On the Plus Side

Prime time Monday night, I’m hanging out with one of my fairy goddaughters. We’re watching reruns of Bones, and she’s messing around on the laptop. Out of the blue, she says, “Can you change it to ABC Family?”

This news was surprising, as we’re normally one of those close-knit “What do you want to watch?” “I dunno.” “There’s nothing on TV”-type of folks. So I switch it over just in time to see the bumper for the season premiere of HUGE.

If you’ve signed onto Facebook in the last month, you recognize the TV show. It’s about a fat camp. All right, says my inner critic, let’s see what our kids these days are watching.(If you missed it, you can watch it online HERE.)

First off, I liked the dynamic of the show. Everyone can relate to the Fat Kid, regardless of whether or not they’ve been the fat kid, because all of us have something about ourselves that embarrasses us — something that doesn’t usually bother 99% of our friends. So instead of the braniac/clutz/homely/shy/insert neuroses here kid, this show has translated it to obesity, something we can all notice and see. Now that it’s out there, we can concentrate on all the other problems these kids have.

The second reason I liked the show was because Gina Torres showed up, and I appreciate any show willing to fork a check over to that woman. I think she’s a fine actress who can kick her share of ass. I’m interested to see how she fits into this dynamic.

As this was the first show, we were so busy being introduced to all the characters that not a whole lot went on. Willamena (Nikki Blonsky) is our renegade main character with blue-streaked hair that I covet. She was sent to the camp by her parents. She’s totally okay with her body. In fact, as she puts it, she “and her fat are BFF.”

The only other camper we get to know very well is Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff…that’s right, Hasselhoff). Amber is the beautiful and skinny girl that all the other girls are immediately jealous of.

Now, when I say “beautiful,” I mean that Hayley’s princess-blond hair and powder blue eyes eat up the damn screen every time she’s on it. The girl is eye-catching, no doubt — some of you may recognize her from all the years she’s been Torrid’s spokesmodel. She’s also a fine little actress.

And when I say “skinny”, I mean she’s the thinnest girl at the camp. I can’t find weights or sizes anywhere on the site (I’m debating whether or not that’s a shame), but eyeballing it, I’m going to put her at a solid size 14-16. She’s virtuous to a fault and, here at the beginning, seems very set on achieving whatever her personal weight goals are at the camp.

I feel like I’m allowed to be picky about the Amber character, because I *am* Amber. (ABC, if you’re looking for writers, give me a call.) I’ve been Amber my whole life. I don’t have any of those skinny high-school pictures, or jeans I wish I could fit into, because I’ve been a size 14/16 since the 7th grade. It’s an annoying place to be. Everyone thinks you’re gorgeous — including you — until you see yourself in certain pictures and wince. You’re right at the top of the Juniors section, and right at the bottom of the Misses, so good luck finding anything at all. (I get my bras at Lane Bryant, my panties at Target, and everything else at TJ Maxx.) Thanks to the sliding scale of womens clothing, I’ve fit into everything from a 12 to a 20, and I just don’t have the kind of time for that kind of shopping. Plus, in the last 20 years of my being exactly the same size, I’ve been “politely ushered” out of both Victoria Secret for being too large and Lerner Woman for being too small.

So, yes, I completely adore the Amber character. Apart from her being a bit too boy crazy (weren’t we all at one time), my issues with her (and by “her” I mean, the writers of her character) are:
1.) Makeup and a curling iron at camp. Really? Every time we see Amber, she’s perfectly coiffed, with not a smear of mascara out of place. It’s summer. She’s going to sweat. When is she going to have time to curl her hair and why on earth is she going to bother doing it before she works out for 3 hours a day?
2.) Her choice of workout gear. There is a story point in the pilot that revolves around Amber splitting her pants while working out the first week. Look, if this girl is as serious about the camp as she seems, she’s going to have a pair of spandex or Lycra running shorts, decent running shoes, and a good sports bra. (Please let me recommend The Last Resort Bra from Title Nine Sports.)

