Another television network show about the plight of fat people. This time a show about that mega-fat man, who weighs as much as an elephant, sympathetically portrayed as course, as we watch him leave his house for the first time in many years and gets carted off to the clinic in a specially made ambulance.
What is it about these shows? It's like the days of the old asylums where the posh-classes got to pay an entrance fee to watch the loonies having a tea party on their day off from being chained to the walls.
Of course, the voice-overs are always soothingly caring, but the camera angles are careful to show us every lump and bulge, every piece of grotesquely herniated flesh, and of course plenty of footage of the fat man stuffing his face with heavily fried chicken.
We get to hear of his plight in his own words in 9 second sound bites when he tells us piecemeal of his suffering and personal agonies. Cue the plinky-plonky music as he reminisces about childhood and cut to the shots where friends and family from childhood are interviewed, again in 9 second sound bites.
The themes of childhood in these shows are always one of two variations.
Variation 1. His childhood was really happy and carefree and his parents loving, he was popular at school until he hit high school and that was then the bullying started. But obesity came first. Theme: the reasons for his plight are a mystery, so what can medicine tell us about this problem.
Variation 2. His childhood was horrific, death and destruction and lots of personal heartaches. He wasn't fat as a child, but he soon turned to food in order to cope with his emotions. Theme: mystery explained, so what can psychology tell us about this problem.
But what these shows love to totally ignore are the people who feed them. In the background is an army of food preparers, relatives, cooks, delivery men, corporations getting rich, take-away services, advertisers and so on all preparing and providing those gluttonous calories to enable that poor man to live 30 years on his back stuffing his face with the culinary equivalent of toxic waste.
And what of the double standards of the TV show, the TV shows that give the lucrative potential for the experts all vying for their 15 seconds of fame that can change the course of their career as more pro-active patients quickly google their names and clinics to get an urgent appointment before they literally burst. The double standards involve this message, "We care about this man" combined with, "Hey, look at this freak!"
It works of course and pulls in the ratings. Fans of the freak show chop up the show and upload the best pieces in 4-minute chunks to video sites on the internet that pull in astonishing viewing statistics too.
Fat people for your viewing pleasure. It's pretty disgusting, don't you think? The comments section below.