Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Chubby Chaser: Fat With Insight

I normally would not want to watch a new TV documentary titled Chubby Chaser. I submit the title is a bit off putting to any of us who have ever struggled with weight issues.
But I was told Toronto director Jeff Sterne's hour long film was rather sweet and ironical so I watched it right through. And came to rather enjoy it. Even if I'd rather the title be changed to Fat Chance.
I've seen too many TV studies of people of both sexes struggling with obesity. There are even TV reality shows starring fatties sweating to get rid of unwanted pounds and I've always found them scary.
But not Chubby Chaser which plays as an autobiographical statement from a guy who has always fantasized about being with larger women right back to his teen years.
Disappointingly, he never explores this facet --were his mother or other female relatives ever overweight? And what about his own weight? He seems normal or almost scrawny to me, was that part of his perspective or whjat?
Chubby Chaser is more of a meandering personal statement that veers wildly at times rather than a harsh clinical study. Thank goodness! It has scenes of wild hilarity as when Sterne is shown shouting in Toronto's Dundas Square for people who prefer chubbies. Sadly, there are no takers.
More to the point Sterne ventures to cottage country and his two delightful teenaged nieces one of whom seems obsessive about her weight (she's actually quite pretty).
A quickie trip through history shows fatness was often prized in female beauty --look at the voluptuous Renaissance beauties. It was only within the last century that slimness became prized.
I wish Sterne had the time to look at the other side of the coin --why so many teenagers are bulimic and what is driving them to consider this state so sexy?
Indeed Sterne has trouble finding male admirers who will come out and admit they desire oversized gals --there's one intimate conversation with a Texas couple that turns quite strange. The husband starts reflecting about his equally overweight first wife and how when she shed 100 pounds his interest in her waned. The camera catches the second wife's look which is priceless --you interpret it, I wasn't sure.
And there's also a trip to Zik Ukaeje who published Bodacious and has turned his magazine into a huge profit maker. There's even a trip to a BWW convention in Las Vegas where large women can get anything they want in terms of clothes and accessories designed for them.
Just as important is Sterne's discovery of Bill Fahey, once a TV star as the founder of the North American association For Fat Acceptance --that's FAAFA to most of us.
Fahey talks about the discrimination his wife faced 30 years ago. But they're still together and still very much in love. And she remains over weight.
We only get to see Sterne's wife at the conclusion. She was shy about being on camera. I'm sure she's seen the entire hour by now and liked it as much as I have.
Or Watch it online starting Sept. 27 at www.tvo.org gratis.

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