August 20, 2009

More to Loathe?

Is the object of a reality show watching people express self-loathing on television?
Laughter or tears? Sometimes it's hard to tell.

I ask the question about self-loathing because I just saw the reality show More to Love. My impression?

Hard to believe, but this show makes the Biggest Loser look good.

On the Biggest Loser show, the contestants are equally dissatisfied with their shape, but they're trying to do something about it. (In addition to whining to the camera about it.) I don't agree with the way some of them try to lose weight, nor do I think numbers on the scale should be as important as improvements in fitness, but at least they're doing something. The women on More to Love spend most of their time whining.

Think I'm exaggerating? Below are quotes lifted from the latest episode of More to Love:

  • "A lot of guys have mistreated me before because of my weight."
  • "I've never done things like this before, because of my weight."
  • "I've had some bad relationships, that might have been because of my weight."

As far as I can see, it's not the fault of the guy. He keeps making appreciative comments like "women with curves in all the right places." It's the friggin' women themselves. They're not so much lambs being led to the slaughter as lambs reaching for the knife so they can slit their own throats because it's so miserable being a lamb already.

He says things like, "The women I'm attracted to are women who are confident and comfortable in their own skin." And one of the women responds to the camera thusly, "What makes me confident is the way he looks at me."

Well, okay. A comment like that could have come from any insecure woman, regardless of her size. Even so, these women come across as people who have never had anyone be nice to them ever in the whole of their life. One woman said, "I've never felt so complimented in my entire life." Really? In the whole of your life?

I mean, it's not as if the guy were slathering on the compliments like extra suntan oil; he was polite, not extravagant. But these women lapped it up like kittens who'd never before encountered cream. Needy and insecure. (There was one woman who acted confident, but she got booted off pretty quickly.)

When I achieve world domination, I think I will outlaw reality shows in favor of a better reality. If a better reality doesn't come along, I will at least ensure that 'romantic' reality shows include:

- forcing people to re-read some of Crabby's posts about Fat Acceptance
- a brick wall made of Nerf bricks, so people who hate themselves can hit their head against it
- a genuine "I'm with stupid" t-shirts where the arrow points straight up
- self-help books with titles like "Fat or Phat: A guide to being Cool without undergoing a personality transplant"
- maybe some Oprah re-runs about self-acceptance

I'm not a fan of reality shows in general (or of reality sometimes) and especially I don't like the idea of finding 'true love' from a show where a horde of men/women compete to be picked by their One True Love. Shows like this one take all the outward trappings of romance and parody them in a burlesque of buffoonery. Er... not that I have strong opinions on the subject.

When I wrote a post about the Biggest Loser, some people wrote comments about how the show inspired them to lose weight and exercise. I suppose there might be people who feel that way about this show. If so, could you please tell me why? 'Cause I don't get it. I thought the idea behind the show had merit, but the way it's being played stinks.

Have you seen the show 'More to Love'? If so, am I missing some secret charm? Or is there something fabulous about Reality shows that I'm currently missing? Do tell.


  1. The whole premise of the show sounds unhealthy to me. They're depicting fat people as freaks, and that offends me, since it just reinforces people's negative opinions about us.

    These people have obviously not heard that in order to find love, you need to learn to love yourself first. I weighed over 300 pounds when I met my perfectly normal and fabulous husband. He loves me for who I am. And I've never been an insecure, whiny victim of my weight. Yes, he's my staunchest supporter on my weight loss journey, but his love is not conditional upon my weight loss.

    My message to single men and women who are overweight - get a life, and love will follow.

  2. The show is just another angle on the media's exploitation (and manipulation?) of women's insecurities over their appearance. I'd rather bite through my wrists than watch this poisonous crap.

  3. I really disliked this show. (I only watched one time, because I kept hearing about it.)

    I was normal weight when I met hubby, ballooned up to 305 pounds, and then back down.

    He never stopped loving me, even though sometimes I was unloveable.

