After hearing incessant recommendations from friends and even some family, I finally caught up on some DVR and watched MTV’s latest reality conquest, “Chelsea Settles”. So many people have told me that the show has reminded them of me, and with good reason! It follows a young twenty-something’s journey from land of the ‘fat girl’ all the way in the East Coast to her new home in Los Angeles. However, after watching the first two episodes I found myself engaged but not exactly buying it. Sure, there may be some underlying bias here. I can not disagree that this would have literally been the perfect pitch for my own reality show… seeing as though my own weight loss journey has been quite the up and down journey and I can only imagine the entertainment value when I do in fact make the move to the City of Angels. However, despite my slight bias I just found the show lacking in some areas. For one, Chelsea may be a pretty face and even have some likable qualities but I just can not wrap my mind around the fact that moving to Los Angeles is her ‘dream’ rather than her cousin Jarel’s (Chelsea is following him down there, the two have currently lived in Pittsburgh all their lives). The only thing keeping her from heading straight to California is not her mothers unhealthy condition, but rather a long distance relationship with a man whom she is well aware has cheated on her. I find this part of the storyline bothersome. If a crappy long distance relationship is standing between Chelsea and LA then how serious can she be about making the move?
So far the show has had its tender moments. Chelsea’s mother is fighting a hard battle against diabetes and her diminishing health is documented on the series. You can see the genuine love in her eyes for her daughter as she grasps the concept that if you love something, you must let it go, or in Chelsea’s case…grow. Even more tender is a scene where Chelsea attempts to go out to the club for her cousins birthday. After spending hours trying on several outfits and perfecting her makeup (homegirl looked good, too!) Not only does the bouncer ask her to step aside while he allows all of the skinny and ‘average’ sized girls to walk right inside- but a group of rowdy and inebriated teens begin slandering her to her face by calling her a ‘fat bitch’ and literally chasing her through a parking lot to her car. It is a unique glimpse into what life in the ‘fat lane’ really is. Anyone who has ever been overweight has been in a situation quite like this and from my own humiliating, yet totally honest experience I can tell you without a doubt that it absolutely sucks. It’s heart breaking and mentally damaging, but for those of you who have been there you know that you take it and you grow from it. You move on. And while it takes her a few days Chelsea does just that.
While I’m sure I’ll continue to watch, or DVR at the very least I can’t help but grow frustrated by the reality show. While she’s cute and has a decent personality I find Chelsea to lack the spark and spirit I expected to see in her when hearing about the show. We never really learn just what Chelsea is seeking in Los Angeles, and we never touch on what it is she is out to do out there…. She comes across as slightly vapid and shallow (cue scene where she is riding aboard a Hollywood tour and practically jumps out of her seat at the sight of Kim Kardashian’s home). She seems thrilled for the party, but we don’t hear about her dreams or goals- not even in her interview scenes!
At first I questioned the title as well, wondering why we were in fact watching ‘Chelsea Settle’ (yes, I am aware her last name is Settles, but it doesn’t seem to push the show exactly to its edge) instead of ‘Chelsea Shine’, but after tuning in it’s clear to see that that’s just what we’re doing here with yet another pseudo-reality-docu series on MTV: settling.
Posted on October/20/2011