An itsy, bitsy, teeny, weenie, spoiler for last night’s episode of Heroes follows. Nothing of any importance really, but if you are a complete spoiler-phobe, turn your eyeballs elsewhere right now. I think there’s a bug crawling across the ceiling that you’ll find fascinating.
Heroes is a show on American television about characters with special powers. A recently introduced character, Candice, has the ability to cast illusions to make people see what she wants them to see. She frequently uses this ability to make herself look like someone else, but when she’s not tricking people she’s played by Missy Peregrym who looks like this:
Last night she was having a conversation with another character while munching on junk food. What follows is not an exact transcription of their dialogue because I can barely remember what I had for lunch yesterday, never mind the exact words of fictional characters on a TV show. He said something like, “I have a cousin who eats like you. He’s really fat.” To which she replied, between bites, “So am I.” At which point my eyes boggled out of my head. Candice is a fat girl and we didn’t even know it!
Which makes me wonder, if you could make everyone else see you as a skinny person while still being a fat person, would you do it? Is the incentive to be thin only so other people will think better of you or do you have other motivations such as your health and feeling fit? I’m at a point now where I am really digging my fitness. I love the ability to run and ride a bike and complete the entire kickboxing aerobics class while other people whimper and whine on their mats. However, if you’d offered me this option 190 pounds ago I’m not sure what I would have said. I certainly would have liked to look thinner even while I was working on making it actually happen. But if I could fool everyone, would I have lost my incentive to make the real thing happen? Back then I doubt you could have ever convinced me that I would someday enjoy running and eating healthy. Maybe I only did it because I had to.
And what does Candice see when she looks in the mirror? Can she fool everyone including herself? I love checking myself out in the mirror these days. It would be a bummer if everyone else saw me as thin but I didn’t get to see it myself.
I don’t think Candice is morbidly obese because there are some things you can’t fake with illusions. She wouldn’t be able to move around as agilely as she does on the show. One of the side affects of my weight loss is that I am now a fast walker. If I’m walking with people fatter or more out of shape than me, I have to noticeably slow down so they can keep up. She also wouldn’t be able to slip through narrow spaces or fit comfortably in small chairs with arms. I can’t imagine she would feel very good either if her diet is composed mostly of refined carbohydrates.
The fact that Candice is a fat girl pretending to be a thin girl brings up some uncomfortable social undertones. What if she’s also a black woman pretending to be white? What if she’s a man? It seems she’s chosen a form that gets the best reaction from other people. I can only think of Mystique, a shape-shifting character from the X-Men movies, whose true form is blue and scaly. When asked why she doesn’t stay in disguise all the time she simply replies, “Because I shouldn’t have to.” If Candice’s character ever gets killed, I hope we get to see what she really looks like. No one should have to spend their whole life in hiding.