One Big Happy Family TV Poster Image

One Big Happy Family



Strong family works together to solve their weight problem.
Parents recommend

What parents need to know

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

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.

Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

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.

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.

Families can talk 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
Genre:Reality TV
TV rating:TV-PG

This review of One Big Happy Family was written by

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are conducted by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.


Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Rating System

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate. We recently updated all of our reviews to show only this age, rather than the multi-color "slider." Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byIheartmy4 January 19, 2010

Happy black families do exist!

I love the intact black married family. My favorite scene is in ep. 2, I think, where the brother holds his sisters hand when she is upset over the bad news from the doctor. Second favorite moment, When Norris re-proposes to his wife, Tameka. Not a dry eye on the screen or in my house!
What other families should know
Great messages
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.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 14 year old Written bymommacat January 16, 2010
i think that it is a really good idea to have a whole family that are big girls and boys. that lets us see that our whole familys gain weight and need support of world around us.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models


Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?