One Big Embarrassing Family, Thanks to TLC

Norris and Temeka Coles (courtesy: TLC)
Norris and Temeka Coles (courtesy: TLC)

The show One Big Happy Family is back tonight. I watched all six 30-minute shows when it debuted in January, much as one would watch a trainwreck. I'm not disgusted with the Coles – each one of whom weighed more than 300 pounds – but with TLC.

The editing made the Coles family look like fools.

Tameka, the mother, weighed 380 pounds. She’s now at 259. The father, Norris, was 345. He’s now 263. Both kids were in the 330s, and they’re now in the 290s.


They’ve all been walking and eating better and exercising. That’s great. However, I’m not buying the mother’s 120-pound weight loss as a result of just walking and eating better. Hey, Tameka, I’m calling you out: You had weight-loss surgery, didn’t you? Don’t try to pull a Star Jones. You lost three times the weight as your 16-year-old daughter, but expect us to believe you did it by walking? Not. Buying. It.

I heard Tameka and Norris on Tom Joyner’s show this morning. They are very likeable people, but if you saw the first season – and when is a season just six shows, anyway? – you no doubt felt embarrassed, if not sorry for them. The premise was, This is how a plus-sized family lives and eats … and eats, and eats. I mean, the cameras just couldn’t get close enough to all the food they were consuming.

Only thing missing was a trough.

But now they’re back, healthier, taking family walks and exercising. This is a good thing. But I’m pissed at TLC’s exploitation and mischaracterization, so I refuse to watch it. And if you think I’m being unduly harsh, I dare you to go to any website that has a story about this show and read the comments. They are truly, truly awful – and these are the ones that made it past the censors. Credit TLC’s exploitative and degrading treatment for some of that vitriol.


Sorry Coles family. Just call it my own, personal boycott. At 9 tonight, I’ll be watching Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel.

Love that show.

[As fishermen] we are not afraid of the sea; we are terrified of the water. ~  Andy Hillstrand, captain of the Time Bandit, on Deadliest Catch


Leslie J. Ansley is an award-winning journalist and entrepreneur who blogs daily for TheRoot. She lives in Raleigh, NC.

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