There is an article on CNN.com today on the trend of reality television shows featuring obese people:


The article claims that people watch shows like The Biggest Loser, Ruby, and Dance Your Ass Off because there is an obesity epidemic in America, and that folks like to watch “regular” people like themselves, that people are inspired by them.

What the TV folks don’t dare tell you, but know: mostly complete crap. People are watching these shows for the same reasons they gawk at car accidents, pay attention to pinheads like Bobby Brown, Britney Spears, Bret Michaels, Flavor Flav, love to see the bad auditions on American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance, and watch shows on two-headed toddlers or face transplant woman or the political rise of Sarah Palin. Bottom line, even if you the viewer are 400 pounds yourself and wash yourself with a rag on a stick: you are watching a freak show. Train wreck. Taboo. Abnormal. Culturally unacceptable.

Sorry. It’s true. People are watching fat people on TV because they are shocking in appearance or move in funny ways or fall down more than other people. You can look at some other person with 50 chins and think, shiiiiiiiit, I only have two chins, I am doing GREAT! Oh, I am a size 16 and that bitch is like a size 22, I am awesome! Look at that dude’s chafing thighs! HA HA! It is like NASCAR – fans don’t watch that because race cars going endlessly around a track is scintillating. Secretly, in their little beating nasty hearts, they wait for the Spectacular Crash. It’ll come, if you are patient. People watch fat people because at some point something bad or funny will happen, at least on reality TV. There’s no show to watching Ruby sit in a chair all day – there is entertainment value in seeing her apply for a job at a hair salon where everyone else is fit and attractive.

Sorry. Truth.

I saw the promos for the Bachelor-like dating show More To Love coming up on FOX next week. Oy fricken VEY. A 300-lb. dude with a bunch of significantly-overweight potential mates lined up, fat all spilling out of their fancy dresses like rolling lard rapids. He calls them “normal.” Oh sure, the average weight and size of American folks keeps going upupup, but “average” is not the same as “normal.” The healthy range of normal is not shown on these programs. Sure, it is nice that you can see some of the fat folks lose weight week after week, but the intent behind it from the production companies is not compassionate or noble. They are exploiting the people they feature in the guise of “everyone should feel good about themselves and everyone is beeee-uuuuu-tiful in their own way.” If there is a buck to be made by showcasing some jaw-dropping huge person, you can be sure that someone will do it now.

What they are not saying on More To Love and what we never hear from all the “big and beautiful” boosters out there is that being obese is incredibly unhealthy. It’s unkind to the self and unkind to any family, friends, or employers who depend on you and care for you. It isn’t good or beautiful to be sick or be on the fast track to getting sick. Do I sound like someone who just lost a bunch of weight and wants to lose more? Maybe. I’ve been at Plus Size Hell. It’s not normal or average or fun. It’s sad, and I am glad to be out of it. I don’t like seeing anyone else shoving themselves in shiny cocktail frocks and doing perfect makeup and beautiful hair and convincing themselves all is well. It isn’t. You don’t have to stab your fat face with a sooty hot fire poker in shame, but obesity should not be a “normal” lifestyle just because you have so many others like you around these days, and you shouldn’t let anyone tell you otherwise. You are going to pay for it someday, and it ain’t gonna be pretty.

Why should I be surprised, disappointed, or angered by anything I see any more? Hope you have some tough skins, Reality Show Fat Folks – you are gonna need it.

The Kinks -- "Skin And Bone"