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January 08 2006

Criticism for the trailer of Alyson Hannigan's "Date Movie". "Here was an actress whom I admired basically making fun of women like me", the writer says of the movie's take on Bridget Jones.

I just had to spout off an angry email after reading this article. I really hate how suddenly things aren't funny anymore when they deal with things that she has. So what movies don't go to far when they make fun of black people? But make a fat joke and its a cardnial sin. Fat will always be funny in the same way farting is.
I feel that her point about the double-standard is valid though.
Oddly, though fat, my problem is not that people make these movies (they always have. they always will), but that Alyson Hannigan is/should be a better actress than this; things like 'Date Movie' and 'Scary Movie' are very much the B-list; she's doing a sitcom with mediocre ratings; enough not to get cancelled midseason, but not going to be a huge hit (praised by critics, but a little rote in plot if not in execution, and not really pulling in huge numbers), and she's doing strictly second string teen flicks otherwise. She has a great sense of comic timing, but she has the inverse of Keanu Reeves syndrome (Reeves picks astonishingly good, well scripted, intelligent things, then screws them up by having no sense of timing, chemistry or charisma. Hannigan has them all in spades, and she disappoints me constantly).
"Fat will always be funny in the same way farting is."

and there will always be dozens and dozens of hack actors and very few real artists. I used to admire Aly and I'm still glad she will have enough money to live a long secure life and pay her bills. I wish she would have made some different choices and been braver and not taken the easy way. But there's nothing wrong with just being a working stiff like the rest of us, which is what she's obviously decided to do. She's just much better paid. I still think it's sad. After trying for the few three episodes, I don't watch her show, and I won't see this movie.
OK, well as a fat person, I'm gonna speak on this one. I do see the point this woman is making. Fat jokes are very funny, when they are making fun of the situation and not the person.

I just watched the trailer, and I thought it was kind of cute. I didn't really find it offensive. That being said, the writer still does have some valid points. It can be very hurtful to be the joke that people are laughing at Gage, and I do think Hollywood should be held accountable in the way it handles this kind of humour. Not to be dramatic, (altho I'm gonna be) but, nobody ever starved themselves over a fart joke did they?
>>I feel that her point about the double-standard is valid though.<<

The only double standard is the one the writer of that column is trying to create. Because if you're born non-white, there's nothing you can (or should) do about it. Most people aren't born with a disease that makes them fat, though, and if they do get fat to a point where people compare them to a sea mammal and they get cranky when someone tells a joke about fat people, there's lots they can -- and most definitely should, if they cherish life -- do about it.

(Did anyone see that show where English chef Jamie Oliver went on a crusade to change British school meals? Very, very, revealing, and not at all surprising.)
This article is total B.S. She was settling down to enjoy a movie that blatantly makes fun of handicapped people and because she isn't handicapped herself she finds it funny, but since she has some extra weight on her she gets offended by a skinny actress in a fat suit. This writer is ridiculous.

[ edited by ChosenGuy317 on 2006-01-08 18:58 ]
Most people aren't born with a disease that makes them fat

Actually, more and more that's being proven untrue. However, I do take your point and while I'm disappointed in Aly for taking what's obviously a B-movie role the way someone else mentioned (not what the role is, just the movie type in general), it's part of a very long line of films that mock everything. Fat is part of everything *shrug*
I think it's a little bit deeper than just getting cranky bschnell. A lot of people can develop body morphic disorder, through what other people consider to be harmless jokes.
On the other hand, if someone gets to be the size of a baby elephant, does that mean it's OK to denigrate them? No, of course not. In the same way, it not OK to make fun of the colour of someone skin. Whether a person can change their appearence or not has little to do with their treatment by society.
Chosenguy: not going to say you're wrong (I think you have a good point), because I think you've got a point, but one thing that every review I've seen so far about The Ringer is clear about is that it doesn't 'make fun of handicapped people', but instead, makes Knoxville's character look like an ass, instead. It was made with the co-operation and blessing of the Special Olympics, starring a number of Special Olympians. Ebert's comment on it was "The movie surprised me. It treats its disabled characters with affection and respect, it has a plot that uses the Special Olympics instead of misusing them, and it's actually kind of sweet, apart from a few Farrellian touches like the ex-janitor who gets his fingers chopped off in the lawn mower."

