The Lifespan of a Fly


CBS missed the “Sensitivity” Memo

I'm sure the producers actually live in a box.

There are a few new developments that have happened recently I’d like to share with you. However, they’re going to have to be put on hold until I get this off my chest. Every few weeks A.M. gives me her left-over gossip rags. I rip these apart and use them for numerous communications projects and some of them end up in that little magazine holder in the bathroom. Is there anything more horrifying that those grungy magazine holders full of water-stained MacLeans’ and People?

Whenever I get one of these stacks of celebrity magazines I leisurely take my time browsing through and looking at how well all the clothes look on Skeletor. An image caught my eye. It was of an obese young woman in a bathing suit looking unbelievably embarrassed and uncomfortable. My heart ached for her and my eyes travelled upward until I came across the word “HUGE”… Yes, apparently this is going to be a new TV show. I vehemently voiced my disgust to Mike and promptly forgot all about it.

Forgive me, I don’t think sitcoms are funny. The only ones that have ever (and I mean ever) made me laugh were Seinfeld, Arrested Development and Curb Your Enthusiasm (which I had to give up watching because I kept yelling at Larry David to “NOT DO IT!”). As I was winding down from a pitiful performance at class last night a commercial for a new sitcom on CBS caught my attention. Mike and Molly it’s called. From what I gathered (through my open-mouthed horror), it’s about two very obese people who fall in love and what not. It is full of chair-breaking jokes and fat-people love.

Ok, so what bothered me so badly about this show (enough that I actually chose to blog about it), was that it feels as if CBS’s producers were told they need to be more sensitive to over-weight people and stop showing all these skinny people leading lives normal people want. So instead of, oh I don’t know, having women who wear a size 12 and men who are absurdly short on television, they have opted to go in the complete opposite direction.

It’s hard to offend a person like me. I normally don’t care enough to dwell on slights and insults, but I was completely infuriated at the assumption that only obese people can love other obese people. WTF IS THAT ABOUT?!?!?! You may as well say that Jewish people can only marry other Jewish people, and hell, there’s no way that interracial relationships can be acceptable either. You know, since we’re going to pair people together based on their physical appearance.

I’m not sure if CBS is trying to be “sensitive” to its audiences needs, but I really think it’s going about this in an oblivious, insulting way.

Get out and be around normal people you stupid, money-crapping, producers and see what life is REALLY like. Maybe after that you can keep your chair-breaking fat jokes to yourself.

Jerks.

Edit: First, Thank you Word Press for allowing me to become Freshly Pressed. I believe EVERYONE is entitled to their opinions. However, I will NOT allow any comments that are just plain rude or derogatory.

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71 Comments so far
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Maybe it’s just that they recognize that when one partner is obese, the other is more likely to be the same because they share the same unhealthy habits?

While I agree with your stance maybe they’re just putting it ‘out there’ that one partner’s bad habits often extend onto the other’s (especially when it comes to eating unhealthy meals).

I’m more disturbed by the trend of the ever-growing American waistline (and more).

-Lindsay
http://www.thedailyawe.com

Comment by Lindsay

Obviously obesity is an issue in our society. I have known couples where one is obese and the other thin. Body types don’t always reflect a person’s lifestyle (although in most cases they do). however, just because a person appears to be “in-shape” just because they’re thin, doesn’t mean that they eat healthy and exercise.

Comment by tlabine246

too true! Before I had my baby I was thin, but was what I’ve heard referred to as “fat thin” (or “thin fat”): I didn’t work out, I didn’t eat healthy, I just happened to be thin. Now trying to lose the extra 40lbs that I gained during my pregnancy I’m having to work out and eat healthy and so even though I’m still technically overweight I’m actually healthier than I was when I looked thin.

Comment by jewelofmisanthropy

Can I be so bold as to send you to the post I wrote called “The Fat Problem”? I feel that we are always being pushed to look thinner, when really it’s about how healthy you are.

Comment by tlabine246

@ Lindsay:

I am an obese woman. I am size 32. I am healthy; normal blood pressure, normal cholesterol, blood sugars are fine. I am active, and get up and out to do things. Being overweight DOES NOT predict a life style. I have super thin friends that can’t keep up with me.

