Generation XXL

I have to admit that, at times, I can be a real heartless bastard. Seriously. Occasionally, I’m so devoid of real human emotion that I expect brake fluid to come out of my rudimentary tear ducts when I pretend to cry.

As such, I’m not the best person to sit down and watch Generation XXL (Channel 4).

In recent years, TV has been obsessed with fat people. According to the box, we’ve become a lazy nation, all lolling around in our muumuus in front of video games with Wotsit gunked spittle round our chops, bemoaning the existence of stairs.

Jamie Oliver went to Rotherham and called everyone lardy swines and various hand-wringingly serious current affairs shows openly wept over graphs showing levels of obesity in our children. You see, our children have never even seen a photograph of fruit. They exist solely on Cheesestrings and kebab fritters.

Walk around Britain with your eyes open for more than a minute and you’ll see that, for the most part, our nation isn’t at all fat. That’s why, when we see fat people, one is inclined to gasp in astonishment. That’s why our rotund friends still get bullied at school. It’s not right, but it should show you that they are very much in the minority – which of course, is what the school bully thrives on.

Of course, amongst all this sneering and self loathing, TV rubs its hands together in the hope that they can scare us half to death by filling our screens full of wobbly humans… like they’re somehow going to make the Earth sink into the black of the universe or that all these fat people will continue to grow until they eventually envelope us and suffocate us all dead. You’ve seen that bit at the end of Akira? That’s not going to happen.

And so, Generation XXL toddled along and, mercifully, instead of trying to shock us to our core, preferred instead to simply let the tubby kids speak for themselves. It goes without saying that it wasn’t nice to hear how upset they were about their lives.

All the usual stuff was there, with doctors warning of Type 2 Diabetes and the like, and people encouraging regular exercise and stuff. While good advice, it’s so insultingly obvious that I’m now convinced that Britain’s fat can’t possibly watch television, ever. If they did, they’d be more than aware of the dangers of obesity because the television NEVER SHUTS UP ABOUT IT FOR ONE SECOND.

These poor buggers were told about their dreadful diets and chronic lack of exercise and the parents got a reality check (especially one mother who gave her child obscene amounts of salt in admittedly tasty looking curries) which left the whole thing slowly getting a wake up call.

That all said, the point of the show was lost on me. I didn’t need to look at some fat children again. The advice is the same as it ever was and so too were the problems faced by all concerned. As a result, I quickly became bored and started throwing my arms up in frustration throughout.

Basically, the show could’ve been replaced by some jolly fat person music (which is, essentially, anything played on a tuba) with flashing instructions like “Stop it! Put that food down! Go for a run! Cake is bad! You’ll die! Probably!

Crass, sure, but better than the blob-porn of watching a tubby child wheeze on a treadmill.

9:00pm Monday, January 4 on C4

Almost one million British school children are obese and every one of them is different. Over the coming years, Channel 4’s new landmark documentary series will follow the lives of a group of seven overweight children on their journey towards adulthood to find out what it really feels like to be growing up fat. The opening film features three of the older children in the group, all aged between nine and ten, who are becoming more aware of their bodies and how the rest of the world sees them. Generation XXL documents their observations, daily routines, what they worry about and how obesity will affect them as they grow up. Will their weight drop off with puberty, or will they always struggle with their size?

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