REVIEW: More to Love – or Hate – About ‘More to Love’?

REVIEW: More to Love – or Hate – About ‘More to Love’?

More to Love
Star Rating: 3.5 out of 5

Stars: Former college football player Luke Conley and 20 full-figured women

The Big Idea: No pun intended there, trust me, especially since more troubling than anything I saw on the More to Love premiere is the plethora of pre-show reviews and critics musings I read that didn’t miss a single opportunity to crack a joke about weight.

The show is essentially The Bachelor, with both a bachelor and a group of bachelorettes who are plus-sized.

To Watch or Not to Watch (Again): Yep, I’m in, for at least one more episode. Okay, honestly, I’m probably hooked for the whole season. Why? Because the good outweighs the bad. And I do mean that figuratively and literally, as the previews hint that there is going to be cattiness from some of the women, but a lot of the kind of romance and feel-good moments we see on the other reality dating shows, too.

But the More to Love premiere wasn’t perfect, with one particularly galling aspect.

The bad:
– Along with the name, age and hometown of the bachelorettes, their height and weight is also displayed on screen. Really, is this necessary? We know they’re plus-sized – it’s the premise of the show. Does it matter who weighs more or less than the others (again, that’s something that’s evident). They don’t show the height or weight or bra sizes of the women on The Bachelor (and I doubt those size 2 contestants would want their stats flashed on screen, either). Nor do they list names, ages, hometowns and details of whatever emotional baggage they’re carrying. I feel certain that we will never see this contestant on The Bachelor: Kerry, 23, Chicago, Has Been Cheated on So Many Times That She May Stab You in Your Sleep If You’re Too Nice to the Waitress at Dinner. Again, everyone, male and female, on both sides of the dating game, has issues, and we don’t need to know the exact digits for these voluptuous women to know that their weight factors in to their dating lives.

– He giveth the ring, then he taketh the ring away – All 20 women were given diamond rings to wear, as a “promise ring” that Luke would take the time to get to know their inner beauty, as well as their outer beauty. Okay, good. But then, before the equivalent of More to Love‘s rose ceremony, the women had to give the rings back, and wait to see if they’d get one again if Luke chose them to stick around. It was an unnecessarily cruel stunt, especially since the women seemed so joyful to get the rings, and since a couple of them had mentioned their fear of being asked out by men who were only playing a prank on them. I know, I know, the intentions weren’t the same, but still … just unnecessarily mean. The Bachelors and Bachelorettes don’t have to give the roses back at any point of the competition. And yes, obviously diamond rings are pricier than roses – well, maybe not at 5PM on Valentine’s Day – which means the whole ring thing might not have been the best rose substitute to begin with.

– Just like on The Bachelor, the More to Love women were ridiculously excited about Luke before they’d even gotten to know the most basic info about him. It always amazes me on these shows that the women automatically put themselves in the position of, as George Costanza would say, not having any hand. Why put all the decisions in the dudes’ hands? Why does it never occur to these women that the bachelors may not necessarily be all that? Exhibit #1: The cheesy Alex Michel. Exhibit #2: The cheesy Jason Mesnick. I could go on …

– Host Emme. The graceful, positive, famous plus-size supermodel’s participation in the show was actually one of the reasons I didn’t totally write it off when I first heard the concept. But from her matronly hair and outfit to, more importantly, her wooden interactions with Luke and the women, Emme only made me have a whole new level of appreciation for how effortless The Bachelor host Chris Harrison makes his job look.

Okay, so that’s quite a lot of things to not like. But there’s also the good, and it’s what’s really important: The show is giving these women, and bachelor Luke, a sincere opportunity to make a love match. And this is key, because many of the bachelorettes told heartbreaking stories about their past experiences – boyfriends who were embarrassed by their weight, never having a date or boyfriend and fearing they might never find anyone who would take the time to get to know them and what they have to offer.

The naysayers – and just from some Twitter posts I saw during the broadcast, I can say that there are some nasty naysayers – will see every aspect of the show as negative, right down to those who will say (as several Twitterers did) that More to Love is helping to promote the obesity epidemic, diabetes and high blood pressure and cholesterol in America.

I guess I missed that part of the show … 

What I did see, and what I think makes the series worth watching (or, at least, as worthy of our viewing time as any other reality dating competition), is that More to Love is a positive attempt by Conley and the women to find love. They’re putting themselves, and some very personal aspects of their lives, out there, all for the chance to find love.

Sure, some of their stories are sad, and some of their attitudes about their likeliness of finding love are sad. But they’ve taken a leap and decided to go for it anyway. The message of the show, however clumsily executed it may be sometimes, is that these people deserve romance and love and companionship as much as anybody who wears a smaller suit or dress size.

How can you not root for them to succeed?

TV Screener Tidbit: The preview of coming attractions for the season suggests Conley does propose to one of the women in the season finale.

More to Love airs Tuesdays, 9PM ET on Fox

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