Holding nothing back…

House, M.D.

Posted on: December 3, 2008

At first glance, last night’s episode of House would appear to NOT be very fat accepting.  But once I had some time to think about it and look deeper, I realized that it really kind of was.

The show started out showing a “fitness guru” filming an infomercial with some of her clients. Fitness chick was talking to the camera about “being the best YOU you can be” while her clients are climbing bleacher stairs behind/around her, and one of the heavier men was having difficulty. My first thought was “Oh great. Here we go with the ‘fat kills,’ ‘all obese people are walking time bombs,’ obesity epipanic crap.” Then the twist: Instead of one of her clients falling over, it’s Fitness Guru chick! Hello?

During the differential, House’s team uncovers the fact that FG had gastric bypass surgery. Hmmmm… When confronted by the team, she reveals that she “tried everything and nothing worked.” WHOA! You mean someone on national television (even if it was a fictional character) admitted that diets and exercise alone don’t always work?!? And she even gets called on the hypocrisy of hiding her gastric bypass from her clients, while telling them that diet and exercise will work for them! She claims that she’s doing it for the health of her clients, yada, yada, yada; that she “got healthy” and then she “got happy” to which Taub replies “No, you got PRETTY, then you got happy” (Thin Myth anyone? Oh, and I really do NOT like the implication that to be pretty, one must be thin. I’m not thin and I get all kinds of people, both fat and thin, telling me that I’m pretty).

Finally, they discover that she has some extremely rare disorder that literally REQUIRES her to eat a high carb, high glucose diet. When she was fat, she was “self-medicating.” The BEST treatment for her is to have her gastric bypass reversed and start eating high carb, high sugar foods. She asks if there is any other treatment. There is, but it will only make the symptoms manageable; it will not treat the disease. She’ll still be sick, but the symptoms of her illness will be masked somewhat. She chooses the less effective treatment, refusing to have her gastric bypass reversed and gain weight. She would rather be thin and unhealthy than be fat and healthy. And the show didn’t leave you feeling like she had made a good choice. House even commented on how she would rather be “pretty” than healthy (I know, again with the thin=pretty thing, we can’t win them all though, can we?).

Overall, I felt like it was a small step forward. The patient/FG seemed to be the only one assuming that fat=unhealthy even if EVERYONE seemed to assumed that fat/=pretty. I’ll take it though. Even baby steps are still forward progress, right?


1 Response to "House, M.D."

This is pretty much my take on the episode, too. While watching it, I was sure there’d be people on the fatosphere complaining about the fat cracks House makes–but really, if you want to see people respected as individuals and treated nicely by their doctors, WTF are you doing watching House? Overall, I felt it was pretty size-positive, for mainstream television.

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