Much like the Farrelly's (who produced The Ringer) managed to use the fat suit gig to actually make everyone around Paltrow's character look like asses in Shallow Hal, The Ringer is, oddly, more subtle than the 'Look, the new Johnny Knoxville movie!' trailers make it look.
It is a double standard, no matter how "funny" you think it is, the best part of people is their differences, to bad we all can't be thin, blue eyed blonde aryans, if you happen to have a accident that leaves you with brain damage, does that mean it's perfectly fine for people to make "retard" jokes? because hey you weren't born with it.

The reason they are doing this in the film is because they can, imagine if Hannigan was dressed up in black face,dancing around with a watermelon singing "de camptown races" the reaction it would get, I am sure many would find this "funny" while the majority would be appalled, but it's something nobody would "dare" do.

In early Hollywood it was very acceptable to make fun of African-Americans and other races, now it's not, so they turn to other things about people to make fun of, that wouldn't get riots in the streets.
I'm a fat girl myself, but I look at movies like these as sort of a parody of what is truly offensive. I find movies that use fat suits as a sort of "funny" or to show how much more horrible so and so was when they were fat annoying. This is just a parody of those types of films...I think it's actually amusing, the little I saw of it.

And as someone who was a chubby toddler...being "thin" isn't always easy to come by. And some of us fat chicks aren't even aiming to be thin. I just get tired of the stereotypes of fat people as lazy slobs. Most fat people I know (including myself) are quite active, and yes we enjoy food but that doesn't mean we eat a whole pie at a time.

It wasn't until that I accepted my physique as part of who I am I really began to live life. I just wish Hollywood would have some role models that don't show the fat girl as dowdy and depressed.
Thanks Thespian. I just find it amusing that she will sit down and watch a movie with Johnny Knoxville portraying a person pretending to be handicapped (for comedy, not dramatic purpose) but Alyson Hannigan portrays a fat person (again for comedy, not dramatic purpose) and she finds it offensive. We all have different views of whats offensive and whats not, but for her to open her article talking about The Ringer before talking about being offended by a fat suit just cracked me up. She obviously hadn't let go of her anger before she sat down to think about the article that she was writing. :)
The only thing I found offensive in that clip was the fact that they went for Michael Jackson jokes again. And put them right in the trailer. Because nothing unites America and convinces them to see the movie like slander and child molestation jokes!
>>And as someone who was a chubby toddler...being "thin" isn't always easy to come by. And some of us fat chicks aren't even aiming to be thin. I just get tired of the stereotypes of fat people as lazy slobs.<<

True, for non-breastfed chubby toddlers, de-activating those fat cells later isn't easy -- they are something to thank one's parents for, but that fat isn't something one _has_ to live with. If you're okay living with it, you're in good company -- watch GILMORE GIRLS. It has two characters that definitely aren't a size four (which I'm certainly not, either, and I'm a total chocolate addict, just to clarify that *s*) and they're ... just there.

I haven't seen the film (or trailer) in question, but that column gave me pause, not only because it was so humorless but also because it compared apples and oranges. Never a very clever thing to do.
Most comedy is at the expense of someone else (or in some cases of the comic themselves) so in that sense there is always going to be someone who is offended.

On the other hand sometimes folk think that just cos something can be changed it is automatically easy to change. It's usually a fair bit more complicated than that. Sure, you can say to a fat person 'Don't eat too much' but in a lot of cases it's like saying to an alcoholic 'Don't drink too much' (and the root causes are sometimes similar too). Personally, i've never had a weight problem (see, even the language stigmatises) but I have had what you might describe as a 'smoking problem' which like being overweight is also bad for my health (and others), costs the taxpayer money in health-care and is the kind of thing that is stoppable. So how come we don't see any comedies about how funny smokers are ?
It's all very well saying that people can lose weight. But that doesn't justify using them as a target for jokes.

The major problem I have is not so much the clip from the trailer, although it is extremely unfunny and offensive, it is the perception that an overweight woman can find true love and happiness only when she gets skinny.

