HUGE (ABC): Do People Really Want To Watch ‘Fat’?

Hayley Hasselhoff

I’ll be upfront with you: I’ve only watched the pilot episode of HUGE, and, size-wise, I’m more Amber (Pictured Above) than Will. I’ve never entertained the idea of going to a fat camp and my television of choice is more likely to feature stick thin women and muscular men trying to defeat the forces of evil than ‘fight the flab’. But the concept of Huge has me intrigued. I’ve been pondering this one little question: Do people really want to watch ‘fat’?

Let’s be honest, scripted television rarely reflects the real world, especially in the USA. It’s used as a way to be both entertained and live vicariously. Enjoy the drama of the vicar cheating on his wife with the barmaid, while imagining you’re the most popular kid in school with your pick of a date for the prom. It’s fun, it’s safe, and it provokes imagination and fantasies.

When I sat down to watch Huge, even knowing the premise beforehand, I was surprised at the lack of thin kids. Yes, I know it was stupid to think there would be a stick thin fashionista and a hunk of a sports star, but after Will’s confident striptease mere minutes into the episode, I was left wondering where the appeal was. As someone used to seeing ‘gorgeous’ and ‘thin’ characters flaunted across our screens, I wasn’t entirely sure what I was supposed to feel watching Will’s act.

Then I realized that I wasn’t focusing on the drama, but rather falling into the trap of focusing on aesthetics.

Will’s striptease was for shock value, Amber’s urge to lose weight clearly a warning that teenagers today have skewed perceptions about themselves. There were seeds for plots dealing with bulimia and crushes and parental issues. There were the quiet kids, the outspoken girl, the confident and the not-so-confident. Huge isn’t some strange and unusual look at a world most of us can’t really comprehend like Gossip Girl or 90210.

It’s real life for most teenagers condensed down into a few weeks spent without the shields of technology and city living. We were once dealing with those issues, even if we weren’t a size sixteen and running obstacle courses out in the country. Those kids are us.

Maybe the question shouldn’t be ‘do people really want to watch ‘fat’?’ Maybe we should be asking ‘are we strong enough to watch ourselves?’

I’m still not sure, but I know one thing – I’m leaving the stripping to Willamina.

What do you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.