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Huge: Episode 3

July 13, 2010

Becca is a total badass in this episode

This week Becca starts a larping club, Alistair smells, and Will runs into a bully from her school. We explore a lot of high school issues this episode: crushes and friendships, bullies, feeling like an outcast. But a great monologue from Alistair shows how these issues get mingled with body insecurities, as he questions whether things will be different once he loses weight. So what did you think?

Previous discussion: Open Forum: Huge

13 Comments leave one →
  1. Ashley permalink
    July 13, 2010 5:34 AM

    I think what I loved most about this episode was the use of a stereotypically geeky-and much ridiculed-pastime to transcend the cliquey boundaries that still separate some of the campers. I’ve never been LARPing myself but my group of friends in high school were those kinds of people and it’s very interesting to see it being used in this way.

    I think the episode did a really good job further exploring Will’s and Becca’s characters while maintaining a balance. It was necessary in the narrative for Will to take charge (and ultimately dilute the original purpose) of the LARPing idea, otherwise it wouldn’t have enticed as many others to come; that necessity led way to a bit of a breakthrough for Becca. All of these characters have different things going on that make them uncomfortable in their own bodies and personalities and it’s interesting watching all of that develop over time.

    Alistair is one of my favorite characters. And honestly, who can’t relate to the awkwardness experienced in public showers. If you’re a bigger person (and especially if you’re in America, where casual community nudity is not socially encouraged or considered something you’d do normally or comfortably), that awkwardness gets amplified. If I recall properly, when I went to summer camp for a week I only took two showers; it was just too awkward and weird to be showering around other people in a place other than my own home.

    I’m not entirely sure if I LIKE Dr. Rand but I think that’s she’s an interestingly written and very well-acted character. She is not as different from her students as she would like to think; she is uncomfortable speaking up in certain situations, is very neurotic at times, and has a very hard time connecting with the people around her due to her own insecurities. I really enjoyed the way she finally managed to connect, on some small level, with the kids during the camp fire.

    And just a side note on the series overall: Andreas watched the first episode recently and we discussed it. He doesn’t the tendency to enjoy teenage dramas that I do but we both agreed about how infinitely important it is that this is a teenage drama about FAT PEOPLE. Albeit, this is a little more well-written and executed than a lot of teenage drama shows, the fact that it’s mostly just fat kids dealing with the same issues all teenagers deal with is a really big deal in a mundane, why-hasn’t-this-happened-already-and-is-normalized kind of way.

    Other notes:

    “I shoulda punched him in the nuts.” I really enjoy Will’s overt aggression and hope that it doesn’t get toned down too much in the course of her own development and self-discovery.

    I am starting to strongly dislike the Shay character. I keep imagining how I would feel if I were at a weight-management camp and she was the person I would have to answer to every day. And the way she makes Dr. Rand feel even more insecure (be it purposefully or not) is not cool with me. Maybe she’ll start to grow on me.

    George=such an uber-sweet guy. I’m really glad that they haven’t demonized any of the skinny people; they show that some thin people are assholes, while others are nice people. Just like fat people. Just like ALL people. And it did definitely touch me that he was so willing to help out Alistair, even though it’s an issue that George himself has (presumably) never had to deal with; it shows a great amount of empathy on George’s part and I like that a lot.

    I still have a crush on Ian.

    Watching this show takes me back to high school. It’s nice and nostalgic for me at times, and I enjoy it. Can’t wait for next week’s episode!

  2. Jill permalink
    July 13, 2010 9:38 AM

    I was hoping there would be more discussion by the characters of Amber’s decision to pass as “normal.” Maybe the other characters weren’t supposed to understand that that’s what she had done?

    Like Ashley, I’m also really digging George’s character. I love that his concern for the kids isn’t just an obligation, nor is it patronizing or totally infused with the whole “we’re making you into better people!” bent of this camp. He seems really genuinely interested in making sure these kids feel comfortable, feel good about themselves, and treat each other with respect.

    I’m interested to see how his relationship with Shay develops, given her insistence that being anything other than an uncaring hardass will never get through to these hopeless fatties. Actually, I’m interested to learn more about Shay as a character.

    • July 13, 2010 2:58 PM

      Is it bad if I prefer to not develop the Shay character? I love how she just directly mocks Jill from Biggest Loser and it cracks me up every time. I also continually crack up about the over the top enthusiasm of the girl’s counselor – and how the girls never really mirror it.

      • Jill permalink
        July 13, 2010 5:38 PM

        I guess by “develop” I mean make her into an exact replica of Jillian Michaels except a little more over the top so that people can see how kind of bonkers and obsessive the weight loss industry is. Like, I think it’s kind of inevitable that we’ll discover that Shay was a fat kid growing up and has never gotten past motivating herself by hating what she thinks her body would look like if she didn’t obsess over calories-in-calories-out. The show is already doing a good job of showing that Shay basically has no effect whatsoever on any of the campers–who manage to be motivated by interest in different kinds of physical activity all on their own, imagine that!–and I think it’s kind of cool for them to demonstrate that, hey, shaming people’s bodies and yelling at them is really not going to improve anyone’s health. Shay has the potential to be kind of a caricature, or a magnifying glass on attitudes toward weight loss and exercise and shame and so on, and I’d prefer the latter.

        Also, Poppy. Wow, true. I know it would probably make for some extremely boring television, but I kind of want to see her interview for this job.