However, shows like this only enable the derogatory fat ideals in our society. It is only aiding in teaching children that “Fat” is still ok to insult, belittle, or hurt. I am NOT ok with this.

Comment by RebelRegan

Really wishing I could *like* this. Thanks for stopping by!

Comment by tlabine246

Hhah correction, 34* (forever wishing younger perhaps?)

Comment by RebelRegan

Rebel,
I was like you too. Very active, good blood etc. But I hit 39 and it went to hell. I didn’t change but my body sure did. I hope you can stay healthy and happy as you are, but please be careful. 🙂

Comment by whenlifegivesyoumelons

I guess I didn’t even it see it like that. Mike&Molly didn’t look funny to me, but I never thought enough about it to decide why. I think I just don’t like the obvious, knee-slapper type of comedy. I like The Office for the reason it is unlike that. Sorry the show offends you, though.

Comment by The Simple Life of a Country Man's Wife

the ‘cute but silly’ network strike again

Comment by fuzzypictures

Lol. OK, this really made me laugh. I DO like sitcoms. Especially The Big Bang theory! ❤

But this new sitcom does seem a bit much and it breaks my heart to see that it's Sookey from the Gilomore girls. NO! Oh well, maybe it's worth a try.

Comment by lostbutf0und

I agree with you, I love Sookey from Gilmore Girls (great show btw). I have not heard about this show, but I will be keeping my eyes open for it, I mean, I have to at least watch it once before I make up my mind.

Comment by The Perfectly Imperfect One

Have you seen the show? I haven’t either, but I’m reserving judgment until after I’ve seen it. I’ve seen a few previews and I’ll admit, I have a bit of a crush on the guy. He’s goofy and cute and I’m not getting the message that “only” fat people can love other fat people. More that fat people are, well, people too, and despite their size they live regular lives and fall in love and screw things up too.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that CBS is doing a “great thing” or “exposing the lives of fat people in a noble way” or anything like that. But it’s a bit refreshing to see a romantic comedy NOT based on stick figures. I’m curious about where CBS will take it.

Comment by thegetoutgirl

My daughter saw it and said its a horrific, offensive, train-wreck.

Comment by whenlifegivesyoumelons

I saw an ad for this last night and I was totally appalled. Just WOW, CBS. Television FAIL. I sincerely hope it goes down in flames.

Comment by Hamma

One thing we’ve learned over at Postmanisms (postmanisms.wordpress.com) is that readers are more sensitive about their beloved TV shows than, say, religion, ethics, or, well, just about anything that deserves serious attention. You are treading in dangerous waters here, so cheers from us.

Comment by Postmanisms

I should just stop watching TV. That’s what I did. It’s all very segregated. Guy shows, Girl shows, Black shows, White shows, Teen shows, Kids shows. Now they have Fat shows? Wow. If it overlaps, it does so accidentally and they’d rather not repeat that because it confuses ad buyers.

Comment by Sheikh Jahbooty

You are sooooooo right!

Comment by Stacey

A sit-com full of fat jokes will not be sensitive toward obese — or even overweight — people. I saw a commercial for this and was upset too. I’m a size ten and I’m treated like I’m fat — or at least too fat to love (http://wp.me/pY8MO-4O).

Thanks for the post — and congrats on being freshly pressed!

Crystal
http://www.crystalspins.com

Comment by CrystalSpins

I haven’t seen it but I have to say it may be better (I doubt it) than the trend to pair the typical overweight goofy guy with a skinny beautiful woman (King of Queens, The Simpsons, According to Jim) To me this sent the message that woman are capable of loving beyond physical appearance but that men can’t. People are people, we all have our flaws, fat, skinny, neurotic, the list goes on. I yawn when I watch TV. Boring. I do like Billy the Exterminator. Maybe they could make a version of that but the Exterminator could get rid of human vermin. Oh wait, that is Dexter.

