'The Biggest Loser': Wonder Twin powers, activate!

Welcome to the season finale of The Biggest Loser, where we finally answer the burning questions that have haunted us all season: How will they fit product placements into a live broadcast? What will be the filler/content ratio? How many plugs will they make for the next season, starting in a mere two weeks? How many times will they reference how the Black Team was abandoned, rejected, and left to rot in the desert? Oh, and who won?

He ain't heavy, he's my spoiler.

Alison, wearing product-placement purple, welcomes all of the competitors back, gets them up on the scale, and figures out who wins. Should be a pretty straightforward affair, right? Nope -- they drag this out forever, or course.

First, we have to be reminded of the pain and suffering our competitors went through. I'm watching this at my parent's house, and my dad started looking distinctly alarmed in the first couple of minutes. "They're crying? I don't like watching people cry. I'm going into the other room." Wise choice, Dad -- this is all about the tears, the trauma, the life-changing emotional catharsis! And hey, I have to admit I started getting a bit choked up when they showed Bob getting Patty to say she was worth it. This, I hasten to add, is at minute two. It's going to be a long night...

The eliminated
All 14 of the eliminated competitors get welcomed back on stage. All have lost weight, which is fantastic. Some of them, of course, have lost more than others. Here are the stats:

  • Lezlye went from 255 pounds to 200 pounds. She lost 55 pounds, for 21.57% of her total weight.
  • Patty went from 280 pounds to 236 pounds. She lost 44 pounds, for 22.86% of her total weight.
  • Amber went from 295 pounds to 211 pounds. She lost 84 pounds, for 28.47% of her total weight.
  • Bryan went from 346 pounds to 224 pounds. He lost 122 pounds, for 35.26% of his total weight.
  • Ryan went from 374 pounds to 241 pounds. He lost 133 pounds, for 35.56% of his total weight.
  • Phil  went from 403 pounds to 258 pounds. He lost 145 pounds, for 35.98% of his total weight.
  • Jerry went from 297 pounds to 187 pounds. He lost 110 pounds, for 37.04% of his total weight.
  • Nicole went from 279 pounds to 174 pounds. She lost 105 pounds, for 37.63% of her total weight.
  • David went from 368 pounds to 228 pounds. He lost 140 pounds, for 38.04% of his total weight.
  • Amy went from 297 pounds to 171 pounds. She lost 129 pounds, for 42.42% of her total weight.
  • Kae went from 225 pounds to 128 pounds. She lost 97 pounds, for 43.11% of her total weight.
  • Jez went from 345 pounds to 195 pounds. He lost 150 pounds, for 43.48% of his total weight.
  • Neal went from 421 pounds to 210 pounds. He lost 211 pounds, for 50.12% of his total weight.
  • Jim went from 361 pounds to 175 pounds. He lost 186 pounds, for  51.52% of his total weight.

Jim wins the $100,000.

The final four
Bill, Julie, Isabeau and Hollie burst through their before pictures -- and they all look amazing. Here's how it stacks up:

  • Isabeau went from 298 pounds to 185 pounds. She lost 113 pounds, for 37.92% of her total weight.
  • Hollie went from 255 pounds to 150 pounds. She lost 105 pounds, for 41.18% of her total weight.
  • Julie went from 218 pounds to 121 pounds. She lost 97 pounds, for 44.50% of her total weight.
  • Bill went from 334 pounds to 170 pounds. He lost 164 pounds, for 49.10% of his total weight.

Bill wins!

Confessions and rants
Some of these transformations almost scared me. Losing weight is great -- losing as little as 10 percent of your body weight if you're overweight can dramatically improve your health. So I'm thrilled for everyone that they did something this great for themselves. And just about everyone looked fantastic without looking emaciated. They looked healthy, but real -- like they had lives and interests and did things other than work out and worry about their weight.

But getting rid of more than half of your person? That's just a little freaky to me. Jim didn't look like a real person to me anymore -- he looked like he spend all his time in the gym, like he didn't have a life any more. Maybe I'm wrong -- I hope I'm wrong -- but it almost looked like he went too far. It wasn't about health anymore, it was about winning, defeating the rest of the group, showing the world that he had more willpower than anyone else. I'm happy for him, but I worry about him at the same time.

I'm much more comfortable with the transformation someone like Patty or Amy or David or Jez made. They look great, healthy and happy, but they still have more than three percent body fat. That's good -- that's normal. That's what most of the audience can aspire to. What Jim did? It's on another plane, it seems.

That's something that was brought home when the final four talked about how hard it was to continue their progress at home. Hollie was the most extreme: "I want to go out and I want to meet people and I want to date and all of these things, and I feel like I can't do any of those because I feel like if I do I'm going to lose focus on why I came here in  the first place."

That right there? That's not good. If losing weight gets in the way of you living your life, you're not going to be able to sustain it. It's about having a healthy life, not have either health or a life.

So I'm heartened that Bill won it all. He looked like he was still living -- he's working and working out, he's eating with his family but eating healthily. He seems like a real person who did great things for himself. Congratulations, Bill!

Highlights, thoughts and odds and ends

  • What was with the grunting montages? Every time a person got up on the scale, we got three shots of them from the show: One grunting in exertion, one grunting in pain, and one grunting in triumph on the scale. I don't know if I need to see so much concentrated grunting, but alas, no one asked me my opinion.
  • Did anyone else yell at Amy to take off her earrings when she got on the scale? Those long, dangly bits of bling must have added at least a pound to her final total.
  • Dear Jerry: I'm thrilled that you made so much progress. It's great that you're looking so cut. Please,  put your shirt back on.
  • Amy went out of her way to snub Kim -- she was the first person off the block to hug Jillian when the trainers came out, and she made sure to let the world know that Jillian got her to believe in herself, unlike SOME people. Give it a rest, Amy.
  • Neal was sheepish -- but unrepentant -- about his gaming the system. Feh.
  • Jerry and Jim both postured and posed and popped their muscles when they got up on the scale. I kind of loved Phil's mock-flexing when he got up on the scale -- he didn't need to show off.
  • Yes, they managed to fit in product placements. No, I won't mention who those companies were.
  • Bill, talking about Julie, says she never complained, then amended his statement -- no one on his team complained! Ah, Bill -- we've seen the footage. There was all sorts of complaining, and Julie indulged as much as any of the Black Team women.

What did you think? Are you happy with the winners? Did you appreciate all the transformations, or did you think some people went too far? Are you looking forward to the next round? Does anyone out there share my philosophical problems with the show, or am I overreacting?