Chelsea Settles

TV review by
Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media
Chelsea Settles TV Poster Image
Emotional journey of chasing dreams in fat-conscious world.

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age 13+
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Positive Messages

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 & Representations

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.


Some flirting and kissing. On a few occasions, Chelsea's shown in her panties or bra when she's undressing.


"Hell" and "suck" are audible; "s--t" is bleeped.


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.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What 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.

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Teen, 14 years old Written byLizGolightly January 5, 2012

My View on : Chelsea Settles

Chelsea Settles is about a teenager who loves fashion and in dreams in being in fashion industries. She also continues to fight obesity to reach her goal. This... Continue reading

What's the story?

CHELSEA SETTLES follows the 23-year-old titular character's life-changing journey from her small Pennsylvania hometown to Los Angeles, where she hopes to make a name for herself in the fashion world. What would be a daunting task for any hopeful on a good day takes even more effort from Chelsea, since the move is also part of her effort to adopt a healthier lifestyle and shed some of her 324 pounds. Leaving behind an ill mother and an unfaithful boyfriend, Chelsea finds inspiration in the hope that, with hard work and a determined spirit, she can have the life she's always dreamt of.

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.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about body image. Is there such a thing as a "perfect" body type? Does the media perpetuate a certain impression of how you should look? What messages about weight and body size do you get from this show?

  • Teens: How much does a person's appearance influence your impression of him or her? Have you ever prejudged someone because of their weight, clothes, hair, etc.? Do you take people's tendency to do the same into account when you plan your wardrobe? In what cases, if any, is it appropriate for someone to judge you on your appearance?

  • What can be gained by taking on new challenges? How does pushing yourself teach you about your character? What can be learned from failure? From success? What challenges have you overcome?

TV details

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