Huge, Episode 4: Playing at the Talent Show

By | July 20, 2010

Bookmark and Share

Previously on Huge: Dr. Gina Torres doesn’t eat after dinner. A muffin mysteriously disappeared. Chloe’s got a girl boner for Trent. Will reluctantly wrote in her Camp Victory journal.

It’s nighttime. Amber and Chloe are in the cabin rehearsing a dance routine to Sir Mix-a-Lot’s famous anthem for ass, “Baby Got Back”. It’s cute, but before we go any further, I would like to note that “Baby Got Back” is not really the pro-fat-girl rallying cry a lot of folks seem to take it to be. The whole “itty bitty waist” line is pretty damning on that front. That said, having many fond memories of talent shows from my own youth, watching them rehearse is sweetly nostalgic. Chloe describes one movement as “step step down, Beyonce hand.” I LOLed. Becca is watching them from behind a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank, which is certainly right up there with Dandelion Wine on my list of light summer reading. Oh, but I kid: I love that Becca is reading a different book every single week.

In the bathroom, Sierra is crying to Poppy that her talent show partner has ditched her. Poppy, the lovable optimist, tells her to ask if she can join Amber and Chloe’s act. Like it’s unthinkable that they would say no!

Back in the cabin, Chloe is trying to figure out where she should stand based on a) which side her butt looks better from, and b) where Trent will be sitting. She tells Amber to switch places with her so Chloe can showcase her good side. Amber asks, “What about MY good side?” and Chloe responds: “You have two good sides. I have none.” They exchange no-ways for a moment before Will butts in: “Can we skip the nightly ‘who’s fatter’ contest?” Amber informs her they’re having a “private conversation” and she and Chloe leave to practice outside.

As Will collects her laundry, we get an unexpected comment from Becca about how Chloe has changed. Apparently Becca and Chloe were close friends the summer before, but, “I guess it turned out I wasn’t cool enough.”

Hey, hands up: who had a friendship at this age that went suddenly and inexplicably bad? Like you couldn’t figure out why, or what happened, but you were friends and then you weren’t. This experience destroyed me markedly less in high school than it did in middle school, where I felt it from both sides. I was close friends with a girl named Stephanie in sixth grade, and then in seventh grade I wasn’t. Stephanie was tall and gangly. She was adopted, and her parents had an elaborate contemporary house — the kind of thing you’d see in Dwell today — filled with modern furniture that I now know cost a fortune. She had two cockatiels and a collection of bettas all in separate little fishbowls, and she was trying to get them to reproduce. This is how I learned that betta foreplay is violent as hell. Her father kept a gun in an unlocked drawer under the built-in wet bar downstairs, which Stephanie showed me once.

I made the mistake of smiling at Stephanie in the hall at school one day, after the collapse, which elicited an enraged phone call that evening, in which she demanded to know why I had stopped being her friend. I had no answer. I wonder if today she describes me as a callous bitch to her therapist. I wasn’t trying to be cruel, I just… couldn’t be her friend anymore. I was myself ditched as a friend far more often than I did the ditching, but I remember this more.

When Becca says, “It’s like our friendship never existed,” I cringed. Because Stephanie said the same thing to me.

Outside, Chloe explains to Amber that those bitches are just jealous haters. See, last year Chloe was “like a size 18”, and “the more weight I lost, the more girls here started to hate me. It’s normal.” This last bit is flippant, “whatever”. Chloe isn’t here to make friends — Chloe is here to win. Sierra comes out and asks if they need more people. Amber perkily says, “Sure!” but Chloe immediately says no, it’s enough of a task to get the dance right between the two of them. Ouch. Poor Sierra.

Good morning! We’re at breakfast. Dr. Gina is doing her morning announcements, and reminds everyone that it’s not too late to get in on the Talent Night action. Will, sitting with Ian and Becca, announces to the table, “My talent is fun-sucking. I can literally suck the fun out of any situation.” Ha. Is it any wonder that I so relate to Will? Dr. Gina suggests some talents that might be applicable, and mentions that Salty — that’s her dad — knows how to do magic. Salty responds with what I presume is now his catchphrase, “No seconds.”