Aren't there enough people with eating disorders out there. It's yet another damaging message that only the slim are attractive and worthy. It's pathetic nonsense and it's also incredibly dangerous.

You might say that one film isn't going to do much damage, but it's yet another drop of water eroding away someone's self-worth to the point that they think the only option open to them is to starve themselves.

We see it in magazines, music videos, the non-stop post Christmas fitness DVD's, TV, movies, everywhere.

You get one magazine saying Nicole Ritchie looks too thin and ill and then another saying doesn't see look great. I actually overheard three girls the other day looking at a picture of her. One of them said that it was great she could get that skinny because it meant they they would be able too aswell. WTH??? Fortunately one of her friends said she was too thin.

The disappointing thing for me about AH is that this is yet another lame over the top comedy film. She is a better actress than that and I'd like one day to be able to say I want to see the film she's in. But while she keeps chossing this sort of thing that isn't going to happen.
The author never says it's okay to denigrate black people or handicapped people in this article. She is making a particular point about how fat people are made fun of, particularly fat women. Yes, the media stereotypes other groups of people as well, but that fact is not a valid basis to undercut the point the author is making. Is our issue with her that she is standing up to what affects HER directly? Well, I think that targets of discrimination should be encouraged to stand up for themselves more often.

Some people here have said that the trailer didn't offend them personally, that it was in fact a parody of others that are offensive. However, many people out there -- including me -- did not know this. Also, many people who saw the movie the trailer was parodying did not think it was offensive, but just thought it was funny BECAUSE it made fun of fat people. We're nowhere near a point where we can say "everyone" is sophisticated enough to know better - if this were true, then eating disorders wouldn't be so epidemic.

And whether or not someone is "born" a certain way has no bearing on whether we have a right to discriminate against them or not. Discrimination against anyone is wrong. Period.

EDITED because I'm unsure what movie the trailer was parodying

[ edited by Ronald_SF on 2006-01-08 20:08 ]
Ronald_SF, it's making fun of Bridget Jones.
if they do get fat to a point where people compare them to a sea mammal and they get cranky when someone tells a joke about fat people, there's lots they can -- and most definitely should, if they cherish life -- do about it.

Bschnell, may I gently say that... your statement, as it is read, implies some resentment and hostility? Your statement implies that it is okay to compare a fat person to a sea mammal. Fat people are often made to feel less than human, and this does that quite literally. And then to say they get "cranky" and therefore overreact... If my friend were compared to a sea mammal, then I hope for their own sake they would get "cranky," and I would get "cranky" too. :)

Oh, and humor doesn't have to rely on offending others. One just needs to look at Joss' work and 100s of great comedies to know this. And a lot of stand-up comics don't cross the line either.
Hear hear, Ronald_SF.

On the 'what constitutes comedy' note, I did a semester on circus film and literature at Uni and vaguely remember studying all these theories behind clowning and what laughter means socially. One of which being that laughter is a response which essentially distances you socially from the subject of the comedy. Falling over is embarassing, so laughing at a clown falling over is about protecting yourself from association with that 'weakness' or 'losing face' or what have you, and establishing yourself as in the strong majority.

Pity I can't remember exactly what I read or where I read it, but no doubt one of the brains will jump in and help me out.
Anyway, makes you think about what we as a society choose to laugh at.
What makes this a tough call is that it's hard to tell at what level of distance/irony the movie is operating, because it's probably operating at quite a few.

It's making fun of movies like Bridget Jones where a (not actually fat) woman obsesses about losing weight.

It's making fun of movies like Shallow Hal where a (not actually fat) actress wears a fat suit and it's supposed to be funny.

AND, it's trying to be funny by having a (not actually fat) actress wear a fat suit.

If it were JUST doing the first two, it would be an insightful critique of Hollywood and on the same "side" as the author of the article. Since it's ALSO doing the third, it's hard to tell if it's responsible or not... (probably not, but we'd need to see the whole movie to know for sure, and maybe not even then... yay, postmodernity!).
So how come we don't see any comedies about how funny smokers are?

Check out Wonderfalls; many fine jokes are had at the expense of the smoking habit of the heroine's sister!

