Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Since the previews for the fall season started up, I've had something on my mind but haven't been able to find the words to get it out on the blog. Then I read a CNN article and a Marie Claire post. And I decided it was time to share those thoughts. As I watched the ads for "Mike & Molly," one thought kept sticking with me. What would happen if one of those actors lost a lot of weight very rapidly? I thought back to "Roseanne" and Roseanne and Dan were overweight characters. Jokes were made about their size. Health issues came up because of their weight and bad eating habits. I don't think the characters had to be obese actors but it was almost refreshing to see real people in real bodies on TV. The thing that has bothered me about "Mike & Molly" is that part of the entire premise of the show is that they are fat. They meet at Overeaters Anonymous. There are scenes of Molly on an elliptical or treadmill. Trying to be healthy but obviously struggling. What would happen if one of those actors truly put effort into losing weight? What if one of those actors dropped 50 pounds in 2 months while reruns were airing? Are we paying for these people to be obese? Is that how they are earning their salaries? I get that we want to see all body shapes and sizes on TV. We all want to feel like we are represented. In a world of skinny model reality shows and plasticized faces and bodies... so many of us want to see ourselves in the characters on TV. But why does being fat have to be the main plot point for the fat characters? Why can't they just be people who happen to be fat? And why do there have to be extremes? Why do women on TV have to either be a size 2 or a size 20? Why aren't we seeing more actresses / characters that are normal sizes like 8 or 10 or 12? Even the ABC Family show "Huge," which received praise for having a cast of plus sized characters, was based on those characters being fat. As for "Mike & Molly," are the actors being paid a bonus to stay in a certain weight range? Do they have to sit on a couch a certain number of hours each day? Are there dietary requirements with calorie counts as high as Michael Phelps on a high intensity training day? Is it possible that their jobs are forcing them to stay fat and unhealthy? Maybe "Mike & Molly" will have a different premise. Maybe the actors will start to truly be healthy and that gets written into the show. Maybe the plan is that Overeaters Anon is successful for the characters. Maybe.