Shay sits down at a table with George and Poppy and says, “This popover worries me.” It’s a great line. I am occasionally disturbed by scones, myself. Shay says that she’d found Dr. Gina a great chef — “I lost weight just smelling her food,” — wait, how does that work? — but Dr. Gina went with the Popover King. So none of the employees know that Salty is Dr. Gina’s dad, then. Jillian Michaels Superstar is dubious that the food is actually low-fat. Food that is tasty and enjoyable is morally wrong! I’m guessing Shay’s not much of a cook. Or much of an eater, at that. She announces that she has to say something to Dr. Gina about the food situation, leaving her popover behind.

Oh, and by the way? This week’s episode was directed by Eric Stoltz. I am quite aware of the extent of his work before and since, but seeing him always makes me think of him saying, “The day that I bring an ODing bitch over to YOUR house, THEN I give her the shot,” in Pulp Fiction.

At the cool kids’ table, they’re describing foods from home. Dante talks about this concoction he makes which involves putting ice cream in the microwave.

Becca wants Will to do her Dr. Gina Torres impression for talent night. Will agrees, and then begins distractedly digging through her bag, and she ultimately runs out of the dining-cabin without a word, leaving Ian and Becca bewildered. Becca asks Ian if he’s doing something for Talent Night, and he says he’s trying to write a song. I vote for a cover of The Replacements’ excellent “Talent Show”, but sadly I cannot text in my suggestion. Also this is prerecorded. Anyway. Ian has only written two and a half songs in his life, “and I hate both of them.” I don’t know, man — odds are good in ten years you’ll look back on those songs and be impressed by how much they don’t completely suck. But oh, this is the way of teenagers.

In Dr. Gina’s office, her dad mentions that he made the popovers with olive oil instead of margarine. “It’s a good kinda fat,” he days. PREACH IT, DR. GINA’S DAD. Dr. Gina tells him that the guy who runs the Tennis Douchebag Camp from last week has hired a land surveyor to determine who the land in question really belongs to. Dad picks up an old picture off Dr. Gina’s desk and remarks that he doesn’t have any childhood pictures of her — her mother kept them all. Aw. Sad.

Suddenly there is a frenzy of athletic knocking at the door. Of course, it’s the Jillian Michaels Maschinenmensch. She enters, ostensibly to complain about the delicious and satisfying meal she’s just eaten, but is startled to see Salty standing there. Then Dr. Gina gets a phone call and exits the room, giving Salty an opportunity to intimate to Shay that he is Dr. Gina’s father (“Search your feelings, you know it to be true!”) in a roundabout way. Shay’s machine-brain accepts this information and she wisely decides against an anti-popover tirade in favor of telling Dr. Gina that Will plans on doing an impression of her for Talent Night.

After Shay has left, Salty asks if Will is the girl who likes basketball. Dr. Gina says, her frustration clear: “I have no idea what she likes. Except being overweight.” In a slightly mocking tone: “‘My fat is my BFF.’” Oh, Dr. Gina, why do I get the impression that you will learn as much from your campers as they learn from you?

Back in the girls’ cabin, Will is tearing shit apart looking for her journal. I daresay her cabinmates are going to be a little peeved.

Commercials. Oh yes please, let me fork over $12 to watch Julia Roberts be self-effacing and uncharmingly hyper-privileged as she travels the world eating “carbs” and trying to find herself in Eat Pray Love.

Hey, the survey dude is outside Dr. Gina’s office. Dr. Gina is trying to be all mean and stern. “Yes, you’ve left me quite a few messages, Mr. –” Survey Guy: “Wayne.” Dr. Gina: “Mr. Wayne. Yes, I –” Survey Guy: “Wayne is my first name.” Dr. Gina: “I see. Well I couldn’t return your –” Survey Guy: “I’m not Batman.” Dr. Gina and Dad look at him quizzically. “Isn’t that Batman’s last name?” Dad joins in: “Bruce Wayne, yeah.” Dr. Gina: “– to return your messages because I have my own camp to run.” This whole exchange made me laugh and laugh. Dr. Gina doesn’t want to let Wayne walk the property line (because you’re miiiine, I walk the property liiine), so Salty Dad suggests she walk it with him.

