the biggest loser – Wade on Birmingham News, features and essays about Birmingham and Alabama Thu, 01 Mar 2018 03:47:34 +0000 en-US hourly 1 2407551 Sneak peek: Ruben Studdard on “The Biggest Loser” Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:00:27 +0000 Ruben Studdard, The Biggest Loser

The last time he won a reality TV competition 10 years ago, Ruben Studdard donned a “205” jersey.

This season, the Birmingham singer sports the “462,” his starting weight as the heaviest contestant on “The Biggest Loser.”

Studdard, the winner of “American Idol” in 2003, will be among the 15 contestants competing for a $250,000 grand prize, awarded to the one who loses the highest percentage of weight.

The NBC show enters its 15th season.

Age 34 when the competition began, he comes in not only with a weight problem, but also sleep apnea, high blood pressure and diabetes. Studdard is the first celebrity contestant among the 300 in the show’s history.

Even the show itself is slimming down, with most episodes to run 1 hour instead of the usual 2.

“The Biggest Loser” premieres at 7 p.m. Oct. 8 on Alabama’s 13. The finale will air Feb. 4.

Video: A look at season 15 of “The Biggest Loser,”
with a shocking announcement for Ruben Studdard

Video: The first workout. Ruben: “Realizing I was
the heaviest guy on the ranch was an eye-opening
experience for me.”

Video: Interview with Ruben Studdard

More coverage of “The Biggest Loser.”


]]> 0 16993
Wade on April 2008 Mon, 30 Jun 2008 06:22:35 +0000 April, one more time

Then and now

Fed up: Since the campaign last fall, we knew this was a possibility, a dark cloud on the horizon. And so, it has happened.

The Securities and Exchange Commission filed a civil complaint against Mayor Larry Langford, alleging he took cash to help friends profit from sewer system bond swap deals while he served on the Jefferson County Commission. As you may recall, mishandling of the sewer has put the county on the brink of record bankruptcy, not to mention convicting three former commissioners.

Not a peep from the SEC since April, but Langford has talked to the media, most notably this interview with WBHM (90.3 FM).

And if you need a preview of the defendant’s possible testimony in court, we have the video, after the jump …

The life of a Loser: Roger Shultz ended his run on “The Biggest Loser: Couples” with some triumphs: winning America’s vote to compete in the Top Three, setting a record (most pounds lost on campus), losing 164 pounds in six months and winning $50,000 in second place.

Relive the two-hour live finale in our extended real-time recap, or watch it right here. (Hurry: Video expires at the end of today.)

More at

Pray anything: Mayor Langford bought thousands of sackcloths to hold his own prayer rally at Boutwell Auditorium. His intent was to do something about the city’s rising crime rate.

In case you missed your chance to commune with the faithful, a few video highlights:

Haiku flashback

parking fowl [April 8]

Hen, rooster and chicks
roam strip mall asphalt in search
of pasture and worms.

More haiku.

• • •

Archives: April

Special report: Wade on 2008

]]> 0 1718
Wade on January 2008 Wed, 25 Jun 2008 13:35:01 +0000 January, one more time

Then and now

The road to skinny: Our extended coverage of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” began with former Alabama linemen Roger Shultz and Trent Patterson. Shultz, an Enterprise native, went on to take second place while losing his day job at Jacksonville State.

He does still have his radio show and has embarked on the post-reality show career of choice: appearances! This weekend, he’ll be at a celebrity charity weekend in Orange Beach. But he still has time for the kids, like stopping by a fourth-grade class at Helena Intermediate School in May.

Check out the slimmed-down Shultz, plus more news updates, after the jump …

More on his visit at the Abundant Lakeridge Life.
Even more at

Nine for fighting: Presidential party nominees John McCain and Barack Obama visited Alabama, seeking to earn its nine electoral votes in the early primary. Also visiting that month was former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee.

Meanwhile, former Senator Fred Thompson ended his run for the White House after a five-month campaign. The Sheffield native has returned to acting, having signed with the William Morris Agency.

More coverage in Vote 2008.

Hot on the ‘Trail’: Author Kim Sunée chatted with us about her first book, “Trail of Crumbs: Hunger, Love, and the Search for Home.” Since then, she has toured the country for signings and appearances. In addition, she returned to South Korea in May, not only to promote her memoirs but also to resume the search, which she writes about on her blog and talks about in this TV documentary.

Life in the pit: Once, he was part of the county commission. Now, he’s the manager of a Pell City barbecue restaurant. Oh, and he took bribes tied to the $3 billion sewer fiasco.

A federal jury in Montgomery convicted Gary White of nine counts of conspiracy and bribery, the third commissioner to be found guilty. Since then, he won the right to a new trial in Tuscaloosa. And the place where he pushes the collards and recommends the pulled over chopped? The Golden Rule.

Haiku flashback

the meaning of … [Jan. 20]

To find meaning, look
around and deep within. To
have meaning, be good.

More haiku.

• • •

Archives: January

Special report: Wade on 2008

]]> 0 1618
Weight and See: Those last 10 pounds Tue, 15 Apr 2008 23:54:30 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" live recap for 4/15/08, season finale

Plus details on how to see Roger Shultz in person this weekend ...

‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ live recap, episode 16 (season finale)
By Ginny and Wade

Roger Shultz of Enterprise takes his last last weigh-in. Can he make it to the final three of “The Biggest Loser”? And will he win the $250,000 grand prize?

The live recap of the live two-hour finale — plus details on where you can meet him in person this weekend — after the jump …

Bama Slammers Fanners.

6:58 p.m. CDT … Ginny: I’m already excited, but I’m bracing myself for Roger’s inevitable early exit at the hand of the Ali machine.

I almost hope Mark loses more weight than Roger, just to teach the women at lesson for insisting Roger is the bigger threat and promoting his ouster.

7:00 Ginny: Plus, ooh, did America lose 1 million pounds? I’m on tenterhooks.

Ali’s dress is so tight I can see what she ate for dinner, but the drama is nice.

7:02 Ginny: To dramatic music and lighting, we see Rog and Mark through a shadow screen, but they’re not brought out.

Instead, we see backstory montages. I think Roger’s gets more applause, but maybe I’m biased. Well, obviously I’m biased.

7:03 Ginny: Now backstories for the women, starting with Kelly.

“The season where they’ve walked on water?” When do we get “The Biggest Loser: Deities”?

7:06 Ginny: Jillian wants a female winner, and I want Jillian, so by the transitive property … what?

7:07 Ginny: And … they’ve already lied. We did not find out in the first 5 minutes whether it would be Mark or Roger.

Wade: Enter the gladiators!

He’s come a long way, baby.

7:08 Ginny: Holy crap Roger looks hot!

Nice work big guy!

7:09 Ginny: Hmm, Mark looks exactly the same. I may be eating my words.

7:10 Ginny: Don’t worry — I’ll throw them up afterwards.

Roger wins America’s vote to be in the final three.

Wade: It’s Roger!!!!!1

7:11 Ginny: Waaaaaaaaaa! I can’t believe it!

I am shocked shitless. Can I say shitless?

Obviously, it was me. My votes did this. Yay me!

7:13 Wade: Sadly, I recognize few of these actual contestants.

Ginny: Wade was like “who are these people? These people weren’t on the show!”

7:14 Ginny: Like he isn’t in love with Bette-Sue …

But who could forget Roger’s teammate, Trent?

7:17 Wade: And now a commercial for the Olympics. Or “American Gladiators.” That’s an Olympic sport, right?

7:18 Ginny: Well, at last someone did Jen’s hair …

7:19 Ginny: Jackie is smokin’; Dan is … not.

But now that we’re MySpace friends, I should go easier on him.

[FYI: Other MySpace links for Bob | Brittany | Jay | Bernie | our hostess Ali]

Hello, girls!

Wade: Hey, I know who I’m giving the $250,000 to … (gawks at Brittany)


Ginny: Oh, my sweet Bernie.

7:21 Ginny: Ali busts Mark for crying all the time. Maybe later, she’ll give him a wedgie.

7:22 Ginny: Bernie says everyone has one. Obviously, he hasn’t seen Jen.

Wade: Ali the hostess looks like she’s put on a few pounds. Of hotness.

I guess my sole function will be to make lewd comments.

7:24 Ginny: Don’t forget to notice what Roger’s wearing.

7:25 Ginny: I want to count how many time Bette-Sue turns it around to make it all about her.

