The meek shall inherit the camp.
Well, the meek and the strange. This week's episode ("Live Action Role Play") of Huge focused viewer’s attention on the less visible characters of Becca and Alistair. The hour gave us a lot to laugh at, and even more to like about the loveable doormat Becca and the eccentricities of Alistair. At the show’s end, we’re left to consider the awkward, geek within each camper, and perhaps each viewer.
Lunch displayed how similar the camp world was from any American high school. There exists a cool kids table, where the campers mock Alistair’s strange behavior and sulfurous smell, and a nerd table, where Becca explains the rules of larping to the camp rejects.
This sort of divide is expected from a show about high schoolers, but the show complicates the simple dichotomy by having this typical scene take place at a weight-loss camp. Presumably, every one of these campers has been ridiculed about their weight (as Will is by a schoolmate attending Lake Knoll); despite this similarity, they further divide themselves into upper and lower echelons.
Amber’s characterization as the coolest kid at fat camp serves her well when she is mistaken by the Lake Knoll campers as one of their own.
Becca’s enthusiasm for her role-playing game makes sense given her behavior thus far on the show. Hiding in the background, her character never takes much attention away from the main plot. In this episode, her attempt to meet more people while playing her very own fantasy role-playing game shows how isolated she really is from others.
The fantasy world she created provides a safe escape from the real world. However, her plans are thwarted by the snotty Lake Knoll campers who claim Becca’s meeting space as their post-tennis hang out.
Wanting to retreat into her shell, Becca is stopped from abandoning her game by Will’s intervention. But Will’s help results in a transformation of Becca’s game, angering the shy girl. Per usual, she hides her real feelings from Will, and then literally hides in the bathroom during the larping game.
Conveniently overhearing Chloe and Amber’s quiz on “Are you a Doormat?,” Becca resumes her role as the larping leader and puts on her costume for battle. She confronts both Will and the Lake Knoll campers with a newfound confidence. Later admitting to unfairly burying her feelings until they were just too strong to control, Becca says she admires Will’s frank and confident nature. Perhaps Becca will find herself more in control and more outspoken in future episodes.While Becca was undoubtedly the main focus of the episode, the show’s subplot about Alistair’s smelly little problem allowed for some expansion on a minor character who raised some interesting questions last week. Why was Chloe hiding the fact that she was Alistair’s sister?
Possibly because he is a strange, effeminate, and stinky geek. Chloe silently listens as Trent and his friend ridicule her brother at lunch, and it almost seems understandable that she would want to avoid any connection to Alistair, especially in this high school context.
However, Alistair’s weirdness is just plain adorable, and somewhat familiar to anyone who’s ever had an unusual friend (or was the unusual friend). Displaying his enthusiasm for Becca’s larping game, Alistair asks, “Can I be someone who only speaks in riddles?”
At the first meeting, he declares, “I want to be one the cat people. I bet they’re really graceful” and proceeds to hiss and climb up a tree. His catlike behavior and costume are amusingly strange, but they don’t detract from how sweet he really is.
Alistair never confronts his sister about ignoring him in public, seemingly understanding her need to distance herself, and he approaches everything with enthusiasm. He reveals that he is very excited to lose weight camp, although a little uncertain about what his life will be like after the weight loss. His personality has always included being fat, and he has trouble imagining who he will be when that is no longer a factor.
This uncertainty displays how vulnerable characters like Alistair and Becca really are. When Alistair is finally confronted about his showering issue, he tells George about his reluctance to shower with other boys. The seemingly uninhibited eagerness he displays in all activities, especially the larping, disappears in light of the routine act of taking of a shower.
This phobia may come from a poor self-image, but what specifically triggers his hesitancy is unclear. Regardless, with George’s help, Alistair is able to shower alone and in peace.
It was refreshing to examine characters that normally aren’t the main concern of the show, but our main characters, Will, Amber, and Dr. Rand, had self-conscious moments of their own as well.
Amber’s denial of her Camp Victory friends in front of her possible Lake Knoll friends displays the depths of her uncertainty and desperation to belong. Being thin is a means to her hopefully popular end, and Amber would leave behind any friend she made at camp for the chance. Will’s encounter with a high school acquaintance gives some motivation to her character’s anger and self-esteem issues and her unwillingness to join the campfire mantra, “I surrender.”
Dr. Rand’s shady entanglement with the Lake Knoll director and attempts to climb out of the shadow of former director Lorraine helped continue the complex characterization of a woman who frequently captures our attention.
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