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TV Series Review

To achieve perfect summer camp neurosis, "just get a bunch of fat kids, stick them in bathing suits and add cameras."

That's the summation of Willamina Rader, at any rate. Will, as she's known by the other campers at Camp Victory—a fitness retreat catering to overweight teens—sees this neurosis firsthand. While slimmer teens at other summer camps may breeze through basketball, hiking or biking at their leisure, Camp Victory's kids must undergo mandatory, timed exercise—while fighting off the glare of a fitness instructor who obviously takes her cues from The Biggest Loser's Jillian Michaels. Meals are lean, meager affairs, completely lacking in chocolate.

Unless, of course, you're in good with Will, who pushes Ding Dongs like a crazed drug dealer.

Outspoken and militant, Will is a self-proclaimed feminist who says she's "down with" her flab and refuses to conform to society's body standards. Amber, her antithesis, wants to be thin—and she's farther down the path toward that goal than anyone else at camp. Amber plasters her wall with pictures of slender, bikini-clad models. Will displays art prints of nude, Rubenesque women.

Other characters have their own issues with weight—ones pulled from the pages of Cosmopolitan if not from its cover. There's Caitlin, who binges and purges; Becca, who's gained back the weight she lost at camp last year; and queen bee mean girl Chloe. Most of the campers are there because they want to be. But Will's not. She's there because her parents sent her—which, in her mind says she's not good enough for them.

So Huge sets out to split the difference between Will's press for acceptance and Amber's desire to be thin. It's not about how you look, the show stresses, but it is about your health. And Huge's message seems to be one its audience wants and perhaps needs to hear. A national tour has stressed positive body image in various cities, and cast members are full of praise. Hayley Hasselhoff, who plays Amber, told ABC Family, "I was so happy that there was a show out there that was coming out to say it's OK to feel good in your own skin … you don't have to be a size 2 to feel good about yourself or to be liked by others."

The New York Post's Linda Stasi writes, "I couldn't be happier if I'd just discovered calorie-free potato chips. … Fat teens on TV—who aren't just there to compete on The Biggest Loser? Overweight teens (sometimes badly overweight) who are treated like regular kids who love music, clothes, donuts and sometimes each other? When was the last time you saw huge kids kissing?"

But Huge also has big content issues. Sexuality—straight and homosexual—seems to be a given as girls talk about how campers "hook up" every summer. And a burgeoning relationship between a counselor and Amber is casually accepted. Campers and a counselor or two don really short skirts, shorts and other immodest clothing. Teens play mean pranks and lie on occasion, and they tend to harbor spiteful prejudices.

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Huge: 782010
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Nikki Blonsky as Willamina; Hayley Hasselhoff as Amber; Gina Torres as Dr. Rand; Raven Goodwin as Becca; Harvey Guillen as Alistair; Ashley Holliday as Chloe; Ari Stidham as Ian; Zander Eckhouse as George




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Meredith Whitmore

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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