Comment by Marian

The only thing I know about this show is what I have read here, but I do agree with Marian here. I can’t remember a show wherein a not-traditionally-beautiful woman is paired with a traditionally handsome man.
Also, there is at least two established shows with an overweight couple as the lead. I’m not sure it’s a new idea.

Comment by kefuoe

Upon retrospect, I suppose Roseanne would easily fall into that category. Although both she and her husband (I love John Goodman) are heavy, I found that show to be more about the life of a low-income to middle-class family. And Roseanne’s hilarious

Comment by tlabine246

Interesting that no-one’s mentioned “Roseanne” yet. I only saw it intermittently, but I got the impression that the physical appearance of the central couple (Dan and Roseanne) was only ever a minor source of humour, usually a self deprecating jibe by the characters themselves in tune with their personalities – if they were blond, they’d have been making blond jokes. This programme sounds like a bad idea, and it offends me as much because there are so many good ideas out there going to waste because TV execs are scared to take a chance and trust the viewers to make up their own minds. Run a comedy series without a laugh track, for example. Thanks for raising the issue and congratulations on making frshly pressed.

Comment by dtrasler

I stopped watching TV after I had a baby. If I still had the time, this would not be one I would probably watch. I’m really not offended. I choose which shows I deem funny or entertaining enough for my own tastes. I utilize the remote channel options for those shows I do not care for. Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!

Comment by onepillawayfromchaos

When I go out to the super market, I usually only see obese people together. I never see a couple where one partner is obese and the other slim. Although i have not seen either the show or the ad for it, I would think that their portray of an obese couple would be correct. Unfortunately, in this country, people are either slim or obese. There are very few people in between. I think to portray a couple as midly overweight would be a cop out. Portraying the couple as obese is unfortunately, more realistic to today’s American society.

Comment by Basil Rene

Maybe my opinion and what I’ve noticed is different because I’m Canadian.

Comment by tlabine246

I think it all depends on where you live. Here in New York, it’s not uncommon to see couples where one person is bigger than their partner, such as me and my husband. We’ve been together for 8+ years, and I’ve never been thin.

Comment by lukucence

Very much the same in Canada.

Comment by tlabine246

Agree. It has to do with the people and community. In some areas (particularly wealthier) larger, overweight or obese people are outcast and tend to gravitate towards each other. In other places (more cosmopolitan) it people pair off a little more randomly. It’s customary though for a heavier woman to end up with a heavier man, according to research done a few years back.

Comment by Stacey

now I wanna see it especially since sookie from gilmore girls is in the show. I will reserve my comments regarding what the show portrays after I’ve seen the show though. but i definitely agree with you that romance/love/relationships transcends physical appearance, race, age or any attribute you may think of.

Comment by aangron

hahaha . . . your reason for giving up Curb Your Enthusiasm is very similar to mine. I kept shouting, “JUST SAY YOU’RE SORRY AND GO HOME!”

http://bradenbost.wordpress.com

Comment by bradenbost

Big fan of him eating Baby Jesus.

Comment by tlabine246

Not to mention…

1. ‘Neighbors from Hell’ as a sitcom title
2. ‘The $#*! My Dad Says’ as a sitcom title
3. In a Law and Order episode w/ Sharon Stone
they actually used the word ‘pussies’.

Clearly the FCC is not helping.

Comment by Will

True that.

Comment by Stacey

This LA Times blurb explains that better than I can:

“On July 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, directed by the Supreme Court to address the 1st Amendment issues in Federal Communications Commission vs. Fox Television Stations, et al. — a case that has to do with the sort of “fleeting expletives” that occasionally escape the mouths of overexcited participants in televised live events — found the FCC’s indecency guidelines to be “unconstitutionally vague” Now, until the commission can formulate new guidelines that are satisfactorily less vague, or the Supreme Court weighs in again, we are in a state of regulatory free-fall in which most of the already few rules that applied to content on broadcast TV have been suspended. The fear, or the hope, depending on where you stand in the culture wars, is that anything can happen now.”

Comment by Postmanisms

I’m sure faux-sensitivity does play a role in the network’s decision to air this awful show, but the bottom line is $$$. Somebody thinks that people are going to watch this show. Sadly, they may be right.

