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Open Forum: HUGE

July 6, 2010
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Inspired by Allie and Jenny’s great post about Huge earlier this week I thought we’d open up the conversation into a weekly forum! What did you think about this week’s episode? Do the characters ring true to you? What message is coming across? Share whatever you’re thinking!

Huge airs on ABC Family mondays at 9/8c Episode 1is on ABC Family’s website now and Episode 2 is on hulu.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. July 6, 2010 12:12 AM

    Personally, I think I’m still not over the awesomeness of the strip in the opening scene of Ep. 1. Probably one of the better things I’ve ever seen on TV. Sitting down to watch Ep. 2 now!

  2. July 6, 2010 12:22 AM

    Will just called herself an “angry feminist!” I love feeling represented on TV.

  3. Ashley permalink
    July 6, 2010 5:34 AM

    I really liked this episode. It’s hard to comment on all the things that go on in an entire episode without watching it a few times more but something that definitely struck deep with me was Will writing the letter to her parents. Because I’ve experienced similar body-shaming tactics from my mom; comments about how my clothes look, about how I eat, overhearing her discussing my body and how ‘unhealthy I am’ with someone else. And it’s very painful to deal with.

    Something else that I really like is how even though Will is very head-strong and quick to shoot down things she doesn’t agree with, she’s still open-minded enough to acknowledge when she’s in the wrong and to be open to things she’s not initially interested in. Which was exemplified very well with the basketball subplot. I hope that her character development remains gradual and doesn’t culminate into a big revelation where she realizes she DOES want to completely alter her body (and herself) ‘for the sake of health’; I hope that it continues to go in the direction I think it’s going. I want Will to gradually come out of her moody, antagonistic shell and actively share the wisdom she has with the people around her in a positive way. At the same time she can share her pain over her parents with her friends. THAT is how I want to see this character develop.

    Other things I liked:
    Becca emerging from her painful shyness long enough to proclaim (quite loudly): “Will’s not gay!” Overall I like how they handled Ian’s misconception about Will’s sexuality; for me it encouraged critical thought about WHY people tend to assume women who put on less of a ‘feminine show’ are lesbians.

    The various bits of character development we get i.e. Amber’s conversation with her mother (which we only hear one side of, which allows us to fill in the blanks), Trent’s (VERY) tearjerking moment writing to his mother, and the moment we find out that Chloe and Alistair are siblings. Very interesting stuff going on and I can’t wait to see where it all goes.

    “When I see propaganda that I know is destroying girls’ brains, it’s my duty as an angry feminist to destroy it.” YESOMGSOMUCHWIN. I could have written than line. As you said, I love feeling represented on TV.

    The Twilight parody book=LULZ.

    I’m pretty sure I have a crush on Ian. He’s a super cutie.

    I’m really excited that Happy Bodies is going to be having weekly open forums! It makes watching the show even more exciting. Wooot!

  4. Lisa permalink
    July 6, 2010 1:49 PM

    Pretty much ditto to everything Ashley said. This episode was made of WIN! Especially the line “When I see propaganda that I know is destroying girls’ brains, it’s my duty as an angry feminist to destroy it.” (As Ashley already pointed out). I enjoyed all of the character development and delving deeper into each person’s personal and family life. I think they’re doing a really good job so far of making all the characters well-rounded whole people instead of just fat stereotypes. The characters ring very true to me – like the way they talk and what they talk about seems pretty realistic without being over the top or super corny.

    Also, I really like the new girl! She just seems so fun and genuinely nice, it will be interesting to see where they take her anxiety subplot next episode. Definitely some of the best TV I’ve seen in a long time! Also, Gina Torres, fuck yeah!

    • July 6, 2010 6:32 PM

      I really liked the new girl too! Wouldn’t it be great if they explored fat and mental health in a positive way?

      • July 6, 2010 11:52 PM

        Ahh I wish they could explore this more! I really hope they come back to bulimia, mental health, and also injuring yourself from doing an obscene amount of physical activity all day.

        I also loved how supportive her parents were. The part where the mom was talking with Will about how she thinks her daughter is beautiful but the daughter wanted to come to fat camp — great. I think a lot of kids, and definitely a lot of kids on the show, have parents problems. I’m glad they introduced a spectrum of parental involvement instead of just a one-note plot device.

  5. Jill permalink
    July 6, 2010 6:07 PM

    So, I watched both episodes today instead of working on my thesis. Wevs. I love it, too–and I’m really pleasantly surprised about that.

    I really appreciated the really nuanced treatment of the fraught relationship I think a lot of fat people have with sports and athletic activity. Ian and Will listing the worst moments of their lives (which revolve predominantly around being humiliated playing sports) followed by Will realizing that being fat does not immediately negate all possibility of athletic prowess really struck a chord for me.

    Like Becky, I’m still reveling in Will’s striptease from the first episode. That scene is my new power animal.

  6. July 6, 2010 6:31 PM

    What did people think of Trent’s character and basketball. Like others, I liked how the fat characters didn’t have the same relationship to sports (Hey, fat people have personalities besides “Me Hungry”?) but Trent was also a huge jerk about it and felt as though his physical dominance in the sport gave him the right to chastise others. One of the thing the show explores really interestingly, I think, is physical hierarchies and how they operate in societies. Even though almost everyone on the show is fat – there are still some bodies that are privileged over others and the good fatty/bad fatty dichotomy plays a strong role in how people judge themselves and each other.

