Review: Half Ton Dad – Too fat for TV
Half Ton Dad - Channel 4
I think my first encounter with the idea of the morbidly obese was either What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, or an episode of Record Breakers, needless to say had I been born ten years later these wouldn’t have been the only avenues in which to be exposed to people that large, it would have just been the tip of the uneaten iceberg lettuce.
More 4 seems to programme television shows about the morbidly obese on a loop. Recently I watched Half Ton Dad on Channel Four, and to my surprise, like the meals these people were eating I got two for one. Not only was there the ridiculously large Kenneth Brumley but there was also the world’s fattest teenager, lumbering his way through the hallways of his house and crying about how hard it is to be that big. Poor old Kenneth Brumley on the other hand wasn’t just bed ridden but his bed had collapsed and he spent over a year lying on the floor.
Since the invention of gastric bypass surgery these people have been the television freak shows wet dream. He’s the recipe for every single one of those shows:
Take 1, 1000 lb sickly bedridden fatty. Offer them the best doctors you can on the show’s budget. Put in a few shots of them in their bed listing their daily food intake, cut with them being winched out the window by a team of firemen. Take them to hospital to be pandered to by baffled doctors and medical students. Then put on to simmer with a nicely interdispersed montage of the way they were before the trouble took hold. And finally leave to cool with a nice long interview of how the surgery worked out and cut off any excess skin.
Although obesity is a disease that takes hold of many peoples’ lives today, it’s hardly fair on the rest of the nation to have to sit through hours and hours of programming of formulaic sap stories on the lives of the poor and unhealthy. What doesn’t exactly make it any easier is that you have a minute and a half advertisement for ASDA’s amazing deals right after the Get Help phone line side screen.