TLC, home of popular reality television shows and documentaries, is coming up against a brand-new kind of controversy. Their new show, “One Big Happy Family”, features a family of four in North Carolina struggling to lose weight – and it’s coming under fire from bloggers and TV critics who say the show exploits the family for entertainment value.

The Coles, the African-American family featured in the show, weighed a combined total of 1,377 pounds when the show began. And unlike other reality television shows about weight loss, they weren’t given help from trainers or nutritionists; the show depicts the Coles struggling to adopt healthy habits on their own.

Critics of the show have said that the show exploits the family by painting them as exaggerated caricatures, making it easier for viewers to treat them like characters rather than real people facing real struggles.

What do you think of reality TV shows focusing on weight loss? Are they inherently exploitative or are they an educational tool?

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