7:27 Wade: We are entranced by the second round of backstory vids. Welcome home, again, finalists!

7:28 Ginny: And what’s your normal sole function?

7:29 Ginny: Ooh, first football analogy.

7:32 Wade: So, predictions for win, place, show?

Ginny: Show: Kelly

Have to go with Roger for the win, of course, although it’ll be tight.

Love will keep them together.

7:34 Ginny: Well, Jillian looks adorable. Mr. Howell looks OK, too.

Wade: (As in Bob’s sweet ascot.)

7:35 Wade: And now, 80 minutes of weigh-ins …

7:35 Ginny: Jenni and Lynn are first to weigh in. I hate that guy. I’m gonna do the results in this format:

• Jenni: 267 to 213, 54 pounds lost, 20.22 percent

7:37 Ginny: Lynn and Jenni are also the father/daughter team and the green team.

• Lynn: 409 to 329, 80 pounds lost, 19.56 percent

7:40 Ginny: Next are Mallory and Curtis, the brown team and married couple.

• Mallory: 217 to 152, 65 pounds lost, 29.95 percent

Wade: My God, he’s playing for health insurance. A sad indictment of society, served up for my entertainment.

• Curtis: 381 to 231, 150 pounds lost, 39.37 percent

7:43 Ginny: I would go on reality TV for health insurance.

7:45 Ginny: Or to boff that creepy cyborg of Evil Dick and Dr. Will.

Wade: I’d do it for free. And by it, I mean the cyborg.

7:46 Ginny: Hey, it’s gay Neill and his beard!

Wade: Don’t call Amanda his “beard.”

Ginny: Neill’s new habit is Thursday nights at the gloryhole.

• Amanda: 204 to 140, 64 pounds lost, 31.37 percent

7:48 Ginny: This is so pointless: Mark obviously has it in the bag. He had >40 percent weight loss five weeks ago.

Wade: I’ll give them five bucks just to cut the weigh-in short.

• Neill: 317 to 229, 88 pounds lost, 27.76 percent

7:49 Ginny: Poor Wade, he missed Bette-Sue in her swimsuit.

Wade: Producers, get out of my head!

• Bette-Sue: 261 to 186, 75 pounds lost, 28.74 percent

7:51 Ginny: Jenn’s up next. This is going to be so sad.

Wade: Dig that feathered hair.

• Jenn: 254 to 190, 64 pounds lost, 25.20 percent

Ginny: Not as bad as I thought.

• Maggie: 239 to 169, 70 pounds lost, 29.29 percent

8:00 Wade: Halftime!

• Jackie: 246 to 157, 89 pounds lost, 36.18 percent

8:01 Ginny: As Bob said, it’s the season of 1 pound.

“Rock bottom to rock star,” bwaaaa. Funbags to douchebag, more like.

• Dan: 310 to 174, 136 pounds lost, 43.87 percent

8:03 Ginny: Yay, Trent — Roger’s better half.

• Trent: 436 to 301, 135 pounds lost, 30.96 percent

8:08 Ginny: I still can’t believe Roger’s a finalist; I think it’s was Ali’s underwhelming delivery that didn’t let it register. But we still love her, of course.

8:09 Ginny: Yay Bernie! Shake it!

• Bernie: 283 to 153, 130 pounds lost, 45.94 percent

8:11 Ginny: Brittany wanted to become steamy hot. What’s the verdict, Wade?

Wade: Hot, but not Bette-Sue hot.

• Brittany: 221 to 164, 57 pounds lost, 25.79 percent

8:12 Ginny: Time for mini-Mark.

• Jay: 293 to 190, 103 pounds lost, 35.15 percent

8:14 Ginny: My fingers are crossed for Bernie.

But not my legs! Ha ha!

• Mark: 285 to 156, 129 pounds lost, 45.26 percent

8:17 Ginny: Bernie wins! Bernie wins $100K!

8:19 Ginny: OK, I’m totally pulling for Roger because I’m a sucker for the local guy, and plus, he’s funny, but I was still totally pulling for Jillian’s ragtag bunch to beat the rest of the blue boys.

8:20 Ginny: Again with the 1 pound.

8:21 Ginny: And that’s all for the eliminated players. So, of course, we’re getting more montage action.

8:22 Ginny: Ali’s having an on-camera fro-yo binge. Kelly got a herniated disk. Hmm, I wonder how she got that?

Surely not losing dozens of pounds overnight while exercising six hours a day …

8:23 Ginny: They’re showing Roger at a plateau. That’s a dead giveaway. I’m calling it right now. Roger’s won.

8:24 Ginny: Unless he didn’t. I’ve gotten every single other thing wrong. I clearly cannot be trusted.

I thought Jillian’s favorite word was “beatings.”

8:25 Ginny: Roger > Jared.

8:26 Ginny: Congrats to Subway on the great plug, Roger shilling their sandwiches then barfing in a trash can.

8:28 Ginny: America lost 1 million pounds, or so they said on their Internet profiles. America is also a 16-year-old cheerleader and wants to meet IRL.

Wade: Sorry I’ve been so quiet. But I’ve been watching “Idol.” Did you know they’re allowed to play instruments this season?!

8:33 Wade: Roger hugged me! Inappropriately, but still.

Ginny: I want a hug!

8:34 Ginny: My favorite thing about the finale is how they’re all so starved, dehydrated and light-headed, and then they have to speak on live TV.

This also holds true of the hostess.

Enter the other gladiators: Ali, left, and Kelly.

8:37 Ginny: Never mind. Ali (the finalist) is skeletal. She could easily take it.

She even lost her boobs.

I feel like sending her to my therapist who teaches you that you and Mother are not the same person.

8:40 Wade: Ginny is entertaining me during the commercial with a story about how funny people are.

8:43 Wade: Look, original team color shirts.

8:43 Ginny: Whenever they let someone choose like this, they always weigh last and then win.

Wade: Ali picked Roger, then Kelly, then Ali to weigh in.

• Roger: 363 to 199, 164 pounds lost, 45.18 percent

8:45 Ginny: Mark and Bernie both lost more (percentage-wise). Ha.

Or not ha. My feelings are complicated.

Wade: Paging Jillian’s mom …

8:49 Ginny: If Ali weighs 120 as was hinted to in some articles, she’ll have lost 48.71 percent and be the winner.

8:50 Ginny: God, I hope Kelly never has kids. Poor potential kids caring for their whiny mom and having to deal with her crazy ex-husband.

• Kelly: 271 to 162, 109 pounds lost, 40.22 percent

8:52 Ginny: Shut up and weigh!

Wade: That’s my favorite Dixie Chicks song.

8:55 Wade: We’re probably going into overtime, folks.

Meanwhile, live chat about the finale.

8:59 Wade: Drum roll, please.

• Ali: 234 to 122, 112 pounds lost, 47.86 percent

The moment of truth.

9:00 Ginny: Congrats, Ali, and, uh, best wishes, Roger, our second-place finisher.

Also, he was fourth overall in percentage weight loss.

9:02 Ginny: Seriously, though congratulations to local heroes Trent and Roger, who collectively went from 799 pounds to 500 for a loss of a staggering 299 pounds, or 37.42 percent together.

And Roger, we noticed that you lost nearly 30 pounds more than anyone on the show. Well done, and don’t forget about that free workout you promised me!

9:05 Wade: Thanks to everyone for reading along, for your questions, and big big thanks to Ginny for 30-plus hours of recapping, plus writing, re-watching, screencapping and interviewing.

A herculean effort that I and the fans appreciate.

Good night!

Previous: OK, OK, one last twist at the final weigh-in on campus.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 4 1597
Take it off Tue, 15 Apr 2008 00:27:19 +0000 An interview with Roger Shultz of Enterprise, a possible finalist on “The Biggest Loser: Couples”]]> ‘Biggest Loser’ player Roger Shultz reveals all before finale
By Ginny

Trainer Bob Harper, left, and Roger Shultz

He may be better known these days, at least by the ladies, as a record-breaking competitor on “The Biggest Loser” than as a linebacker for the Crimson Tide. But Roger Shultz owes it to an intense focus on weekly weigh-ins on the NBC reality competition.

The season concludes at 7 p.m. Tuesday, where the Enterprise native could win $250,000 during the live broadcast.

Shultz talked by phone about his experiences, his chance of being chosen for the final three, and being identified by his missing tooth.