Comment by Smaktakula

I guess we’ll have to see what really is GOING to happen on the TV show before we JUDGE. Don’t watch, I KNOW I won’t!! But I do have to agree, it might not be that only “fat” people will be attracted to each other, but they eat similarly and live similar lifestyles thus they both “get” fat. I’ve had friends that weren’t both that fat get together, after being together years, they both ended up obese together, the same lifestyle…
evelyngarone.com

Comment by Evie Garone

Reminds me of the Cheers when Woody meets up with his ex-girlfriend and they both get fat together.

Comment by tlabine246

The show “Huge” is on abc Family and it’s about overweight teenagers who go to “fat camp.” It’s not a sitcom. It’s actually very heartfelt and I’m surprised I got sucked into it. It’s another show that’s based on a popular young adult novel, but I think it has a great message about body image. Just my 2 cents.

Comment by ohjustgrowup

Congrats on the fresh pressed awesomeness!

I appreciate your opinion and comments so much so I have to comment as well (don’t comment enough.)

If I remember history correctly the court jester was the one figure who could speak the truth to the king without getting killed on-the-spot. He could introduce a serious topic through humor, and subtly warm up the audience to the truth behind the matter. Maybe this is the goal behind the show?

I think the same could be said for then-controversial shows like Will and Grace that overtly put the homosexual lifestyle in primetime. (There may be better examples, but that’s the one that stands out to me.) Through humor and an attempt to get the audience to see life through the controversial character’s lenses I think there was an overall desensitizing to the taboo nature of being gay.

I’m not trying to give CBS any kudos, just suggesting perhaps there is an agenda behind the show that may or may not be a positive one.

Comment by William

Agree — but Will and Grace was also a bit shallow in the grand scheme of things. Those characters were so pigeon-holed that there’s no way for them to ever be something other than their archetype.

Comment by Stacey

I’m currently with a man where he’s bigger and I don’t mind it myself, so this perception that ‘obese’ people end up together isn’t exactly true. I love him for who he is, and he’s one of the sweetest guys I’ve ever dated and been with. Plus, we just get each other. I know what poster you are talking about because I saw it and I was pretty bothered by it too.

People have always thought my weight has been a lot less than what I am. It’s because of my body type and being tall, but I recently kicked my butt to lose about 15-20 lbs. and I’ve never felt better because I didn’t starve myself or get sick with the flu to do it.

Comment by sarahnsh

I wish there was a *like* button, cause then I would press it.

Comment by tlabine246

I haven’t seen the show, but to me it sounds like it’s a good alternative to the usual super-thin body image. I’m not sure why we would attack CBS when they and their creators are responding to audience demands (ie to see more diverse people and their lives). One show cannot offer EVERY story line and EVERY scenario.

Comment by Move Me Brightly

I am completely supportive of changing the whole skinny-tv-actor stigma, I just think that having a heavy man break a chair on tv is not the right way to go about changing perceptions.

Comment by tlabine246

The problem for me with this one is not that “only an obese person would be with another obese person”, it’s that they’re showing that only a fat man would be with a fat woman. There have been a number of sitcoms where a larger man has a much thinner wife (The King of Queens for example), however there are no shows (to my knowledge, feel free to correct me) where a larger woman has a thinner husband/boyfriend. That’s the bigger injustice here… it’s sending the overall message that it’s ok for guys to be overweight and still find the woman of their dreams (be they thin or thick) but a fat woman can only have a fat man.

Comment by reeneesews

That’s exactly it. Thank you for stopping by and commenting. I appreciate your words.

Comment by tlabine246

Reba. Barbara Jean is bigger than her husband though in real life the actress has now lost a lot of weight.
However, it is clearly more rare.

