I loved Nikki Blonsky as Tracy Turnblad in the 2007 movie musical Hairspray, so I was excited to hear she was starring in the new ABC Family series, Huge. And then I watched the pilot.
Huge is by far one of the most uninteresting shows I have come across in a long time. The basic premise is uninteresting, the characters lack dimension, and the whole thing is riddled with fat clichés that just made the whole thing boring to watch. There was no sense of drama, no sense of empathy or any real interest felt for any of these characters. The whole thing just felt flat.
I think one of the main issues was with predictable writing, moments of humor that consistently fell flat (a girl deal sweets like a drug dealer…har har), and by the time the one interesting twist popped up toward the end of the episode I had already checked out. Needless to say this cast deserves better material.
So, we’re taken to a fat camp, Camp Victory, where really big kids go to lose weight over the summer. There are a few who are repeat offenders, and others who have no interest in being there at all (that would be Nikki Blonsky’s character, Wil). There’s plenty of low self-esteem to be found in this obese atmosphere, and plenty of crazy drill instructors and a power mad doctor who runs the camp, Dr. Rand.
What bothered me about the pilot was the total lack of any connection I had with these characters. Even with Secret Life and Make It Or Break It, where I have nothing in common with any of the characters, I felt drawn into their stories and their struggles. While their struggles with weight may be the primary issues, I never felt like there was more for me to connect with as a viewer. I wanted more.
The overall feel of the production felt cheap and amateurish, which I was rather surprised about since this is an ABC Family production. While the producers of Huge may be attempting to buck the trend set by the ABC Family brand, they seem to have inadvertently taken away story, character, and personality along with it. What could have been a powerful and inspirational series leave little to hold one’s interest to the next episode.
This has nothing to do with the cast being heavyset at all. There are many very talented young people in this cast and it’s unfortunate they got stuck in a show that points out their real physical flaws. You do feel sorry for the actors and not the characters in this case. Nikki Blonsky, whose first role was as the rotund Tracy in Hairspray, has since been typecast as the fat girl, which is unfortunate because her talent is far greater than her physical size.
If Jonah Hill can be in films where his weight isn’t the main point of conversation, why can’t Blonsky and the rest of this cast? The series seems to enjoy exploiting the fact that these people are fat, much like NBC’s The Biggest Loser does.
Another issue is with series sustainability. Will the cast actually lose weight over the course of the series? Will they remain at the camp for season after season of the show (if it lasts more than one)? And how will they keep the viewers interested and coming back for more of the same camp location and situations week after week?
I think the series definitely needs a kick in the ass. It needs to move faster, the characters need more depth, and they need to be less “woe is me, I’m fat” and actually act like real people do. There need to be more twists and turns, more suspense, and a heightened sense of drama that keeps the ABC Family demo (tween/teen girls) coming back for more. Right now, I don’t see that happening.
While the series does go against the grain or having young, thin, beautiful people as the main cast, Huge does itself a disservice by not supplying its cast with anything of substance to work with. If this series were written by Brenda Hampton (Secret Life, 7th Heaven) of even the creator if Gilmore Girls (Amy Sherman), the dialogue and the stories would be significantly faster and more interesting to watch.
Out of all the ABC Family series I have reviewed for this site, which include Make It Or Break It, The Secret Life of the American Teenager, 10 Things I Hate About You, and Ruby & The Rockits, Huge is the first show I cannot recommend. It’s a show that should be better, could be better, but just doesn’t work.
Huge premieres Monday, June 28 at 9/8c on ABC Family.
Think I’m wrong about the show? Right? Leave a comment and let us know!