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September 2, 2015

TLC is building a reality show around a morbidly obese family

by Jason Hughes, posted Jul 20th 2009 7:02PM
RubyThey've done just about every variation of little people show you can imagine, so as executive producer Mike Duffy said, it's not exploitation. "Little People, Big World is about little people living in a big world. This is about big people living in a little world -- fat people living in a skinny world." Doesn't that sound so much better?

They've found a family of four tipping the scales at over 1,400 pounds. While there's no prize money involved, the family is determined to lose some weight. The six episode series, One Big Happy Family, will follow them on their journey of self-improvement with different episodes spotlighting different family members. Style network has already met a good response to their chronicle of Ruby, a 477-pound woman looking to lose weight.

TLC has shown some deft skill at following a family dealing with adversity in a world not tailored to them in the aforementioned Little People, Big World. The difference is that while the Roloffs are different, it's nothing that needs to be changed. At 300+ pounds each, this new family is in need of losing weight. Also, there are more than likely some emotional issues surrounding the excessive weight gain each of them has.

While there are circles out there already blasting TLC for exploiting this family, I'm not so sure it is. Putting fat people on television is like putting on a freak show, I guess. Never mind that most of us are fat now and getting fatter every year. Maybe we should be made uncomfortable by a family that could just as easily be our own if we aren't careful.

It's not clear if TLC will be doing anything to help the family in their weight loss goal, or if they'll just be filming. Because if they take a National Geographic approach and stay hands off the family in their natural habitat, things could collapse further. Losing weight isn't going to be easy for this family or they wouldn't be this heavy to begin with.

They'll likely need trainers and therapists to help them learn what to eat, what not to eat and how better to deal with the stresses in their lives. So where I go back and forth on the exploitation issue is if the producers are looking to help the family or just watch them. Can you even exploit someone who's willing to be on a reality show? What's your take on this show?

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This is yet another example of the shamelessness of the american media. Let find a fat family and exploit them. Heres a show for u. Take a bunch of ultra skinny entitled folks , dress them in fat suits, and fat make up , but hidden camera's and mics on them and send them out. Into the public, put em on a plane, make them pay for two seats, send them to the beach or a pool, let them hear the snickers , that skinny america has no problem making, send them too the movies. Where the seats are all small and they got to find away to fit in., put them on a crowded bus. I could go on. It would be like the hoarder shows. Folks out there are getting bashed everyday. And u are advocating that. I guarantee u it would be no.1 in its time slot. Sheeple will flock to the show, finally there will be a voice for us excluded. America the beautiful not the skinny.

May 29 2013 at 3:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Little People, Big World is great show and it's not entirely focused on Dwarfism. The Roloff's challenges are just as relatable to people who don't suffer from Dwarfism but are short or small in stature.

I can't fathom a reality show that could normalize an obese family. One cannot control their height and bone structure, wherein a person's weight is very much a controllable thing. Even if there's genetic obesity it's still controllable. So I can't fathom viewers being very accepting to a reality show of an obese family.

That show will get more hate mail than positive reinforcements to live life happily overweight, even if such a thing is possible.

Sorry if I come across rude, I'm just making generalizations.

July 22 2009 at 12:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HD, it more often than not goes the other way...someone who is within the healthy range for weight and BMI is viewed as being obese due to unrealistic standards of the media. there is NOTHING unhealthy about a woman who is 5'5" who weights 130-140 lbs if she exercises regularly and has a healthy cardiovascular and endocrine system...yet that is "obese" on many weight charts and considered "plus sized" in the modeling industry. i am sorry but someone who is 5'5' and weighs in closer to 110lbs buts never exercises, has high cholesterol and subsists on McD's is far more likely to have a heart attack and be a burden to the healthcare system...so eat sistah...just eat in moderation and exercise regularly and stop being so obsessed about your damn BMI and looking "skinny".

July 21 2009 at 11:08 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

HD, it goes the other way around too, people who are too skinny are thought of as normal while people who are the right weight are seen as overweight... But yeah, 400 lbs is just crazy..

July 21 2009 at 8:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

There is something wrong with many people's idea of what is normal and healthy. People who are in a healthy weight range, eat well and or exercise are often called anorexic, "too skinny" or obsessive - while people who are overweight or obese are considered normal, average and often called a "real woman" and are "confident in who they are".

Being Obese goes far beyond not looking good in your jeans or how you feel about yourself - it is a serious medical problem (yes it is folks) it costs billions of dollars in healthcare, causes untold pain and suffering and often leads early death. People are somehow convinced being "skinny" is just for vain people, or that a healthy BMI is something made up to sell diet books and exercise equipment for $19.95

The problem with shows like this is that people who are 30 pounds overweight look at someone who is 400 pounds and they think - "See, I'm healthy, I'm not that bad" instead of considering just how serious those 30 extra pounds really are.

Being 20, 30 or more pounds overweight is just as serious as being a smoker...but try to convince America of that.

July 21 2009 at 1:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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