In the laundry room, Alistair sets the popover he’s saving from breakfast on a shelf and instructs Ian not to touch it. Instead, Ian spots someone’s journal lying nearby. Against Alistair’s protestations, Ian opens it, ostensibly to see who it belongs to. He reads a few lines of a poem out loud and seems moved by them, but before he can go any further, Alistair takes the journal from him to deliver it to lost and found.

Our Frankensteinian Jillian Michaels is barking orders at what looks like a Tae Bo class. Man, I used to have those Billy Blanks videos a million years back. There were VHS tapes. It was that long ago. Will comes in late, and shakes her head no when Becca asks if she’s okay. Alistair follows, popover in hand. Shay sees his Popover of Evil and orders him to get it out of her sight. Alistair complies by stuffing the whole thing in his mouth. Seems a shame that he should save it and not get the chance to actually enjoy eating it, but I’m not sure why he brought it to class in the first place. I suspect that exercising with a popover in hand would do no good to the popover.

Meanwhile, Dr. Gina is walking briskly with Wayne the Survey Guy, who needs to take a break. Breathing hard, he leans against a rock. As she waits for him to catch his breath, Dr. Gina mentions that Salty his her father, and Wayne says he figured as much. Dr. Gina is truly surprised and wants to know how he could tell. “Well, at one point, you both had your hand over your mouth like this,” demonstrating the gesture. There’s something both reassuring and discomforting about realizing the ways we unconsciously mimic our parents, and Dr. Gina’s expression is conflicted.

After Tae Bo, Will and Becca sit together. Will is despondent over her missing journal. She says “nothing good can ever happen to me,” and notes that she has “a twisted gift” for fucking shit up. When Alistair cheerily appears, Will interrupts him to announce bitterly, a la Amber in the opening scene: “This is a private conversation.” Poor sad Alistair walks away. Becca looks wounded.

This is a private conversation!

Chloe and Amber come upon Dante and Trent lifting weights in, like, a picnic area. Weird. Chloe starts to explain that they’re doing a dance to “Baby Got Back” and think it would be improved if they had a guy to rap it for them. Dante immediately jumps in with “Okay!” but no, it’s Trent that Chloe wants. Poor Dante. Amber helpfully suggests that Dante could take pictures, so Chloe runs to get her camera. As she comes back, Trent invites Amber to square off with him, and she punches him a few times on the arm. He tells her to kick and she does — hitting Chloe’s camera, which falls and breaks. Oops. Chloe’s response is an awkward and dismissive, “Oh, I’ll just ask my parents for a new one!” She tells Amber they’ll use her camera, to which Amber stammers, “I — I lost mine.” Y’all, I have a feeling Amber doesn’t have a camera.

Down by the old toolshed, Wayne the Survey Guy is cheerfully schooling Gina on the historical origins of surveying. I like this dude! Dr. Gina is not real impressed. Loosen the fuck up, lady. Wayne says that this is her property, but it needs to be clearly marked as such with signs or a fence or something, otherwise it falls under common use. Dr. Gina is typically annoyed and tense. Man, I hope her character does some arcing soon, because she is really starting to bore me.

Will and Becca are walking and Will is still freaking out. See, her name’s not on the journal, but she’s worried anyone who read it would be able to figure out it’s hers, based on things she’s written. Dude, what the hell is in this journal? The third secret of Fatima? The eleven secret herbs and spices in Kentucky Fried Chicken? I expect it’s mostly: “I like Ian but he doesn’t know I exist. WOE ANGST EMO.” Will looks truly vulnerable for what is possibly the first time since we met her. Becca assures her they’ll find her journal.

When Will’s and Dr. Gina’s paths cross, Dr. Gina awkwardly tells Will she’s heard that Will intends to do an impression of her at Talent Night. Once Will vanishes, Dr. Gina asks Wayne if she sounded like she didn’t want Will to do her impression. Wayne’s all, yeah, kinda. Then Wayne drops more knowledge on us: in ancient Babylonia, “talent” was a measure of weight. That’s totally awesome. Wayne thanks Dr. Gina and they shake hands. I’ve decided that Dr. Gina and Wayne should date.

