Prelude: We are all fat. Fatter than ever, in fact. Even Michelle Obama thinks so. Also, Bill Clinton, who himself is no stranger to a Krispy Kreme. Also Bob and Jillian, of course. This season is all about paying it forward, Jillian tells us. God, I hate that phrase. It just makes me think of little Haley Joel Osment being all toothy and twee, and how Kevin Spacey won't come out. Things are starting off a little differently this year, with Bob, Jillian and Ali (aka Sami, the name of her longtime character on Days of Our Lives) heading to seven cities throughout the country to motivate us -- us! -- and find their next group of contestants. God, am I glad I didn't run into them at Taco Bell. You'd be all ready to order your chalupa and some of those crispy cinnamon twists for dessert, and then forced to slink out with shame. Or even worse, do some jumping jacks or something. Anyway, three people in each city will have a chance to make the show, but only two will actually come back to the ranch to compete. That's totally mean, but I must confess that I'm glad this isn't going to be a 22-episode season.
The first stop on the Magical Blistery Tour is Detroit, Michigan. Sami tells the crowd, who frankly are probably already depressed enough, what with the living in Detroit and all, that obesity has surpassed smoking as the number one cause of preventable death in the U.S. In ten years, obesity could cost the state of Michigan over $12 billion. Ford apparently invited the show to come to Detroit, and see how their five remaining employees are running a race to fight breast cancer. A very large man named Luke, from Waipahu, Michigan, tells us that he's always struggled with weight. He looks to The Biggest Loser for direction and to know that he's not alone in his struggle. Sami's going to announce who the three possible contestants are, but first Bob leads a workout for the entire crowd. Mike, from Alma, Michigan, says that he's seen no other diet programs where people keep off the weight like they do on The Biggest Loser. Does he watch the reunion shows? That one guy gained back a person and a half! Also, while people on this show have accomplished amazing things, I'm not sure that the diet plan of "working out like hell and losing half your body weight in three months under extreme pressure" is really ideal for everyone.
Finally, Sami brings up the three potential contestants -- Jesse, Sophia, and Aaron. Sadly, none of these is the lady in the wheelchair who was so enthusiastically rocking out to "Dog Days Are Over." Bob is sad that only three people get an opportunity to be on the show, and only two will actually make it to the show, since the entire audience could use some quality treadmill time. Jesse is first to weigh in, in front of the entire crowd. We then learn that Jesse is 27, and a law clerk from St. Paul, Minnesota. Which is twelve hours away from Detroit. What the heck? Jesse tells us, in his montage, that he grew up as the son of an overweight mom. He also sounds quite depressed. Jesse says that his weight is ruining his life. And how much weight, you may wonder? 369 pounds. Once Jesse sees the number he looks like he's about to cry. It must really be something to stand up in front of a whole crowd of people without your shirt on and be weighed on a giant scale, and also to think that you might die or get diabetes at any moment.
Sophia is next to weigh in. She's 28 and a school counselor from Maryland. Oh. See, I thought that three people FROM each city that they're visiting would be eligible for the show. I guess the cities and the eligible contestants have nothing to do with each other. But, like, as we can see there are plenty of fat people in Detroit, and they wouldn't even have to take time off work since they don't have jobs! Very odd. In any case, Sophia would like to be able to wear a white dress and not look like the marshmallow fluff woman. But don't let that humorous remark trick you into thinking that she doesn't have a tragic backstory. Sophia's brother, Edwin, died in a car accident a bit over a year ago. Sophia cries a lot as she tells us this, and says that Edwin's death shut her down. As a counselor, she thinks she should know how to work through this, but she can't seem to do it. Sophia stands on the scale and we learn that her starting weight is 272 pounds. She cries and tells the crowd that our nation is getting fatter and fatter, and she's there not only for her students and her friends who are fat, but for herself. Well, that's good since no one else is going to volunteer to take Jillian's beatings for her. Sophia wants to make her family and herself proud.
Aaron, a 29 year old graphic designer from Kent, Ohio is last to weigh-in in Detroit. He has a wife and a three year old son. Aaron says that he feels like he's been trying to lose weight all his life. He had an alcoholic father and didn't want to go down that road, but his addictive personality latched on to food. Aaron is eating himself into an early grave, and says he needs to be part of The Biggest Loser because they make miracles happen, and he needs a miracle. Aaron is a really big guy. His starting weight is 468. He tells the crowd about his alcoholic dad, and how he would ask him to stop drinking. He was embarrassed by it. Aaron says that he loves his father and forgives him, but doesn't want his son to feel embarrassment. Rather, he wants to be his son's role model. That's why he wants to make the change now. Sami is totally weeping on the sidelines. The fact that she's such a softie really works. Aaron tells the crowd that the next time they see him, he'll have a six-pack. Of diet soda. Because seriously, the excess skin will kill you if the insane exercise regimen does not. Aaron's wife, Amber, says that she really wants Aaron to be on the show because it can do something that she can't. She wants nothing more than for Aaron to be happy in his own skin. She seems lovely, and their son is super cute, and one would think that there's no way that Aaron isn't going to make it on the show.
The three would-be contestants have to compete in a challenge, right in front of everyone. When they learn that only two of them will go to campus, they all look stressed. There's a step with a counter, and the potential contestants are aiming to get to 500. The audience members are apparently stepping, too. Sophia is first to reach the halfway point. She looks miserable, but maybe not as miserable as the other two. She reaches 500 first, and makes it to the ranch. Jesse is close behind, and makes it to 500 soon after. He's proud. Poor Aaron is 100 steps behind. But he wants to finish, and the crowd cheers him on. Finally, Aaron hits 500. People are crying all over the place. Aaron feels like he blew another opportunity, which is extremely sad. It seems kind of mean to base contestanthood on a physical challenge, given that it always puts the most unhealthy people at a disadvantage. And yet, Sophia and Jesse get shuffled into a limo and head off to campus. Bob talks to Aaron and gives him kudos for finishing the challenge. But he doesn't invite him onto campus, as I had hoped. Boo, stupid show. I give you the opposite of kudos. To spite you, I am now going to have some delicious homemade macaroni and cheese, with extra cheese! Believe it.
Next, the Magical Blistery Tour moves on to Los Angeles, where fans congregate on the beach. It is very windy. Sami introduces Jillian, who sprints up onto the stage. She looks like a teenage vandal in her hoodie and sunglasses. Sami cuts right to introducing the potential contestants -- Ada, Adam, and Montina. We start with Adam, who is a 26-year old non-profit manager from Santa Ana, California. He says that he's always been the heaviest kid in class, and was often ridiculed, but he had an amazing mom who saw the heart inside of the fat layers. Adam's mom died rather suddenly in July, 2009, and he's still devastated by it. She had a heart attack caused by obesity-related complications as well as diabetes, and Adam knows h