• I have to know: Was chef Rocco DiSpirito’s pepper steak really as good as your mama’s?

It was pretty good. It was different. He added peppers at first thinking it would be a Chinese dish. (laughs)

• Did you ever think you would make it to the final four?

Realistically, no. All I thought was, stay above the yellow line and good things will happen. I took it one week at the time. And then, things happened like (the final twist where America votes).

• That final weigh-in was intense …

You should’ve been there with me! But it was still exciting-losing the most weight of anyone on campus. It was the first time I focused in on a number and really fine-tuned my diet and workouts to reach it for the final weigh-in.

Unfortunately, that was a motivator for everyone.

Roger Shultz

• Do you feel like the voting is not just your fans vs. Mark’s fans, but actually your fans vs. Mark, Jay, Kelly and Ali’s fans?

Absolutely. But don’t ever count out those Alabama voters.

• Did this season have even more twists and turns than before? How did you navigate them?

It did. But I understand that those are for the viewer.

I could give a flip about the challenges. I hated being away from training, and I just wanted to get to the weigh-in.

When I was a fan of the show, I thought the weigh-ins took forever. In the game, that was all I focused on.

• You had Mark keep his word and “sacrifice” himself for the blue team, keeping you in the game. I thought that was maybe the greatest strategic move in the show’s history …

(laughs) Thank you!

• When the producers allowed him back as the male evictee who had lost the greatest percentage of weight, were you angry?

Hey, it is what it is.

• Was it a good move for Bob the trainer to choose all strong players for his team after the couples’ concept was dropped?

That was not strategy. Bob doesn’t play the game. He’s genuinely there to help us all lose weight and get healthy.

Jillian (the other trainer) is always playing the game. After she said the first week, “I’m tired of a middle-aged white guy always winning this thing,” I thought, do I want someone training me who doesn’t want me to win?

If we hadn’t gotten to switch (from Jillian), she would’ve had (the rest of her team) waterloading to get rid of me. I was so glad I was able to switch.

• You haven’t been home as long as in previous seasons, right?

No, usually players get 12 weeks at home, and we’ll only have five. And the first week, I was still working out a little bit and watching my calories, but it took a while to get used to being home. I was also busy seeing everyone; I don’t say no to too many people.

• Have you had people recognize you?

I have. I mean, I’m used to people — middle-aged men — recognizing me from playing ball. Now it’s women, and not just in Alabama.

I was working out on a treadmill in New York, and this girl kept staring at me. Finally, she said, “Are you who I think you are?” I said, “George Clooney?”

“You’re Roger from the Biggest Loser! I was looking for your tooth!”

I thought, don’t you know that the first thing I did when I got off the plane was go get that tooth fixed?

• You have a giant tattoo that says “Pride,” and she was looking for a missing tooth for confirmation?

(laughs) Yes, the pride tattoo.

pride tattoo

• How does your wife Paige feel about the tattoo?

Oh, she likes it. Her mom hates it, though.

• So, were you disappointed that fashion guru Tim Gunn didn’t pick a wilder outfit for you?

(laughs) A little bit! It was a good-looking suit, but I would’ve liked something a little more stylish, like what Mark or Jay got. I’m gonna work on that for the finale.

• And tell me about those beards.

Honestly, I grew mine out because my face just looked so gaunt to me. I think Mark did the same thing.

Plus, Bob had one. And, you know, I don’t know if you noticed what Jay was wearing when he went home, but (in the last episode), I have on the same thing: dark jeans and Adidas, just like Bob always wears.

We’re so pitiful. We just copy whatever Bob does.

• What happened with losing your job as associate athletics director at Jacksonville State?

Well, I learned about it the same way you did.

It’s never a good feeling to lose your job. I think it would’ve been better if it’d been for something like sleeping with my secretary or stealing money.

But there was no way to know when I’d be home, and I felt like I represented myself well on the show. I mean, I didn’t run around naked or anything.

• So, you weren’t on “Big Brother.”

(laughs) Exactly. But when doors close, others open, and I have a lot going on.

Trent (Patterson, his teammate on the show) and I are looking into opening a fitness program along the lines of “The Biggest Loser.” No Internet, TV or phone for 21 days. We’ll teach you what we know. We’re gonna bust your ass. We’ll also address the mental aspects with a psychologist.

• Jillian’s mom?

No. (laughs)

Join us at 7 p.m. Tuesday for the Wade on Birmingham live blog of the season finale.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 0 1595
Weight and See: Women on top Sun, 13 Apr 2008 04:59:20 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 4/8/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 15
By Ginny

It’s the last episode of “The Biggest Loser” before the live two-hour finale, and only two spots are guaranteed. Will the boys in blue, including Roger Shultz of Enterprise, earn a chance at the $250,000?

Remember, it’s a singing competition, not a popularity contest, after the jump …

The last supper: With only Roger, Ali, Kelly and Mark remaining, this week’s weigh-in is the most important yet. So is being telegenic, but the players don’t know that yet.

Arriving home from Australia, the final four take that same path across the field that they crossed on Day One, only this time, it’s more of a gentle stroll instead of a struggle to breathe.

The Biggest Loser

Day One.

The Biggest Loser

No giant dandelion this time.

Our hostess Ali meets them to tell them they’ll be doing this final week without their trainers. Keep that in mind.

She also waves in Rocco DiSpirito, who presents each player’s favorite home-cooked meal in one of those ubiquitous silver trays. After offering each a bite, he shows them how to lighten up those dishes for everyday healthy eating.

The culinary transformations amaze and delight.

The Biggest Loser

Roger’s mama makes a pepper steak that contains butter, wine,
cream and the secret ingredient, love, 1,700 calories’ worth.

At least they weren’t birthday suits: For the last challenge, players wear fat suits that approximate their original size and weight. After racing across the beach, they shed them (symbolism!) and run up a hill carrying flags with their name on it. The winner receives $10,000 and the show’s series of prepared, calorie-portioned meals delivered to your door.

They take off like a thunderous herd of snails, with Roger lugging 129 extra pounds through the sand.

The Biggest Loser

‘Wal-la, a fat suit.’

Uber-competitor Mark takes the prize, as usual. And yet, the girls still see Roger as the biggest threat. Nonetheless, they all celebrate finishing the challenge with one of those “pride-on-three” things.

The Biggest Loser

Still not as catchy as ‘Soul Patrol.’

Parole denied: The trainers return. Whatever.

Roger promises trainer Bob that he’s going to lose 15 pounds to set a record. (They’ve been on campus for several weeks longer than past seasons, but who’s counting?)

After more bonding with the trainers (including Mark breaking down behind a tree), Bob and Jillian show their team members video montages of their journeys. They’re very moving, and everyone cries (duh).

The Biggest Loser

Roger has lost the most weight on campus
of any contestant in show history.

The weigh-in: Beatings ensue at the last last-chance workouts. But they’re nothing like the weigh-in.

Roger sets a new weight-loss record, losing the 15 pounds he predicted … and still gets beaten by both women.

After Mark and Roger land in the bottom two, hostess Ali reveals the final twist: America will decide which man completes the final three. Kelly and Ali’s plans to take Mark to the end thwarted!

The real question is, did Roger’s fans outvote those of Ali, Kelly, Mark and his brother Jay? Also, with only four weeks of at-home play to go, isn’t Mark (who’s lost 40.7 percent) still a bigger threat than Roger (who’s lost 39.7 percent)?

Who did you vote for and why? And who do you think will win the grand prize?

The live two-hour season finale “The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBC 13. Look for our live recap on Wade on Birmingham.

Previous: The contestants go to Australia.
Next: The finale, thank God.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 5 1592
Roger, over and out? Wed, 09 Apr 2008 18:18:23 +0000 America will decide if Roger Shultz of Enterprise or Mark Kruger of Boston will compete for the $250,000 grand prize on "The Biggest Loser: Couples."]]> Shultz’s last hope rests in voters’ hands

Alabama’s “Biggest Loser” contestant is one vote away from the finals.

America will decide if Roger Shultz of Enterprise or Mark Kruger of Boston will compete for the $250,000 grand prize.

In last night’s episode, both Shultz and Kruger lost more than 10 pounds each during the final week in California. In fact, Shultz broke the show’s record for most weight lost on campus, having lost a total of 144 pounds, weighing in at 219.

But even that wasn’t enough against the one-two punch of underdogs Kelly Fields and Ali Vincent. The women have already earned their spots in the finals, leaving one slot to be decided by Internet vote.

