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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
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.
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.
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.
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.