the whole (something) thing
Some element, aspect, or characteristic of someone or something, especially that one dislikes or disapproves of. I really liked him, but he didn't want to be with someone who wasn't into the whole kids thing. This whole starving-artist thing he's cultivated for himself is so pretentious.
the (whole)... thing(informal) a situation or an activity of the type mentioned: She really didn’t want to be involved in the whole family thing.
See also: thing