Shultz’s campaign video

Visit the show’s site to enter. Each voter can cast up to 100 ballots. Polls close at 9 p.m. Thursday.

The live two-hour finale of “The Biggest Loser: Couples” takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday on NBC 13.


• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1587
Weight and See: Hybrid test drive Wed, 09 Apr 2008 04:05:53 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 4/1/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 14
By Ginny

Previously on “Survivor,” Tyra took the girls to Sydney for shoots and go-sees while fear was not a factor for one player. But which team arrived first at the Pit Stop? Find out this week on “A Baby Story.”

(Even reality shows do mashups, as we see on this week’s “Biggest Loser.” Plus, Enterprise’s Roger Shultz receives his first passport stamp.)

More Franken-reality, after the jump …

Trading spaces: Our remaining five contestants — Mark, Jay, Ali, Kelly and Roger — flew to Sydney, Australia, for a relaxing vacation.

And what better way to kick back than a grueling triathlon followed by a stressful weigh-in?

Recently, I noted that NBC might want to take production notes from other reality shows in how to create a clean, simple narrative with predictable plot points along the way instead of jerking us (and the players) around with off-strategy challenges, twists and rewards.

This week, the producers took my advice … and did the opposite, patching together actual elements into some sort of reality show chimera.

Having sampled in the past from “Top Chef,” “Project Runway” and “Blind Date,” this week “The Biggest Loser” went for broke with its Australia episode.

Let’s play along (answers at bottom):

The Biggest Loser

1. Which show always takes its last few contestants
to a surprise overseas destination?

The Biggest Loser

2. Which show always partners with Travelocity
and the Roaming Gnome?

The Biggest Loser

3. Which show always uses cutaway shots of indigenous wildlife?

The Biggest Loser

4. Which show always treats players
to demonstrations of local rituals?

The Biggest Loser

5. Which show always includes a gross eating challenge?

The Biggest Loser

6. Which show always features daredevil challenges,
often involving heights, water and climbing?

The Biggest Loser

Foreshadowing or red herrings?

The Biggest Loser

Two below, you win the show.

The weigh-in: In other news, the show did change one thing they’ve been known for, which is making it painfully obvious who’s going home.

The whole episode led to an elimination ceremony between Roger and Ali, so I was shocked (shocked!) when it came down to brothers Mark and Jay. Roger lost 2 pounds, dropping to 234 pounds.

Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, it was pretty smart for Jay to offer himself up, and pretty stupid for the players to agree. After all, Mark has the best chance of winning, and he and Jay can split the cashola.

The Biggest Loser

At least Roger has his sexy new briefs.

The Biggest Loser

Is it just me, or are the brothers crying all the way to the bank?

Answer key

1. “America’s Next Top Model”
2. “The Amazing Race”
3. “Survivor”
4. “Survivor”
5. “Fear Factor”
6. “The Amazing Race”

Are Jay and Mark playing everybody? Have you been pulling for the guys or girls?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: The silver tray changes the game. But what hasn’t?
Next: America votes to select the third finalist. Hmm, where have I heard that before?


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1585
Weight and See: I can has cake? Sat, 29 Mar 2008 03:57:28 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 3/25/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 13
By Ginny

A piece of chocolate cake changes “The Biggest Loser” game. In the sense that the last episode did not include a piece of chocolate cake, and this ones does. Does Roger Shultz of Enterprise take the cake?

In a contest of pointless twists, this one may be the pointlessest. Still, it turned out to be a pretty good week.

Find out why we’re not frosted, after the jump …

Piece of cake: Hostess Ali pops in and summons the remaining six players to the elimination room for a pop quiz. The winner earns a mystery prize.

The Biggest Loser

I iz a teacher. Teachy teach.

Usually the place for players to serve up their elimination votes to eliminate, the silver serving tray hides … a single hunk of chocolate layer cake.

The Biggest Loser

I has a flavor. Iz choklet.

Dan wins; he can either eat the cake or bring it to the challenge for a leg up on the competition. Dan chooses the latter and guards the cake with his life. For about five minutes, when he decides to go running and leave the slice unattended.

Roger seizes the opportunity to hide the dessert in the laundry room (which Dan never darkens), leaving a ransom note he attributes to Kelly. Hilarity ensues.

The Biggest Loser

I has a cake.

The Biggest Loser

Nooo they be stealin my cake.

Pecker order: Dan, the cake and the other players enter a big L.A. basketball arena for the challenge. Players run to concession stands, grab high-calorie treats, and place them on other players’ tables. The player with the fewest calories on his table wins $10,000.

The Biggest Loser

Invisible ice cream man

Dan kicks off the challenge by placing his cake on Kelly’s table, and it’s no surprise when the guys continue to load up the girls’ tables with popcorn, pizza, cotton candy, ice cream and hot dogs. Nor is it a surprise when we cut into the challenge with clips of the tattoo crew trash-talking the girls.

The Biggest Loser

Yay it’s faturday!

Jay beats Roger by a frozen pint. Ali then offers Door No. 2: a 1-pound pass. He takes the pass.

The Biggest Loser

Oh hai I upgraded ur BMI.

The weigh-in: Trainer Jillian offers up extra-special beatings this week for Kelly and Ali (who seems to have figured out that she’s not one of the guys). And it pays off: The girls top the weigh-in, sending Mark and Dan to my favorite elimination ceremony ever. The Gang of Four has to turn on each other for the second time this season.

It’s win-win for me, but Dan is the one sent home. Guess he should’ve gotten the Pride tattoo.

The Biggest Loser

You is not teh biggest lolser.

Have the guys become too arrogant? Has this been a wakeup call?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Fashion show at lunch! Fashion show at lunch!
Next: The contestants go to Australia. Sorry, Dan, but your Vegas song won’t have a B-side.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1570
Gamecocked! Thu, 27 Mar 2008 22:38:59 +0000

Roger loses Jax State job

Enterprise’s Roger Shultz has shed more than 100 pounds so far on “The Biggest Loser,” but now he’s shed even more: his job with the Gamecocks.

The former Alabama lineman had served as associate athletics director at Jacksonville State University, but was fired after a nearly six-month absence while in California on the show. He remains in the running for the $250,000 grand prize, to be awarded on the live finale April 15.

He says he might open a gym in Birmingham with his former teammate and TV partner Trent Patterson, one that emphasizes a monthlong approach to fitness. Performa district, anyone?

Plus, he still has “In the Trenches,” his weekly radio show with Stan White in the fall. Oh, and a longer lifespan, blah blah blah.

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 0 1567
Weight and See: That not-so-fresh feeling Mon, 24 Mar 2008 17:01:52 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 3/18/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 12
By Ginny

Everyone receives a makeover from Tim Gunn, including Enterprise’s Roger Shultz. Except that it’s “The Biggest Loser” and not “Project Runway.” But still, we’re interested again.

And after all, isn’t that what this show is about, to help fat people conform to society’s preferred sexual aesthetic. And also for product placement.

See their dramatic new looks, after the jump …

Tim pickins: Remember the elimination interruptus between Maggie and Brittany from last time? Time to cut the cord, but not before the players give the usual speeches about going for the bigger threat. They eliminate Maggie with four votes.

The seven players are ushered into a department store. They suspect it’s for a challenge, but it’s actually makeover week. After a little lamenting over the struggles of SWO (shopping while overweight), they meet their personal stylist for the day, Tim Gunn! I totally get goose bumps and let out a little “Eeee!” when the silver ermine strolls in.

The Biggest Loser

Before, Roger had to have his shirts custom-made.
Apparently, from old circus tents.

Tim browses the racks with each player to learn about his personal style. Unfortunately, for Dan, that style is Douchey McDouchebag. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

We learn that Roger likes crazy shirts, the young girls don’t want to show their arms, Kelly wants to be feminine, Mark wants Easter egg colors, and Dan has “always wanted to be a part of cool designer jeans.” Douche.

(We don’t discover what Jay wants, but I guess he’ll wear whatever Mark lets him.)

The Biggest Loser

Roger shows Tim ‘one of (his) looks.’
Tim shows Roger one of his own.

In response, Tim puts Roger in a boring suit (boo-o-o!), the girls in sleeveless dresses (yay!), Mark in pastels (meh) and Dan in the douchebag look of his dreams (barf). The best part is when they first see their outfits on a mannequin and can’t imagine that it’s their size.

