A week or so ago we had the creator of 'Lone Star' begging viewers to help save his show. Now, one day after ABC Family announced it was canceling summer series 'Huge,' women's website Jezebel.com has launched an online petition to save it.
In the petition, Dodai Stewart maintains that 'Huge' is worth saving because there are too few overweight characters in scripted TV shows, and that when fat characters do exist, they are typically treated as a punchline. Stewart argues that 'Huge' was significant because "although the show was about teenagers at a weight-loss camp, weight loss was actually just a fraction of the issues the kids (and adults) were dealing with. The characters juggled dilemmas ... In other words, it reminded us that fat people are people. Humans."
Although hopes were high for the series -- described as 'Glee' meets 'Ugly Betty' -- when it first launched, ABC Family canceled 'Huge' after one season due to steadily declining ratings.
The show, which starred Nikki Blonsky and Haley Hasselhoff as two overweight teens at fat camp -- ahem, weight-loss camp -- touched on the very complex issues surrounding the topic of weight in a refreshingly honest, sensitive and candid manner. But apparently that wasn't enough -- ratings steadily declined, and the network decided to cancel the show.
You see, for the longest time, TV scholars loved to complain about how few women and minorities were on TV compared to their corresponding numbers in actual society.
Well, their pontificating paid off... or, at least bored TV producers into submission, and now we have women and minorities all over the televisual landscape. There are even female doctors, if you can believe such ludicrous things!
I make this point not to simply drop some knowledge, but to raise some awareness, as well. While women and minorities have made great strides, there is another cross-section of our culture left in the margins of television: fatties.
A comedy about weight camp? Oh boy, that could be a big problem (yes, painfully obvious pun intended.)
Hollywood, that skinny-means-everything fantasyland, isn't historically sensitive when it comes to portraying heavy people. Remember the hypocrisy of 'The Nutty Professor' remake, where the audience was encouraged to laugh at Professor Klump's girth and then encouraged to hate characters that laughed at him? Then there's 'The Simpsons,' a by-most-accounts genius show that's nevertheless cynical and cheap when it comes to jokes about Springfield's obese. Even 'The Biggest Loser' often reduces contestants into tragic pity parties where happiness is simply a matter of shedding pounds.
But here comes 'Huge,' ABC Family's stellar new dramedy (Mondays at 9PM ET). It happens to be funny -- but not in a dumb, mean-spirited, "look at the fat guy!" way. It happens to be honest; obesity, as the show candidly demonstrates, isn't a healthy lifestyle. And, most refreshing of all, its happens to be complex, addressing all the insecurities and struggles that come with being overweight.
We've seen the "reality" of weight loss on shows like 'The Biggest Loser,' but the real reality is that obesity, eating disorders and body image issues are more common that you probably think, and there's a good chance you or someone you know if affected by them every day.
ABC Family realized this, and now they're in the weight loss TV game with 'Huge,' a quirky drama based on Sasha Paley's book of the same name, helmed by 'My So-Called Life' creator Winnie Holzman and starring Nikki Blonsky and Hayley Hasselhoff (yes, daughter of The Hoff and, ironically, the one who shot the now-infamous hamburger binge video).
We caught up with the ladies to find out what to expect from the show (premieres Mon., June 28, 9PM ET) and to hear more about their characters -- Blonsky as opinionated non-conformist Will, who is the daughter of fitness gurus, and Hasselhoff as social butterfly Amber, who is dying to be thin and fit in.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, the 'Hairspray' star will lead the new ABC Family comedy 'Huge,' set around a weight-loss camp. Blonsky will play Will in the series, described as a "funny" and "opinionated overweight girl" whose fit parents send her off to the camp.
Also joining the cast are Hayley Hasselhoff, daughter of 'Baywatch' alum David Hasselhoff, and Zander Eckhouse, who will play a camp member and fitness counselor, respectively.