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Huge Success

July 4, 2010

I can’t believe no one has posted anything about the new ABC Family show Huge. It’s about fat kids at fat camp. Oh boy, here we go, I thought.  In the hands of any other writer, I think Huge would be a flop.  But this show because it is written/created by Winnie Holzman and her daughter Susannah Dooley.  Holzman is the mastermind behind My S0-Called Life, one of the best and most honest portrayals of teenagers ever to be on American television.

I recently watched it over a couple of summer beers with Jenny Fink, a regular Happy Bodies discussion group facilitator who has yet to make it into the blogosphere, and we both LOVED IT (with some minor, minor exceptions not to be mentioned here). It was my second time through, and I talked a lot about at dinner but I don’t think I spoiled it for her. In the conversation that follows, I am AS, she is JF.

AS: Did I ruin it for you?

JF: I don’t think I could have predicted the emotional reaction I was going to have.

AS: So no.

JF: Did it bother you that the head of the camp is previously a camper?

AS: I find it disconcerting, because the “fat camp” lifestyle seems to be really unsustainable. It seems really unlikely that she could have lost so much weight at fat camp and kept it off into adulthood. Especially since the head of the camp is played by Gina Torres, who I am really familiar with for playing the mega-ass-kicking Zoe in Firefly; and if the actress playing the head of the camp wasn’t so hyper-fit maybe I would believe it more.

JF: In the show Will (the main character, played by Hairspray’s Nikki Blonsky) even points out that it’s not a healthy and sustainable lifestyle, and another character, Becca (played by Raven Goodwin), points out that she gained back all the weight from the year before.

AS: What did you like most about the first episode?

JF: I think it is so rare that anyone fat is portrayed as being desirable.  Seeing that in a really honest way, where there was no shame in it, really struck a chord with me.  Every teenager feels undesirable at some point, and fat teenagers especially feel like they’re not allowed to be sexy.  Things like sitting on someone’s lap can often feel like an impossibility.

AS: I like that thye seemed like real teenagers.  “Was that flirting?” is something I constantly ask my friends.  I also really loved the striptease.

JF: THE STRIPTEASE!  The show starts with a fat striptease!  She’s totally unashamed —

AS: — of her body, but sort of ashamed in a teenager-way of having done a striptease in front of total strangers.  They also had what is basically a Happy Bodies discussion.  It’s a rare glimpse into people talking honestly about fat, how they feel, and how they got where they are.  One of the kids talks abut clinging to someone else being the fat kid in junior high until one day he stood next to him and he was just as fat.  My god, I relate!  You just don’t see that on TV!  I also love that Nikki Blonsky is actively short.  So many images I relate to, all wrapped up in one show.

JF: I am so happy that this kind of show is on TV.  It’s a relatable show teaching body acceptance in a real context.  I am really looking forward to watching the show develop and I hope to continue blogging about it!

You can watch Huge on ABC Family on Mondays at 9, and full episodes are available on ABC Family’s website.

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisa permalink
    July 5, 2010 1:50 PM

    I really enjoyed the first episode of Huge and I’m very curious to see where the plot and overall messages will lead. So far it definitely seems to have a lot of great messages about accepting yourself, being attractive and normal as a fat person, etc. And I just can’t get over seeing an entire cast of fat people! If nothing else, having all fat actor means that you have to have plot lines about fat people that aren’t just “hey here’s that fat friend that’s on the show sometimes”.

  2. Ashley permalink
    July 6, 2010 2:14 AM

    I’m so glad to here that this show doesn’t, you know, suck. I was kinda anxious but very hopefully when I watched the commercial for it. I don’t have cable so I didn’t get to catch it but I will definitely be watching as much as I can via interwebz.

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