The Biggest Loser

Also, the look on Brittany’s face when she first sees this neckline.

Next, they visit the stylist. Usually, this kind of segment is all about the girls, seeing them in makeup for once and pretty new highlights and cuts. Instead, Dan sucks up all the airtime with his dilemma over finding the most rockin’ hairstyle and worrying about what Bob will say if he cuts his beautiful hair. Douche.

The Biggest Loser

This works for me.

Strut, pout, put it out: All dolled up, the players face the challenge, walking the runway to win a cover spot on Prevention magazine. Obviously, they have no control over this, so another prize awaits, a loved one in the audience.

Whatever … let’s see how they look!

The Biggest Loser

Mark wears a velvet sports coat from the Taylor Hicks Collection.

The Biggest Loser

A snapshot doesn’t do justice to Brittany’s bouncy girls.

Hello, ladies!

The Biggest Loser

Jay rocks his first leather jacket ever.

The Biggest Loser

Kelly’s cute new cut makes the outfit.

The Biggest Loser

World’s most preeminent fashion guru,
and Roger gets a blue suit. Yawn.

The Biggest Loser

I guess all that matters is the reaction from Roger’s wife Paige,
as she upgrades him from ‘sexy’ to ‘sexy sexy.’

The Biggest Loser

Douches douching douching douches douche douching douches.

The Biggest Loser


The Biggest Loser

I think Ali looks adorable, and so do the judges:
She wins the cover shoot prize.

The Biggest Loser

Tim gets misty over his protégés.
As for me, I just have something in my eye.

Surprisingly, another challenge takes place, an endurance event on treadmills suspended over the pool. The winner receives a week at a weight-loss spa. Which is what I’m sure everyone wants after three months on this show. Anyway, it comes down to Ali and Mark, and Mark takes it.

The Biggest Loser

The weigh in: Roger is still pulling impressive numbers. Another 9 pounds brings his total loss to 121 pounds, second place for the week.

Jay and Brittany fall to the bottom two, and the tight jock alliance sends Brittany home. Condolences to Brittany, but congratulations to all the single fellas in her hometown!

So which makeover did you like the best? Share your rants and raves in the comments.

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: The big reunion. Two months early.
Next: The silver tray changes the game. But what hasn’t?


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1562
Weight and See: Twist and shout Wed, 19 Mar 2008 04:44:08 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 3/11/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 11
By Ginny

Check out the new “Biggest Loser” workout: You sit and throw things at the TV set for two hours and then call 10 friends to ask them why a once-great network can’t put together a compelling reality show.

(We still hug the set when our local boy made skinnier Roger Shultz appears.)

And 1 and 2 and 3 and breathe, after the jump …

[To be updated with screencaps.]

A twist too far: Believe it or not, it’s been nearly 10 years since CBS put its first blockbuster season of “Survivor” on the air. That set off a cavalcade of reality programming which would prove successful not only for the Eye network, but also ABC, Fox and even the lowly CW. Invigorated and with a new audience, reality would also head back to the cable nets from whence it came, spawning even more new hits.

Following a simple structure (gather x boneheads, set up cameras, rinse, repeat), smart shows stick with a formula and let the boneheads create the drama.

The Formula for Reality

“The Bachelor” “America’s Next Top Model” “The Amazing Race” “American Idol” “The Biggest Loser”
That guy Tyra Banks Phil Keoghan Ryan Seacrest Alison Sweeney (previously, Caroline Rhea)
Individuals Individuals Pairs Individuals Pairs, or teams, or new teams, or one team vs. all other teams, or individuals
“Will you accept this rose?”
“Most ___ rose ceremony ever”
“You’re still in the running to becoming America’s next top model”
“Love, Tyra”
“A roadblock is …”
“A detour is …”
“You are the last team to arrive. I’m sorry to tell you, but you have been eliminated from the race.”
“After the break”
“Dog, horrendous, pitchy, etc., ad infinitum”
“You are not the biggest loser” (even when said to a couple)
He’s British! The models go to another country! U-Turn! Intersection! Non-elimination round! The singers can play instruments! Couples, extra votes, immunity, 1-pound passes, team swaps, change of campus, change of trainers, etc.
Challenge prize
Date Clothes Trip or vehicles n/a (sometimes they get new cars) Random
Rose ceremony Panel Philimination Elimination episode Elimination ceremony
Who goes home
Bachelor chooses Panel chooses Last-place finishers (time) Last-place finisher (votes) One of two last-place finishers (weight) receiving most votes, or one of two last-place teams, or member of losing team receiving most votes (except anyone with immunity), etc.

And despite these producers’ adherence to mind-numbing formulas, the winners have been incredibly varied (even on “The Amazing Race,” which heavily favors male teams). Compare that to the “Biggest Loser” winners, a rainbow coalition of buff white dudes.

They all look and act exactly the same (as shown below): really heavy guys with average frames and abrasive, OCDish personalities. This year, that contestant was Mark, who was sent home in a surprisingly deft move by our homeboy Roger.

The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser
The Biggest Loser

I was thrilled, not just because I’m pulling for the Alabama guy, but also because we were going to have something different happen this season.

But then, NBC pulled twist No. bajillion out of its peacock ass and brought back every eliminated player for a second chance. The man and woman with the highest percentage of weight loss would stay.

Mark of the beast: Obviously, on the guys’ side, Mark reigned; the returning woman was Ali from the mother/daughter team. Not only does he narrowly beat out my beloved Bernie, he’s back on the juggernaut jock team to continue crushing the girls’ spirits.

All of these unnecessary twists are just absolutely killing my interest in the show. As noted above, most of the other shows carry a big twist or two per season. “Loser” has at least one per episode.

In addition, the challenges often have no bearing on the weigh-in or with weight loss at all (fighter plane duels, anyone?). And don’t even get me started on the two-hour episodes …

NBC ain’t a fledgling network, nor is it making an early attempt to break into reality programming. In the name of 30 Rockefeller Plaza, how can its sister network Bravo have the best reality shows (“Project Runway” and “Top Chef”) while this fifth season just limps along?

All right, rant over.

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: This week’s episode contained 90 minutes(!) of weigh-in and a cliffhanger non-elimination between Brittany and Maggie. Roger is not up for elimination, having lost 8 pounds. Oh, and the guys won a bike-riding challenge with their hands tied behind their backs.

Is this season as frustrating for you? Or do you like the twists? Tell us below.

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: The da vending code … so dork the con of man.
Next: Speaking of “Project Runway,” NBC makes it work (ugh) with a Tim Gunn cameo.

Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 4 1552
Weight and See: Gift of the Bernie Thu, 13 Mar 2008 01:19:01 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 3/4/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 10
By Ginny

On “The Biggest Loser,” it’s all about blowing your minds, people. Couples? Finished. Teams? No more.

Without a defensive line (football metaphor), can Enterprise’s Roger Shultz hold his own?

Hold on to your minds, blown or otherwise, after the jump …

We hardly stood ye: The remaining blue team members hold a full-on wake for Mark, sobbing into his twin sheets and calling each other brothers. No, they don’t need therapy at all. The blackies wish Roger had been eliminated, saying that Mark, Jay and Dan have basically just handed him $250K. Yup.

The Biggest Loser

Blue baroo-o-o-o-o-o-oo …

I call this week’s temptation American Roulette, a game where each player pushes buttons on a vending machine for a random reward. Items include high-calorie snacks (which must be consumed), sugar-free chewing gum (which represents a cash prize and a free turn) and a 1-pound pass (for the weigh-in).

Roger’s into the challenge: “(Vending machines have) always really been a friend of mine. You put a little in, and you get somethin’ really nice out of it …”

The Biggest Loser

… which is also how I got my son.

Almost everyone ends up with a 1-pound pass, including Roger, and a few win quite a bit of money. Dan punctuates his cash rewards with “That’s what I’m talking about!” giving me one more reason to never travel with him to Vegas.

Bernie’s choice: As player of the week, Bernie chooses a game play reward: giving immunity to another player. We segue into the other kind of immunity, with a return trip to the hospital.

The good news? The players receive an upgrade from “critical” (awarded during their earlier trip to the morgue) to “fair.” The great news? Kelly learns that she might still be fertile. No rotting eggs there, my friend.

The timed challenge involves scooting down and up a zip-line over a giant canyon to pull off attached flags. Winners participate as old-fashioned fighter pilots — yet another random challenge with a random prize for which “Loser” has become known.

