I should first admit that my second addiction is television. (after food, that is). I watch a lot of television and generally prefer tv shows to movies. I really like getting to know characters and seeing them develop over time. My favorite shows are ones in which the main character has major flaws that marginalize him/her from society. As Monk says, “It’s a gift and a curse.” I think many people relate to that.
Over the years there have been few shows who have dared to have main characters who are fat. We have Roseanne from the 90’s, Kirstie Alley’s brief, but hilarious Fat Actress, and for the guys, Tony Soprano and the Drew Carey show. Usually the fat chicks and dudes are the sidekick, which doesn’t bother me when they are treated honorably, such as Sookie, in the Gilmore Girls, or Hurley on Lost. (How can Hurley not be your favorite Lost character?)
Recently there are two shows I’m watching that have main characters who are very fat: Drop Dead Diva (now in its second season) and Huge. I’m not in-love with either of these shows the way I am with, say Weeds or The Closer, but I like watching them to see how the shows treat women-of-a-certain-size.
Drop Dead Diva is starring the beautiful Brooke Elliot and hysterical Margaret Cho. The premise is similar to the movie Heaven Can Wait; Model/actress Deb is killed “before her time” so she is given a new body and a new life. She wakes in the body of Jane Bingum, plus-sized lawyer. What I like about this show is that once it got past the initial OMG I’m a thin girl in a fat girl’s body premise, it kind of forgot that Jane was fat. There are a few references, but they are the kind that come up in normal life. I like that Jane loves to look pretty and dresses killah! I love that her best friend, size 0 Stacy, doesn’t even see her as fat. I love that brains are valued over beauty for helping people and you get the feeling that if Jane had a choice of going back to her vacuous thin old life or keeping her substantial new life, she would (with some regret about Grayson, her ex-fiance) choose to keep her new life. The stories are usually silly and some of the acting lame, but I like the show in spite of it all.
Then there is the new ABC Family hit, Huge. Many of the blogs I read write long recaps on each episode, but up until last night I haven’t been a huge (get it….”huge”) fan of the show. I’ve watched it more in curiosity to see how the characters are treated and I have liked that the show highlights so many different perspectives. From fat acceptance to utter self loathing, the characters fall in to many shades of gray, which is nice. Plus, I don’t remember ever seeing a show with so many characters of so many different sizes. But the acting, like many ABC Family shows, is stilted and awkward and the scripts seem disjointed as if they have to pass through many hands before making it to the screen. Each week I decide if I’m going to watch again and usually find one or two tidbits per episode to make it worth watching again.
Until last nights episode. It was, beginning to end, fabulous. The theme was self-sabotage, but as the story played out, it wasn’t food that people sabotaged themselves over. There was lots to love in the episode, but the arch of Alistair’s day from a sweet birthday card from cabin mates to being the object of an anti-gay prank to final acceptance by some of the characters was handled beautifully. And awkward but adorable Alistair got some of the best lines on television every.
Some of my favorite lines:
- I think your nerdiness is contagious (Will to Becca on agreeing to do “runes”)
- The art is just visually arresting (Alistair, on receiving a super-sweet birthday card with corny artwork)
- You ever try to make G.I. Joe dance with the sky. It’s super depressing. (Alistair on how his twin sister got all the good presents)
There are more, but watch the show and see for yourself.