Meet Luke Conley. He’s a great catch: He earns six figures as a real estate investor and is a homeowner at just age 26. He’s ready to settle down — with one of 20 women on Fox’s new reality show More to Love.
Luke sizes up at 6-foot-3 and 330 pounds. Luke’s favourite activities? Eating (cue close-ups of him eating cheeseburgers). Luke’s favourite food? “Anything thick and juicy.” His gaggle of prospective mates are also chubby — but no matter, because as he said during last Tuesday’s premiere, he’s attracted to “voluptuous, curvy women.”
Over seven weeks, the women engage in the usual backstabbing, crying and hot-tubbing befitting reality TV, until a victor emerges with a ring on her finger.
More to Love is touted as the real woman’s dating show — the average American woman weighs 162.9 pounds, stands 5-foot-4 and wears size 14, which isn’t too far off from the contestants — but there’s no shortage of ways to remind viewers these women are fat.
Contestant Danielle dejectedly describes her dating history: “Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.”
Their heights and weights are displayed on-screen. One 30-year-old confesses she’s never been on a date. They weep endlessly over rejections, exes embarrassed to be seen with them or how they will be alone forever — unless they snag their prize.
Like most dating shows, it sells the notion that the man makes the woman, and without them, their lives are “less-than” blank slates, upon which men can impress their positive influence.
Sound like a more humiliating version of The Bachelor? Then it’s no surprise More to Love was created by The Bachelor’s Mike Fleiss. Hell, when news of the show first emerged in May, the working title was The Fatchelor.
Fleiss admitted to Business Week that reality TV pushes style over substance. “People like to see the emotional roller-coaster of romance more than the completed romance,” he said.
There’s no shortage of style here: The camera unflatteringly catches Danielle from behind as she heaves herself out of a pool. The contestants mingle with Mr. Handsome, food and drink in hand. “I love me a stick of meat!” says Bonnie, wrapping her mouth around a kebab.
What are fat people but a curiosity? They’re clearly not good enough for regular, non-fat dating shows, otherwise we’d see them outside this arena for mockery.
More to Love may purport to show real women as sexy, desirable beings, but producers turned them into objects as one-dimensional as the Barbies they’re not.