Why they can’t get any consistency to this show, I have no idea. But it’s an upper-body strength challenge, so blue takes it and bonds even further over the prize.

In the meantime, Bernie has to assign his free immunity to someone, choosing former partner Brittany, the last couple standing among the gang of seven.

The Biggest Loser

This season’s first contestant to drop 100 pounds. Touchdown!
(Or whatever the equivalent thing is for linemen.)

The weigh-in: Ali kicks it off with surprise twist No. 472: no more teams, as everyone will compete individually from here on out. Soon, they’ll be weighing in one cell at the time, and I will be doing recaps forever.

In the end, last-place Kelly and Bernie face elimination. Ironic, since his gift saved Brittany from the bottom two.

As the bigger threat, the former blues eliminate Bernie. I begin planning his wake, then call my therapist.

The Biggest Loser

My boyfriend Bernie. Who I am not stalking.

The Biggest Loser

Bernie looks adorable (obviously). How do you think the producers do so well at casting contestants who look great after slimming down? Or does everyone look good when they’re thin?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Sing it now … “The blue team’s going to Vegas.”
Next: The big reunion. Two months early.


  • For the love of Roger: “Shultz, who could clearly still clean my clock, several of my friends’ timepieces, and most of our furniture and indeed entire households without breaking a sweat, is proving tough competition.”
  • Roger on his teammate Trent Patterson: “We can communicate without talking to each other, which I’ve found out on reality TV isn’t always the best thing.”

Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1538
Weight and See: Pride goeth Sun, 02 Mar 2008 13:25:12 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 2/26/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 9
By Ginny

The blue team hits Vegas. Will Enterprise’s Roger Shultz come up aces or snake eyes? Jackpot or bust? Royal flush or craps? “The Biggest Loser,” where it’s always a gamble.

Tattoos for everyone, after the jump …

Hey darlins: The black team realizes that it’s going to have to drop big-time weight to keep up with the heavy hitters on Bob’s blue team. Fortunately, the producers are there to even the playing field, rewarding player-of-the-week Jay with his choice of three unmarked envelopes.

I’m guessing each one contains a back-handed prize, fun with the potential to detract from the team’s fitness efforts. The one he opens is definitely more a temptation than a reward: The blue team is heading to Las Vegas!

The Biggest Loser

Vegas: where losers are always welcome.

Despite Roger’s spin that the trip is like football training camp, Bob spots the wolf in sheep’s clothing. Which he decides to turn into wool suits, apparently, because they all find a gift from him upon arrival in the suite.

The Biggest Loser

Reservoir Hogs, a k a
Mr. Blue, Mr. Blue, Mr. Blue and Mr. Blue.

But before we hit the casino, we’re all forced to ante up and listen to Dan’s original composition accompanied by some sweet, sweet foreshadowing. Listen up if you don’t want to miss the comedy to come:

Meanwhile, back at the ranch (ha!), the black team is cooking up (food pun) an insidious plan to fill the blue team’s suite with all of their favorite foods. Unfortunately, their plan fizzles when the blues beat (back) the spread.

The Biggest Loser

Because listening to Dan sing isn’t torturous enough?

And what’s the first thing you do in Vegas when you’re looking and feeling hot? Ride the Slingshot at the Stratosphere, of course. This silly segment turns poignant when Roger confides he couldn’t enjoy the ride on his last trip, because the safety bar wouldn’t close over him.

The Biggest Loser

Worse, he wasn’t allowed to eat at restaurants in Mississippi.

After the kiddie adventures, the blue boys finally get to some of the adult entertainment, which for all-nighters Roger and Dan appears to include at least drinking, gambling and harmless flirting.

Ink different: The next morning, goody two-shoes Mark and Jay make it to the gym without the party boys, spurring a minor yelling match. They all make up over tattoos. Yes, giant, permanent, matching tattoos.

The Biggest Loser

Pride: 2008. Shame: all eternity.

I like tattoos, I have tattoos, and I will probably get more tattoos. Nonetheless, no matter how vaguely gay the “PRIDE” tattoos that Roger, Mark and Jay get are, none of them make me cringe like young Dan’s request for “some type of like guardian angel-type tattoo, and instead of holding a sword, he’s going to be holding a guitar.” Sigh.

The challenge is a lock for the blue team, an upper-body strength test that leaves the black team (three-quarters women) in the dust. The blues each win a trip to Puerto Rico.

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: Despite Roger’s impressive loss of 8 pounds, the blue team loses to black 2.47 percent to 3.69 percent. Mark loses an under pah 1-pound loss, which does in team. He’s so close to his goal weight, but his commitment to his workouts and diet just isn’t enough.

Because Dan wins immunity, and brothers Mark and Jay still have each other, I expect to see Roger bounce this week. And frankly, I’m still not sure how he convinces whiny Mark to concede to be voted off.

Lots of crying ensues, and I suspect that getting them all to tattoo his slogan on their bodies may have helped him cement his leadership role. Either way, Roger just eliminated his single biggest competitor and managed to look like a gentleman while doing it. Bravo.

This week, let’s all get tattoos of something we’re not that great at. Mine will be related to high school chemistry. What about yours?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Losers go home!
Next: Black and blue are no more. Except when Jillian’s beating Brittany, of course.


  • Roger talks with the Huntsville Times: “We’re going to lose as much weight as we can till the day we go home. It’s a blessing to be out there.”
  • Recaps at TV Guide

Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 3 1520
Weight and See: Song of the mouth Mon, 25 Feb 2008 15:28:25 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 2/19/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 8
By Ginny

The “Biggest Loser” contestants are all sent home. Nine-way defeat? Nope, just shore leave for our intrepid dieters.

Out in the wild, Roger Shultz of Enterprise has to decide everything on his own. (No more Bama Slammer cohort Trent, sniff.) Will he listen to Mr. Blue Bob on his shoulder, or follow Br’er Rabbit into the briar patch?

Everybody’s got a laughing place, after the jump …

Two months gone: Players are heading home for mini-reunions. It’s a busy week, what with the producers earnestly compiling lists of the worst foods to stock for overeaters on a day pass from rehab, and the editors gleaning “Blind Date” reruns for fun ways to punch up the episode.

The initial homecomings are pretty unsurprising: Nine people walk through nine doors to cheers and balloons, followed by an interview with a relevant loved one who verifies, “Hey, they’re skinnier!”

Check it: Only Roger’s welcome committee is so elaborate it requires a tent and the collective back yards of an entire subdivision. Roll Tide, yo.

The Biggest Loser

I left town for eight years. My welcome-home party
had five guests, and I was glad to get them.

The Biggest Loser

Penalty: excessive celebration.

The Biggest Loser

Roger hugs his cute wife Paige and
the current Alabama placekicker.

Once everyone’s home, we see how they handle the temptations of life off the ranch, which includes insane amounts of sugary, fatty foods at every turn. We have four basic responses: the Mark, the Roger, the Bernie and the Paul.

The Mark: Hypocritically snatch treats from children’s mouths with no warning or explanation, making them feel guilty for eating food provided by parents. Similar players: Jay.

The Biggest Loser

Just give back the doughnut, and Daddy will still love you.

The Roger: Internalize lessons learned from trainer, materializing them as encouraging presence over shoulder. Similar players: Uncle Remus.

The Biggest Loser

On other shoulder, my angel Jillian.

The Biggest Loser

Worst. Spotter. Ever.

The Bernie: Enjoy time off and try to incorporate lessons into everyday life. Similar players: Brittany, Maggie, Dan, Kelly.

The Biggest Loser

Mmm, chocolate named after me … where can I rub it?

The Paul: Eat everything in sight, dodge phone calls, and lie to current girlfriend about relationship with ex-wife. Similar players: After substituting “eat” with “drink/smoke,” every guy I’ve ever dated.

The Biggest Loser

Here, her eyes are literally closed.

The Biggest Loser

Maybe that’s how she manages to find him so sexy.

The challenge, a leap/duck affair, made absolutely no difference in the eventual winner.

The Biggest Loser

No penalty: celebration completely justified.

The weigh in: We see how well these tactics have worked for the remaining players. For Roger, quite well indeed, as he drops a solid 16 pounds.

Blue completely routs black, losing 5.67 percent to 2.42 percent. Whether Mark and Jay’s obsessively structured habits pay off in the long term is anyone’s guess, but black has to send a member home tonight.

