Spoiler Alert: Do not read if you haven't yet watched NBC's The Biggest Loser Season 14 Premiere.
After a surprising and action-packed two-day season premiere (if you haven't already, have a look at our recaps of part one and part two), the contestants of The Biggest Loser were faced with a different type of challenge: a quiz about childhood obesity. In a game-show style segment, teams were asked to answer questions, including how much the rate of childhood obesity has multiplied in the past 30 years. One question -- "What percentage of parents think their obese child is healthy or even underweight?" -- was particularly eye-opening. The questions were tricky, even for health journalists -- hopefully viewers were surprised about their own inability to answer the questions, as well.
The losing team -- Bob's blue team -- was forced into a gimmick: they had to sit in a "junk room," full of TVs, video games and junk food, for four and a half hours each day while their competitors were at the gym. The point was to illustrate the extracurricular activities of the majority of American children and the team members did seem deeply miserable. To cope, teammate Alex poured orange juice over the chips, candy, cookies and doughnuts, ruining them.
Meanwhile, in the gym, the language surrounding the workouts was changing. Contestants like Cate talked about their workouts in terms of "tough" and "good" rather than "torturous" for the first time that we noticed.
The episode also introduced Dr. Joanna Dolgoff, a pediatrician who specializes in childhood obesity. Dr. Joanna visited each of the three teenage contestants' houses to talk through eating habits and have a look at the food environment. In each of the three houses, she found readily available junk food and some problematic attitudes about eating and being sedentary. For 13-year-old Biingo, video games and TV mean that he hasn't been spending much time getting active and that, combined with plenty of processed snacks, have been sabotaging his weight. Meanwhile, 13-year-old Lindsay learned that she is pre-diabetic, prompting her mother and sister to pledge a better-stocked kitchen. Sunny, a lifelong vegetarian, provided a different challenge: as Dr. Joanna said, sometimes vegetarians are really "carbotarians" -- a reminder that one has to be mindful about diet, regardless of restrictions.
Meanwhile, the contestants were forced through a ridiculous and humiliating "carnival" obstacle course, including crawls through a mucky pit filled with something meant to resemble chewing gum. On the upside, the teamwork and sense of goodwill among contestants was really apparent.
That continued through the most grueling and also most cheerful "last chance workout" -- Cate and Jackson shone on the red team and even Pam improved her performance over on the white team (though she continued to argue with Jillian). Bob's blue team, in an effort to undo the ill effects of their extra "junk room" time actually performed a workout in that very room, symbolically conquering it and sending a message: you can workout anytime, anywhere.
But despite dedication and much goodwill, the warm fuzziness would only get contestants so far -- it was another "red line" weigh in. In other words, the contestant who lost the lowest percentage of body weight was automatically eliminated. In other seasons, many of the eliminations were based on a vote among team members. Unfortunately, this week, the percentage weight lost by dedicated red team member Cate was the lowest. She was sent home.
What did you think of this week's episode? Tell us in the comments! And tune in with us next week as we continue our live tweeting!
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