Louis C.K. has shown the first legitimate body-positive straight-shooting no-bullshit fat woman I have ever seen on TV. In a TV schedule peppered with my lipidly-lovely brethren, somehow a man’s show more realistically represented myself and other fat women more than half a dozen other shows ever could.
The truly revolutionary fat girls on TV are never where you want them to be. Mike and Molly is a pile of crap (despite loving Megan McCarthy’s other ventures). Super Fun Night was a bore even though Rebel Wilson was great. I won’t watch Drop Dead Divas because Lifetime is a dump of lavender flowers and soggy tampons. Even Gabby Sidibe couldn’t rescue the last season of American Horror Story, despite being the best thing about it. Despite years of wanting to see a truly revolutionary fat woman on television, nobody ever produced it. And then came Louis C.K.
Who ever expected Louie to be the kind of connoisseur of human interaction that he has become? I sure didn’t. Five years ago, he was putting out stuff that, while funny, was also pretty typical heterosexual male crap. But after the Tosh.0 fiasco, he started to pick up on issues and perspectives so seemingly alien to him but so common on the other side of the gender-coin. Suddenly, he was the feminist comedian doing bits on how Man is the worst thing to happen to Woman (and the worst thing to happen to men is heart disease). But I don’t know if I ever expected the kind of real talk that aired on the most recent episode.
The second episode of the dual feature is almost over as I write this, and I have to admit, I haven’t watched more than a minute of it. Something happened with an old lady and him peeing to Mrs. Robinson. I’ll catch up after I process this. But let me get to the point.
Sarah Baker. This cute blonde actress just danced into my life. A waitress working at The Comedy Cellar, she asked Louie out three times looking for his affection, offering him sports tickets on the third attempt in the hopes of getting him to change his “no” to a “let’s get coffee.” But the one thing to notice is that she had no desperation in any of these scenes. Sarah Baker was just as cute and flirty as any other woman (which would be offensive to point out in real life, but fucking necessary to point out on television), creating a charming character that I’m sure I would have said yes to on the first ask. This is relevant because every one of Louie’s rejections were squarely his fault. Instead of single fathood being blamed on ladyblubber, Louie and Sarah’s deftly written interactions placed the responsibility on Louie’s insecurities. “Vanessa” was a catch, and the only reservation any guy would have about dating her would be her appearance. And in typically fantastic Louie fashion, as a student of human behavior and well-dented punching bag, Louie took his licks to enlighten us.
That doesn’t mean everybody understood it. A few dumbass tweeters had no qualms about declaring she should “walk a mile if she’s tired of being fat,” not long after celebrating Louie and TV brother Bobby’s “bang bang” double-restaurant-meal glut-o-thon. The astute would notice the double-standards immediately; others might notice on a re-watch that we’re assholes for celebrating male gluttony while vilifying female size.
What Louie is great for is placing all of the blame for the ills of the world on Louie’s behavior. Louie is the asshole in every episode. His thoughts and habits and misconceptions are so often the primary antagonist in his own life, and Vanessa got a chance to let him really hear it, after displaying enough cutely dark chemistry to rival Louie’s first encounter with Pamela Adlon in season one.
I won’t ruin the monologue for you by reviewing it. I will tell you that her truths are real and universal; that they are as sobering as they are empowering to a body positive lass like myself; that I once fucked a guy that looked like Jim Norton/Gollum and he can take his “yuck” and shove it down his pee hole; and that there really is nothing more fucking arrogant than telling a comfortably fat woman that she “isn’t that fat.”
The problem isn’t that we’re fat, or “that fat,” or “not that fat.” The problem is that it’s a problem for you, yes YOU, so much so that you have to make believe reality is arbitrary by denying or hiding our fatness, and that you do it on the basis of nothing but your own insecure notions. No sir, your dick will not fall off because you hold my chubby hand. Yes sir, we are deserving of the same kind of affection and effort that you give thinner women, and we wish you had the balls to give it to us. You know you want to. We’re beautiful, you know?
I wish those guys would listen to us when we tell them that it’s okay to accept us, like I wish more women would listen when we tell them it’s okay to accept ourselves. But I am thankful that Louie has stood up to be the male voice those guys will actually listen to. And I am thankful for Sarah Baker, and I hope there’s infinitely more of her.
Cross-posted from Kat Dalton at ilikeweirdstuff.com
Watch the full scene here, and tell us what you think in the comments below…