These two should go out sometime.

The next scene is this totally gratuitous bit in which Amber tries to make it seem like Trent broke Chloe’s camera because he gets “nervous” around her, but Chloe’s all uh no, whatevs, “I’m over it.” The gratuitous part is that they are both in swimsuits, walking around a pool filled with other swimsuit-clad fats. I want to go on the record as being totally on board with gratuitous shots of fat bodies in swimwear.

Becca is wandering around looking for Will’s journal, when she is accosted by Shay, who wants to know why she’s not swimming with the other campers. Becca improvises and tells Shay she is on her way to rehearsal for Talent Night. When Shay asks what she’s performing, Becca blurts, “Baby Got Back”. Uh oh.

Amber and Chloe are digging through the lost & found bin looking for Amber’s nonexistent camera. Naturally, they find Will’s journal — Chloe looks at it and says, “The writing looks like a guy’s. You can barely read it.” Suddenly Becca appears from nowhere — WONDER WOMAAAAAN! (who else wants to see Becca in a Wonder Woman costume?) — and grabs the journal out of Chloe’s hands. Becca disgustedly berates them both for daring to read someone else’s journal, and stomps away, kicking the lost and found stuff in all directions as she goes. Damn, Becca. Amber is traumatized, but Chloe is distracted by finding what she thinks is Amber’s camera. “This is it, right?” Chloe asks triumphantly. “Yeah,” Amber lies.

Back in the empty cabin, Becca puts Will’s journal on her bed. Then she stares at it. And stares at it. And stares. And then she reads it.

Commercials: I love the hamster “You can get with this” Kia Soul commercial so much — almost as much as I despise the Six Flags guy. YOU’RE NOT FUNNY.

In the cabin, Will’s back and is unbelieveably grateful that Becca found her journal. So grateful that she hugs Becca! Wow, physical affection! Aw. I bet Becca feels really guilty right now. Later, Ian and Will play ping pong in the common room, while Becca half-watches. Will is back to her normal self, and they chat about their respective Talent Night performances. Becca goes to leave, and when Will asks if she’s okay, Becca says, “Yeah. I just have to rinse out my bathing suit because, you know, swimmer’s itch.” That might fall under TMI, Becca. Just saying. Ian responds: “That’s gross.” Meanwhile, Alistair has found the magic set and leaves with it, saying, “I’ve got magic to do.” Hee.

Squished on the couch.

Dante, Chloe, Trent, and Amber are all squashed together on the couch in front of the TV. They’re not squashed because they’re fat; they’re just sitting really close together for some reason. Dante is still selling himself as the Mix-a-lot stand-in, based on his actual stated positive interest in big butts. Chloe tells Dante to shush, because the show! is! starting! What’s the show? The voiceover begins: “Fifteen large and luscious ladies, all stuffed in one supersized villa! Who will find the love of their dreams, and who will be sent packing? It all — happens — now!” Then a fat guy in a suit appears and asks: “Will you accept this ring?” The show is called “Love Handles”, and the O in “love” is a donut. Oh hell, just watch it:

GUYS GUYS TO SAY I LOST MY MIND HERE IS A PROFOUND UNDERSTATEMENT. For my newer readers: almost exactly one year ago, I began my first recap experiment — I recapped More to Love, an exercise in absurdity, hilarity, and horror, also known as The Fat Bachelor, and known to readers of this blog as Fat Chicks Crying. Recapping that series was so much fun that I have secretly longed for a second season. To see it spoofed on Huge — replete with the famous shots of fat chicks both eating and with tears streaming down their faces — is surreal in the extreme. Remember the Room of Requirement? Lukemail? ROLLLLSSSSSS? Danielle’s frozen banana? Heather puking all over the boat? Bitch Lauren? Oh, I loved/hated Bitch Lauren. If you have several hours to kill, I do recommend going back to read them — I have never been able to improve upon those recaps, as I’ve yet to meet another series with such a perfect mingling of the absurd and the mock-able.

