Today is the last day of this column on Beliefnet.com. After over 12 years of daily writings on Beliefnet, I’m moving on. I thank God for this wonderful experience. As far as I’ve been told, I’m the last original Beliefnet contributing editor and writer; everyone else is new. Now, however, I need to make some […]
Did you see the premiere of Fox’s new reality dating show, “More To Love?” What did YOU think of it?
First off, I want to get this right out on the table, I work for Fox because it’s Fox/News Corp. that owns Beliefnet.com. They also own the Fox TV network. I think it’s OK to write about what I truly believe here, so I will.
I was first encouraged and inspired – finally, a TV show that features people with weight and obesity problems! How great?! I liked some of the themes that were shown and spoken repeatedly, by the host, Emme, a famous plus-size model; by Luke the 6’3, 330 pound “batchelor,” and most if not all the “contestant” women. Things like: “I want real love, not love that’s skin deep,” and “I want someone to love me for me,” “life’s too short to count calories all the time.” I initially fell for Luke’s stated “I’m just an ordinary guy, I like plus-sized girls, I like to eat,” realities. It all sound great.
How disappointing, though, really, that after awhile the “real” and “big” themes were so overstated that they began to reveal themselves as clichés. The show claims to be about love, but it’s really about heartache and rejection. Time and time again right after the self-assertions of normalcy and pro-bigness came the real realities that Luke will ultimately have to reject 19 of the 20 “girls.” They all know it, and fear it, and we hear about it a lot. The show preys on rejection and failure.
The other constant is the theme of food and fat. Everyone speaks incessantly about being “big” and overeating. Contestant Natalie greets Luke for the first time saying, “I like to cook.” He replies, “I like to eat!” He kisses her and it seems like love at first bite, oh I mean sight, sorry. Trouble is, Luke kisses all 20 as if it’s real love. It’s not, sadly. It’s TV.
“I want someone to love me for who I am… not what I look like,” another says, she’s rejected at the end of the show. Not quite cute enough, I guess. Luke is like a factory, repeating clichés such as “you look lovely tonight,” and “love your eyes.” We know what he’s really thinking.
This show lets me down; it’s a sad, sad affair. There’s no talk about getting healthy, or for the grim reality of what carrying 90-100 pounds of excess weight will do to these folks in the long run. Only, “I love meat; the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.”
It’s a set-up for shame, envy and rejection. Cat fights are obviously encouraged between female rivals. Girls, ehem, women, are repeatedly commoditized and held to impossible standards while announcements are oft made about how it’s not about being fat. It’s all about fat, shame, and embarrassment. Luke’s fallen for it too: it’s clear that he’s to select the most pretty and even wealthy/successful one.
It’s cruel. The contestants are all given diamond rings by Luke, with “will you wear this ring,” asked in soft-romantic tones. Then a few minutes later they’re taken away. Only the selected get to keep theirs. The rejects lose the guy, lose the ring, lose the TV gig, and go away crying.
The final moment is when Luke is with the 15 remaining, proclaiming, “now, I’m with the real ones!” And the rejects weren’t real? Wasn’t their pain real?
I felt so sad after the end of the hour. I couldn’t bear to watch another episode of this. I want to call it “Mortal Love.”
What do YOU think? Write a review below, I’d love to know.