    The producers picked the most fragile, dissatisfied women imaginable. Bad show to me.

  4. I'm not sure how I feel about it. I have not seen it though. I've heard that this show always has them talking about the girls eating too. Too sad.
    I'm dissapointed in tv in general. One of the reasons we don't have tv channels and just movies.

  5. I've seen it twice: Episode 1 and 4. Mostly out of curiosity and to review it. I was disappointed both times. The first show was all about "fat" to me. The setups have been to make the women more insecure about their weight, not less, but by episode 4 the underlying current wasn't mostly about the weight (although they thinned the herd that way again) but about the pathetic insecurity these women have about love.

    I don't see a whole lot going on with these women that's any different from shows like The Bachelor (which I also loathe) except that the producers like to chose situations that evoke jealousy about weight a little more frequently than other jealousies.

  6. I'm not a big fan of it either. It sounds as though they found the most insecure women out there and if it's truly about this man loving curves, why the focus on the weight by the producers in regards to what the girls are eating etc??? It definitely isn't a show about a guy finding a woman, it's about hey lets gawk at the fatties and giggle at the fact this guy finds them attractive.

  7. I have not seen the show so I can not comment on it. It did not appeal to me. I do watch some reality shows liking the cooking challenges, Dancing with the Stars, Wipeout but I don't tend to watch the dating ones.

    As for Biggest Loser, I am tired of the promotion of products on the show these past couple seasons BUT I do think they have tried to say that this setting is not typical & that is why they send them home to the real world. Also, some of the contestants bring their knowledge home & do good with it along with saving their own lives & maybe some family members.

  8. I haven't seen the show. I do remember seeing ads for it that claimed that reality shows really only showed people who represented a tiny portion of the population (I took that to mean pathological attention-seekers, but they were talking about the other reality castmembers' weight), and now they're showing America what love really looks like or something. The ad alone was enough to tell me I'd hate the show.

  9. I caught the episode that aired this past week. I found it sad and confusing. What is the goal of this show, exactly? Is it to promote the idea that large people are beautiful? While this is the stated premise, it really comes off as a shameless exploitation of women with zero self worth throwing themselves at a person they've decided is their one and only chance at love. The most frightening words came from the youngest girl (I can't remember her name). She said: "this is the man who's going to control the way I feel for the rest of my life." What?! Seriously? These ladies clearly need help dealing with their emotional issues, and a reality tv show is probably not the best place to do it.

  10. I would rather have my toenails plucked out than watch any reality TV, I'm afraid. From my vast experience of having caught a few clips here and there, I'm guessing most reality shows pick the insecure, hostile, or foolish-- as the head of network programming in the movie Soapdish proclaimed, "*I'm* stable. Who wants to watch me on television?" They're right up there with Jerry Springer and Montel Williams. I Just. Can't. Watch. But I guess plenty of people can and do.

  11. I haven't seen it, but from your description and the other comments I've read regarding it I do not think I'll be Tivo-ing it any time soon.
    It sounds like they are flat out making fat women look bad by choosing the worst possible examples. Yes, lets push that stereotype that if you compliment a fat woman enough you'll get lucky because she is needy & has no confidence.
    Nope, no way can I watch that...I'd be yelling at the TV like I do during football games. ;)

  12. "When I achieve world domination, I think I will outlaw reality shows in favor of a better reality"

    All Hail the Queen :)

  13. Yea... I hate this show. I hate ALL reality shows. This one and all others that exploit fat people are the worst of the bunch. It's just more "othering" of us. The premise of finding love this way is already ludicrous and has gotten my criticism since the beginning but if you must do it why not include people of all shapes, sizes and colors into one show? Why do fatties need a separate show? It's sick.

  14. When I first heard about this show I knew it would not be what they were advertising. The only way to make it what Hollywood thinks we want to see would be to find the most insecure women ever and play on that insecurity. Blech. Hopefully no one watches and it only lasts one pathetic season.

