Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Losing It with Jillian!: Season Finale: "Jillian who?"

Could it be? Only eight episodes a season makes nowadays, and Jillian wraps up Losing It with the Alvarez family of Miami Lakes, FL. We have Big David, wife Carmen, daughter Melissa, and son Little David. Little David is not so little: He is about to celebrate his ten years on earth with prediabetes and being made fun of by his class mates for being overweight. Big David doesn't take his health very seriously, and Carmen is tired of nagging for change.

Plus the family goes on late night donut runs. Oy.

At the initial meeting with Dr. Van Herle, we find that Carmen should weigh 109 and is actually 170, while Big David should be 180 and weighs in at 328. To add insult to injury, Big David suffers from sleep apnea but threw out his machine for sleeping because he "didn't want to see himself that way". Dr. Van Herle asks the kids to leave the room so she can show the parents the age progressed photo of Little David. If they don't act now, he will look like Koli from Biggest Loser season nine by the time he gets to high school. NO! I can't think of a worse fate!

Jillian arrives at the Alvarez home and calls Carmen from the front yard.

Jillian: Who am I speaking to?

Carmen: It's Carmen.

Jillian: Hi Carmen! It's Jillian!

Carmen: Jillian who?

Jillian: What do you mean 'Jillian who?' I'm in your front yard.

I thought the cameras would have tipped them off.

Carmen welcomes Jillian inside and she meets the family, but they are unable to go to the gym like the usual program format because Big David has not been cleared for working out due to his severe sleep apnea. Instead, she sits down with the family to figure out why Little David isn't so little. Carmen says it's the food that he eats, and Jillian zings her by asking "Is he buying that food himself?" After a lethargic game of "chase ball" aka tennis, it is clear to Jillian that the culprits here are the parents. Big David treats his health as a joke and Carmen doesn't like to be called a nag so she doesn't.

Also, the family goes on late night donut runs. Did I mention that already?

Jillian drives Big David to the sleep apnea center, and she curls up in the RV she will call her home for the next week to get some sleep. The next day Big David gets a rude awakening: He thought he only stopped breathing 4 to 5 times a night. Turns out it is over 64 times a night. One time he stopped breathing for 32 seconds! He has to immediately go back to using a sleep apnea mask and to make matters worse for Jillian, he can't work out at a heart rate greater than 140 bpm.

At the gym, Big David is closely monitored on the treadmill at a zero incline while Carmen gets all the punishment heaped on top of her. Everyone is taking the workout pretty well, no one is freaking out, and no one is talking. They are seemingly impervious to her mind bullets and something has to change.

At a family dinner that night, the family shows Jillian their DISGUSTING looking Cuban feast of fatty pork and *gasp* fry bread. They tell her that "family means everything to us", making Jillian drop the bomb "How would you feel if you had to bury your son?" Nothing stops a party like death talk. They decide to cleanse the house for Little David's birthday that weekend, filling up seven trash bags worth of junk food.

Jillian also changes her approach with Carmen at the gym, giving her an "aggressive" workout. She wants to hear her voice so she tries to get her to drag her across the floor. It works because Jillian has her screaming like a champ and in tears. She takes Carmen and Big David out on a boat so they cannot escape and makes them talk about the issues at hand. We learn that Big David does care and he does want to change, he just didn't want to talk about it. He admits he feels worthless with the sleep mask on and decides he wants to change.

The most touching moment was when Big David talks to Little David about having to wear the sleep mask. He puts the mask on his son and you can see his heart breaking that this may be his son's fate if things don't change for the better. It was really hard to watch.

Jillian then takes Little David to the dojo to learn some martial arts and he LOVES it. She even decks him out for his birthday party with all the sparring gear that he needs to continue with karate after she is gone. After a quick jaunt in the SS Metaphor where the family has to pull Big David through the sand, it is time for Jillian to catch the wind and fly away, promising to return six weeks later.

At the reveal, everyone looks wonderful. Carmen has lost 25 pounds, Little David has lost 25 pounds (and looks like a future cast member for Jersey Shore), and Big David has lost 54 pounds. And Melissa wears a dress. They had a daughter? Little David tells Jillian he wants to start an after school work out program for his school and donates the money to fund it.

"The future for my family is brighter!" says Big David.

Now that the season is over, I wonder what happens next? Will we ever get to see what happened to these families later? I am hoping the format for next season will change- I would love to see half the amount of families and a little more focus on HOW they get where they are. I can't imagine anyone making truly lasting habits in 5 days or six weeks. Once the cameras are gone how do these families thrive? It is an interesting show but there is a lot of room for improvements.

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