Comment by mopio

When I was 12, a friend was recounting a weekend outing we both made to a dancehall and I was actually asked to dance by some guy I didn’t know. The kid we were talking to gave me one of those “I’m about to make fun of you” looks and asked me if the guy who asked me to dance was fat (because I was fat). It was pretty offensive but being 12 I just shrugged it off. Today, I’m married to a skinny man, but I’m still fat. We’ve been married for almost 5 years – he’s still skinny. So I’m a little sick of this kind of stereotype, too. But if something can be stereotyped, rest assured popular culture will find a way to do it and over and over again. Sigh.

Comment by rebekah

that’s melissa mccarthy of gilmore girls fame. she’s also the cousin of jenny mccarthy of getting naked fame.

i miss the gilmore girls.

Comment by eeburrah

I just want to say, haven’t there been a lot of sitcoms already with fat men marrying/falling-for thin, attractive women? Here atleast both of them are obese.

Comment by aerial_meds

I was thinking the same thing.

Comment by JM

My daughter participated in a preview group for that show. Believe me, no one held back on expressing how offensive it was. CBS just didn’t care.
And yes. One of her comments was about the whole only fat people love other fat people.
She was disgusted by the whole show.

Comment by whenlifegivesyoumelons

I’m with you on the unfunny nature of most sitcoms. There is a serious creativity hole at the networks.

Comment by chosenrebel

Worst. Show. Premise. Ever.

You know what I thought would be a really insensitive and offensive show? “The Biggest Loser.” Saw the trailer of (yes) the tv show when I was watching some remake of some non-classic movie a while back and it sounded horribly offensive… but now people are eating it up. People are strange.

Comment by Satori

Wow, very good.

Comment by annket

I am not a small guy buy any nature of the word. I’m 6’5″ and 315-320 lbs and have had weight issues my whole life and although i can get why you and others would be offended by this show i for one am not. I think its incredibly funny, the writing yes could use work but since i am a novelist i notice things more than others would. I love watching great physical comedy, Seinfeld was full of great physical comedy as was threes company, and the dick van dyke show, the King of Queens with Kevin James (who is larger guy) and a few other of the great shows that have been on TV over the decades. Rosanne is another insanely popular and funny show that has 2 larger actors as the stars. I think personally its better when people take sitcoms (whether there good or not) for what they are and not read into them and over think them too much. Our society is to over sensitive enough as it is. Skinny or fat does it really matter as long as there funny and the actors are ok with who and how they are. And i guess I would ask to the people that are bigger who do have an issue with this show, “is it because you think its poor taste and picking on fat people” or is it because “you are a bigger person and not OK with that”. Not all bigger people have body image issues…

Comment by oregonmike98

Nor should they! The way you feel about your own body is the most important thing. If it’s socially unacceptable to make racist, religious, homosexual-depreciating jokes, then why is it acceptable to make fat-jokes? Simply put, either everything is taboo, or it’s a free-for-all

Comment by tlabine246

though it has nothing to do with anything, I thought I’d tell you that you are the same height and weight as my boyfriend 🙂
Also, AMEN to your comment!

Comment by mopio

I can totally understand why you’re offended. We all should be.

Here is a show, that although hasn’t aired, it is setting us up for Laughter.

It is indicating that the Laughter will be incurred via the “Fat People.” And their Relationship.

I honestly don’t think we need to see the show to Understand the Concept.

Once we allow LAUGHING AT – let us acknowledge that this is what it is, it is NOT laughing WITH – Fat People, what comes next? Handicapped People? People with ANY Type of characteristic that makes them “Different” from the Ideal?

You see, if we really are CONCERNED as Lindsay states, about Individuals’ Health, then let us not LAUGH AT THEM…Let us as a Society make Real Healthy Lifestyle Changes that Motivate us all to be better. More REAL Healthy Choices at Fast Food Joints is a good place to start. Having REALLY FATTY Foods taken off the shelf. Or if you don’t want to interfere with Freedom of Choice, how about Gyms that aren’t so Expensive. Walking Clubs that aren’t for “Fit People” only. EDUCATIONAL TV for Weight Loss, not the Magic Pill Crap…

Am I getting my point across?? 😉

Comment by From The Pews

Great post!! I agree, that’s a pretty strange show…it’s like those movies that only include ‘zany’ black people. I understand that a lot of african americans are friends with each other, just as whites are, but shows that portray blacks as southern, fried chicken eating, “oh no you didn’t” type people kinda freak me out.

