What you are (hopefully) about to read contains many fat jokes. I’m sorry, but not that sorry, 'cause I was kind of fat as a kid.
Imagine for a moment that you are a creative mind at a second-tier cable station aimed at the female, 18-to-49 demographic. You wish you could mastermind a show with the uplifting hopefulness of NBC's The Biggest Loser, in which contestants competitively diet and exercise. You wish it could be as popular (and feature as many gleaming dental caps) as Dancing with the Stars. You don’t have much time!
This is what you come up with:
You are fucking brilliant.
In case it’s not clear, this show is about a bunch of obese, high-energy contestants who are two-stepping their way to weight loss. Each week, they’re measured against each other using a metric of pounds shed, dance quality, and sheer likeability.
But what do you call this new show? The Biggest Dancer? Weight Loss with the Stars? How about Diabetes Dance Grooves? Fat Fat Revolution?
NO! You call it DANCE YOUR ASS OFF! Soon you will be rich.
Women everywhere will shout "You go girl!!" at their televisions for an hour each week.
Meanwhile, your competitors are kicking themselves and scrambling to find a counter-strike in the 10 pm Monday timeslot. "How about Dancing with the Chefs?" they cry. “American Idol: Plus Size!” “Project Run-Weigh!" They are desperate. They brainstorm deep into the night, but it is no use. You have outwitted them. Your new reality competition game show is a hit, despite the fact that it’s as far from reality as a bent-over Oprah is from her toes.
Thanks to you, the Oxygen network will be raking it in for as long as the emotions and the pounds flow freely. With a little luck, the starving, exhausted competitors will shed enough tears to drown a cat.
Sometimes, when I watch clips from this show, I start to feel like that cat. I'm also reminded of Chris Farley—a trailblazer in the giant gyration genre, with an extra-large bundle of grace. We miss you Chris, and hope that in your grave, you are doing the lambada.
Get the best of the Mercury each week in your inbox!