"The joy is infectious," says Robyn Bahr of Lizzo's Amazon reality competition. "Executive produced and hosted by superstar pop singer/fashion icon/occasional flautist Lizzo, the reality series follows 13 plus-size women vying, first, to become Lizzo’s backup dancers at the 2021 Bonnaroo music festival, and then, hopefully, her sacred, anointed backup dancers on her upcoming tour. They aspire to be the proverbial Big Grrrls of the title." Bahr adds that Lizzo is a natural as a reality host: "Lizzo, at age 33, was a tween when reality TV took off in the early 2000s, and perhaps two decades of close study has afforded her the ability to effortlessly adopt a perfected talking-head cadence," says Bahr. "Or maybe her effervescent, almost manic, persona just innately lends itself to the heightened nature of this genre. I’ve never heard the word 'bitch' used so frequently and with such warmth and affection."
Lizzo proves a reality show that doesn't tear fat people down can work: "The truth is, reality television has rarely, if ever, been kind to fat people," says Samantha Grasso. "On weight loss shows, fat people are pushed to get thinner through punishing exercise and unsustainable diets, their celebrity trainers verbally abusing them for their perceived laziness. On other competition shows, their size is seen as a hindrance to their success, and other contestants express clear contempt for their fatness. On talk shows and docuseries, fat people are made to look stupid and dumb, their trauma exploited to justify their fatness. And on dating shows, they are nonexistent. That’s what made watching Big Grrrls so surprising to me. Not surprising coming from Lizzo, but surprising to watch on television at all. Lizzo’s show accomplishes making fatness normal by just showing plus-sized women as they are, and not by focusing on their experience as fat people, but by focusing on their experience as people whom the world mistreats because they’re fat, or Black, or trans."
Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls debunks anti-fat myths: "It actively pushes against the myths that larger people are not healthy, are not athletic, are not talented, are not sexy, are not confident — and it does so with a host who’s charismatic as hell and a bunch of challenges that are designed to enlighten and entertain," says Brett White. "Truly, what is not to love? Watching this show just made me feel. Watching the dancers find out they’re dancing for Lizzo? Tears. Watching these women find a supportive community of others who know what they’re going through? Tears. Watching them show up and then show out? Tears!"
Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls is a joyful love letter to plus-size women: "Where Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls sets itself apart from the rest of the genre is its spirit," says Stephanie Holland. "Even with nicer competition series like The Voice, there’s still always an undercurrent of tension because only one person can be the winner. Lizzo has made it clear she has room for everyone if they pass muster, so there’s a supportive, understanding vibe between these women that makes it feel like something special is happening. Every single episode has moments where the dancers bond over their shared experience of existing in a world that tells them they shouldn’t want to shine. These are stories that I understood and felt in my bones."
Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls will water your parched soul: "The opening episode sees the potential grrrls first dancing in front of Lizzo herself (two eight-counts of freestyle, then 40 seconds of her own choreography that they have had a week to prepare)," says Lucy Mangan. "Refreshingly – almost thrillingly, in fact, in this era of borderline despair – no one seems set up to fail. There is no weak link, no one who hasn’t got at least 90% of the goods. The mood is joyful, celebratory. Unnerving until you get used to it, but water to your parched soul thereafter."