In the boys’ cabin — incidentally I BELIEVE I ORDERED SOME UNDERWEAR-CLAD PILLOW FIGHTS, what up, Huge? — Alistair is practicing his magic act, and Ian wants to know why he can’t write something good. It’s because you’re seventeen. It’s okay, you’ll grow out of it. And one day, in your thirties, you’ll mourn the loss of the passion and drive that enabled you to write things you hated at seventeen. C’est la vie. Trent and Dante come in with a plan for Talent Night — Dante will be the bachelor from “Love Handles” and the other guys will be the girls. Dante proceeds to do a bang-up imitation of Luke’s stoner drawl. Dante, I heart you. Trent approaches Ian to invite him to join their skit, but Alistair tells him that Ian is performing “an original song”. Trent proceeds to be a total jerk to Alistair whilst telling Ian the invitation is open.

And now we come to the second mind-blowing event of this episode. Dr. Gina says, “So a few days ago I had an unplanned snack. It was a muffin, of course, and I’m having a hard time letting it go.” We see her in a tight closeup, and I’m thinking, “unplanned snack”? What? “A muffin, of course”? Is this a muffin-intervention program? As Dr. Gina goes on to ramble about working with her father, he camera pulls back to reveal a large group of people sitting in chairs arranged in a circle, and holy shit, Dr. Gina is at an Overeaters Anonymous meeting. In case it’s not super clear, she then mentions talking to her sponsor, who asked if she owed an amends. Totally OA. Fuck me, y’all, I did not expect this. Can we safely assume that Dr. Gina has an honest-to-goodness eating disorder now?

TOTALLY Overeaters Anonymous

In the boys’ cabin, the lack of pillow-fighting persistently continues, and Dante and Trent are discussing Trent’s “options” with regard to Chloe and Amber. See, Chloe is like, “available”, but Amber is super hot. When George comes in, Dante asks for his opinion, and when George says he’d go with the girl that he already knows likes him — that’d be Chloe in this scenario — Dante says, with a perfect dose of earnest sarcasm, “That’s such good advice. Will you be my dad?” Dante, I super super heart you. “I’m serious, my dad left when I was thirteen –”

We don’t get to hear the rest of Dante’s sad story because we have joined Ian and Alistair in the bathroom, where they are both messing with their hair. Ian says, quietly: “Sometimes I can’t comprehend this is what I really look like.” Dude, you and me both. I wouldn’t have believed I could find jailbait so freaking attractive, so it seems we’re both learning things about ourselves this summer.

Oh hey, Wayne the Survey Guy is back with some “No Trespassing” signs for Dr. Gina’s property line! He should stay for Talent Night.

Back in the girls’ cabin, Chloe is telling Amber a really disturbing story: “So my mom goes, ‘Look at you, you look dead. Put on some lipstick.” And I’m like, ‘Mom, I’m ten, I don’t own a lipstick.’” She shares it like it’s funny and cute. Yikes. Then Chloe demands that Sierra take their picture, with the found camera that supposedly belongs to Amber. If you can’t see where this is headed, you don’t watch a lot of formulaic TV. OH HAY it’s Sierra’s camera, which has been missing since the first week of camp. She can prove it because there’s a unicorn sticker on the bottom put there by her little sister. Ruh roh. Amber says, weakly, “Sorry, it looked like mine!” But nobody is buying it, least of all Chloe.

It’s evening, and Ian is walking toward the cabin where Talent Night will ostensibly be taking place, carrying his guitar. He gets as far as the door and then turns around to leave, but is stopped by Will. OH AWESOME YOU GUYS SHOULD MAKE OUT. No, dammit, Will wants to talk. Ian’s “not in the mood” and so he doesn’t want to play his song; he doesn’t know anyone there, really. Will says, “Well, you know me. Just… play it for me.” MAKE. OUT.

