Calling it a fat-camp show is actually really unfair. I kinda just did that to get your attention. The fact is, HUGE is one of my favorite new shows—even though I was super resistant to watching it at first. Seeing the ads I assumed it was going to be exploitive, or at the very least voyeuristic: Hey, America, let’s all look at some heavy teens! My husband even asked me the other day after he noticed me watching it, “So, isn’t that a show about kids trying to lose weight? I’m surprised you like it.”
But it’s actually not about weight loss at all. That’s just the framework for what I think is a larger discussion about obesity, prejuidice, and body love/hate. I’ve been incredibly impressed both as an eating disorders/body image advocate AND as a regular-old TV-watcher. Not only is the show fun (and funny), it’s also got messages about fatism, self-love and health. (There’s also just enough sexual tension and cute boys to make it sort of addictively fun.)
I have noticed a couple of times, though, after finishing an episode, that I’ve been a bit melancholy. Quiet. Maybe a little tender or contemplative. Despite the fact that I’m at a healthy weight now, the show brings up all kinds of issues that are close to my heart, and memories, I think from when I was bigger. The show hasn’t tackled a lot of emotional eating stuff yet, although in one scene in a recent episode, the (slim) camp director is writing a difficult email to her mother and when she looks down at a plate that was holding a muffin she had decided not to eat, all that was left were crumbs. I’ve never seen emotional eating portrayed in a more real way on TV.
Anyhow, the latest episode is available on Hulu, and the next one episode airs on Monday. Have you see the show? Did it bring up any issues for you? Do you love it? Hate it? Think it is exploitive? Please share—I feel like I’ve never seen a show like this before and would really love to know what you think! xo…Sunny