'The Biggest Loser' recap: Jillian's back, but her team is already down two contestants
SPOILER ALERT: The recap for the "We're Back ... and So Is Jillian" episode of "The Biggest Loser" contains contestant spoilers.
Oh, "Biggest Loser," you're just two hours into the 14th season, and you've already shocked us and broken our hearts.
OK, technically, the shock comes courtesy of our inability to quickly calculate percentages in our heads, but the heartbreak is all you. Let us start at the beginning.
Part one of the season premiere (part two airs on Jan. 7 at 8 PM) kicks off with host Alison Sweeney introducing this year's newest category of contestants: teens. The totally enthusiastic and adorable Biingo (real name: Noah), Sunny, and Lindsay will not be subject to weigh-ins or eliminations, but their participation is part of the show's mission to help educate viewers about childhood obesity this season (hence the "Challenge America" subtitle for Season 14).
Next, Alison introduces the season's trainers, including Bob Harper, Dolvett Quince, and -- yes, she's baaack! -- Jillian Michaels, who returns as a new mom of two after a two-season absence.
Are you rooting for someone already?
Finally, Season 14's competitors are plucked from the audience, and we're guessing we're not the only ones who have instant faves: Jackson, a 21-year-old gay man (who sort of looks like a grown-up version of Biingo) who relates that he's been tortured about his weight and his sexuality for years, and TC, 31, a married, guilt-stricken dad whose young son was severely injured in a car accident in which TC's driver seat broke and crushed his son.
The son is fine now (sorry, should have led with that), but TC blames his 376-pound frame for the seat break, and he's made a promise to his son to lose the weight and be a healthier, more active papa.
The stakes, as always, are high, and as the contestants head off to the "BL" gym, we're already emotionally invested in how they'll do. Which means we wince sympathetically when Jackson (a member of Dolvett's Red Team) faints within the first few minutes of treadmill action, while TC, also challenged by the treadmill speed Jillian has set, is one of three members of Jillian's White Team to be kicked out of the gym.
Yeah, as show promos and countless preseason interviews with her suggested, motherhood has not mellowed Ms. Michaels. Thankfully.
Meanwhile, with Jillian and Bob trying to whip the adults into shape in the gym, Dolvett has taken the teen trio off to get some exercise via fun and games. Does the interaction with the teens slow the show down a bit? Indeed it does, and, several times throughout the premiere, it seems more like a PSA than a reality competition.
On the other hand, the show is making the point that it's important to develop good physical fitness habits when you're young, and the best way to do that is to find fun ways to engage kids in regular physical activity.
[Related: Meet the Season 14 contestants]
Otherwise, they might grow up to be overweight adults running their butts off on treadmills while a very loud woman gets all up in their Kool-Aid. For instance.
Later, the teens -- who will make appearances on the show throughout the season but will largely continue their get-fit efforts at home -- have the chance to participate in the season's first challenge, in which they will be suspended above a giant pit of balls and must direct the adults to find letters in the pit that will spell out the name of the show.