My favorite reality show that nobody but me and Kim watches is The Mole. (The first host of the show was the amazing Anderson Cooper; the current host, Jon Kelley, is equally fabulous and hot. You heard it here first.)
The premise of the show is that a dozen or so contestants are competing in complicated challenges and puzzles, trying to put money into the pot. In the meantime, one of them is secretly the Mole, whose job is to conduct subtle sabotage. So players are all trying to earn money for the pot, draw suspicion to themselves as being the Mole so people are misled, and trying to figure out the identity of the actual Mole. Sounds simple, right? Sure. Sounds totally irrelevant to this blog? Well, not quite. Spoilers for the final episode of The Mole after the jump.
So how did Craig do it? And what did he sabotage? His strategy was to be the fun, lovable guy, and it worked. He wanted people to think he was trying but incompetent. In the waterfall mission, Craig dropped the bag as he was told, and people cheered for him anyway… Craig admits that he played into the stereotype of the jolly, dumb, fat guy.
I was struck by the same thing when I watched the finale. Craig said that people might not expect a “large guy” to be especially athletic or smart. So he befriended everyone and played into the stereotypes, in the end, fooling almost everybody, turning out to have been a lot more intelligent and competent than he let on, and turning the fat stereotype on its head a little bit. It was a very satisfying ending to a satisfying season of a good show.
It also made me think about fat people on reality television, and how they’re portrayed in general. Apart from those on shows like The Biggest Loser, where their fat is the point, not a lot of fat contestants come to mind. Richard Hatch, who won the first season of Survivor, had lost a lot of weight before going on the show, if I recall correctly. And on American Idol, we’ve had Mandisa and LaKisha and Jennifer Hudson. On Project Runway this season, we have Korto, who is not all that large, but who designs for plus-sized women. And that’s all that comes to mind. I’m guessing you all watch different reality shows than the ones I do: is there anything or anyone that I’m overlooking? Or is Craig in a league of his own?
Posted by mo pie