TV One’s new webseries, the comedy “Love Handles,” features a uniquely hilarious look into relationships and body consciousness. The story centers on the protagonist Leeza as she copes with a broken heart and a bulging waistline. After gaining 20 pounds, Leeza’s physical trainer boyfriend dumps her. Viewers follow her journey towards self-love as she copes with her new situation and faces her own insecurities. The series was created by Carlton Jordan and Crystle Roberson and became a YouTube sensation in 2014 before the network scooped it up. Roberson explained to rolling out what they wanted to convey with Leeza’s story.
“Everyone deals with weight and body image when dating and looking for love, this is a series that people can relate to,” explained Roberson.
The series is a good fit for TV One as the brand pursues more original content and is an example of an scripted push the network is doing along with it’s first scripted series Born Again Virgin. It’s yet another example of how online content creators are connecting with major platforms to change the cultural landscape for black entertainment. Jordan and Roberson worked on the show to make sure it was reflective of their voice and it shows in the results.
One distinct plotline is Leeza’s friends Charlie and Jade don’t follow the predictable path as it pertains to Leeza’s journey and weight. Jordan and Roberson sought to avoid the typical romantic-comedy sort of stock characters and plot lines. It would’ve been easy to pepper the script with characters who unequivocally supports Leeza’s situation, but Roberson felt that would be to easy. “We worked on the script for a very long time,” she explains. “I think one of the cliches we wanted to stay away from were the super-supportive ‘yes’ friends.” Jordan and Roberson have written and begun pre-production on Season 2.
“The dynamics of a group of friends change from college to adulthood, so with Leeza we want to explore the idea of how friendships change with age,” says Jordan. “My perspective is not all friends from college make the cut in your mature adult life. You’ll get more of that in Season 2”
Already the show has generated tremendous buzz and the commentary from viewers vary widely. Roberson notes with a chuckle that men and women seem to have very differing perspectives on Leeza’s particular journey.
“I think that women are a lot more forgiving!” says Roberson. “Your man can gain a little weight and you still love him and think he’s sexy….men are not as forgiving in the weight gain department. I don’t know why!”