Here’s the part where I love Amber. I love that somewhere, a girl or two is going to want to be like her. Not Gabrielle Anwar or Calista Flockhart, but Hayley Hasselhoff. I love that somewhere, a guy or two might also appreciate her beauty. I hope to god the show becomes wildly popular because I would LOVE to see more cute clothes in my size. In fact, I think Hayley should open up a shop for young women sizes 10-18. I think I would cry if I actually had a place to shop for clothes in a mall.

I also hope that ABC Family stops with the ridiculously annoying commercials. Next time I watch this show (if I can actually remember to do it), I’m going to tape it first and watch it later so I can skip past the loud and annoying ads for all the other shows on ABC Family, none of which looked appealing to me at all. I don’t actually remember an ad for a single product — I only remember ads for the other shows on the network. I hope that doesn’t mean HUGE has no sponsorship…surely that’s not true. (You’d think Torrid at least would be first in line.) Is there something about this channel I don’t know? Does ABC just make enough money elsewhere to not worry about it? I’m curious.

But not so curious that I’m not going to click that link and see what Torrid has in that’s new. Life is short. And there is ice cream to be had.

7 Responses to “On the Plus Side”

  1. Gef Says:

    If this airs in Canada, I may have to check it out. I just hope it’s not too on-the-nose with the whole “fat people are people too” message.

  2. Kitti Says:

    Is this show drawn from a book of the same name? Bonus points to the show for releasing the same day as a major news article update on the obesity epidemic.

    In high school, I was size 12-14 when my two best friends, Cathy and Rhonda, were size 0-2 and 2-4 respectively. Cathy put my pinky ring on her thumb and it rattled around before falling off.

  3. Princess Alethea Says:

    I’m with you, Gef — but I suspect it’s going to surprise us. The fat camp is obviously the reason they’re there…I’m hoping it gets into the real lives these kids have, and goes above the “here’s how to have a healthy lifestyle” religious nonsense.

    Kitti — there is definitely a book of the same name. It said so in the ad, but I haven’t tracked down the book yet.

  4. marcia Says:

    Love this blog 🙂 I feel you on the size fluctuation up until I was the size I am now for most of my life (before children) and now that I am at this size again I find it very interesting how sizes fluctuate! I used to only shop at one store and now that I have options I find that shopping is mostly frustrating!!!
    Oh and I agree about the clothing – cute clothes for a little bigger than normal sized people (although they have taken SOME steps in this direction) would be a bonus! Resizing styles for smaller people doesn’t really work well. We need someone designing clothes specifically for girls that don’t have flat tummy’s but other assets that would look great paired with the right kind of clothing (and since I don’t have huge boobies… that is not the specific asset I am talking about). I hate that I have misses boob’s, a plus size tummy, and not so curve middle… now that I am older I appreciate granny panties and pants because they help my midsection look nice and flat. I do however miss low rise jeans and tops flattering enough to hide my midsection… or maybe these only exist in my dreams!!

  5. Ari Says:

    Being a fairy goddaughter is pretty kick-ass :), but yes you sound like my best friend Natalie, who saw the commercial for that show and turned to look at me open mouthed saying “I might watched an ABC family show for once.” I think it’s great that they’re spreading a message about obesity, especially because most of the girls on that channel are extremely thin. And, they give us characters you really can consider beautiful, without them having the kind of bodies most people consider pretty. We’ll definitely have to watch it again! 🙂

  6. Princess Alethea Says:

    I wouldn’t have a fairy goddaughter who *wasn’t* kick-ass!

    Excellent. We’ll keep this show on our TV-watching list. But I’ll have to get someone to teach me how to set it up on the DVR. I need to be able to wave a wand and do that sort of thing.

  7. Ari Says:

    <3 I can do it for you tomorrow! And teach you, if you're lucky 😉

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