And it’s Paul, who rankled teammates by holding on to his old yellow shirt and letting his insecurities keep him from bonding with teammates.

Which method is the best long-term solution for weight maintenance: the more strident attention to food and exercise, or the moderate mash-up of home life and healthy habits?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: A single pound makes all the difference.
Next: The boys in blue win a trip to Vegas that ends in tears. As most do.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 1 1513
Weight and See: One is the whiniest number Mon, 18 Feb 2008 00:39:57 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 2/12/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 7

The black team has been on a roll. Can anyone (the blue team) or anything (cripping childhood issues) stop it? It’s all head games on “The Biggest Loser,” where a single pound could decide the fate of our former Crimson Tiders, Roger Schulz of Enterprise and Trent Patterson.

Tell us your innermost desires, after the jump …

Mama’s housed: Dan’s not happy with his blue team cohorts, and the black team ain’t too happy either. After dumping Dan’s mom Jackie, Mark defends his decision to break his word to both.

Dan cries while confessing to the camera. Mama’s boy.

Roger ain’t too happy with the black team, confiding: “Play your black team game. Don’t get in our damn business. It’s none of your business who we kick off.”

The Biggest Loser

Roger begins the healing.

Trainer Bob offers support to Dan, who doesn’t trust his teammates. He’s alone in Shangri-La, the awkward name he gave to his shared bedroom with his mother.

The Biggest Loser

At least they had separate beds …

Dan calls a healing team meeting, ending with that cocky, hands-in “1-2-3-pride!” chant. Later, Mark confides that Dan’s next anyway. Hard to believe everyone hates Mark …

Lifts and separates: It’s the halfway point, so let’s make the contestants pull their weight. Literally.

The challenge involves two pairs from each team holding weight bags over water with ropes and pulleys. The pounds equal each pair’s total lost weight this season.

The Biggest Loser

Maybe the next challenge should be dismantling this thing.

The blue team fails miserably, as Roger and Jay slip, then Mark and Dan.

As the winner, the black team can grant immunity to a member of each team before weigh-in.

Bob ain’t happy with his blue team, having lost two events. Trent explains tearfully that money isn’t his motivation: “I want to get this off and keep it off. I want to be there for my son, my wife.”

Bob beams, confiding that Trent is in it for the right reasons.

The Biggest Loser

Trent needs a hug. On three … 1-2-3 hug!

Mommie dreariest: Maggie (blue) has her own crying jag while in the workout room. Trainer Jillian pulls her aside, where Maggie talks about her daddy issues and sums up, “Who wants a fat friend?”

Does Jillian make her run laps? Infinity pushups? No, she calls in a mystery guest. (Oh, please, please, please, let it be Supernanny.)

The Biggest Loser

Jillian’s mom has got it going on.
Jillian, can’t you see, you’re just not the trainer for me.

Jillian’s mom the psychotherapist arrives, apparently without a name. In her soft-spoken, reassuring sessions, she digs into their troubled psyches.

More crying ensues. Oy, they’re going to lose all those pounds through tears. Delicious, salty tears.

The Biggest Loser

The new HBO series, ‘In Treatment,’
starring Maggie, Kelly, Paul and Brittany.

Match the contestant with his underlying trauma:

A. Brittany 1. Endured regular beatings (called “sessions”) from father
B. Kelly 2. Because of mother’s delicate health, had to appease her
C. Paul 3. Never knew birth father who died young

Answer key: A-3, B-2, C-1. We forgot: D. Us. 4. Compulsive need to mock reality TV participants and/or wash hands.

The blue team skips therapy time, choosing a hike (“walk it out, instead of talk it out”). Trent powers through, despite his crippling childhood issues bum knee. Uh oh …

Fellas, denial ain’t just a river in 1-2-3 Egypt.

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: The black team thinks blue will win, as Maggie likens it to a dumb-jock clique. The blue team thinks blue will win, as Roger likens it to … a dumb-jock clique.

Earlier, Jillian randomly selected Maggie for immunity, while the blue team picked Jay (black).

Roger and Trent lose a combined 17 pounds, a remarkable feat at seven weeks, and Roger is the blues’ biggest loser.

Despite poor showings by Brittany and Maggie (3 pounds total), the black team wins another weigh-in by the slimmest of margins, 2.54 to 2.48 percent. If blue had lost just 1 more pound, it would’ve won.

Everyone is shocked! Bob storms out!

The blues discuss who to eliminate: Dan, Mark or Trent. But Trent volunteers, saying he’d like to get his knee fixed and continue getting in shape at home. He’s there for his family, not for the money.

And so, fellow Bama Slammer Roger casts the deciding vote against his football buddy, who has lost 87 pounds, more than any other contestant.

There is no ‘I’ in Trent.

The Biggest Loser

BSF … Bama Slammers Forever.

Back in Endicott, N.Y., 24 hours later, Trent smiles broadly, holding his newborn son Lincoln for the first time. The high school where he works greets him with a pep rally.

And so far, Trent Patterson has gone from 436 to 324, a total of 112 pounds.

The Biggest Loser

Do the contestants need more therapy or more gym time to conquer their size issues?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Super Duper Tuesday results are in.
Next: Ali sends everyone home.


  • BuddyTV talks with Trent: “Roger and I knew we were gonna be threats going into the competition” | plus an audio interview [MP3]
  • Trent picks the final three: Roger, Jay and Dan

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 3 1502
Weight and See: Yes We Can Sun, 17 Feb 2008 03:21:54 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 2/5/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 6
By Ginny

On “The Biggest Loser,” the black team gains historic momentum. Can Roger Shultz of Enterprise and Trent Patterson pull out a Super Duper Tuesday defeat?

The best reality TV team ever, plus your chance to audition for season six, after the jump …

Stumped speeches: Members of the black team recall their trouncing at last night’s weigh-in, resigning themselves to future losses (of weigh-ins, not weight). You know, it wasn’t that long ago that a having a viable black team in the running was just a dream.

To rally, I suggest a grass-roots campaigning effort. Instead, Jillian tweaks their diets. OK, that makes more sense.

Vote with your sweet: The temptation involves a chocolate challenge in voting booths. The winner, whoever eats the most Rolo candies in five minutes, can swap blue and black teammates.

Mark (blue), pictured at right, takes off like a shot, confiding in voiceover that he wanted to keep the teams the same. Maybe that’s true, but after his 952-calorie sugar binge in the first temptation, I think dude just likes candy. Bernie (black) doesn’t eat any, but … well …

The Biggest Loser

Yeah …

Mark inhales 1,118 calories in the time limit, keeping the teams the same, although he does demote his campaign manager. (In an unrelated segment, he also takes off for the hospital after experiencing a leg injury.)

In the meantime, fellow blue member Dan is collecting his reward for being last week’s biggest loser. The prize: a visit from his brother, who gives both Dan and mom Jackie a boost, reminding them that Jesse Jackson took South Carolina in ’84 and ’88.

A challenge in every pot: At the challenge, teams shop for ingredients and prepare a healthy meal for superdelegate Rocco DiSpirito, a la “Top Chef” affair (go corporate synergy). The winning team receives a meal from Rocco and videos from home.

The Biggest Loser

In uniform

The Bama Slammers take on dessert, while Trent tells us that they’re going to dispel the myth that football players can’t cook. Right. If football players could cook, they wouldn’t have rally girls.

The Biggest Loser

The blue team argues that black offers
only garnishes, not solutions.

Rocco likes both meals but ultimately casts his ballot for the black team. Can they keep this momentum?

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: Apparently, yes they can, delivering a spectacular upset at the weigh-in, despite Roger and Trent’s combined loss of 17 pounds. Black handily beats blue, sending our guys’ team to the elimination room, where they vote out Jackie.

Paul and Kelly had a dramatic moment this week watching Kelly’s video from her amorous boyfriend. Do you think they have a chance as a couple? How about me and Jillian, then?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Teams compete as individuals.
Next: The weigh-in that makes American, er, “Biggest Loser” history.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1500
Weight and See: The Bob squad Wed, 06 Feb 2008 01:37:53 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 1/29/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 5
By Ginny

It’s every man/woman for him/herself on “The Biggest Loser.”

Plus, the Bama Slammers — Roger Shultz of Enterprise and Trent Patterson — swap gray shirts for blue. Can Appomattox be far behind?

