Mr. Prince: We'll see you when you get back from image enhancement camp.
Martin Prince: Spare me your euphemisms! It's fat camp, for Daddy's chubby little secret!
Mr. Prince: You promised you wouldn't make a scene.
A summer camp
where overweight and obese children are sent to lose weight. Of course the children's parents are oblivious to what actually goes on in fat camp.
Drill Sergeant Nasties
are everywhere, pushing the kids to their limit. The children constantly have to run up hills and the food is so scarce it could starve the kids to death, provided that they don't sneak candy into their rooms.
Treatment is so bad that the kids will eventually plan a Great Escape
, in which the camp councillors will use the same methods that prison guards will use to recapture escapees.
This is not true of real fat camps of course, which always use positive reinforcement, and attempt to teach the children healthy eating habits, instead of starving them. They are called, the more politically correct, fitness and weight loss camps, and now also allow teens and adults to attend.
Some of the stereotypes of fat camp are Truth in Television
, however. Especially the running up the hill part.
- Autobiographical Comic example: Aline Kominsky-Crumb, wife of Robert Crumb, was sent there in her youth by her weight-conscious mother, despite being not at all overweight. The camp wasn't run that well, as all the girls were able to smuggle in lots of junk food. At the end, she weighed ten pounds more than before.
- In The Goonies, one of the things Chunk confesses to when caught by the Fratellis was being sent to a fat camp and getting kicked out for pigging out.
- Disney movie Heavyweights. The camp is actually quite fun, until it's taken over by an overbearing fitness trainer played by Ben Stiller.
Live Action TV
- One of the short stories in E.L. Konigsburg's Altogether, One At A Time is about a girl who's sent to fat camp.
- About half of Robert Kimmel Smith's Jelly Belly takes place at one. While it's not the sadistic kind, and protagonist Ned would actually like to be thinner, he hates the place and befriends kids who have no intention of losing weight or keeping it off if they do.
- The Well Farm project in Fat that Grenville attends towards the end of the book. It becomes the victim of one of his rampages.
- Many a Reality Show has been built around this.
- MTV had a show called Fat Camp.
- Short-lived teen show Huge.
- An adult example is The Biggest Loser.
- On Frasier, Daphne visited one of these off-screen. In Real Life Jane Leeves was on pregnancy leave.
- Inverted in several African countries, where an engaged woman is sent to camp to gain weight.