Jan. 17, 2012 at 10:48 PM ET
It's only three weeks into "The Biggest Loser's" No Excuses-themed season, and already it seems as though the contestants have lost track of the message.
On Tuesday night's episode alone, they had excuses for not trying in a challenge, for not besting an opponent and even for giving up and going home. (More on the latter later.)
First, let's review the temptation challenge that failed to tempt one team at all. In it, the players faced a spread of Chinese take-out delights, from sweet-and-sour chicken to fortune cookies and every deep-fried and pan-seared treat in between. And for the contestant who consumed the most calories, there was one heck of a reward.
As it turned out, this was face-off week, meaning that each player would challenge a player from the opposing team on the scales. The team with the most face-off victories would win the weigh-in, and the winner of the temptation challenge would decide the pairings and gain a 2-pound advantage to use as they pleased.
To give the "Losers" even more reason to pull up a plate, they were warned that if no one ate or if there was a tie, there would be no advantage and everyone would automatically be paired against their former partner from home -- in other words, the worst case scenario.
So clearly no team would be foolish enough to walk away without so much as a 30-calorie nibble from a fortune cookie, right? Wrong.
The handwringers on the red team, with the exception of Roy, were full of excuses for not playing. They feared they'd "fall off the wagon" if they tasted any of the food, that it would "show weakness." But we're not talking about eating dozens of doughnuts as some temptations have led to in the past. All they had to do was down 30 calories to at least go for it. Alas, they did not.
Which meant the red team essentially handed the black team the advantage and the chance to pick pairs. Team Black member Cassandra gladly accepted it for the low price of two fortune cookies.
Cassandra also accepted a challenge to go head-to-head in the gym with the player she pitted herself against, Conda. In a grueling burpee battle, Cassandra won, but poor sport Conda used the excuse that Cassandra cheated. A rematch left Cass the undisputed champ.
But no one's excuse-making was a bad as Joe's. After all, the others made gameplay excuses. Joe made a game-leaving excuse.
Without even waiting for the weigh-in, Joe packed his bags and left his teammates in the lurch because he, like everyone else, missed his family.
"As much as I want to be here, I want to be home more," he told the other contestants.
No one was happy with the move -- not Emily, who resented Joe for abandoning the team; not Mark, who thought of the other people out there who would have loved the chance to be on the ranch in Joe's place; and certainly not trainer Bob Harper, who already lost one big guy to a voluntary exit in week one and had few kind words for a quitter in week three.
"The fact that Joe is using, I believe, the biggest excuse ever ... 'My family needs me. I've got to go back home.' It's like this, Joe: I don't buy it. I don't buy it for one second," Bob ranted.
But buy it or not, Joe was gone, and that meant the red team started the face-off weigh-in with one win by default -- a lucky break that did little good after the remaining members of the black team took the scales. For the second week in a row, red lost.
After many tears and one declaration of the vote being "the hardest decision I've made in my life" (really, Kimmy?!), Team Red bid barely known Lauren farewell.
It was good to almost get to know you, Lauren. What you lacked in screen time, you more than made up for in dramatic goodbyes.
What did you think of all the excuses? And what about Joe's exit? Share your thoughts on our Facebook page.