Argh, I am foiled by the cutaway: Talent Night is about to begin. Wayne the Survey Guy enters and sits down. Limited Edition 12-inch Jillian Michaels Clone Trooper Figure is there as well, with her hair down for the first time ever. Dr. Gina introduces Talent Night and things get underway with Sierra performing with Poppy, in the absence of her original partner. Outside, Chloe has sussed out that Amber lied, and Amber says as much. Chloe just wants to get through the performance, but Amber can’t deal, and leaves. Chloe’s response is to literally fling herself at Trent for support, and he awkwardly obliges. Haha, straight boys are so very slow-witted.

Becca's got much back.

George announces “Baby Got Back”, and nothing happens for a minute. Then Shay notices Becca in the audience and orders her onstage for “her number”. Becca reluctantly gets up, not wanting to admit that she’d lied, and she is joined by Dante, who it seems will get his chance to express his admiration for the large ass. I love this already. Becca works that shit out for real, including some high kicks and a split, and Dante gets as far as “the butt you’ve got makes me so horny” before the needle comes off the record and he and Becca look at each other with that sublime youthful awkwardness in the face of sex, which one can never recapture. The crowd goes wild, and it’s adorable, and now I kind of want Dante and Becca to make out. All I get, though, is Trent and Chloe kissing in the background, which is not that thrilling because we all kind of knew it was going to happen.

Alistair is on, and he screws up a trick because he’s looking for his sister. When he sees Chloe lovingly applying lipstick to Trent — it’s for his skit — he is immediately distracted. When the crowd boos and heckles, he switches to comedy. Nice save. Finally we see the “Love Handles” skit — a spoof of a spoof! — and it’s funny in a teenage-boys-in-drag sort of way. Incidentally, there is a purple-clad deathfat in the front row of the audience who is absolutely gorgeous.

Ian is going to play his song; it’s “inspired by a poem I found, and you are out there, somewhere, and you’re awesome.” Oh, it’s Will’s poem. As Ian sings and Will, in the audience, realizes what has happened, she slowly recoils, and eventually runs out of the cabin. Becca watches her go. Ian doesn’t notice, and keeps on playing til he’s done. The song is great, as is Ian’s performance. I sort of have little cartoon hearts floating around my head here, so I’m not going to say more than that lest I embarrass myself (further). Ian gets a standing ovation. I just now notice that his t-shirt has a giant fork on it. LOLZ.


Will is supposed to be up next with her Dr. Gina impersonation, but has disappeared. Outside, Ian asks Becca what happened to her, and Becca says, “How should I know?” Y’all, I can’t get a clear vibe off Becca ever since she read Will’s journal. I’m wondering if she read something in there that’s bothering her. Poor clueless Ian takes off to look for Will.

Back in the girls’ cabin, Chloe comes in all aglow, and walks directly up to Amber, who apologizes again, and tries to explain: “It’s just that, I’ve never had the stuff you have.” Chloe totally doesn’t care about Amber’s pesky class issues because she just made out with Trent!!!! Squeeee!!!!

Wayne is helping Dr. Gina put the chairs and tables back in the cafeteria post-Talent Night. Wayne suggests some kind of “enclosure” if she’s really interested in keeping the Tennis Douchebags out of her property. He can help with that. It’s a thinly-disguised means of staying in contact with her. Excellent. My plan is working.

Ian finds Will seething down by the dock. Before he can get a sentence out, she yells at him, “How much did you read?” It takes Ian a minute to put things together here. Will is crying. She refuses to believe that he only read one page. “Don’t you even care, that I loved it?” Ian asks. Oh. My. God. My tiny shriveled grey heart just went pitter-pat. Though Will’s reaction is somewhat understandable — she feels violated, anyone would — she’s awfully hard on Ian considering he couldn’t have known it was her journal. This is probably because she likes him. Will feels betrayed and tells Ian that he “killed” their friendship. Nooooo you guys are supposed to maaaake ooout!

Next week: Will and Ian apparently make up, and she sings to his guitar (FINALLY, we knew this would happen). Also, I think Dante kisses someone who is not Becca! Exciting!

This week’s post title and song video come from one of the most underappreciated bands OF ALL TIME, to borrow from Kanye West. This is the best version of The Replacements’ “Talent Show” that can be found on YouTube. It is the lead track on Don’t Tell a Soul, an album I wholeheartedly recommend.

Comments are closed.