. She makes her entrance through the audience and pounces on Bob the moment she reaches the stage. She’s a new mother of two. Will that change her training style? We’ll soon see.

The Adult Contestants

Fifteen keys lay on the table. Allison begins announcing the new owners of those keys. The keys that go to the Biggest Loser house. The contestants are in the audience and have not been notified on whether or not they’ve made it onto the show. This is their moment! We have Michael (34) weighing in at 444 lbs, Lisa (36) weighing in at 246 lbs, Jackson (21) weighing in at 328 lbs, Nathan (25) weighing in at 359 lbs, Pam (43) weighing in at 237 lbs, Joe (43) weighing in at 364 lbs, Francelina (25) weighing in at 267 lbs, Cate (27) weighing in at 237 lbs, Gina (47) weighing in at 245 lbs, Nikki (26) weighing in at 280 lbs, Alex (24) weighing in at 240 lbs, Jeff (24) weighing in at 388 lbs, David (51) weighing in at 307 lbs, Danni (25) weighing in at 258 lbs and TC (30) weighing in at 376 lbs. 

The First Workout

The crew arrives at the gym all dressed in black. The teams have been decided and are listed in front of each trainer. The teams are red for Dolvett’s team, white for Jillian’s and, of course, blue is Bob’s. Dolvett has Francelina, Joe, Lisa, Jackson and Cate. Jillian has TC, Pam, Nathan, Nikki and Danni. Bob has Michael, David, Jeff, Gina and Alex. Jillian makes it clear that even though they are split into teams, all trainers will be available to all players at any time, as they are all working towards the same goal. 

Dolvett decides to train the kids first and Bob and Jillian will train the adults. Dolvett runs a baseball-themed workout, inspired by Bingo. Watching these kids with their positive attitudes and the effort that they’re putting in makes me cry. It’s just so incredibly inspiring that kids today truly have a better understanding of healthy living than I ever did as a child. There’s no doubt that they are inspiring kids at home who are watching. 

Back to the gym with the grown-ups. Everyone is always so scared and so excited for the first workout. I’m assuming the tears and vomit will be arriving shortly. Jillian gives everyone a warning at the start to “not touch the treadmills!” She threatens to add time to the workout if anyone does. Yes. I’ve missed you, Ms. Michaels. Nathan is the first one to trip and roll off the treadmill. He gets back up and keeps truckin’. Jackson goes down next and actually passes out. Nathan falls for a third time and Jillian loses it. She kicks him out, which may seem harsh, but it gets him closer to the root of the problem, and he breaks down right outside of the gym. 

Dolvett sends Bob out for his turn with the kids. He looks around and sees exactly what he expected: vomit and contestants down on the floor. Jillian kicks TC out next. Then Nikki gets the boot. She’s not settling for excuses. She’s not settling for anything less than exactly what she’s asking for. Conclusion: Jillian does not turn soft, you guys. Not in the slightest. She pulls the three aside that got kicked out of the first workout. She gives them a choice. Either do what she asks and give the effort she requires by the end of the week, or she will ask them to go home. 

Then it’s Jillian’s turn with the kids. The workout is over and she spends some time talking to the kids about being bullied. She shares her story of when she was an overweight child. The kids share theirs. It’s heartbreaking. And the reality is, that is happening in so many places to other kids right now. 

The Challenge

The first challenge takes place in a ball pit with letters that the kids will help the adults locate. The phrase that needs to be spelled out is “The Biggest Loser.” The kids will hover over the ball pit attached to a sling and a harness and can see where each letter is located from up above. The adults go in for a letter one at a time. All are working for the prize of a 5-lb. advantage at the weigh-in. The kids have a blast directing the adults. 

At the end of the challenge, the White Team comes out the victor. That should make Jillian proud! The kids are about to leave the Ranch and continue on at home. They each leave with a prize pack full of bikes, Biggest Loser workout DVDs and an iPad to be able to communicate with their trainers. 

The Last Chance Workout

The first last chance workout is always the best. It’s so intense and the contestants are still completely out of their element. Jillian decides that the 5-lb. advantage doesn’t matter, and she plans on beating the crap out of the three contestants that got kicked out in the first workout. Cue more tears and vomit. Turns out, when TC isn’t quitting, he’s a bit of a screamer. TC and Nate give it their all and Jillian is pleased. 

Nikki isn’t progressing at all. The emotional aspect of the experience is so far beyond what she was expecting. Sorry guys, but I’m not okay with this B.S. She must’ve seen the show before applying. The physical aspect is there, sure. But the actual change occurs emotionally. Because that’s the only way the physical change will stick. You cannot go on this show and claim that it’s too hard and not what you were expecting. It just isn’t fair. It isn’t fair to the thousands of people that tried out and didn’t make it. The spots of quitters do not get filled. There will still be an elimination. Why not just stick it out? How can you face your family after willingly leaving the show? But she’s gone. Hopefully, she can figure out a way to face this on her own.

The Weigh-In

Week one this season means no yellow line. Only a red. This means that there will be no vote, no lifting of silver platters. Just an automatic elimination for the member of the losing team with the lowest percentage of weight loss. 

The White Team goes first with their 5-lb. advantage. Now down one teammate, the advantage is certainly a gift. TC goes up first. The man that got kicked out of the gym the first day gets a 15-lb. loss on the dreaded BL scale. GO, TC! Pam is up next and ends up with a 10-lb. loss. Then Nathan with a 20-lb. loss. And finally, Danni, who pulls a whopping 19-lb. loss! The total lbs. lost is 69, with an overall percentage of 5.61%. 

The Red Team is up next and needs to lose more than 80 lbs. to beat white. Lisa starts them off with a 16-lb. loss. Jackson ends up with a 22-lb. loss. Francelina loses 19 lbs. Cate loses 12 lbs. Joe is the last one to go and needs to lose more than 11 lbs. for red to be safe. Joe saves the day with a huge 26-lb. loss. Way to go, Joe! The overall loss for red is 95 lbs. and a percentage of 6.59%. 

Last up is the Blue Team. Blue needs a loss of 92 lbs. to beat white and avoid elimination. Jeff heads up and loses 29 lbs. Michael loses 21 lbs. David loses 20 lbs. Alex loses 9 lbs. Gina is up last and needs to lose 13 lbs. for the team’s safety. Screw 13, Gina gets up there and loses 15 lbs! The overall loss for blue is 94 lbs. and a percentage of 5.79 %.

This means that Jillian will be losing another player. And that player is ….. (Argh, I hate you, commercial break!)

TC gets the ax with the lowest percentage of weight loss. It’s sad to see him go. But my favorite part of each episode is the check-in with the eliminated contestants. We learn that TC went from 376 lbs. when he arrived on the ranch to his new weight of 320 lbs. Wow. He’s happy and is now able to actually play with his kids. TC’s goal for the finale is to reach his goal weight of 245 lbs. Good luck, TC!

Compete in Fantasy TV: Make your picks on who you think will be going home. Hurry, you have until Monday January 7 at 12pm PST to decide.

As usual, I finish watching an episode of The Biggest Loser with a tear-streamed t-shirt and unshakable motivation. I cannot wait to see the ups and downs of each contestant’s weight loss journey this season. An all new episode airs Monday at 8pm on NBC.

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(Image courtesy of NBC)

Chrissa Hardy

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV