Fat People + [Insert Activity] = Great Television?

Plus-size television: Are we fueling negative stereotypes of the plus-size community or is it one small step towards fat acceptance?
With the recent increase of shows featuring fuller figures, there's no denying the popularity of plus-size TV. Is there some secret formula for success that TV producers have discovered? Take your everyday (attractive) overweight person, put them in some sort of staged situation and have millions of Americans watch… in awe? More than ever before, bigger bodies are more prevalent on television and plus-size entertainment is gaining momentum, which means more body diversity on the small screen. We’re hoping this newest trend of plus-size people watching is one step forward for body acceptance, but it also seems to be reinforcing negative stereotypes of the plus-size population, slowing the progress. While we may not really know the formula, we’ve cracked these shows our way with some help of a few experts along the way.
Dance Your Ass Off (Oxygen)
Formula: Flamboyant overweight personalities + sequined leotards and jazz hands = hit weight loss/dancing spectacle of the heavier set that can’t make it on So You Think You Can Dance because of our fat-phobia

Expert Opinion:
"Well why couldn’t it just be about the dancing? Why shouldn't a big girl get a chance to dance in a regular competition? There is a definite odor of snide condescension in this production." Lisa Dolan, NeverSayDiet fashion blogger and owner of plus-size boutique Lee Lee’s Valise

"I think for people that have never had a fat-acceptance thought in their lives, if this is one moment a week that they're seeing a body that’s not in fashion magazines, it could be a good thing." –Marianne Kirby, The Rotund blogger

NSD Approval Rating: C+
More to Love (Fox)
Formula: Plus-size women desperately looking for love + questionably intelligent jock looking for a curvy lady… and maybe love = a potential train wreck if sensationalized fat-girl stereotypes overshadow the love part, but could still mean another hit show (sadly)

Expert Opinion:
"At the audition for More to Love I was very clear with them that I would walk off the show if it was about mocking big people and their ability to love and be loved. From what they asked me, I could see their intent was about finding love and they really were looking for women who wanted to be in love.  I appreciated that." –Caramella, member of the plus-size pop group, The Glamazons

"I think maybe calling it More to Love is a bit of a cliche, but at the same time, I think people are ready for something like this. I think people want to see normal people that like eating cheeseburgers and ice cream, that they fall in love too." –Luke Conley, the eligible bachelor on More to Love, tells Access Hollywood

NSD Approval rating: D
The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Formula: Overweight people who struggle with their health that have the potential to be hot, skinny people + extreme endurance challenges and ungodly long workouts = drastic weight-loss transformations that also inspire others to get healthy… in a less-extreme way (hopefully) 

Expert Opinion:
"The show inspired me to get back in the gym and the cast members are to be commended for what they go through. I have missed the show all summer." –Debra Kaplan, NeverSayDiet reader

"The point of the show is to get people to drastically, radically change their bodies in a very short period of time. Even if you believe in dieting, that’s unhealthy. I’m so against holding up weight loss as the goal in and of itself. If you aspire to become healthier or aspire to become more active, that’s fabulous. I think it’s always a positive thing when someone says that I want to make changes to take better care of myself—that’s a very self-affirming thing." –Kate Harding, founder of Shapely Prose

NSD Approval rating: A-

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