More To Love premieres tomorrow night, and USA Today, Salon and People all have recent critiques of the reality show. Each piece acknowledges that there are good and bad aspects of the program some are calling "The Fatchelor."
Actually, The Fatchelor was the working title for the show before it hit the air, according to Variety. With that in mind, let's consider the pros and cons of More To Love.
- "With the nation's obesity rate rising and more than half of adults considered overweight, shows about weight loss or with characters closer to the average size may be a reflection of the audiences' own image," writes USA Today's Gary Strauss. It's certainly a pro to have a diversity of body types on television.
- The women are not model/actress wannabes but "more genuine." "They're sincere about finding someone to love because they've had a hard time finding a date," says Mike Darnell from Fox in Strauss' article. Perhaps this makes our reality TV a little more "real."
The women on More To Love supposedly can't get a date because they're overweight. But, writes Salon's Heather Havrilesky:
If you took a group of medium-size single women in their 20s and asked them the same questions about how successful they've been at finding love, you'd hear variations on the same theme. Average-looking women would claim that their cute friends get all the guys. Women with incredible figures would worry that men only like them for their big racks. Women with advanced degrees would say that men reject them because they're smart and successful. Assertive women would claim that men don't like assertiveness while timid women would say that they're too shy to charm good men.
On a show about dating, why is there so much talk about weight? According to Havrilesky: "More to Love aims to open our eyes to a glorious alternate reality where everyone focuses on 'what's on the inside,' but instead of actually learning what these women are like on the inside, all we hear about is their outsides — how they feel about their weight, how many disappointments can be linked to their weight, how they're wearing Spanx right now. It's like airing a show about addiction and recovery that features a room full of addicts rhapsodizing over the crazy stuff they did when they were high. What's worse, Luke is greeted as a hero for daring to date women who, on average, weight about 100 pounds less than he does. "
The inevitable jokes and gags. This USA Today article uses punny phrases like "TV programmers are finding ample reasons to beef up schedules with shows in the heavyweight genre"; the title has a hidden "love handle" twist in it. Last week's CNN piece used the phrase "there is a hunger" for plus-size TV shows. Har har har.
The entire concept of the show. Can big women only be found attractive by a big man? Writes Havrilesky: "Luke may be a rare creature — we all know big men who refuse to date big women and average-looking men who expect to land total babes. But congratulating Luke for being halfway reasonable and rewarding him with a roomful of fawning women, most of whom will be sent home in tears, isn't exactly progress."
Luke, the star of the show, is portrayed as a ham (he tells People: "To be voluptuous is scrumptious… I grew up in a family full of plus-size women. It is more about personality and a sense of humor than a dress size. Growing up as a chubby kid and moving around so much, I had to be funny."). But when you watch a promotional video on the show's site, you mostly see clips of overweight women crying. The message? Fat men are jolly; fat women are sad.
So. The cons outnumber the pros on this list. But will slow summer programming and curiosity turn the show into a big, fat hit?
Fox Gets A Handle On A Trend With Reality Show 'More To Love' [USA Today]
Embrace The Reality TV Underdogs! [Salon]
Meet The Star Of More To Love [People]