Comment by cappy

I will reserve judgement till I see a full episode on TV. Never even heard of the show till I saw this so i went and looked it up. http://www.cbs.com/primetime/mike_and_molly/video/?pid=zgqDmDOl5tiRFr_x1U1B6KFrZ6CGmOWp&vs=Default&play=true

Comment by Bill

I have seen the commercials for this go by as we fast forward on Tivo but it was not until last night that I was forced to watch it. Let me just say that I am fat, have been all my life.

So, while it think it is good to laugh at one’s self, it is not so good to be laughed at. I am a bit torn on how I feel about this show. Part of me is horrified at the whole concept of it, and then there is a small part that think if they do it right maybe they can show that not all fat people just sit on the couch eating nothing but bonbons. That we have lives just like skinny people and that we are active, as RebleRegan stated above that there are skinny people in our lives who can’t keep up with us.

I can say that I don’t think it will be part of my fall viewing line-up, just not that interested in obvious fat jokes I guess, and that looks like where it may go.

Comment by Just a little snarky

The networks will probably try anything that looks a little “new” to get good ratings. To be honest, I’m in the same boat as you in that I don’t find a lot of sitcoms very funny at all – least of all when I feel they’re deliberately poking fun at issues, in this case obesity.

Comment by scarletsculturegarden

Well, it all may be true, but in the real world obese people do happen to marry other obese people and skinny people do marry skinny people and tall people marry short people and loud people marry quiet people and angry people marry other angry people and people with long hair marry people with no hair and so on. There are lots of combinations to choose from, some funnier than others I suppose depending on who your target audience is. Since a large portion of the population is overweight I’d say that if the show is a success then it is only a reflection of the people watching it. They could have just tried to cover all the bases and had a tall asian-american woman with an eating disorder and one leg marry a twice divorced little person who collects stamps and attends alcoholics anonymous meeting in between his gigs as a sax player in a local 80’s cover band.

Comment by The Ignorant Bystander

Yeah, but those shows would likely air on TLC.

Comment by tlabine246

I will keep my eye out for when this show starts.

Comment by The Perfectly Imperfect One

I do like sitcoms and I think it is positive that the networks are now including all body types on TV…however, disappointing they would do so in a such a low brow manner…

Comment by sayitinasong

Great Post !!

Comment by silviu

I took another look here just to read some of the newer comments. I actually understand the point of view of the writer here, even if I don’t completely agree, as there is a level of insensitivity shown by the network.

I find it a little odd that I read this when nearly every male character in most sitcoms is a bit of a buffoon. Almost every one of them is overweight with a slim and attractive wife/girlfriend. Almost every woman on these sitcoms is portrayed as intelligent. Most black women are shown as overweight whereas women of other races are, once again, slim and reasonably attractive. Young black men are portrayed as semi-rapper types. Indian men are portrayed as the weird, odd, but somehow acceptable friend. Chinese and Korean actors play the part of the math whiz who has trouble socializing at all. Attractive men are portrayed as simple-headed womanizers.

…and no one ever, ever, has to go to the restroom!

After all of this, and there is certainly more if you REALLY want to read it all, there is complaining about two obese people being lampooned because they are being lampooned at the same time instead of JUST the male or the female being the goof? Being a little chubby is life. Being obese should not be. It should be odd, weird, and something people seek to correct. Most people eat too much, don’t walk anywhere, have only heard of running because they see football players do it while they were sitting on the couch with a bag of cheetoh’s, a liter of Coke, and a pizza.

Yes, being FAT is not attractive. Having a little weight is just fine. There is a difference. Laughing at it a little is funny…and insensitive. Still funny though.

Comment by JM

Thanks! If I would have known that THAT would be on Freshly Pressed, I would have bothered to make my opinions a little clearer. At the time, I figured only the friends and family and other regular readers would have happened upon it.

But yes, thanks for saying what I meant to say!

Comment by tlabine246




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