A Funny And Blunt Look At The Chub Life
Lets face facts, there are alot of people in this world that are overweight, myself and a large amount of my family among them, be it slightly over what society deems as "normal" or so far overweight they're considered morbidly overweight, the fact remains, there is a large amount of us in the world that are seen as fat. Now there are those of us who are like me, who though they are aware of their size and all that comes along with it, and see nothing wrong with themselves, making jokes like saying they're "living the chub life" instead of The Thug Life (my personal favorite as the title of this denotes), or "The Life Chubquadic" instead of The Life Aquatic, and many others, you get the idea. And there are also those who are aware of their size, and instead of accepting themselves for who they are, they feel the need to change themselves, to make themselves fit more of what they are told by magazines and movies and popular culture that a woman is ment to look like, believing if they aren't skinny, they're worthless. Huge takes a humorous look inside the life of all the different types of overweight people, set at a summer camp for overweight teens, Huge is both brutally honest and at times demoralizing and humiliating, but also at times laugh yourself silly till you can't breathe funny, as it shows you that above all else, size doesn't make the person, its who you are that matters. And more so, its not preachy or ignorantly insulting with or with out intention, as most shows that attempt to breach this subject matter tends to be, but then the series was created by Winnie Holzman, the creator of the cult series "My So Called Life" so what else do you expect really?
Huge starts out on the rather humiliating first day of camp at a location called Camp Victory, a camp for overweight teenagers, from the very start you are tossed headlong into the somewhat unsettling and socially demoralizing world of fat camps, where in on the first day, each person is made to stand around in their bathing suit while the staff takes their picture, its ment to be show a "before" picture for them to see how far they've changed at the end, but most find it socially and personally humiliating, as you see the staff going around taking pictures, this is where you meet the main star of the show, Willamina or "Will" for short, she's a sarcastic sharp witted overweight girl who doesn't see anything wrong with her size or who she is, as she is, she states she likes herself just fine, and states she more then likely is going to gain weight while here, you also meet Becca, a shy and nervous girl who reads alot, and latches onto Will almost emediately, the two become close, and even share a cabin with a group of other girls, among them Amber, described as "the thinnest and prettiest girl at fat camp" Will takes an almost instant dislike of her, believing she has no real reason to be there. The two later clash when Will is caught selling contraband food to other campers and blames it on Amber, who she then plays a rather mean trick, but rather hilarious, trick on her to get her back.
The show also deals with all the different ways people try to become thinner, one of the campers that shares a cabin with Will, Becca and Amber is sent home for forcing herself to throw up, that sort of makes them all look at themselves and wonder why instead of them all dealing with it as a group, one went and reported her, though it was the right thing to do, you find out that sending the girl home was the worst thing they could have done for her. After all the stress and drama of the first day, Will decides she has had enough, she packs up her stuff and runs off, planning to hitchhike to her uncle's house where she'll stay the summer so she doesn't have to go home and deal with her parents. At a roadside diner she stops at to have a bite to eat before her journey, Will accidentally runs into the director of Camp Victory, Doctor Rand, who though there to speak to her father, whom she apparently has a very estranged relationship with, confronts Will and makes her see that the camp is there for her help and well being, you later find that Rand herself went there as a teenager, which I'm sure will be addressed at some point.
There are alot of stand out characters in the secondary cast too, Poppy, the girl's councilor who "floats around like an annoyingly hyper pixie" at times, Ian the odd and kind of awkward musician who spends most of his downtime playing his guitar and floating around in a rowboat, him and Will become friends given their similar taste in music, Alistair, the odd boy that sort of lives in a dreamworld that keeps him from dealing with his own personal problems, and George, the muscular camp councilor who Amber has a rather large crush on, even if he can't remember her name. What makes each character in the cast stand out though isn't really that they're all kind of based on all the different aspects of your average teenage scene, jocks, pretty girls, popular people, nerds, ect, its that they all go out of their way to show you that it doesn't matter what size you are, people are people, and that if you look past whats on the outside, you'll see we're all kind of alike, and unlike most shows, it doesn't smack you with this fact like a spiked bat to the head, which is good, because I hate preachy shows about accepting people for who and what they are, they always mean well but always come off insulting, Huge does not do that, which really is a refreshing change of pace.
Among the many things that make this show great, is the cast itself, everyone knows well written characters are a dime a dozen really, but it takes a great actor to make that character live to its potential, and Huge has great actors by the ton, if you pardon the expression. Nikki Blonsky is Will, Nikki is most known as the golden globe nominated star of the recent remake of "Hairspray", and probably one of the most noticed of hollywood's movement toward not noticing size over acting talent the others being Gabourey Sidibe of Precious and the soon to be aired series The Big C, as well as Amber Riley of Glee, Nikki took the role because she felt that Will stands for alot of whats good, as well as whats bad, about most overweight people, and she feels she can show alot of young people that they are not alone or outcast simply because of their size. The surprise of the main cast has to be Hayley Hasselhoff as Amber, I had no idea she was the daughter of former joke of a star turned drunken douchebag of a former star David Hasselhoff was overweight, and more so, such a good actress, that was a massive surprise for me, but a good surprise none the less, she plays a good foil to Nikki's in your face Willamina, as does Raven Goodwin as Becca, Raven's career has mostly been forgettable shows on Nickelodeon and Disney Channel and alot of one time appearances and small roles in tv and movies, you start to feel rather sad for Becca as the show goes on, I have a really bad feeling something bad is gonna happen to her as the show goes on honestly. The other major stand out is Gina Torres as Doctor Rand, I've been a fan of Gina's sense her days on the short lived (and blatantly T&A) Cleopatra 2525, which has the distinction of having its theme song stuck in my head at this very moment, Rand is rather complex and has to come off as both really hard edged, but also trying to get the kids to trust her, which is never really an easy double task for anyone to take on, you feel for her in that respect.
Over all the series does a great job of making you feel for its cast, and what they stand for, like I said earlier, its not really ment to be a preachy "we're all the same no matter how we look" bullshit that you find with alot of series these days aimed at teenagers, and though Huge probably won't offend anyone with its blunt and matter of fact nature, it will make you start to think and wonder about yourself and anyone you know thats overweight, and again, most importantly, it doesn't come off insulting, sure you can see certain characters are ment to be certain people that are known for being overweight, Trent the jock is ment to be Jack Black and Ian the musician is blatantly ment to be Seth Rogan, and Alistair is ment to be Jonah Hill, the girls are alittle harder to figure out, but I'll let each of you figure them out for yourselves, though who they're ment to be really isn't all that important, so much as the fact they truly make you believe in them and look past the outer shell, to see the person inside, which is what the point of this show is. So if you really want something different, and something thats eye opening but also a great way to spend an hour of your tv watching lives, give Huge a chance, you won't regret it.