    I've lost all interest in Reality TV and wish it would die a quick death. Too bad I seem to be in the minority. (So says the recovering Survivor addict.)

  15. Interesting... doesn't sound like this show has /any/ supporters. At least not among people who read Cranky Fitness, which is to say among people who matter :)
    Hopefully it will die a quick death.

  16. I watched one episode while trying to run 5 miles on the treadmill. I got to 2.5, and the combination of disgust at the show and just hating treadmills in general made me quit right there.

    I guess I was just really upset with how the women blamed everything wrong with their lives on their weight.

    Like being thin would magically make their lives perfect.

    But since they can't (won't?) lose weight, the best they can do is bid to marry a stranger who's openly playing them against each other and lapping up their desperation and adulation.

    But I never liked the bachelor either. I guess the idea of a bunch of women fighting over someone whom they don't really know just doesn't make sense to me.

  17. There's an idea for a reality show.
    Take these women, put them through liposuction, gastric band surgery, whatever it takes to make them thin in the shortest period of time. Then let them loose on the world and see if it changes them from insecure whiners to self-confident winners.

    I have a feeling it would be a parallel to the situation where people win the lottery. A surprisingly large percentage of these people end up spending all the money and being back where they started before they were rich.

  18. Oh my goodness, this sounds awful!

    I'm not a big fan of reality tv, and this doesn't tempt me to start watching anytime soon!

  19. I never watch reality shows. I don't slow down and gawk at accidents either. they'll get to the ER soon enough, and I'll look at them there. If no emergency personal has arrived at the accident scene, OK, then the good samaritan kicks in :-)

  20. I watched 5 minutes of this show the other evening and I like your title much better. The guy seems like a very good actor-- I don't trust him and it might be because he's overweight.

    (just kidding)
    I like Camevil's comment..biting thru her wrist. Funny.

  21. Haven't seen the show, nor do I care to watch it. I think it's degrading to everyone involved. The man and the women.

    I hate reality shows myself because I don't like knowing that those people on them are out there. In my same world. I may run into them. And that is scary as hell.

  22. Needy and insecure - is there any greater aphrodisiac? I watched about 1/2 hour of this show and just couldn't take all the mewling and groveling. Save it for your IRS audit. Seems this show is really "The Biggest Loser" - and no, I don't mean that in a nice way.

  23. why not include people of all shapes, sizes and colors into one show? Why do fatties need a separate show? -April

    i think that'd be an interesting start, but they seem to tailor the collection of women to the guy's likes, at least physically. if they started out with a bunch of assorted women that all liked, say, cooking or biking.. i wonder if the guy would weed out all but the tall skinny pretty ones?

    i agree with a lot of you.. the batchelor is just a bunch of skinny needy women, and more to love is a bunch of big needy women, all fighting for some guy they don't know. it's the dumbest thing ever.

    however, when my hubby and i met i was big tho not as big as i am now (post baby, mind you :) ) He's always been a 'curves in the right places' type of guy, and has been a huge help to my self esteem. he's ok if i'm on a weightloss trip, or if i fall right off into the cookie jar. he loves me for me!

  24. This show is awful nonsense. I dont think these women realize how pathetic they are coming across. The one time I watched part of it, it was mostly a bunch of sniveling crybabies complaining about how everyone is so mean to them just because they are fat. Seriously, it seemed that every female sprung a leak. Maybe people are just mean to them because they can sense their weak sense of self worth and they seem like victims.

    Who cares if they are overweight? I dont and obviously neither does the guy on the show! These women dont need a love match, they need a therapist to help them love themselves for who they are or make a serious effort to change it. No whining if you arent going to try to minimize what you dont like about yourself and maximize whta you do!!!

  25. I've never watched any of those reality shows. Why bother? Every day I get to observe people engaging in self-loathing and stupid behavior.

  26. Are these shows deliberately designed to include people so insecure that it makes even the most insecure viewer feel better about themselves by comparison?

