Last summer, ABC Family ran a little show with a very big heart, and that show was Huge. My newer readers may not be familiar with this series, as ABC Family’s promotion of it betrayed a total lack of understanding about what made the show great, and once it was over, the network declined to renew it for a second season, leaving us with a cliffhanger of tragic proportions, rivaled only by the gone-too-soon fate of My So-Called Life.
The similarity is especially frustrating given that Huge was the product of a collaboration between My So-Called Life creator Winnie Holzman and her daughter, the clever, personable, and maaaad smart Savannah Dooley. I wrote incredibly wordy and effusive recaps of Huge at my former blog* and later interviewed Miz Dooley herself to talk more about the process of bringing such a fat show to the small screen. In short: I had feelings about this show.
Huge came out on DVD a couple weeks ago, and watching it the second time around has really driven home the fact that it was such a radical departure from the standard fare on TV these days, not just in its treatment of fats but in how it approached gender identity, varying forms of queerness, and marginalization. It’s one of very few shows not only to take a sympathetic position toward outsiders, but to do so from the outsiders’ own perspective. Rather than assuming one universal Fat ExperienceTM, Huge chose to portray a diversity of fat people, with a diversity of relationships with their bodies. It was not merely refreshing but fucking magical. I mean, there’s a Nikki Blonsky striptease within the first four minutes of the very first episode:
How can you not love that?
The full series is viewable on Hulu, if you missed it the first time around, but I do recommend y’all consider buying the DVDs as well. I’ve yet to listen to the audio commentaries but as Savannah is damned hilarious I expect they’ll be worth the price of admission on their own.
So there you go: the best series of 2010 you probably didn’t watch. Go remedy that now.
* You can still read the original recaps and comment threads over there, but keep in mind that I am no longer approving comments on Fatshionista.com, which currently survives only for archival purposes.