Recession notwithstanding, fattertainment generates a steady revenue stream for American media outlets—it's become a bedrock broadcast trope for both fat-again Oprah (remember that time she appeared on her show lugging a little red wagon containing 67 pounds of animal fat?) and local news shows, which can count on a ratings surge whenever a suburban ranch home is demolished so a reclusive 1,000-pounder can be extracted and airlifted to a bariatric-surgery facility.
On More to Love, the participants aren't even trying to lose weight. "Let's be honest," says comedian Joe Piccirillo. "No one wants to watch fat people fall in love. They want to watch fat people get hit in the groin with footballs. It's the way God wants it." You'll find the proof on YouTube, where one of the two parts of a series of videos titled "Fat People Hurt in Funny Accidents" surpassed 3 million views this past summer. For decades, of course, pratfalling tubbies from Oliver Hardy to Chris Farley have seen their popularity rise as they've squeezed sweaty haplessness into their shtick.
The humiliated fatty—that used to be a niche, a specialty profession like contortionist or congressman. But with nearly 4 million Americans tipping the scales at 300 pounds or more, it's ballooned into a growth industry. All the rest of us can do is watch. And watch. And watch again. If we Americans hate ourselves for being fat, maybe we long to see someone humiliated for our collective sins.
Just not us personally. Pass the remote—and that pint of Triple Caramel Chunk.