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More to Love

March 12, 2010

I mentioned this show briefly when discussing reality dating shows, but such was its brilliance that I thought it deserved some attention all of its own. More to Love was on Fox over the summer. This was another one of those that I didn’t start to watch. The boyfriend, who normally doesn’t watch any TV at all (he’s one of those people), came home to tell me he’d watched part of the most amazing show ever at work, and he had to show me.

This show is kind of like a watching a train wreck. You know it isn’t right, but you cannot look away. This is the product of the same producer from the Bachelor. The concept is basically, Bachelor: Plus Size edition. A larger (but still attractive) man weighing 330lbs, courts 20 larger ladies in the hope of finding his love. My first issue with this is not that the man was larger, but that he was 26. At 26 he says he has seen it all and is ready to settle down and have children, but needs the help of reality TV to do it. Heaven help the rest of us poor souls in our 20s, wandering around with nary a camera in sight.

The show is meant to promote the idea of plus size women as being beautiful, and worthy of love. And we all know that they are. The problem with this show is that it patronizes the issue. If plus-size women are worthy of love, then why are they not on the regular season of the Bachelor? Why is there no teddy bear of a bachelor himself wooing the ladies? The Bachelor has also copped criticism for only having white contestants feature on their shows, and when I see Black Love feature on TV, I will be concerned as well. 

The women’s weight is displayed on the screen like a scorecard. They have to participate in activities “they normally never would” such as wearing a swimsuit, or belly dancing. They are shown eating. All the time. Not eating excessively, or unhealthily, but the camera zooms in on them picking up the toaster waffle. Whether its a “this is refreshing, a woman eating” or, “this is why you’re fat”, I’m not entirely sure, but I know which one my money is on. These women cry into the camera about how they cannot find love, they are too overweight, and this is their one chance. Watching some of the contestants, I had a genuine fear they may go Fatal Attraction on Luke, the (lucky?) man in question.

This show tries to make us accepting of all people, by placing them as other and reinforcing stereotypes. Luke does find love, with Tali, a gorgeous Israeli plus-size model. All the girls who were genuinely larger, as opposed to being curvy, were eliminated fairly rapidly. Some he kept on the show to help their self-esteem. This show wasn’t for large women, it was for broken down women. It cannot be true that big people don’t find love, or the population of America could be in serious decline. Most of the contestants on the Biggest Loser are married. Those who aren’t seem to go home attached to another contestant. The problem isn’t with society not accepting these girls, it is with these girls not accepting themselves. And by placing them in the company of other large people, and telling them this is where they need to stay, in their own little segment of society, is not going to further the cause. 

I believe reality tv can pass things on to society. But the harder it tries, the less it succeeds. Apparently people seem to agree, as large people have to settle for finding their own love matches this summer– More to Love has been cancelled. For those in desperate need, I can only recommend joining the Biggest Loser, and killing two birds with one stone.

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