In case you haven’t heard, there’s a new weight loss reality show on TLC on Tuesday nights. One Big Happy Family follows the Coles family (Mom, Dad, teenage daughter, teenage son) as they work together to shed some serious weight, for serious reasons.They each weigh in at between 300-400 pounds, and mother, father, and son are experiencing health problems. So far, the daughter’s ego seems to be the only thing ailing.:)
This is a family that seems to truly love each other. The teens are as obnoxious as many teens but seem to respect their parents. (I realize this might be for the cameras, but to me it seems genuine.) Part of the family ritual is sharing meals together: fried chicken, mashed potatoes, macaroni & cheese, lasagna, etc. (I’m not sure, but that might have all been in one meal.) They like to eat and they like to laugh and aren’t apologizing for either. When we first meet them, they all acknowledge the weight issues, but they don’t seem to be particularly motivated to do anything about it.
That all changes when a series of doctor’s appointments reveal the very real threat of serious health problems. Then Mama gets fierce and tries to get them turned around. The results are often thought-provoking, sometimes hilarious, occasionally sad, and refreshingly real. No trainers, no nutritionists, no product placement (thank the Lord!). Instead, we see Dad learning that spinach can be served fresh. Mom broils meat for the first time ever (with Cammy-esque results.) The son has to endure the humiliation of an idiotic neighbor referring to him as “fat.” The daughter breaks a chair she’s sitting in and tries to laugh through the embarrassment. Many of us have lived these moments or moments similar enough to relate.
Some of the show’s moments that ring most true to me are also generating some controversy. Critics claim that the show exploits the Coles and portrays them as exaggerated characters, not real people with real problems. I’ve tried to look at it from this point of view, but honestly, I just don’t see the show in the same way. It has me wondering if there’s some sort of cultural disconnect, but I’m not sure if it’s related to size, or perhaps to race, or maybe a little bit of both. All I know is that each of these family members has said or done something that reminded me of ME 100 pounds ago. (Mom’s healthy cooking efforts remind me more of me NOW.) These are my people.
Y’all remember how much I loved Ruby (Style Network, new season starts Feb. 14)? Well, I love following the Coles just as much! Led by one tenacious mother, with reluctant support from a family that doesn’t exactly embrace change until they experience it, their efforts to turn their lives around the best way they know how has me wanting to stand up and cheer with each small victory. The Coles make my heart happy…and hopeful.
Okay, your turn. Have you seen this show? Like it? Had to look away? Fell asleep? Don’t like weight loss reality shows in general? Please share.