TV shows skew re­al­ity

The Star Early Edition - - OPINION & ANALYSIS -

ISWEAR that some TV shows need to come with se­vere warn­ings be­sides the tired “this show con­tains scenes of nu­dity, parental guid­ance is ad­vised”.

Shows like TLC’s My 600-lbs Life should carry a warn­ing like: “This show will leave you with a warped mind, un­able to recog­nise what is nor­mal and what is not.” Had this warn­ing come on screen the first time I watched My 600-lbs Life, I would have switched chan­nels, but no, I had to in­sert my­self into the lives of mor­bidly obese peo­ple go­ing about their lives, deal­ing with their food ad­dic­tion and try­ing to lose weight.

There is some mor­bid fas­ci­na­tion about watch­ing peo­ple so huge that some parts of their bod­ies start hav­ing lives of their own and just keep ex­pand­ing.

Watch­ing their enor­mous and grotesque forms wob­ble about as they move, watch­ing their fat fin­gers, big as sausages, tuck into food, shove it into their mouths and not as much chew it, but just swal­low the whole thing and scoop some more.

I thought I had seen it all un­til I saw some­one so big that she could not fit through a bath­room door and had to be hosed like an an­i­mal on the ve­randa every day.

I re­alised that this show dam­aged my mind and altered my re­al­ity when a friend told me about her for­merly fat friend, who had lost weight, and we ar­gued about what I con­sid­ered fat.

My friend looked at me and said: “Botho, watch­ing those very fat peo­ple has messed up your mind and skewed your re­al­ity. You no longer know what nor­mal fat peo­ple look like any­more.”

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