But, on a serious note, this article's writer does have a big double standard, IMHO. For instance, this gem:

How dare "two of the six writers of 'Scary Movie' " make fun of overweight women?

Wow, didn't she *see* "Scary Movie"? It trashed gay people, virgins, women in general (how many women in these films became, er, the "object of desire" in a totally gross way?), people with physical disabilities *raises hand*, pot smokers (OK, we might all be able to agree they're funny), and so on. "How dare they?" It's what they do, darlin'. ;-)

I laughed at the way the "Scary Movie" flicks showed David Cross using a wheelchair & popping wheelies, doing basketball tricks, etc., because it was part of a spoof of a basketball commercial. I laughed at the heroine not loving Chris Elliott putting his disabled hand in her face because he was practically picking her nose, and she was still trying like hell to be polite. I also laughed because at least these handicapped people were *visible* and taking part in the same silly s*** as the rest of this movie's Scoobies. Most of the time, you don't see people with disabilities at all in movies/TV, just like most of the time, you don't see overweight people at all unless they're the object of ridicule. So, if there are plump people who are taking part in the same spoofy stuff as everyone else, great! Take your shot! If they're just there to be made fun of or called "sea mammals" (that sucked), OK, that's not so great. That's something we all need to raise hell about.

Another thing: I don't think this writer can dismiss Aly's movie based on the trailer; she needs to see the film before she can rightly complain. I thought the Knoxville thing looked really vicious from the commercials/trailers, but I have read here and elsewhere that it's actually respectful of the people with challenges/disabilities and makes fun of Knoxville. ("Stuck on You" was the same way -- an actor with a developmental disability was in the film, & he had some very funny lines, and a great scene where he stood his ground against a guy who was trying to diss him. Apparently, the Farrelly brothers are big backers of the Special Olympics and increased visibility for people with disabilities.)

OTOH, obviously, there is no reason to make fun of an entire class of people, whether their problem** is "inherited" (color of skin, some causes of obesity, etc.) or "acquired" (some forms of disability, overweight, etc.). I also agree that for some people, it is not just a matter of "diet and exercise" to lose weight; it is healthy to eat good foods and exercise, but if that doesn't make you look like Nicole Lohan-Hilton, you shouldn't be made to feel like you're one of society's rejects! I also agree that women who weigh more than average are unfairly treated with more negativity than men who are, as pointed out by that article writer when she talked about Kevin James, Jim Belushi, etc., getting hot wives on their TV shows (but large women not being shown with hunky husbands). Bless Joss for being different and asking Jewel to gain 20-30 pounds to play Kaylee, because she was supposed to look like an average woman. ;-)

**Edit -- thanks to bschnell for pointing out I used poor word choice above -- instead of "whether their problem," please imagine that I originally typed "whether the reason they are being made fun of."

[ edited by billz on 2006-01-08 21:10 ]
Okay (rolling eyes).

I never said it was okay to discriminate anyone. That column just made me cringe because it basically said that fat people are at the same disadvantage as non-white people. (The statement that non-white people are at a disadvantage being hers, not mine.) What I said was that non-white people are born that way, and there's nothing they can -- or should -- do about it. _Most_ fat people aren't born that way, and if _they_ don't like the way they look or feel, they have the great advantage of being able to change that. In short, what this lady writes is an insult to everyone who is at a real disadvantage they can do nothing about.
Interesting discussion. I have huge problems with the way the media pushes a " desirable" image to young women, an image that for most is unattainable or attainable only at the risk of severe damage to health. I felt sad and angry when Amber Benson was moved to respond to criticism about her character's weight and to describe herself as " heavy"... anyone who has ever met Amber will know that she's tiny! I haven't seen this trailer so I can't comment on it specifically but I can and will comment on some of the postings here that seem to be rather judgemental about size and weight. Self worth and self respect shouldn't be a matter of dress size and yet we live in a world where slim girls want to get slimmer and many others, faced with these and other pressures, develop the low self esteem that so often leads to weight gain and to health problems in later life. It's a lose lose situation. Especially given that the best way to screw up your metabolism and gain weight in the long term is to diet!
I'd like to see more " real" people in the media, people who are a healthy size and weight for their height would be a good start. I'd like the media to celebrate healthy strong bodies and not applaud when an actress diets herself to a size 0. But whilst we have our current obsession with a distorted image of physical perfection I can't see that happening. Wouldn't it be nice to see some healthy bodies on our screens and to be able to convince our teens that rib cages and shoulder blades are really not meant to be seen! Some of those red carpet shots of today's actresses look more like famine victims than beautiful role models.

