July 11, 2010|By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
Recent and upcoming shows including ‘Drop Dead Diva,’ ‘Huge’ and ‘Mike and Molly’ buck tradition and portray overweight people as actual humans.
After years of excavating their alien habits on talk shows, and of turning weight loss into the sort of blood sport last seen in ancient Rome, television has discovered, or remembered, that fat people are human after all, with a panoply of dreams, desires, foibles and stories that often have nothing to do with their weight.
Just like all those crazy-thin people we’ve been watching for years.
Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” broke the ice last year. Lit up by newcomer Brooke Elliott, the show wrangled its iffy conceit — an afterlife mix-up leaves a thin girl trapped in a fat girl’s body — into a surprisingly edgy comedy. This summer, ABC Family debuted “Huge,” a vehicle for “Hairspray” star Nikki Blonsky, which was no doubt the cause for much rejoicing among plus-sized thespians. Set at a fat camp, “Huge” is essentially a teen drama — with the requisite rebel, pretty girl, shy boy, tough jock, etc. — but one that also explores the complexities of childhood obesity with a clear eye and dark humor.