About “My Big Fat Fabulous Life”
The Pilgrim Studios production “My Big Fat Fabulous Life” (“MBFFL”) first aired on TLC in January 2015. The show follows Whitney Way Thore, known for her viral “Fat Girl Dancing” videos which have been seen millions of times across the globe, and documents the ups and downs in her personal and professional life, as well as allowing viewers to see her vulnerable side.
Things have changed a lot for Whitney since season one, when she weighed almost 400 pounds, about 180kgs, and was working at a little-known North Carolina radio station. As she overcame online bullying and negative situations, Whitney earned herself a loyal fanbase – but also her fair share of detractors, some of who are convinced that the reality TV star has faked almost every aspect of her life, to look good in front of cameras.
There are many online spaces dedicated to discussing “MBFFL”. Perhaps the most popular one is the reddit subforum of the same name, which was created in early 2015 and describes the show as “My Big Fat Fabulous Lie of a Life”, adding: “Welcome to our little sub! Here we discuss the verity of this ‘reality’ show. If you are easily offended, this may not be the sub for you.”
Many topics are discussed on the subreddit, mainly concerning the outlandish storylines that have been part of “MBFFL” lately. While the first seasons of the series were focused on Whitney making healthy lifestyle changes in order to boost her confidence and be able to dance again, “MBFFL” became more and more surrealistic as time passed, as Whitney’s chaotic love life was deemed more entertaining viewing than her wellbeing.
Although Whitney has made it clear that the series was never intended to document her weight loss journey, many netizens have criticized her for being hypocritical, heavily editing her Instagram photos, as they feel that if she were truly content with her body she wouldn’t need to do so. Whitney has also been lambasted for indulging in unhealthy behavior on- and off-screen, and being a toxic example of body positivity.
Some of the strange storylines we just mentioned include Whitney’s disastrous relationship with former flame Chase Severino. It’s no secret that Whitney has been unlucky in love over the past few years, and fans suspected that her relationship with Chase would end badly, because he didn’t appear interested in her. After just a few months, the couple announced that Chase had popped the question, which sent viewers of the show into a tailspin.
Soon, a Reddit user added fuel to the fire by claiming to have been on the same flight as Whitney and Chase when they first announced their engagement. The user – /u/midgeless – wrote: “I was on the flight back from Paris after their supposed engagement trip… they boarded the plane separately and Whitney sat in first class while Chase sat in coach. They didn’t meet one another when we deplaned, and got their baggage separately”. According to /u/midgeless, Chase was nowhere to be seen when she bumped into Whitney at the airport and asked her for a photo; Whitney, however, was with another man.
In May 2020, Whitney announced via Instagram that their engagement had ended as Chase had got another woman pregnant. The TV star wrote the post in such a casual and laidback way that “MBFFL” fans soon suspected that the engagement was never real, a rumor which gained even more traction after /u/midgeless came forward.
Fan theories vary, but most think that the woman who Chase got pregnant was actually his off-screen girlfriend all along, and that Chase only played along as part of a contract. Due to the intense backlash, Whitney and Chase both limited their Instagram comments for a few weeks until all the drama died down. Interestingly, Chase later became engaged to the woman he had allegedly cheated with on Whitney.
Despite past experiences, Whitney seems to follow the same pattern of getting into toxic or unusual relationships. Her latest love interest, for example, is a mysterious Frenchman who has yet to appear in “MBFFL”; according to some sceptics, the Frenchman doesn’t exist at all, and is merely being used as a plot device to keep the show interesting. However, he was latterly believed to be a Parisian rapper named Nail. Whitney allegedly travelled to meet the Frenchman for the first time in late 2021, and although an exact timeline of their relationship has yet to be provided, she recently claimed that they were still together.
It’s definitely strange for someone as open as Whitney to want to keep her latest relationship private, but it’s also possible that the Frenchman himself – whose name has never been provided – wants to maintain a low profile. There are also a couple of important inconsistencies in Whitney’s story regarding her relationship with the Frenchman. First, she claimed to have met him on a language app when he began tutoring her; over a year later, she “confessed” that they had actually met via the popular dating app Tinder.
Of course, thousands of people would still believe that the Frenchman is part of a fake storyline, even if Whitney were to show him off to the world, so perhaps it’s for the best that the TV star keeps that part of her life under wraps. For now, Whitney and the network protect his privacy by blurring his face and not sharing his real identity.
Although Whitney has often rubbished the persistent claims that “MBFFL” life is staged, or at the very least scripted, it’s an undeniable truth that the focus of the series has undergone a drastic shift in the last few seasons. The personal drama within Whitney’s friendship group is the hot topic of many episodes, which are also peppered with “spontaneous” moments – such as the time Whitney’s close friend, Buddy Bell, accidentally woke her up. The scene was made amusing by the fact that Whitney was wearing her microphone, despite supposedly being asleep..
Despite the criticisms, “MBFFL” remains one of TLC’s best-rated shows, thanks to its vibrant cast members and gripping storylines. The series has been renewed for an 11th season, and is expected to be part of the network’s northern summer/fall lineup later in 2023.