      • Emily permalink
        July 13, 2010 8:35 PM

        Poppy kind of (well, really) reminds me of myself as a camp counselor: weird, overenthusiastic and a little awkward. Also, I love her morning song.

      • July 14, 2010 10:15 PM

        hahaha Em, I can totally see you singing the morning song. But I’m pretty sure you’re way less clueless than Poppy.

  3. Lisa permalink
    July 13, 2010 1:45 PM

    I agree with everything Jill and Ashley said. This episode was one non-stop express train to awesometown! I was literally squealing and kicking my feet with excitement the entire time. I love Alistair so much – he’s such a sweet heart! And I’m so glad George dealt with Alistair’s odor problem in a caring and respectful way.

    On to larping. I’ve never larped, but my friends in high school (and some in college) were definitely “those kids” who larped, had lan parties, and gamed (not video games if you catch my drift). It was great to see Becca be really interested in something and to see more of her personality come out. And I absolutely loved the scene where they drove away the tennis camp kids. I read it as them claiming a “fat safe space” and refusing to let it be run by the skinny kids. In a world where everywhere is space for thin people, fat people often feel out of place, displaced or as though they don’t belong. To me, this scene was about an oppressed group claiming a safe space where they could just be themselves without the pressures of their oppressors (as represented by the tennis kids).

    As Jill mentioned, I wish there had been a little more about Amber “passing”. I’m glad they included that sub-plot though because it brings up some really interesting issues about size discrimination even among fat people and the pressure to fit in with society’s expectations.

    And again, this show is very well-written and well-acted! Three-dimensional fat characters with good dialogue and on screen chemistry, how did we get so lucky? Maybe the fat kids can go over to the set of Secret Life of the American Teenager and give them some acting tips. Then again, I suppose they’re just doing their best with the shitty scripts they’re given.

    • Ashley permalink
      July 13, 2010 3:17 PM

      I really liked the scene where they drove away the tennis kids too and I like how it didn’t have to resort to physical violence (even though a big part of me definitely wanted to see Will beat the crap out of that guy). I wonder if and hope that eventually they’ll have more discussions about Amber and Chloe and how body hierarchies function and are present even in an ‘all fat space’. Amber and Chloe definitely grate on me at times because they remind me so much of certain girls I knew in high school who thought they were fat and didn’t like their bodies but were unwilling or afraid to engage with ACTUAL fat people and covered that fear with scorn.

      • Lisa permalink
        July 13, 2010 5:25 PM

        certain girls I knew in high school who thought they were fat and didn’t like their bodies but were unwilling or afraid to engage with ACTUAL fat people and covered that fear with scorn.

        Yes! I think we all went to high school with some of those girls. I think that’s why this show seems so real and true-to-life. Amber and Chloe act just like actual girls that we went to school with.

    • Jill permalink
      July 13, 2010 5:39 PM

      This episode was one non-stop express train to awesometown!

      Love this.

  4. July 14, 2010 8:51 PM

    Rand is an interesting character to say the least. I get the feeling she is supposed to be the “Even though I once attended the camp I run today I may not be as well adjusted as some may think.” I really didn’t notice this until this episode with the muffin from her dad and phone call to the other camp head. I think in the she might serve some insight to the question, “Do these camps really do any good?”

    Shay acts like she figured out how to crank that shit up to 11 but doesn’t know how to turn it back down. I’m sensing a breakdown later on. And possibly getting a helping hand from George like the one he extended to Alastair.

    I can totally understand Alastair not wanting to used the group showers. Hell to this day I still hate looking at my body in the mirror when no one else is around. I wonder what else is in store for him.

    I’m losing faith in the way Ian is being used. Yeah he’s a music buff and really tried to talk to Alastair but other than that he seems to just pine over Amber all the damn time.

    I’m betting that Amber’s “passing” with the tennis kids will come back up. Those tennis kids are in a camp next door. Plenty more opportunity to revisit that. And speaking of the tennis camp it looks like Rand seems to have some sort of connection to the head of that camp.

    Truth be told with the exception of this episode where she kept her “flag” (symbolizing that she can’t let go of her pain) I’m really not feeling her character (not a bad character mind you, I just don’t relate to her too much).

    And by pulling out a LARP Becca won the episode.

    • July 14, 2010 10:14 PM

      I REALLY loved the Rand vs. Muffin scene, because I think the message stretches beyond an insight about fat camp (although that is certainly there). When you first meet Rand, you naturally read her as “healthy” – she the head of the camp, and she’s very slim – but we see with the muffin that she does not have a healthy relationship with food. Not eating after dinner is a silly diet rule, and her dad openly questions it. It’s clearly not tied to health, but weight loss. The scene questions the entire way we are taught to view food – I mean, c’mon it’s a small muffin, and her dad made it for her! It also shows how body negativity is not just bad for fat people, but it affects everyone. This is another place where I think they are pushing the “fantasy of being thin” idea – are things suddenly better when you become thinner? Do your relationships with others – or food- suddenly change?

      I also can totally see your annoyance with Ian, but unfortunately I’m still crushing too hard to care about his flaws.

    • July 14, 2010 10:47 PM

      “Truth be told with the exception of this episode where she kept her “flag” (symbolizing that she can’t let go of her pain) I’m really not feeling her character (not a bad character mind you, I just don’t relate to her too much).”

      In case you’re wondering I’m talking about the main character Will here. I changed that sentence up a few times and I must have backspaced her name away.

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