Overweight Date

So I got a third email today about the casting of some new reality show starring plus-size women.
I mean absolutely no disrespect if you’ve gone in for the casting or think it’s awesome or whatever. I love reality TV just as much as everybody else does and watch way way way too much of it. For real.
However, in addition to my own near miss, I have the luxury of watching these shows with my sound mixer and story editor friends: people who get to be physically present at the scene of the crime and get to slice and dice it any way they see fit. They sit and reminisce about what actually happened on the shoots- Who actually said what and in which context; how it looks now; hypothesizing and analyzing what the invisible producers were scheming and how successful they were in creating a villain or a hero; who got frankenbit and how often, etc etc etc. What “really happened” and what we think we’re being led to believe. And now I do it constantly myself. The girl’s wearing a sweater in one shot, and not in the following. The hiccups in a person’s speech- the artfully inserted B-roll.. It’s all I can think about now.

Long story short, I’m WAY too much of a control freak for reality TV stardom.

And granted, none of this is fact, just my healthily paranoid opinion. TO ME, this Big Hearted Love Affair show sounds a whole lot like somebody’s idea of a hilarious joke.
Fancy romantic music plays… the camera caresses some beefcake as a sexy masculine voiceover begins …”You loved The Bachelor, but are you ready for a REAL MAN? This guy is totally hot, rich, smart, and kind to chickens. He’s looking for a woman as REAL as he is. But can he handle… A REAL… BIG… FAT… WOMAN!?!?!” the music screeches to a halt, something like Fat Bottom Girls, or Baby Got Back, or She’s a Brick House starts thumping as clips of fat women in tiny, shiny outfits eat and cavort and cry and throw things at eachother.

Because, if they’re scouring the internet like this for the fat ladies… obviously they need a lot of us.
The casting says “In this romantic competition of love and seduction, one big and beautiful woman will become the envy of all others and attain the love of lifetime.” And it SOUNDS like you might get to be the Bachelorette, with the studly studs all vying for your attention, but I will bet you one hundred and fifty dollars that the fats are the boogers in this nostril and not the finger.

I wish MTV or E! or VH1 or whatever MajorTelevisonNetwork is airing this show was interested in an uplifiting and stereotype busting party, but I just don’t have any faith that this show isn’t crossing it’s fingers and hoping to god it’s the next Rock of Love or Joe Millionaire or Douchebag School.

Actually, the more I think about Tool Academy, the more creeped out I get. What if, instead of “unsuspecting bad boys” being tossed into a Charm School… some genius is hoping for “unsuspecting fatty fats” thrown into a Biggest Loser competition where they’re not only competing for a “Shot at Love”, they’re also shooting for a “Shot at Life”. Or maybe there’ll just be one big orgy of feeding and trashyness. Nothin says lovin like a kiddie pool full of mayo… right? RIGHT??!!

Obviously it’s no news that reality TV production involves lots of tricky tricky trickery. These shows are dependent on deception and people making fools of themselves. Happy, well-adjusted people do NOT make good TV. And if you’re not crazy on your own, producers will “introduce situations” in an effort to make you crazy, and if THAT doesn’t work, then they rely on the good ol’ story editors to highlight and insert and delete and make you LOOK crazy.

Maybe I’m a hypercritical misanthrope but when I see shit like the “Reunion Special” for second season of the Rock of Love, when Destiney is forced to watch footage of her recently deceased father (like seriously 2 weeks recently deceased) and suffers a friggin hysterical shaking breakdown right there on national TV, VH1 chooses to AIR the shit and congratulates itself all the way to the bank. I just can’t believe that they’re not hoping that the fats will be next on the chopping block.

And I know that by watching the shows I’m feeding them and making the airwaves a terrible place. I know it. I’m sorry.
And I have to say that if I know you and you are or want to be on this show, you are a being far far far braver than I, and I don’t think you’re stupid or naive or trashy. I really sincerely wish you all the luck and strength in the universe, because I just don’t trust the motherfuckers. But I totally want to hear all about everything about it.



27 Responses to “Overweight Date”

  1. 1 Rachel March 31, 2009 at 6:54 am

    Yeah, as heartened as I am by the show’s purported premise, I can’t see it not exploiting fat people in some way or regard. It seems here that “real woman” is simply a euphemism for a “fat woman.” If they truly want to show “real” people, then they would have a variety of shapes and sizes featured in one reality dating show instead of segregating shows by those that feature “thin” people and those that feature “real” people.

  2. 2 shinobi42 March 31, 2009 at 8:13 am

    Joy, You’re my hero, srlsy. I think you hit the nail on the head here.

    i have a good friend who used to work reality TV and after hearing his experiences there is no way I would go for something like this. (If I weren’t already happily cohabitating.) TV producers are like the cops, they get to lie to you, but you don’t get to lie to them.

