What makes Huge different from other high school dramas is its commitment to form (pun kind of intended?) in that the writers are continually unapologetic about the overweight characters. I understand weight is the show’s primary focus, but it would be awfully easy to take these large kids and instantly make them one of two things: people we just feel sorry for or poster children for the obesity issue in America. Instead, they’ve taken the concept of fat camp and turned it into a high school drama that kids can identify with, fat or not. These are regular kids, with regular problems. They aren’t models, but they have social hierarchies and feelings and problems. One of those problems is obesity, but it doesn’t come close to stopping there.

“Letters Home” began to explore the pain these kids feel concerning the outside world while they continue to find their own place in Camp Victory. If the outside world has chosen to mock and deride these kids for their weight, Camp Victory forces them into the very situations with which they’ve become the most uncomfortable. There is logic in this strategy. After all, once a camper leaves Victory, the same problems still exist. So goal one seems to be “lose weight.” But goal two is “learn to deal, because the world’s a mean place.”

Willamina, always resistant to any conformity continues to exude hatred all over any sanctioned camp activity and the world in general. She doesn’t want to write letters home to her family during correspondence time. She places “fatspiration” all over her bunk. She flat out refuses to play basketball and this scene really sums up her attitude toward the fat camp venture. The more people want her to do something, the more she’ll just stand around. It would be easy to say then that Camp Victory is losing on all fronts when it comes to Willamina, but she’s shown some chinks in the armor.

Obviously she likes Ari and his inference that she’s a lesbian obviously hurt her feelings. It’s one of the few times we’ve seen Will actually hurt by an insinuation and it had nothing to do with her weight, for which she’s developed a staunch wall of apparent indifference. Instead, his comment about her sexuality sent her reeling because it meant he had not even remotely considered a relationship with her – eyeing up Amber instead. And in the end she plays basketball, because I think she’s starting to realizing it’s okay to like things.

And if there is a look at how much the other campers distrust the outside world (their own family included, they sent them to fat camp after all) it’s the Dodsons, matching shirts and all. It’s not difficult to see this family as odd; what teenager wants to be with their parents all the time? But the sideways glances from the girls are probably equal parts horror and jealousy. Many of these kids were probably shipped off to Victory without a second thought, and here is a family who literally can’t leave. Heck, the mom even thinks Willamina is talented, something she’s probably never even heard from her own family.

Finally, there’s Chloe, so wanting to forget the outside world that she shuns her own brother at camp (the loveable Alistair). In the scene where she delivers him the goodies from mom I was sad , but I understood. For Chloe, Victory represents a chance at life on an even playing field and Alistair is a quirky reminder of a bunch of stuff she’d probably just as soon forget. Is it fair to Alistair? No, it’s tragic. But these are teenagers after all. And these are real emotions. And life, as Huge details, has anything but easy answers.

Other thoughts

- It’s not lost on me that the Dr. Rand, asking so much of the campers in their correspondence home, can’t send a simple email about an anything but simple situation with her father.

- I don’t know if it challenges the legitimacy of the show, or gives us too much of a feel good story to chew on, but Trainer George and Amber hooking up would be a bit odd for me.

- Do you let your uterus control you?

- In case you were wondering, the final song of the episode is “Homesick” by Kings of Convenience. A great band and a terrific song.

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