One Big Happy Family

TV review by
Anne Louise Bannon, Common Sense Media
One Big Happy Family TV Poster Image
Parents recommend
Strong family works together to solve their weight problem.

Parents say

age 10+
Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.

Positive Messages

While there's no question that the Coles family's eating habits have been a major problem for them, they're exceptionally healthy emotionally -- they're committed to supporting each other, they act lovingly toward each other, and the parents act like parents rather than friends toward their kids. And the fact that they're now trying to improve their physical health, too, sends a positive message.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Tameka and Norris are strong examples of parents who are simultaneously loving and firmly guiding. And although the family members all have health risks due to their weight problem, all of them take responsibility for his or her role in the situation.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this reality series -- which follows a family with a serious weight problem (each person in the family weighs more than 300 pounds) -- sends positive messages about family relationships and trying to make a change for the better. While the members of the Coles family do tease each other, they also love each other very much. The teen kids sometimes act up, but they're ultimately respectful of their parents -- and every member of the family steps up to take responsibility for their collective weight problem.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bysweetpea74127 July 30, 2010

Love, love, love, love it!!!!!!!!

I was overweight the majority of my childhood. Even though my parents were not overweight, I would have loved for them to workout and eat healthy with me durin... Continue reading
Parent of a 12-year-old Written byfrancine406 March 2, 2010

Get Family Show

Love this show, the entire family is awesome so much love in that family. Norris and Tameka has done a wonderful job in raising two beautiful children.
Kid, 10 years old January 9, 2010

It's Great And Convincing!

This is a great show for people who want to try to lose weight! These people may be obese but not for long! Because if people said "I'm fat" then... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byJesusFreak09 January 8, 2010

OK, but might confuse younger children

It was okay. I only saw one episode in which the husband proposes to the wife. He said she was gonna leave him or something if they didn't get married. It... Continue reading

What's the story?

The Coles family is big -- not in number, but in size. Dad Norris, mom Tameka, and teens Amber and Shayne each weigh over 300 pounds. They don't have access to a personal trainer or nutritionist, but they do have each other -- and ONE BIG HAPPY FAMILY documents their attempts to work together to change their eating habits and other unhealthy patterns that have contributed to their weight problem.

Is it any good?

There's only one reason why this show works -- the fact that the Coles really seem to care about each other. Norris and Tameka are good parents, even if they have let the weight thing get out of hand. Aside from that, they're caring, supportive, and firm with their kids -- and they're willing to accept their part of the responsibility for the whole family's weight issues.

No reallity show is ever perfectly real, but One Big Happy Family seems a lot more real than many others. That's because it's more of a documentary than a gimicky competition or game show -- and the people are doing their best to reverse a lifetime of bad habits rather than score a talent deal.  It's clearly going to be rocky, but if anyone has a chance, the Coles' do ... and you can't help cheering them on.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the realities of reality TV. Do you think everything captured by the cameras actually happened that way naturally? Are the people we see on screen really that way when the cameras aren't on?

  • What lessons can be learned from this show? Can you apply the information the Coles family uses to your own life? Do you consider them good role models?

  • Why do you think the Coled family chose to participate in the series? Would you ever like to do something similar?

TV details

  • Premiere date: December 29, 2009
  • Network: TLC
  • Genre: Reality TV
  • TV rating: TV-PG
  • Last updated: September 19, 2019

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