    I will admit that I do like reality shows where people compete with some skills, like Project Runway, The Apprentice, The Next Elle Woods (I know… I know). If I had any actual skills I would totally go out for one of them. (Opera Diva reality show? Anyone? Can you say DRAMA!)

    But yeah, none of this competing to find love stuff. I mean, how can anyone actually suspend disbelief long enough to buy that 20 girls would all want to marry the same guy? (Or Vice Versa.)

  3. 3 Sarah March 31, 2009 at 9:35 am


    I’d bet more than $150…more like $1,500.

    But assuming they live down to our expectations, I think a “big picture” thing to remember is: they aren’t just exploiting fat women, they are exploiting WOMEN, just as ALL these shows do that pit women against each other for the attentions of men.

    “Oh, let’s watch the pathetic creatures fall over themselves to get a DATE! Oh, now look at the FAT creatures fall over themselves to get a DATE!” – not much difference between the two.

    This isn’t just a fat issue, it’s a feminist issue.

    By the way: Joy, I LOVE your videos!

  4. 4 living400lbs March 31, 2009 at 9:36 am

    About the only “reality” TV I’ve watched is Trading Spaces, and even then you KNOW they aren’t showing you everything.

    I do wonder what they mean by “curvy”. Size 10? 14? 22? Moi? Well, not moi exactly – the “not wanting to waste vacation time on a reality show” is a problem, not to mention the “legally married” bit. Although I have often wondered how people manage to have months available to sign up for a reality gig. Jobs, student loans, mortgages….? Either these people have lots of cash available, or they’re living pretty light, or someone else is picking up their commitments when they’re gone.

    (My boss once told me enthusiastically that I should go on The Biggest Loser. I’m like, if you want me to quit my job, maybe we should discuss that directly? And she’s like, OH GOD NO, DON’T YOU DARE QUIT. Apparently she hadn’t realized until that moment that going on a TV shoot out of STATE might involve more than jetting off for a weekend. Ye gods. *headdesk*)

  5. 5 spacedcowgirl March 31, 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I can’t imagine the cruelty on gossip sites after any episode where they show the contestants in a pool or hot tub, or eating, or… doing pretty much anything. I totally agree with your assessment of how this is going to turn out.

  6. 6 Moe March 31, 2009 at 2:14 pm

    I was reading about the male version earlier today but had not heard this version. I’m not as reality addicted and your previous experience showed me just how skewed the “reality” is. I haven’t decided yet whether I will take in an episode or two just for curiosity’s sake.

  7. 7 living400lbs March 31, 2009 at 4:37 pm

    From this it looks like they’re wanting size 12-18.

  8. 8 Sarah B March 31, 2009 at 4:49 pm

    I’m actually mostly disturbed at the emphasis on “real” women FINALLY having a chance at love! Like, my only shot at love is to go on a show and duke it out with other women my size? I understand it mostly translates into “real” women FINALLY have a chance at 15 mins. of fame under the guise of seeking love. Which is cool for all of those women who got rejected from the Bachelor because they weren’t a size 0, but don’t pat yourselves on the back like you just invented love for fat women. Fat women have love. They have shots at love. They have lots of sex. Don’t sell it like they are starved for affection. I’m just saying.

  9. 9 living400lbs March 31, 2009 at 7:36 pm

    Good point, Sarah. Very good point.

  10. 10 magickalrealism April 1, 2009 at 9:09 am

    It seems like they’re operating on the assumption that these women can’t find love without being thin, overlooking millions of plus women who have no such problem.

    If I were to get such an email asking for me to audition, my response would be “My self-esteem just isn’t that low.”

  11. 11 crookedfinger April 2, 2009 at 5:51 pm

    Thanks for not going for it. I’d probably lose all respect for you if you got onto one of those catfight-and-jacuzzi-slobberfest shows. Okay, that sounded kinda bitchy…but seriously, I would.

  12. 12 JeanC April 3, 2009 at 11:06 am

    It’s gong to be a show on Fox. Which means it will be aimed at the lowest common denominator possible, which means they will be hyping all the negatives they possibly can leading to a train wreak. I don’t have any hopes of anything positive coming out of this show.

  13. 13 Over4-0h April 6, 2009 at 8:56 am

    What a joke. I absolutely abhor these types of shows. I admit that I watch Top Chef because at least people really are using what they have in order to win, it’s fun and entertaining. This stuff, however, is so trifling, demeaning and disgusting.

  14. 14 niki j. April 16, 2009 at 9:30 am

    ok, so this is so much what i was waiting for. i knew it was coming. fat ppl haven’t been exploited in…wait…they always being exploited. did you hear about the book “drop your fat friends”? it was like cnn or hln or fox. this skinny b really thinks having fat friends is bad for your health. what about fat ppl having no friends? isn’t that bad? i really wish i could talk to joy about this. i really wish i could totally explain to her the exact thing i did during this school semester to widen ppl’s views of me and fat women in general. we have to stand up for each other, obviously we’re not cinsidered human. just trophs for trash and garbage ourselves. i’m so angry right now.

