So, I missed this series this summer, as I was off taking care of children in the woods, but when I got back, my friend Carol and I got together for lunch and among the things we talked about, she recommended this series to me.
"Elizabeth, it's SO good. And totally feminist!" (Carol had also told me that she took a summer women's studies course and now called herself a feminist. Holla!)
I was intrigued of course. Now I'm about half way through the series (there are only 10 episodes) and I love it so far. The Bitch Magazine online blogs often cover issues of fat acceptance which I've been reading off and on as I check the blogs, and the non-existence or lame-existence of representations of fat people in pop culture is really a problem. Enter "Huge."
After I read an interview with show writer Savannah Dooley on Jezebel, I was convinced. I had to at least check out an episode or two.
I'm always a little skeptical of ABC Family shows (see craziness of "Secret Life of the American Teenager"), but my love affair with "Greek" has taught me that ABC family is capable of being edgy and interesting. And fortunately, "Huge" is really good. The characters are all pretty developed and all get to have their time on screen, which I loooove. I love ensemble casts. Each character has their own issues with their body and self esteem, and the show deals with all of that in a really healthy way. I mean, it's not a show about losing weight, it's a show about a bunch of teenagers dealing with their lives, self-esteem, body issues, popularity, friendships, and relationships... set at fat camp.
Fatness is not something to be ashamed of. Neither are the fat characters the shy best friend, or the sassy best friend (as fat characters on TV often are). They're the main characters. The skinny characters are the ones in the background, and as the show goes on, it's revealed that some of the staff at Camp Victory were once campers, and overweight, themselves. So it's definitely interesting to have this show where fat characters are the majority, and as Dooley says in her interview, not on a reality show trying to lose weight.
Side note: I also appreciate that the camp-life aspect is pretty realistic. As a camp counselor, I cannot watch movies/shows about summer camps without criticizing them for realism (and thinking about ACA standards... Camp Rock would NOT pass), and "Huge" is great for all of that. Although it's a weight-loss camp for high schoolers, there are certain similarities that I recognize between my experiences at Camp and in the show and I'm really glad that the writer not only was a camp-person, but also probably did a lot of research to make this show really high quality.
It's definitely a dramedy, but each episode does feature these really great and compelling triumphant moments, which are sometimes very personal victories for individual campers. I'm really excited to see how the rest of the season pans out, and I am hoping that it comes back for a second season (!!) because this is just one of those shows that is high quality all around.