Sep 21, 2010

Everyone Loves a Fat Man

So I am aware that this issue has already been addressed by many others, but I want to contribute another perspective to this continuous cookie-cutter production of nauseating ‘fat-man/hot wife’ sitcoms. This idealized marital situation has been clogging our televisions like cholesterol-saturated arteries since The Honeymooners way back in black and white. While these obviously all cater to the male fantasy that you can be a fat, stupid, lazy or obnoxious (or all the above) loser and you will still snag a hot, skinny wife that will worship you (no matter how much you constantly screw up), as per subsequent hit shows like Married with Children, Still Standing, According to Jim, King of Queens, The Simpsons and Family Guy... and I’m sure the list will continue long after I’m gone. There was also Uncle Phil & Auntie Vivian from The Fresh Prince of Bel Air – but I think this was a rare situation where the husband, although still obese, was well educated and had a successful professional career.

People always want to rebut: But what about Roseanne? Exactly – Roseanne; this is more where my true point is heading. Yes, in my opinion, Roseanne was a successful sitcom about the average (or just hovering below average) American family with relatively normal issues and misadventures; mainly to make us feel better about our own situations (ie. It could be worse, we could be the Conners) The weight problems of both Roseanne and Dan were of course present, but were not at the core of the show; they just were who they were.

Mike & Molly (CBS)
And last night was the premiere of Mike & Molly – brought to us by the same producers as 2½ Men and Big Bang Theory – awesome – couldn’t wait. I was thinking it would be a fantastic combination of the ‘real American’ grass roots of Roseanne mingled with the witty banter of Men & Theory... and then the first 5 minutes happened. Mike and Molly meet at an Over-Eaters Anonymous meeting... seriously? How disappointing. Within the first moments, it was apparent that this series will be centered not on the concept of these two people as interesting individuals, but rather as 2 self-deprecating fat people that have predictable fat people issues and are going to fall in love because of course, the 2 fat people should get together. I gagged on the big fat cliché! Roseanne was never about that! Shame on you Roberts & Lorre – I expected more from you two.

The other reason I tuned in was because I really enjoyed Melissa McCarthy in Gilmore Girls and was looking forward to her in this new show. It is a shame that although over-weight men seem to have no problems crossing the weight threshold with their potential mates, larger women are type-cast to keep to their side by either being the cute, but chronic back-seater supporting actress to their best friend (who is always the skinny and gorgeous heroine of the show), or they get paired up with equally large partners. This also happened to McCarthy in Gilmore Girls, as did it unfold with Lesley Boone as another Molly on the sitcom Ed – falling for the older, chubby and awkward fireman near the end of the series.

Sara Rue
And lastly, there is no way you could convince me that the title of the series Less Than Perfect didn’t have direct implications to the fact that the then-overweight Sara Rue was cast as the main character. Now that she’s dropped 50 pounds, I’m sure she’ll be making a b-line to the female lead auditions that are casting along side the latest heart throbs – since now she actually qualifies for those roles. The tragedy is that she should have been just as eligible for those leads with her extra 50, as she was beautiful either way, but who are we kidding, it's Hollywood.

There appears to be only 2 combinations allowed on television: fat man with a skinny wife; or fat man with fat wife. The third scenario would be more shocking as a same sex kiss during prime time! I would love to see a show created where the woman is at least a size 12 (or more), and she’s got a handsome, fit and intelligent husband – but hey, where’s the humour in that, right?

1 comment:

  1. Nice! I HATE that fat slob husband/hot wife thing. It makes me CRAZY.

    Although Sookie's husband Jackson wasn't fat on Gilmore Girls. He was just weirdly into his vegetables.


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