  27. GRRRR. I haven't seen it yet but from what I've heard it sounds awful. On so many levels.

    Also, when I saw that photo, my immediate reaction was that the kid was screaming rather than laughing. hmm, I wonder what that says about me?

  28. Lillian's Mom - I can see that and actually concede to that idea but - yes I still have a BUT - that still doesn't make me happy because why does fat need to be fetishized? (word?)

    I'm sick of being the fat girl that men chase after because they like "real women" or "curves in all the right places".

    I'm just a woman. Quit fetishizing me.

    Maybe that's why the concept of this show really creeps me out. Besides the stereotypical insecure fat girl on TV thing. I want to see beautiful and not-so-beautiful CONFIDENT fat girls on TV.

  29. Sagan -- my first thought was that the baby was laughing. Maybe this is some kind of Rorschach test or something :)

  30. April -- "confident fat girls on TV"?
    A radical concept!

  31. I couldn't get through 5 minutes of this show. I watched a part where one of the girls was going ON and ON about how she loved him already, and how great he was, and I just couldn't listen anymore...
    I think the whole premise stinks. Why couldn't they have women of ALL sizes together on one show? Why must they all be plus size, and all be so insecure?

  32. Yeah, that's why I don't watch reality tv.

  33. I have to agree with Camevil. It's just more expoitation and manipulation on the part of the media, as is 95% of reality shows out there. Don't get me wrong, I grew up on The Real World, but The Real World isn't even real anymore.

  34. I have to say that I am an unabashed fan of Biggest Loser. I realize that many things that they do are downright stupid or harmful BUT... I do think it has changed peoples' lives for the positive. I think Jillian is an awesome trainer. The last season began just as I was starting my new journey to health, and I felt like these people were companions on my journey. I felt like they were in it with me. I'd see someone like Kristin, who was so very overweight, being totally willing and ready to do ANY challenge, and I had a lot of respect and admiration for her. She inspired me. I saw peoples' bodies and lives change, and how amazing it was to be able to do things they never dreamed possible. I cried for them many times. I truly WAS inspired. I'm definitely tuning in on September 15th to the new season.

  35. BTW-- I thought More to Love was really, really sad. I couldn't handle watching it.

  36. Haven't seen the show. Don't really want to. Reality dating shows just make me want to hurl. Dating shows in general make me want to hurl...

    I am sadly having a closet love affair with reality TV. I have even *gasp* watched and enjoyed the Biggest Loser, but my favorite reality shows tend to be along the lines of the Next Food Network Star, food competitions, and my favorite to date was Step it Up and Dance (awesome!!!!).

    To me reality dating shows are about wanting some ideal that doesn't exist and probably can't exist under the test-tube conditions of the show. They are so far from reality it isn't funny - even when you add "normal" sized people and highlight their body image issues.

  37. I haven't seen the show (I also hate most reality shows), but I heard that when the women were introduced, they had to give business cards to the guy that had their weight on it!!!!!!
    (Someone wrote that women on other dating shows should be forced to give out their I.Q.!)
    Most reality shows go for the most pathetic people they can find, and this one is the worst of the lot.

  38. hear hear, april! I couldn't agree more!

    azusmom, almost snorted my coffee when i read the IQ comment - absolutely!

  39. I have not ever watched any reality TV. I don't watch So You Think You Can Dance, I don't watch American Idol, I've never seen Survivor.

    I'm just not interested.

    The whole premise of reality television (and really, reality ought to be in ""s because I don't know about YOU, but my reality isn't anything like that!) seems to be a way to make the couch potato generation feel like "well, at least I'm not THAT bad."

    It's all very schadenfreude to me...

  40. Geez, Crabby, this blog has some pretty classy commenters. They even use German!

    I agree, Lynn, schadenfreude, 'delight in the misfortune of others' is about the only reason to watch this show.

  41. I agree, Merry! And I love the word schadenfreude--English needs a handy word like that.


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