A HUGE beginning

ABC Family's HUGE premiered last night. I blogged about it last week, and was uncertain about what was in store for this show. Weight loss camp + entire cast of overweight teens = Skepticism in my book. I couldn't help but think of that disaster of a movie, "Shallow Hal" where the moral of the story was that beauty was on the inside. Blech. Worst way to send that message EVAR! Anyway, moving on....

My first thought was that in no way would I be able to relate this. I've always been open about my own struggles with body image, but I've never been overweight. In the first scene I noticed they show the teens in roles like every other social circle and the teens make comparisons from the beginning. The defiant rebel, Wil, is the main character. She is obviously there against her wishes and makes it known. Haley is the pretty girl, thinner than the other campers, but still overweight. In the first initial meeting, another camper tells her, "Oh my god, I hate you. Just kidding. You're so skinny!"Why is it that it seems okay to tell someone they are hated, as long as it's followed by a joke and/or it's because the person is commenting that they are skinny?

Here's what threw me for a loop. I had something in common with Wil. She is a loudmouthed, eye-rolling, attitude ridden, sarcastic, too-cool-for-school type. When I used to hate myself and my body, I was the same girl. Tough exterior and sometimes mean at the expense of others (yes, me) because I was so unhappy with myself and my life. It's not a fun place to be for anyone. In fact, it's downright shitty.

In an emotional scene the girls are informed one of the campers has been asked to leave and seek psychiatric care because she was caught vomiting. As sad as this is, I was happy to see a female showcased with (what's assumed as ) an eating disorder that isn't emaciated. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder and is prevalent in about 30% of those seeking weight loss treatment (Wikipedia). Good work, ABC.

I want to point out that the acting was amazing. In the world of reality shows galore, it was really a treat to watch great actors. What struck me the most was the pained expressions and feelings on these teen's faces. And it got me thinking; these teens live this in real life. In some way or another, they have been affected by society's idealistic standards and the fact that they don't fit it. I can't imagine how painful that must be. To have your life revolve around what size you are on the outside, being judged about the kind of person you are when really, the size of your heart is really what matters.

3 comments:

Lindsey said...

You did a great job writing this!

I, on one hand, was able to relate to this. I used to be the very tall chubby kid. (About five feet tall at age ten!) The kid in me wanted to see what this would be all about.

I wasn't a fan of the ihateyou,you'rethin comment. I think this may have been a reverse role for how people who are overweight are treated. (Honestly, people on both sides of the spectrum are brutally murdered with words. In their own ways of course. So maybe it's just realistic to hate someone for being a certain way? That shouldn't be the case).

I also noticed the Thinspiration part they showed. Honestly, I had only heard of it because of pro-eating disorder websites. I thought they went hand in hand but maybe thinspiration is something that is considered 'normal' by societies standards?

I loved the show. Finally, a realistic, non-documentary, scripted show! (I never thought that would be possible!)

Andrea said...

@Lindsey- thanks!
I used to have "thinspiration" when I was sick- but didn't call it that. Then I would have pictures of myself at my thinnest and use them to motivate me. At that point I knew I wasn't well, because I wanted to go back to a weight where at that time I was still miserable.

Shaping Youth said...

Thx for your take on this, Andrea...

The eating disorder subtext is 'huge' and though I haven't created a 'review' style post, I did add this one on ED and "Let's Move" to the mix for the Actionists out there:
http://j.mp/dp8RsK

(they're looking for Congressional 'sign-on' by July 1st, fyi...

I think I'm def channeling Will in many of my blog posts ;-) though I try to keep the candor cuddly whenever I can...

I'm constantly in a tug-o-war between knowing industry whys & hows and wanting to UNknow them, but I think this show's potential is 'huge' if they play their cards right and don't go down the sappy trail and instead remain slightly unpredictable.