Marilyn Monroe was a UK size 16 and considered a great beauty ,Bridget Jones , according to her diaries, weighed under 140lbs at her heaviest and in any reasonable society would not be defined as fat. Women were designed to have curves and to be too slim is as unhealthy as to be too heavy. And in my opinion nothing is sadder than a starlet who starves to get rid of her curves then has surgery to give herself a cleavage!

Ok, end of rant .

[ edited by debw on 2006-01-08 20:39 ]
Lone Fashionable Wolf: That's really interesting and makes perfect sense. We basically laugh at 'the other' (which is almost definitely better than declaring war on them) in order to assert that we are not 'the other' (I vaguely remember reading something about in-groups and out-groups) but tho' I agree with Ronald_SF that not all comedy is at someone's expense (e.g. i've just swapped out a Steven Wright CD for a Billy Connolly one, both mainly 'victimless' comedians) I still reckon that most comedy has the capacity to offend since there's always someone who isn't 'us' but is, in fact, 'the other'. However (and this wasn't clear from my previous post), comedy at the expense of an identifiable group is very dubious cos unlike with most comedy you can't fake it i.e. i'm sure most of us have laughed at a joke we didn't really get completely (we were pretending we were in-group) but if you're in an identifiable 'out-group' (however society - usually unjustly - defines it) that's not gonna wash. Basically, comedy at the expense of a group is tantamount to bigotry.

ETA: And both debw and Buffyactsing make excellent points to the effect that you can be what western culture arbitrarily considers overweight and still be perfectly healthy and (hopefully) happy.

[ edited by Saje on 2006-01-08 20:51 ]
>>OTOH, obviously, there is no reason to make fun of an entire class of people, whether their problem is "inherited" (color of skin, some causes of obesity, etc.) or "acquired" (some forms of disability, overweight, etc.)<<

Billz, I agree with every word you wrote (plus one might want to add Tara, who is definitely not on the skinny side) -- just to point out how tricky this is ... you didn't mean to say that peoples' skin color is a problem, did you? Thought so. Point being (again): I think that lady should have thought twice before publishing that column. Race discrimination is not the same critter as being made fun of because one is overweight (even if it may feel the same if one is at the receiving end of the hostility.)
debw, you're my hero (heroine?). I was totally scrawling out something about Marilyn Monroe, and when I previewed it, there was your post. I so agree that the current image of "pretty" is really weird. No wonder these starlets and supermodels keep getting admitted to the hospital for "dehydration and exhaustion" *coughlindsaylohancough* or taking cocaine etc. *coughkatemosscough*! :-(

bschnell, right, of course, I meant not that anyone has a problem (be it race, ability/disability, etc.), but if they have something that someone perceiving them has a problem with. I should revise the post, but then your post would seem weird. Maybe I'll add something, thanks for bringing it to my attention! :-) But, we might need to agree to disagree -- because it does feel bad to be made fun of, no matter the cause, I personally wouldn't separate race discrimination from weight discrimination, because they are both based on forms of pre-judgment (deciding it is OK to not like/make fun of someone because of their appearance, changeable or not).
>>because it does feel bad to be made fun of, no matter the cause<<

Billz -- true. But pointing a finger at another group that gets made fun of, saying that there'd be an uproar if they got it as bad as fat people did, doesn't make anything better. That's what that column did, and what riles me. (See how my posts keep getting shorter? I am getting to the point ... where I get to my point. *s*)

[ edited by bschnell on 2006-01-08 21:13 ]
Funny is subjective. Aly does my funny. Nuff said.
I do not like where this topic is going. Favor, lets take it elsewhere. Please.
I like how she's judging the movie entirely based on the trailer, despite the fact she said she did the same thing with Shallow Hal only to "revise her opinion of it" after actually seeing the freaking film.

