A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The series explores a number of social issues, including body image and society's tolerance of obesity. Emotions run high for Chelsea as she struggles to overcome the challenges that her weight causes. There are some uncomfortable moments that illustrate how her weight puts barriers between her and her dreams, but overall, the show's positive tone underscores the benefits of respect, tolerance, and perseverance.
Positive Role Models
Chelsea is determined to conquer her personal insecurities along with her weight, and she tries to stay positive in the face of daunting challenges. She's a likable heroine who's open with her feelings, draws strength from her family, and is willing to work hard to get what she wants. Her family encourages her to follow her dreams.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some flirting and kissing. On a few occasions, Chelsea's shown in her panties or bra when she's undressing.
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"Hell" and "suck" are audible; "s--t" is bleeped.
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Products & Purchases
There's no effort to hide brand names like Chick-Fil-A, Hershey's, Twizzlers, etc. The show also includes plugs for MTV's website, where viewers can find bonus scenes and other show information.
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this reality series centers on a charismatic woman who's simultaneously battling obesity and trying to break into the fashion industry. It's an emotional journey for her, and the issues it raises -- including society's expectations of body size and how obesity facilitates stereotypes -- can take an emotional toll on sympathetic viewers as well. There are lots of tears as Chelsea comes to terms with how her weight has kept her from being the person she wants to be and how difficult the journey back to physical and psychological well-being will be. Unlike other weight-related reality shows, this series focuses on Chelsea's life journey rather than strictly on her weight loss, and her goals are more well-rounded than just losing a predetermined amount of weight. This translates to a more uplifting feel for the show, as well as to positive messages that relate to a wider range of tween and teen viewers. Expect some mild language ("hell," for example, with stronger words edited) and a few scenes that show Chelsea in her underwear, but none of this is inappropriate for mature tweens.
Is It Any Good?
MTV tries a softer approach to reality TV with this emotional story that centers on a very likable college grad who takes more than her share of emotional baggage with her to L.A. Not only is she overweight and susceptible to all of the insecurities related to that, but she's also struggling with being away from home for the first time, not being there to care for her diabetic mom, and feeling uncertain about her relationship with her boyfriend. Not to mention that she's attempting to break into the notoriously image-conscious world of fashion, and no amount of self-confidence can prepare her for the knocks she'll take on her job hunt.
As much as this story is about Chelsea's battle to overcome her food addiction and improve her lifestyle, it's even more centered on a coming-of-age journey that's reflective of most young adults'. Her issues with self-esteem may be more exaggerated than others', but they still exist to some degree for everyone, as do her struggles with mixed emotions about leaving home and uncertainty about the future. In other words, her story will appeal to a range of viewers, and its positive messages about respect, tolerance, and perseverance are worthwhile take-aways. This show raises issues about body image and stereotypes that, with a little prompting, can jump-start discussions with your teens about how society influences our impression of both.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.