Tuesday, September 11, 2012

SNL Breaks The Fat Chick Barrier

Meet Aidy Bryant the Jackie Robinson of fat comediennes. Saturday Night Live is a New York institution and has long reflected the diversity of it's home city through it's cast, with the exception of Hispanics, Asians and overweight women. Well, some of that is about to change when the 2012-13 cast takes the stage this Saturday for the season premiere. SNL has employed quite a few fat dudes throughout the years, from John Belushi to Chris Farley to Kenan Thompson (fat and black, a double whammy). But, somewhat surprisingly, this is the first time an overweight woman will grace the stage at 30 Rock as a cast member. In fact, this is the first time a non-skinny woman will be part of the not quite ready for prime time players. By and large, the show has always hired above average looking women (with the exception of a few like Gilda Radner or Molly Shannon)and left the fat guy shtick to the men. It's a double standard, for sure, but most overweight women are kind of seen as one-trick ponys to many people still. The majority of SNL sketches involve half of the cast playing the straight man (or woman) role and I'd wager that the prevailing notion for Lorne Michaels and the other decision makers is having a fat girl in a sketch would be distracting. In other words, you couldn't see a fat girl as anything other than "the fat girl". However, these are changing times, and Melissa McCarthy was probably the best host of the past few years. The writers on SNL are sophisticated enough to avoid simply utilizing Aidy as the female Chris Farley. Can you imagine the uproar if she was made to look like a pig or if there were a Patrick Swayze Chippendales type sketch built around her, where the punch line was just "look at the fat girl try to be sexy"? Even so, I anticipate Jezebel will have a 3000 word article about the sexist pigs at SNL making fun of the poor fat girl by October. At the very least, this casting should ease the load for Bobby Moynihan having to play every chubby White woman. Lena Dunham, you've been warned.

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