I also like double-standards. A white person dressing up as a black person? Scandalous. But last years film, White Chicks, had two black men dressing up as spoiled rich women. They made fun of blondes! Paris Hilton probably marched on Washington, and I guess I just never heard about it.

I'm generally of the opinion that you need to have a sense of humour going through life, because otherwise you're just going to find yourself getting offended and annoyed a lot. And if you DO get offended, I'm also of the opinion that you just shouldn't watch the god damned film when it's released. That would seem to be the healthy option, but instead we get articles, complaints and endless moaning from all sides about the media. I hear Janet Jackson has nipples? Yeah. Better sue 20th Century Fox for making this film. I guess if I had a motto, it'd be "Get over it. Laugh more." Or perhaps "Oh shut up." or maybe "To each their own."

I don't know. But looking at the trailer, it's not even making fun of fat women. It's making fun of stereotypical date movies and all the clichés that exist in those. Including women who miraculously lose weight in pursuit of a man, as well as Wedding Crashers, Wedding Planner, Meet The Parents, Napoleon Dynamite and more. Isn't there a difference between denegrating fat women, and making fun of movies that denegrate fat women? Of making fun of movies that say "You have to be skinny to get a man"? I guess this is a subtlety lost on the writer of the column.

And finally, why is everyone so down on Alyson Hannigan just because she's decided she wants to do comedy? She said in interviews that she wanted to work in front of a live audience, which is why she kept going for sitcoms. Yet everytime I come here there's just a whole load of people complaining about how they've lost respect for her, or how she's "sold out" or whatever. Geez. She's doing what she wants to, and she's obviously having fun in the process.

Didn't anyone see The Incredibles? Saying everyone is special is just another way of saying no one is. People talk about how our differences are the best thing about us, but it's always while arguing against films that mention differences. Should we just pretend that we're all the same? "Different" doesn't mean "unequal", yet apparently the way to "celebrate our differences" is to never mention that they exist in the first place. Doesn't avoiding making jokes regarding overweight people - or even just the STEREOTYPE of overweight people in films - mean you're treating them differently anyway? We're only allowed to laugh at thin, attractive people with nothing physically or mentally remarkable about them? Is that it? It seems completely insane. Better not kill Tara, because she's a lesbian, and people might take offense. No no, only kill the straight people.
Am I missing something? While voicing her displeasure at Hollywood making fun of fattys, I think Aly has been treated unfairly.

Corrrect me if I'm wrong but the actress the author is being critical of is the same actress that gained a majority of her fame by claiming to have stuck a wind-wood in her naughty place at bandcamp. A professional comedian can make us laugh with great timing (as Willow in BtVS) or as a goofy band geek with sex on her mind (American Pie). So she threw on a fat suit to get a few laughs. So what. Am I suppoed to feel bad that I laughed at the trailer?

I agree its not good taste but at least its not politically correct. Does everything have to be in good taste? I'm sick of everything becoming PC, especially one of my guilty pleasures, R rated comedy films.

(I'm picturing Eliza Doolittle yelling at the Ascot races, "Move your bloomin' ass!!!" PC indeed.)
Good rant, Gonnas.
Billz: Damn, I forgot about Wonderfalls. There was me thinking i'd die young but at least i'd look cool doing it then you have to up and remind me, 'Nope, you'll also look ridiculous' ;)
I didn't find the trailer funny at all. That said, I agree with pretty much everything Gonnas wrote, especially "It's making fun of stereotypical date movies and all the clichés that exist in those."

Purely as a matter of personal taste, though, "humor" that is slopped on so broadly, so indiscriminately, and so unsubtlely just doesn't do it for me. Even with bad-taste humor, I want to feel that the writer actually takes a moral position (or say, cares) about something. Otherwise, why should I care about anything in the movie? Say what you want about the first American Pie, I felt it treated its characters with some degree of affection. I can't criticize Date Movie in this regard because I haven't seen it yet - but the preview suggests it won't be my bag of chips. Which is, you know, fine.

