February 8, 2006 at 2:07 pm
There are two movie trailers out right now that exemplify the contrasting feelings towards obesity in our culture. Let’s start with the negative so we can end on a high note.
Wow. Where do I start? The first 50 seconds of this trailer shows Alyson Hannigan in a fat suit dancing in the street to the revulsion of a group of construction workers and getting hosed down by some firemen. I have to say I’m actually offended by this, and I’m not easily offended. Usually I think people who are offended by movies are high-strung idiots who need to see a proctologist about that pole stuck up their collective ass. But here I sit, all offended. I know this is just a stupid, low-brow, comedy movie that is probably out to offend its audience, but it disturbs me that such open ridicule of the obese is allowed in our society.
It has been said that fat suits are the contemporary equivalent of black face. Seeing this trailer proved this point to me. When white people wear black face, the audience has permission to laugh at the racial stereotypes they are portraying without having to feel uncomfortable about laughing at an actual black person. When people see Alyson Hannigan doing ridiculous things in a fat suit, they can feel comfortable laughing at the obesity stereotypes she is portraying because they aren’t laughing at a real fat person. We all know she gets to take the fat suit off at the end of the day. She is in on the joke with you.
I don’t want to imagine how I would feel if this trailer came on before a movie I was seeing at the theatre. I would guess every laugh from the audience would be like an acoustic punch to my gut. I hope they would have turned out the lights by that point because it’s a lot harder to strangle people in the dark, and I’m too young and cute to go to prison for mass murder.
I’m especially disappointed that Alyson Hannigan is the one committing this offense. She played a quirky but sweet geek on the TV show Buffy the Vampire Slayer who I particularly related to. Her new comedy How I Met Your Mother is probably the only laugh-track sit-com that I enjoy watching these days. I know she had success in the American Pie movies, which may be why she took the lead in a similar gross-out comedy. I would hope she just succumbed to external pressure to do the fat-suit shtick because she wanted a job and there are so few roles for women in Hollywood. But honestly, I thought better of her than this. Sorry Alyson, but you suck.
Now, to cheer you up, check out this trailer:
Wow. Where do I start? A movie about a fat girl who is actually confident and sassy and learning to accept herself as she is. And the hot guy likes her! How the hell did this get made? Mo’Nique must have knocked off a lot of liquor stores last year, because I don’t know how else this could get funded in Hollywood, the town where a size 8 is fat. I had decided to see this movie when Mo’Nique was telling the bank officer that the plus-size fashion business would be profitable because fat girls have a hard time finding cool clothes. Obviously this film was written by someone who understands what it’s like to be fat.
While I haven’t seen the movie (I don’t think it’s even out yet), I get the impression Mo’Nique is not going to have to change to get her guy since I doubt she loses 100 pounds by the end of the film. I’ve always disliked movies where a hot guy falls for a geeky/homely girl but then she has an instant makeover and everything’s peachy.
The film seems to be targeted at African-Americans because it features a mostly black cast. Warning! Warning! I’m going to try not to sound racist here, but I’m probably going to fail. I wonder if this helped increase the film’s chances of being made since, in my own experience, overweight black women seem to be more confident and assertive than their white counterparts. Obesity seems to be slightly better accepted in the African-American community than in the white community. Okay, end of racist assumptions here. Also, end of blog entry.