ABC Family's Huge takes place at a weight-loss camp, but executive producer Winnie Holzman says, "You don't need to be fat or have a weight issue to relate to it." The series (Mondays at 9/8c) follows a diverse group of teens. Willamina (Nikki Blonsky) is an outsider who sets out to gain weight to anger her parents, while Amber (Hayley Hasselhoff) is the camp's "golden girl" — with a lot less confidence than it appears. Although different from Holzman's previous shows My So-Called Life and Once and Again, Huge similarly focuses on the scariness of change as the characters struggle and try to figure out who they are.
TVGuide.com: Besides being set at a weight-loss camp, what is Huge about?
Winnie Holzman: Camp is like this set-apart world where people go to try to change who they are, and yet change is really scary. The show is about what it's like to try to change and how to face the scariness of change and I feel like anyone can relate to that. There's a lot of humor, there's a lot of fun, but there's also drama.
TVGuide.com: Why are you drawn to the coming-of-age genre?
Holzman: Honestly, I don't know. I think one's career is not something you can always understand on a rational level or explain on a rational level; some things are slated to be. I do love the idea of people at a certain time in their lives when they're questioning, figuring out who to be. I find that interesting, but honestly I think it's like that at every time in your life.
TVGuide.com: You and your daughter Savannah are working on Huge together. Is that difficult sometimes?|
Holzman: Once in a while we argue, but really we are so in sync with each other and have much of the same taste. And what's great is that she'll do things I didn't think of and I'll do things she didn't think of. Most of the time we agree. When we don't, it's pretty easy to work it out artistically. The harder part for me is that she's my daughter and as a mother you worry about your child and when things become challenging, part of my job is not to be overprotective or like a mother.
TVGuide.com: How much did you base the characters on real-life experiences?
Holzman: It couldn't be more personal. Just like My So-Called Life, people would say, "Is this personal?" and I would say, "Yeah," but it wasn't like that was me and that was my mother. It wasn't that literal, but there were emotions that I was very much drudging up and there were ways that those characters were personal to me and it's the same thing here. Weight has been an issue for me my entire life, and for Savannah in different ways. I don't think we're identical in the ways it's been an issue, but weight and body image and self-image have been — I don't think we're alone in this — a huge issue for both of us.
TVGuide.com: Were you nervous about doing a show featuring a predominantly overweight cast?
Holzman: For me, being a writer, you want to communicate with people, but if your goal is that every person is going to love what you do then you're always going to be disappointed. You don't need to be fat or have a weight issue to relate to it. It's just not like that because it's so much about the people and friendship and what it's like to get past the blocks we put up against intimacy. Fat and weight is just one element of that. It's about being an outsider and struggling to make some kind of peace with who you are, to figure out who you were. I try not to focus too much on who's going to find this interesting, we focus on what we find interesting. That's what I've always done.
TVGuide.com: Does the first season leave room at the end for a follow-up season?
Holzman: Our first 10 episodes ... will take us midsummer. In other words, if we were to come back we would finish out the same summer.
Check out our interview with Nikki Blonsky below: