The popular cable television network, TLC, is know for its exploitation of all things unusual. The majority of its regular prime time programming is reality TV, focused on people with extraordinary medical conditions, jobs, families and lives. Among its most popular series are the now defunct and drama filled tabloid sensation “Jon & Kate Plus 8,” which features a family with a set of twins and a set of sextuplets; “19 Kids And Counting,” a family with 19 naturally conceived children; and “The Little Couple,” which follows a newlywed dwarf couple. In essence, the station is good for train wreck television; you know you are watching something terrible, but you just can’t seem to pull your attention away.
Now, TLC is preparing for the launch of its newest series, “Big Happy Family.” This reality train wreck follows the Coles’, a family of 4 severely obese individuals navigating their way through life. The show is supposed to highlight the Coles’ decision to pursue a more healthy lifestyle, by shedding light on their immense struggle to reduce their collective 1,400 lbs, but of course, such is not the case. Instead TLC has chosen to place particular emphasis on the family’s self-destructive behaviors, making it obvious that the network was going for a more humorous approach to the family’s condition. The pilot episode shows the family at a water park solemnly taking account of the fact that their weight far exceeds the 400 lb limit on one of the rides, as they are laughed at by onlookers. They then reconcile by heading to the concession stand where they are exuberant because of the “pound of sugar” being poured onto a funnel cake, which they eventually devour gleefully, while tightly huddled in a circle.
The show appears to be more akin to “The Nutty Professor,” Eddie Murphy’s infamous parody movie, than “The Biggest Loser,” NBC‘s reality show which actually is designed to help individuals lose massive amounts of weight and adopt healthier living habits.
Take a look at this clip form the first episode and judge for yourself. Is “Big Happy Family” really just an excuse for us to laugh at a big fat family, or did TLC make an earnest attempt to show this family’s plight?
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