'The Biggest Loser' goes to Texas

Here's John-John on last night's Biggest Loser:

What an episode for O’Neal! I knew he was in danger of being eliminated from the show when he mentioned those cursed words “I need to win immunity.” The phrase has become the kiss of death in the reality television world. Last night’s episode of The Biggest Loser was no exception.

The cast uprooted from the familiar digs at The Biggest Loser ranch for the super sized monstrosity known as Texas. (Note from SKK: Hey, careful, that's my home state you are talking about!!) The show took every opportunity possible to relate the size of the state to the size of the contestants — and in a larger sense Americans as a whole. It was beyond lame. But what would The Biggest Loser be without force-fed messages, not-so subtle product placement, and overly dramatic cast members?


Anywho, the cast comes to Texas, which has some of the most obese people in the country, according to host Allison Sweeney. (I'm not sure Texas has the most obese people in the country — it’s a state that has far less commercial appeal, I suspect.) The contestants literally hit the ground running when they arrive by participating in a 5k run. Along the way they meet other Americans struggling with weight. Blah, blah, blah.

Somehow the gang finds themselves at a rodeo for the challenge because whatTexas visit would be complete without a visit to the rodeo for cattle herding? That’s right, immunity went to the contestant who could herd the most cattle into a holding pen.

O’Neal says that he has to win immunity this week. (Foreshadowing.) He tries his best. His daughter Sunshine even starts to help him. (Shouldn’t that have been against the rules?) But it doesn’t matter. Koli winds up winning the challenge.

After the rodeo, the show devotes a huge chunk of time to promote Jillian’s new spin-off show Losing It With Jillian Michaels. Jillian reunites with season 8 contestant Abby for a trip to a local high school. Jillian addresses a gym full of high school students about the importance of a healthy lifestyle. (I just love how the cameras zero in on all the overweight teens in the audience. Really classy.) One overweight teen, Addison, stands up in front of the entire school and essentially breaks down as she laments to Jillian that she will never be skinny. Jillian winds up taking the teen for a one-on-one talk. She tells her not to give up, yadda, yadda, yadda.

At the last chance workout, we learn that O’Neal’s brother has died, so O’Neal and Sunshine are at the funeral and won’t be back until the weigh in. It becomes crystal clear that O’Neal is either going to have an epic weight loss or he’s a goner. At the weigh-in, O’Neal and Sunshine are in the bottom two.

O’Neal begs the group to send him home and let Sunshine continue. The group follows his wishes. Koli and Sam refer to O’Neal as their “uncle.” Sunshine channels Meryl Streep again and lets the waterworks loose. (I know it has been an emotional episode for Sunshine, but she cries like this every week. It’s made me even more unaffected about her pain.)

In the update, O’Neal shows that he’s a lot more mobile than when he first started the competition. He doesn’t have to push back his car seat all the way; he can walk with the mailmen, and he can ride on his motorcycle with his wife. Oh yeah, he’s lost 159 pounds. He’ll definitely be in contention for the most weight loss award at the finale!

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