New Reality Show for the Overweight is a Bad Idea

When I was in my first year of college, I ate and ate and ate…especially at breakfast.  There was an unlimited supply of raisin toast, and that was the trough at which I fed.  I gained a good ten pounds.  This was a rebound from my anorexic last year of high school, when all sorts of stresses led me to find an answer to no sense of control in self-starvation.  The “plumpy” time was short-lived; however, as I became very active, and the rebelliousness was no longer necessary, as I was out of the home and on my own.

Since then, I’ve always been thin, but thin is neither healthy nor particularly womanly.  I’ve been working out six ways from Sunday, and I am a petite hardbody at 62, and proud of it, even if the discipline sometimes annoys me.

I do not watch reality shows.  I know of them, but I just can’t imagine how any rational person can consider these highly-produced dramas, with people pushed to bring out the worst in themselves as entertainment.  Yuck.

I just read that FOX has yet another so-called reality program in the works.  FOX is teaming up with “The Bachelor” producer for a new dating-competition series that casts fat people.  The series, titled “More to Love,” is billed as “the first dating show for the rest of us,” versus the sexy babes and good-looking bachelors that we usually see on these shows.  The show is considered “controversial,” because there is some argument the viewers don’t want to watch anyone other than “pretty people” do anything.

The producer says, “We want to send the message that you can be the size you are and still be lovable.  We aren’t going to ‘thin’ these girls down so they can find love – that’s a backwards message.”

I have my concerns.  This is the network that aired such shows as “My Big Fat Obnoxious Fiance.”  I worry that, in order to get attention, overweight types might be exploited for the “freak” attraction element.  I worry that emotions are going to run higher and deeper, because these folks already have sensitivities and have likely experienced rejection in public, and public display (even though it’s voluntary and in pursuit of their ’15 minutes of fame’) could hurt people.  The “pretty people” shows have contestants used to acceptance and calls from agents for other “pretty people” opportunities. 

I’m hoping this doesn’t get set up as a circus sideshow, which I think these shows are, even for the thin types.  Viewers are not looking for true love to occur – they’re waiting for the train wreck, the car crash, the suicide jump, as embarrassed and hurt people display their pain, and potentially, their rage.

I know some of you might say, “It’s about time that the typical American man and woman (who are, by the way, overweight and out-of-shape) get to be treated on TV like anyone else.”  Okay.  I get it, but, my friends, this is ENTERTAINMENT, not a psychotherapeutically romantic venture.

First, we saw on TV the pain and hurt of “pretty” types.  Now we’ll get pain and embarrassment for overweight types.  Frankly, I find that reality programming is there because it is inexpensive to do, and because the population seems to have an inexhaustible appetite for watching people get emotionally and/or physically splattered. 

I thought those days in the Roman Colosseum were over, but I guess base nature doesn’t change.