HLG’s indie series BINGE follows the life of Angela Gulner, a beautifully comic human being that just so happens to have bulimia. Treated with the right balance of humour and seriousness, this series manages to tackle difficult subjects such as binge-eating, body dysmorphia and addictions in a way that makes the viewer both laugh and reflect on the gravity of these illnesses.
It’s not rare today to be presented with the issue of eating disorders. Along with who’s dating who, and who wore what to which event, an ugly part of celebrity gossip is “who has an eating disorder?”. We often remember Kate Moss’ protruding rib cage, Mary-Kate Olsen’s fragile arms, or Amy Winehouse’s fading silhouette. Many of these catch the public’s attention for their unnaturally thin frame. However, the problem with this type of coverage is that it makes the term “eating disorder” synonymous with anorexia. Although anorexia is seriously dangerous, this excludes anyone who has an eating disorder and has a normal or above-average BMI. Consequently, a lot of people with eating disorders are too ashamed to speak out about their sickness because they don’t “look like they have an eating disorder”. In addition, this celebrity coverage glamorises anorexia and bulimia so that instead of being portrayed as the deadly disorders which they are, they are seen as inevitable tragedies of society’s expectations.
Here’s where BINGE comes into play.
BINGE does not depict Angela Gulner as a frail little sufferer. Angela Gulner is a mess. Her make up is smeared all over her face, her hair has bits of frosting in it and we often see her wiping vomit from her mouth. But this is an eating disorder. This is the reality of bulimia. It’s messy, it’s unpleasant and it’s seriously dangerous. And BINGE succeeds in getting this message across like no other ED-related film or series has done before.
Furthermore, the beauty of Angela’s character is that she IS a character. She’s funny, sassy and actually a really good friend (once you get past the understandable outburst in the pilot). She isn’t simply Angela the bulimic, but Angela who has bulimia. This differentiation not only applies to eating disorders, but mental illnesses in general. Often a person with a mental illness can be referred to by their illness: anorexic, schizophrenic, alcoholic. But a person with a physical illness never gets called by their illness. You’d never call a patient with cancer a canceric, or someone with the flu a fluic. So why do it to someone with a mental illness? HLG studios thus not only accentuates the gravity of this mental illness, but also humanises the sufferer so that we can still see a human being behind the ugly world of bulimia.
HLG Studios are currently crowdfunding to make another five episodes of BINGE. As independent filmmakers, five episodes come with a cost. If you are interested in contributing in any way possible, you can make a donation here.