A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this drama deals with teen obesity and body image in an honest, thought-provoking way. The main characters' sensitivity to weight runs the gamut, so viewers can expect to see tears, frustration, and even self-directed jokes about being fat. The content also touches on other weight-related topics like bulimia and binge eating (as well as non-weight-related issues, such as sexual orientation). Although Huge is a scripted show, the characters’ struggles with self-esteem will probably be relatable to most teens, so watching the show could be an intense experience. Talk to your teen about how to distinguish the show's positive messages about self-esteem and inner beauty from the more sensitive content.
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What's the story?
HUGE is a scripted drama series that chronicles the ups and downs of a diverse group of teens brought together at a summer weight-loss camp. Sardonic Willamina (a.k.a. “Will,” played by Nikki Blonsky) arrives at Camp Victory against her will, only to find that her peers are far more dedicated to the cause than she is. But the more she rails against the strict rules, the more she’s forced to see herself in a new light. With the help of her new friends, Will must choose her new path -- but the road to victory is a rocky one at best. Still, while the teens' reasons for being at camp might not be the same, the campers all share the basic goal of being at peace with who they are.
Is it any good?
Huge takes a big risk by thrusting the sensitive subject of teen obesity into the spotlight without the "safety net" of broad humor or a reality competition framework. Happily, the show’s willingness to take on the emotional issues that accompany this issue offer teens and their families a great opportunity to discuss topics like body image, accepting differences, and healthy lifestyles. From the characters’ impressions of themselves to their tenuous relationships with each other, the show’s messages actually supersede weight and speak to a more general struggle for self-acceptance that most everyone can relate to.
The show benefits from an exceptional cast -- the actors humanize the issue of teen obesity and encourage viewers to really walk in the characters’ shoes before passing judgment. As long as your teen is ready to think (and talk) about potentially sensitive topics like weight, self-esteem, and even eating disorders, this is a worthwhile choice.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about body image. How do you define beauty? How does your definition compare to society’s? Who do you find beautiful? Why?
Teens: How do you maintain a healthy lifestyle? What changes could you make to your lifestyle to make it healthier? What role does the media play in encouraging -- or discouraging -- a healthy lifestyle?
In general, how accepting is society of differences among people? How do your own sensitivities to differences compare?
For kids who love stories about teens
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