    I also thought Trent’s relationship with the rest of the team was clearly gendered. Surprise surprise, the white guy had to take over and boss everyone around. But what I LOVED was that Will called him out on it and articulated that it was gendered by talking about how he was trying to be “manly”.

    • Ashley permalink
      July 6, 2010 10:13 PM

      Yeah, I thought that was a really interesting way to represent sports. I love that about this show! It comments on and shows so many different things on so many different levels. And the issue of body hierarchies, even outside of ‘the real world’ (as they say on the show) and in a place where almost everyone is outside what they find the ideal, is shown really well. With Trent, as the ‘hunky jock’ (that’s what wikipedia calls him anyway) and most especially with Amber and Chloe. They’re the thin girls at camp, and as such are treated differently by their peers. They also put on a more feminine performance (in the form of makeup, clothes, and jewelry) than most of the other girls, especially Will. There’s just so much going on in the show! And I think I’m still really giddy from just SEEING fat people on TV who are more than just stereotypes. I think the show does a good job of representing fat people and someone who is into fat-acceptance and who isn’t ashamed of her body without demonizing the people on the opposite side i.e. Dr. Rand, Poppy (who is, admittedly kind of annoying) and Shay (who is also admittedly REALLY annoying). Dr. Rand especially has her own character development going on.

      And in response to the new girl; I thought that she went home at the end of the episode? From the way her family’s car pulled away and then cut to show the girls standing around the empty bed, I thought that it was possibly setting up an arc for each episode: bring a new girl in, along with some new issues. But it’s possible I interpreted it wrong.

      I’m just really, really excited for this show. I can’t wait for the next episode.

      • Lisa permalink
        July 7, 2010 1:11 PM

        Ashley, you’re totally right, I think the new girl did leave at the end of the episode, I was too busy processing everything else to remember that. Darn, I liked her and I wanted to see a story arc about her anxiety. I hope they don’t keep bringing in girls with “problems” and then sending them home as soon as the problems manifest themselves.

    • July 6, 2010 11:48 PM

      I agree with both of you a lot a lot. What I love about Winnie Holzman is that she doesn’t just create a jock character and let him just play sports and be mean to girls. I thought the part where he was writing to his mom was really touching. It’s hard to know what to do with yourself when all you’ve done is one thing. I’m guessing that’s true of sports, and I think that can definitely true with being fat.

  7. cellardoor10 permalink
    July 9, 2010 6:28 PM

    Oh my goodness, this was fabulous. I hadn’t heard of the show until I saw this post, but I will DEFINITELY be catching the episodes online.

    Things I LOVED: the striptease, the fact that Will has a complex relationship with her body – personally seems to be ok with it, but having to deal with the reactions of others not viewing her as good enough. I almost cried during her letter to her mom, because that stuff was SO FAMILIAR – and not just from parents. Mine certainly aren’t the worst offenders, but I knew *exactly* what she was talking about.

    I really liked that Trent wasn’t allowed to just be a jerk. He was defending his identity, the core of his being, which was under attack. Yeah, he was kind of a stereotypical privileged jerk about it, but it can be really hard to be level-headed when you are trying to share something you love and people are just rejecting it without even listening or trying. His letter to his mom, wondering how sports had become everything about him really rang true to me – he has feelings too, and they’re more complex than you might initially think. I appreciate that they didn’t entirely exonerate him, but they gave him depth.

    I am looking forward to the development of Amber and Becca – I haven’t gotten real reads on their characters yet, and I definitely think that’s intentional on the part of the creators.

    All in all, this has a lot of potential, especially since there doesn’t seem to be a single character always in the right or always in the wrong. It would be unrealistic for Will, who is “down with her fat” to also be all cheery sunshine and totally “right” all the time, and the same for the thinner one, Amber.

    I also wish the new girl had stayed around, but at least it was a character with mental health issues who was displayed with some depth, and like a real human. She wasn’t a punchline, she wasn’t invoked just to highlight something in someone else (although that did happen, that didn’t seem to be the reason she was there). She felt real. Like the people I know with mental health issues – real people, who care, have flaws, are capable of loving, etc.

    I give it a semi-tentative two thumbs up.

  8. July 10, 2010 10:20 PM

    About Trent I think he just might be a valuable character. I’m hoping that his crying while writing the letter at the end of the episode is an indicator that they are going to really explore his character. He seems to be the “big jock” type and that type is rarely examined as much as it should be. Usually these types are there for the sole purpose of having the main character pat themselves on the back for “putting him in his place”, which is how he was introduced basically. A deeper examination of his character could lead to real attention to the pressures that a lot of fat guys feel when it comes to sports. Sports is one of the times where it is “okay” for a guy to be big. Perhaps we’ll see that Trent took up sports in order to prove his manliness and we’ll see some insight on the social pressures that led to him thinking it was necessary.

    I really hope they do that with his character instead of just making him the big dumb jock that will be fodder for Will throughout the series. That would be a serious cop out and a missed opportunity for some insight on the pressures of being a fat guy. And after seeing the opportunity missed for so long I would be greatly disappointed if a show called “Huge” that seems to be propping itself up as a show that looks to examine body didn’t do so.

    • cellardoor10 permalink
      July 12, 2010 9:27 PM

      yeah, the only other show where I have noticed a big jock guy ever talk about his body was on “Popular”, which despite its often flippant attitude, dealt with some things really well.


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