TV is the theatre of cruelty. Most programmes seem to be about misery or, the impending misery of people. Some are gritty documentaries about people with the kind of problems that make you weep into your lap… other shows use misery to take someone on a journey… and thus, making us all weep into our laps. The news, with its constant war, brutality and decline, has left me numbed to suffering and reality TV has left me wanting blood. Yep. I’m a crueler person thanks to the gogglebox.
I realised this during Can Fat Teens Hunt? (BBC Three, Monday, 10.30pm) when I agreed with my girlfriend who flatly stated “We’ll have to watch this every week you understand… I want to see these people break…”. Instead of being appalled, I agreed wholeheartedly. The show is about ten teens who are frighteningly overweight. Instead of getting Gillian McKeith to bully them (or an equivalent) the tubby teens are sent to a remote jungle in Borneo to live with the Iban tribe… and of course, with each new way of life comes a pathetic excuse…
Normally, I’m quite a caring person. I like to see people sorting themselves out and becoming happier. It makes me all gooey inside. However, sometimes, I turn into a heartless bastard and wish nothing but ill. This show was designed to get my dander up and make me scoff and side with the rock hard Iban. Living in a remote jungle, you have to be fit. Of course you do. When was the last time you saw a fat tribesman? They hunt their food on foot, collect their firewood by hand, prepare every single thing that passes their lips manually and generally do things that make them lithe and springy. Fat British teens eat processed crap and whine.
So, with a trip to Borneo, it is apparent very quickly that, if they don’t pull a podgy finger out, they might just starve. Greeted with the slaying of a pig in front of their eyes, the teens eye-roll and wretch in horror, going pinker with each piggy squeal. I vividly imagined the Iban stifling their laughs off camera. If the killing of a pig (to cleanse their blood before they enter their house) is a startling sight, it’s nothing compared to the looks on the faces of the Iban when they see some serious fatness. Some of them merely stand and gawp like something has just dropped from space at their feet.
Of course, the teens grump their way o’er hill and dale when fetching wood and food. With some of them, they realise very quickly that, if they don’t fetch wood, they can’t cook… and if they don’t fetch food, they won’t eat. It’s a simple thought process, but it profoundly hits a couple of them as they begin to understand how it all works. I like the kids that get it. In fact, in a cadid teenager way, one lad quips “You just have to get on with it… we’re all fat fuckers… that’s why we’re here.” You can’t help but applaud that. Sadly, the fat stereotype rears a chubby face almost everywhere else.
One lad is all “I can’t do it…” and “I don’t like it”. One girl is worse. “I WANT TO GO HOME! I CAN’T LIVE LIKE THIS! I MIGHT AS WELL JUST WALK AROUND!” Pardon? When told by a peer that, in short, she’s being a complete dunderhead, she cries “I CAAAAAAN’T! I’M PROUD OF MYSELF FOR BEING HERE FOR ONE DAAAAAAY… UUUURGH SNIFF WAAAAA” Please bear in mind that this lass was acting like this after one meal. Not even a full day had passed. Naturally, she stayed. Why? People the nutritionist on site told her that she needs to lose weight more than anyone else on the show or, y’know, she might die.
Now, save two or three of the ten who I like, the rest of them can whistle. The sheer volume of complaining and lack of willing made me turn almost McKeith like in my venom for overweight people. For every tear that fell…. for every fat huff’n'puff’n'stuff, I became more frustrated. It seemed that some of these kids needed to be broken before progress can be made (see? I’m turning into that joyless food Nazi McKeith). Thankfully, all this is done without bullying. On Brat Camp for example, kids are sorted out with a mixture of tough love, patience and positive words. Not on this show. This show is simple. Forage – hunt – build… or die. I’m not wishing a death on anyone… but boy, what an ultimatum!Join TVScoop on Facebook for exclusive competitions and gossip