A Moment of Jen
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Tuesday, March 08, 2005
posted by Jen at 3/08/2005 04:34:00 PM

I watched “Fat Actress” last night hoping that the reviews had gotten it wrong and that it really would be a gutsy, funny, no-holds-barred show about what it’s like to live as a larger woman.

Even though I smiled at the spectacle of ‘Kirstie Alley’ cutting Lane Bryant labels out of her jacket and replacing them with Prada tags, or trying to come up with the name of a black man to sleep with who wasn’t Lenny Kravitz, Colin Powell or O.J., the show, on the whole, wasn’t great.

I think that one of the reviews – in Vogue, I’m pretty sure, and thus, not online – said it best: “Fat Actress” isn’t a show about a fat woman dealing with a fat woman’s problems, it’s a show about an enormously privileged, incredibly wealthy diva with a sense of entitlement to rival the size of her ass.

In other words, the ‘actress’ part matters much more than the fat stuff.

I watched, thinking that every scene and every set-up: the collapse over the bathroom scale, the “Get me my own sitcom RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW RIGHT NOW’ screed to the agent, the “she’s way too fat to cast” reaction from the skinny bald white executives could have worked just as well for any actress of a certain age scrounging for meaningful work in a town that tends to give it to size-zero eighteen-year-olds.

Substitute “wrinkled” or “old” for fat, and that could have been Cybill Shepard collasping beside her bidet, or Candace Bergen screeching that the only offers she’s getting were from Oil of Olay and that she hasn’t gotten laid in light years because men her age date women young enough to be her daughter.

It takes guts to poke fun at yourself, to put yourself out there in a negligee, to sign off on some of the least-flattering camera angles imaginable. Or I’d credit Kirstie with guts if she wasn’t now twenty pounds lighter and billing herself as a kind of soon-to-be-former fattie who can’t wait to shed the pounds and become gorgeous and desirable again (needless to say, there’s not a lot of comfort there for Kirstie-sized viewers who’d like to believe that they’re gorgeous and desirable as is).

Also, since when is “I did Veronica’s Closet for you” a good thing?
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