Biggest Loser
Episode 19

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To Halve and Halve Not

Original, supersized Michael, Ashley, Koli, and Daris step out on a stage together, each of them looking like they just walked off the spaceship at the end of WALL-E, and we hear someone saying the changes they've made are spectacular. Then there's a flash of light, and my God, those four large people have turned into one svelte woman! Oh, no, it's just Sami, welcoming us to the live finale. Wait, I agreed to cover the finale? Well, I guess that's what I've done today to make me feel proud. After the titles, Sami says 22 people started the competition, and tonight one of them will be crowned the Biggest Loser. Or maybe pantsed the Biggest Loser, I don't know. I might have finale fatigue at this point.

Cue the montage of the original 22 contestants stepping on the scales at the beginning. Montage of punishing, screaming workouts that's more harrowing than war footage and has a lot more flesh flying around. Various moments of triumph. And as the final four step back up, in the new and improved shapes we saw them in at the end of their time on campus, the announcer says more than 2,500 pounds have been lost. One at a time, we see them morphing back into their own selves, which seems a little mean; Michael, the biggest Biggest Loser contestant ever; Ashley, the daughter who wanted to make her father proud; Daris, the 25-year-old virgin; and Koli, who also feared he'd never find love. "In their last week on campus, the heaviest man and the heaviest woman secured their place in the final three," the announcer says. Then America voted between Koli and Daris, which I totally forgot to do, and one of those four will be the Biggest Loser. Amazing how much motivation people can generate in themselves when that title is what's waiting for them at the end.

Back in the studio, marching-elephant music accompanies the rolling of the giant scale out on stage. Sami says the 19 eliminatees will compete for the $100,000 At-Home prize, and one of the finalists will win the $250,000 grand prize and the Biggest Loser title. We again hear that Michael and Ashley are a lock for the final two, while America had to vote last week when Daris and Koli landed below the yellow line. But obviously we're not going to find out which of them survived that vote this early on; Sami has to trot out the two sub-yellow finalists first.

There's a big photo of Original Daris, emphasis on the O, and after Sami reminds everyone he'd never been kissed, he comes bursting through that photo. He's sporting a jacket, orange tie, jeans, and an entirely new head and body. It's kind of startling. As with all of the finalists, his original self is chroma-keyed in next to him so they can walk downstage together, which as a science fiction fan makes me nervous. What if they accidentally touch? Does The Biggest Loser really want to be responsible for a massive release of tachyon energy that will cataclysmically reduce the universe to half its size? Daris hugs Sami, who doesn't try to get her arms all the way around him (although she clearly could), but she's rendered briefly inarticulate by the sight of him. She asks him what he did to prep for tonight, and he says he had to learn how to deal with his stress eating and time management. "If you eat dinner at 5:30 and you stay up till three in the morning, you're gonna get hungry." Jillian would be proud. Then Sami makes Daris point out his cute blonde girlfriend in the audience, licking her teeth on national television. What a proud moment for her.

Next is Koli, who bursts out dressed like Andy Bernard in a light gray jacket, pink tie, and fuchsia pants, hollering like a loon. He and Daris embrace and Sami asks about his feelings. Koli explains how he went form having no self-worth to being proud of himself. Sami brandishes the envelope containing the results of the vote, but then Seacrests that it will have to wait until we come back. Two hours, we're going to see a lot of padding. No pun intended.

After the ads, Sami announces the results of the vote: Daris won it, so he's in the final three. She tells Koli he's still in the running for the At-Home prize, even though he's technically been an "At-Home" contestant for all of twenty seconds.

After shooing them off the stage, Sami welcomes some previous winners, and asks them to stand up from their front-row seats. They're Danny, Bill, and Eric, names that mean nothing to me. Sami says Eric put most of his weight back on, but lost 150 again after going to the Biggest Loser resort. That sounds totally advisable.

Sami brings up another former player, who started last season at 476 pounds, the heaviest woman ever on The Biggest Loser. Apparently Subway offered her a thousand dollars for every pound she lost, and Sami calls Shay out. She's still a substantial girl, and Sami sends her up onto the scale. As of the previous finale, she weighed 304, and now she's down to 252, for a loss of 52 pounds. That's good for a big ol' prop check, to be carried onstage by Jared himself. The amount is blank, because Jared is offering to double it if Shay runs a marathon with him. She's up for it, even before he tells her she'll do it fueled by Subway. I could probably run a marathon too if you give me enough free sandwiches. Just spread them out along the course.

Sami starts calling out the eliminated contestants from this season. First are Cherita and Victoria, then Ashley's mother Sheri and Michael's mother Maria, all wearing dresses in their team colors and looking approximately like halves of their former selves. Sheri in particular is unrecognizable. Sami sends them back stage and us to commercial.

After the ads, Sami calls out Bob and Jillian. Jillian's in a dress, and until I saw that I guess I always assumed she just had robot legs under those workout pants. I'm still not ruling it out, but these look pretty convincing. Sami asks them about their favorite moments of the season, and Jillian talks about helping people confront their fears. She doesn't say that she does this by being way scarier than anything these people ever thought they were afraid of. Bob says his favorite moment was O'Neal walking up the stairs. The first four Losers have had time to change, so now it's time for them to get on the scale.

Cherita's first, and her tragedy on the exercise bike is replayed before she gets on the scale. She went from 277 to 186, for a loss of 91 pounds, or 32.85%. They do hundredths of a percent but not ounces? I assume I'm not the first to call bullshit on that.

Victoria's next, we get a replay of her intense therapy session with Dr. Phillian. She started at 358, and Sami says she needs to have lost more than 117 pounds to beat her mom. And the scale reads 222, making a 136-pound loss, for a 37.99% percentage that puts her in the lead.

Now it's Sheri's turn, and her clip is all about being a widow, including reading a letter to her husband's tombstone. Apparently it's not equipped with a mail slot. The scale says she went from 218 to 119, a loss of 99 pounds, totaling 45.41%. That kicks the other two ladies in their now-less-dimpled asses.

Maria's the last of this batch, and after we see a clip of that pool epiphany that Jillian mentioned earlier, she's on the scale. Having started at 281, she needs to have lost more than 127 pounds to beat Sheri. She comes in at 167, which is 40.57%, impressive but not enough to unseat Sheri. Sheri barely has any seat left, after all.

Time for the next group of four: Patti and Stephanie, followed by James and John. I can tell you right now that James and John will not be winning the At-Home prize. Stephanie reports that she fell in love with Sam, and they go to change during the commercials.

When we come back, Sami -- with Sheri still attached to her at the hip as the current leader -- reminds us that Patti is the age her father was when he died. We see her promising Bob not to give up, and she gets on the scale. She started at 243, and n

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