An uncivil war, after the jump …

Split happens: Our couples divorce, at least, for weigh-ins. Individual competition also means more one-on-one time with cameras and trainers, for example, Jillian’s counseling session with Brittany (blue/strangers).

Brittany divulges the childhood heartbreak and abuse that led to her weight gain. This exemplifies a common pattern in overweight adults: abuse or neglect at a very young age, leading to one of the few vices available to children, overeating.

The ol’ switcheroo: Instead of the contestants, Bob and Jillian race up and down mall escalators in the challenge. Winner gets to pick his team.

Bob crushes Jillian (and blames her performance on her smoking, though it’s hard to decipher the audio).

Despite his public stance against the show’s focus on game play, Bob chooses the strongest pairs — black, orange and gray — for his new blue team. The remaining players don black shirts for Jillian, who is crushed to lose her guys.

Blue team

Black team

Mike and Jay
Brittany and Bernie
Roger and Trent
Football players
Jenn and Maggie
Fat camp counselors
Jackie and Dan
Mother and son
Kelly and Paul
Divorced couple

The Biggest Loser

Nobody makes Jillian cry. [shakes fist]

The new black and blue teams compete in their own escalator challenge. Like seasons past, this one’s for cash. Despite Brittany’s best efforts as the last black shirt, the blue team takes it.

The Biggest Loser

Roger says there can be no ‘slacky-slacky’ in this challenge.
Also, ‘me workout long time.’

Soda jerks: The temptation reward allows the winner to bench an opposing team’s player at the weigh-in. All she has to do is find a marked cup among what looks like a billion glasses of soda in various flavors.

The glasses without marks instead have numbers indicating the calories just consumed. No one competes, mainly because the math is too daunting.

The Biggest Loser

‘OK, let’s lose at least 9 pounds each, then bust out a fist pump.’

The weigh-in: The black team is virtually doomed, especially since the former orange team loaded up on water so heavily last week, while the former yellow team posted an extra big loss to save themselves from all the other teams.

Trent loses 9 pounds, and Bob calls him “the one to watch.” Roger posts his own 10-pound loss, beating his own goal for the week by 2 pounds.

Overall, the blue team posts a 3 percent loss to black’s 1.22 percent.

Jenn is eliminated, splitting up the original purple team. Meh.

The purple girls are too young for this show. It takes years of wisdom and experience (not just the desire to fit in skinnier jeans) to even be ready to give up your biggest crutch. Do you agree, or is it easier to nip bad habits early on?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: One vs. 100! Or more like two vs. 12.
Next: The most shocking rose ceremony, er, weigh-in ever!

Also, our round-up of family “Biggest Loser” competitions from coast to coast:

Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 4 1483
Weight and See: The gong show Tue, 29 Jan 2008 18:24:56 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 1/22/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 4
By Ginny

This week on “The Biggest Loser,” it’s one team vs. the rest. Which side do Enterprise’s Roger Shultz and teammate Trent Patterson fall on? Can the Bama Slammers survive this latest challenge?

More twists than an irradiated pretzel, after the jump …

The yellow menace: The ep begins right after last week’s twist announcement in the elimination room. Sami turns out to be Marlena’s child by Jack No. 3!

Actually, all contestants have an hour to choose the team they would like to eliminate. Teams vote mostly according to merit (purple/fat camp counselors), threat (black/brothers) or alliance (yellow/divorced couple).

Gray picks purple, following Roger’s motto, “Two below, you gotta go.” I think it’s also, “Three below, you gotta blow,” so it could have turned out much worse for the girls.

The Biggest Loser

Also … ‘Four below, you gotta ho.’

Paul and Kelly, team yellow, receive the most votes, but instead of elimination, the pair now compete against all other teams in the challenge and the weigh-in. Countless other rules and surprises make this incredibly difficult to explain further, but the most important thing is that it gives us a chance to see Paul (yellow) get all “Art of War” on everyone’s asses.

This includes wearing a costume, busting out sweet kung-fu moves and quoting Chinese philosophers. It also involves the producers’ culturally sensitive use of the sound effects board from “Survivor: China,” punctuating most of what Paul says and does with a resounding gong or swishy knife sound.

The Biggest Loser

Chow Yon-Fat, or Hong Kong Phony.

Walk on water: For the challenge, teams walk a balance beam over the pool and bring back 16 pegs. You know who would be good at this? A kung fu master.

Yellow wins handily, while Trent (gray) takes a dive, literally. Paul and Kelly win letters from home, which they strategically sacrifice to the other teams.

The Biggest Loser

Trent drops into the water near Coney Island;
we’ll see him in a month.

Among the letters, I’m shocked to see photos of Roger looking much heavier in the past than he has on this show.

This worries me: How much more he can lose?

The Biggest Loser

The weigh-in: Before, several teams conspire to add water weight, so that yellow can eliminate black from the big group. (It’s complicated, I know.)

The producers nix that with a last-minute twist (oy, with the twists): The team with the highest percentage weight loss this week wins immunity.

Although the grays drop 25 pounds (3.48 percent), they come in second, while the black juggernaut rolls on with a 4.64 percent loss.

Despite that, the water-logged contestants bring down the average enough to let yellow win. Because black has immunity, yellow sends pink (Bette-Sue and her daughter Ali) home. Gong!

I’m actually glad they’re splitting up — except for the funny orange team Jackie and Dan, I’m finding the teams to be less interesting than past contestants. Have you picked a fave yet?

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: Gum for everyone!
Next: Teams compete as individuals. From now on, we call them by first names, so study up.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 6 1470
Weight and See: Chew-chew train Mon, 21 Jan 2008 03:56:54 +0000 "The Biggest Loser: Couples" recap for 1/15/08]]> ‘The Biggest Loser: Couples’ recap, episode 3
By Ginny

After last week’s tiny weight loss, can Roger Shultz of Enterprise and Trent Patterson drop enough to keep the Bama Slammers in the running on “The Biggest Loser”?

And what’s gum got to do with it?

500 tons or bust: This show starts with a long plug for the Million Pound Match-Up, challenging viewers to collectively lose 500 tons by the finale. I myself have lost 10 pounds since the premiere, but I have to save some for Jillian to beat off of me. Er, yeah.

Now acclimated to the world of brutal workouts and challenging nutrition choices, teams are playing to win. Sometimes, it’s hard to remember that nearly half a million bucks are up for grabs. Trying to balance smart game play with massive weight loss makes “Survivor” strategy look like Candy Land.

The challenge ties into the new focus on game play: a pecking order affair to oust teams by filling their trays with medicine balls. The grays align with black (brothers) and pink (mother/daughter) to gang up on other teams, and the grays win, securing immunity in this week’s weigh-in.

The Biggest Loser

Remember, Trent’s hug options were a cute, clean
daytime-TV star or a fat, muddy linebacker.

My favorite product placement of the season arrives when Bob tries to convince contestants to replace snacks with brand-name sugar-free gum, because you can’t eat and chew gum at the same time. (Next week, he’ll hand out pacifiers.)

Girls were girls and men were men: On the family drama front, Neill (white) continues his whiny slacker ways, while Bette-Sue (pink) is confronted by her daughter Ali about pretty much every mistake made in her upbringing. Because Bette-Sue seems sincerely contrite, I give her a pass this week, and focus all of my disdain onto Neill.

Also, a prolonged Baldwin-style fight erupts between the brothers (black) that bores me to tears. It does lead to a massive meta-fight: Teams yell at each other about game play, but it’s really just frustration from having so little control over who might be eliminated.

Frustrated fat people are cranky. You know what would help? Gum.

The Biggest Loser

Wonder Twin powers, activate!

The weigh-in: Our guys are sitting pretty with immunity, but still pull off a loss of 22 pounds, or 2.97 percent. As Trent drops below the 400-pound milestone for the first time in years, he dedicates his 13-pound loss to his wife on their anniversary.

Up for elimination are the purple team (best friends, fat camp counselors) and the white team (newlyweds), which includes big pansy Neill. I send him home with the power of my mind, as well as votes from all the other teams.

“The Biggest Loser: Couples” airs at 7 p.m. Tuesdays on NBC 13.

Previous: The health films from hell and the see-saw showdown.
Next: A twist pits one team against all the rest. Only gum can save them.


Ginny, pop culture and fashion maven, dares you to read her blog, whiskey. tango. foxtrot., at

• • •

Shape up: more “Biggest Loser” at

]]> 2 1448