  15. 15 angie.a April 17, 2009 at 4:06 pm

    Joy you need to get yourself over to Patternreview dot com! That dress you saved with the pleats was adorable!! PR people are super friendly people with skills of all levels. Plus, its just so damn much fun to sew up something amazing that fits perfectly!

  16. 16 Dawnifer April 25, 2009 at 10:32 am

    This show will be like shallow hal. Full of fat jokes..I wonder how many chairs they’ve taken the screws out of…But there will be a “lesson” at the end.I say ” BOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

  17. 17 Jackie April 29, 2009 at 4:39 am

    I don’t watch Rock of Love, but that thing they pulled on Destiny. Not cool! I really feel for her, they’re absolutely sick for doing that.

  18. 18 Addish April 29, 2009 at 8:44 am

    I sincerely am fearful and wary of this new reality show. And I’m so glad you’re not on it Joy. I’ve always seen you with more dignity.

  19. 19 Deborah May 17, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    I must confess I am a fan of the Bachelor so when I heard about this show, I went to the local Lane Bryant where they were having a casting call for “More to Love”. I admonished them about insulting plus size women and how we won’t watch the show if they’re taking that tact. I think it would’ve been alot more intering to cast a regular size guy rather than a “Kevin James” type. Come check out my tribute to Dom De Luise when you get a chance.

  20. 20 fitymi May 26, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    You are a super inspiration. I added you to my blog roll if that’s okay. Fight on, sister.

  21. 21 Kate June 2, 2009 at 5:49 pm

    Just stumbled on to your blog after following a link from Never Say Diet, which I also discovered tonight (following a link trying to find a basal metabolic rate calculator, don’t ask). I totally love it. Adding you to my favorites and my blogroll. Great work, keep up the ass-kicking awesomeness. (And thanks for giving me fodder for my own blog post tonight!)

  22. 22 Marilyn Wann June 10, 2009 at 3:06 pm

    Hey, Joy! I agree with you that this show looks like an elaborate fat joke.

    But here’s why I’m writing…

    I clicked over to the link for this show and there’s a photo of exec. producer Mike Fleiss. And I had this totally weird moment where I thought he (exec. producer Mike Fleiss) might be a guy who was two years ahead of me at Sunny Hills High School (i.e., Class of ’82 from what was then known affectionately as Funny Pills). Ohmigosh. So I went to Classmates.com but there’s no photo of my Mike Fleiss, only the info that he went on to Berkeley.

    If indeed exec. producer Mike Fleiss is former Lancer Mike Fleiss who, like me, escaped from behind the Orange Curtain — and really, stranger things have happened — please tell him for me, “Shame on you for making fat jokes on TV, Mike Fleiss!” (And my mom, Mrs. Wann, says so, too!)

  23. 24 Emily June 18, 2009 at 4:38 pm

    Oh dear lord- have you seen the advertisement running on Fox about it now??? The guy is a hefty one who is talking about being in heaven with all these girls. The girls are pretty, but are on screen crying about how they just want to be loved. One of the girls meets the guy and she asks “what’s your type” and he looks her up and down and says “this is my type.”


    First off, nothing wrong with hefty men, but it almost looks like blatant segregation! hot skinnies are on the Bachelorette, rotund rejects are on This Other Whats-the-name show. There are hot men out there that would love a curvy hot chick, but they go get average Joe with a beer belly to be on this show.

    It’s going to be one stereotype after another. I’m a huge reality tv junkie, but this looks to be a hot mess.

  24. 25 Lexie Di June 27, 2009 at 3:24 am

    I have a copy of this play. I had to read a play in high school and went to the book store and chose Fat Pig. It’s such a sad story. I sobbed when I read it. But It’s such an amazing book. I know you’ll be wonderful in it! ^w^ <3<3<3

  25. 26 Christina (eatingcookies) July 9, 2009 at 10:04 pm

    If I commented on how these shows have no right to decide if a size 4 or a size 24 woman is “real” or not, I’d be repeating what everyone else said above. It’s stupid. If you were born with a vagina, you’re a real woman; heck – some people born with penises feel they’re real women too!

    It’d be great to see a dating show (well no, it wouldn’t be great, because dating shows are horrendous, but…) with women from size 00 with no boobs and butt, all the way up to a 3X, 4X, 5X BBW. Who cares? We’re all people.

  26. 27 Taylor! July 28, 2009 at 12:37 am

    I think the thing that bugs me the most about all of this is that after the commercials for these shows aired, my mom called me and told me I should find a way to audition for it – because I could “finally find a man!” I proceeded to tell her the reason I don’t have a boyfriend at the age of 19 isn’t because I’m not beautiful, it’s because the guys around here aren’t good enough. She replied with “You should just see how much a lapband costs. Could you do that for me?”

    Call me crazy, but I think I look pretty darn cute – boyfriend or not.


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