Not touching the wider political debate here, except to say that I believe being obese (as opposed to needing to lose a few pounds, which is the condition of many of us) is much less a matter of personal choice than most people realize.
There was me thinking i'd die young but at least i'd look cool doing it then you have to up and remind me, 'Nope, you'll also look ridiculous' ;)

Hey, that's what we're here for -- to support each other! ;-)

Speaking of which...good posts, everybody! Excellent rants, and other good points being made. Yay civilized debate! :-)
I heart Aly. period.
Should have known, never mind.
Finally, I felt rage. How dare "two of the six writers of 'Scary Movie' " make fun of white people. black people. mexicans. the mentally handicapped. catholic priests. white women specifically rich and blonde. southerners. michael jackson. and the list goes on...
Should we just pretend that we're all the same? "Different" doesn't mean "unequal", yet apparently the way to "celebrate our differences" is to never mention that they exist in the first place. Doesn't avoiding making jokes regarding overweight people - or even just the STEREOTYPE of overweight people in films - mean you're treating them differently anyway? We're only allowed to laugh at thin, attractive people with nothing physically or mentally remarkable about them? Is that it? It seems completely insane. Better not kill Tara, because she's a lesbian, and people might take offense. No no, only kill the straight people.

OK Gonnas but you HAVE to agree there is a line between overused PC and outright discrimination, yes? Some of the earlier comments, could have been construed as being discriminitory, and hence the reaction that a few of us had. There is also a place for being compassionate in todays age.
Hannigan has them all in spades, and she disappoints me constantly

Okay, there's no way I'm not going to comment on that one.

Alyson Hannigan has to eat. And make money. And do as she sees fit. In terms of Buffyverse actresses, I'd say Aly is one of the people to have taken better projects.

I'd like to dispell the idea these people are getting constant offers to star in multiple movies with people battering at their doors.

Something like movie raises her profile in the 16-25 demographic who see these movies, and she's effectively 'opening' this movie. Yes, it'll almost certainly suck (and I'm sure Alyson will probably say that in 5 years time in an interview somewhere), but I don't think anybody should feel constantly disappointed in her choice of projects. She's trying to do her job, much like Alexis (next to be seen as a fat transvestite hooker in space... possibly).
I have a thumb rule, everything is funny as long as it's funny. Meaning, EVERYTHING is OK to joke about. Nothing is off-limit and shouldn't. I'd say that people who's seriously offended by this trailer suffers from taking themselves way too seriously and probably has some psychological baggage to deal with or is just trying way too hard to be politically correct. Sure, it might not be fair that fat people aren't generally looked upon as sexy and attractive, but life ain't fair. Please, show me the comedy that doesn't make fun of people's faults, shortcomings and/or oddities.
Don't forget Alyson Hannigan has two fanbases: The BTVS crowd (her most devoted) and the American Pie crowd (sadly, her largest). There is some crossover to be sure but not as much as you think. With Date Movie, Hannigan is obviously appealing to her American Pie fanbase. I'll wait to hear what Aly has to say about making that particular choice. I will also wait to see the film before judging it. I imagine that film will make fun of everyone and everything pretty much equally. Mostly, films from these creators lampoon other Hollywood films that take themselves too seriously. I imagine the fatsuit scene shown in the trailer (lampooning Shallow Hal and that milkshake song) is but a small segment of the actual film. It is too bad that scene takes up 75% of the trailer. I believe it is fair to judge the trailer harshly on its own merits as long as you don't pull a fundamentalist "Christian Right" move and launch a national campaign against a project sight unseen (see most recently the Book of Daniel "controversy"). That will only make more people want to see it, anyway... something the Fundys aren't smart enough to figure out.

If you see Date Movie and still find it grossly offensive... have at it. Tear it to pieces. Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing. Might as well use it while you still have it! :)

[ edited by Hjermsted on 2006-01-09 01:06 ]
If "stereotypes" are shown in film from hate or spite that's where they become too much me. Problem is that my "gentle teasing" is someone else's "spewing hate" and vice versa. Let the author of the article have her opinion. We don't know what she has had to live with - maybe the preview triggered unhappy memories of abuse she has received.

By the way, I think what matters in the end is how real people are treated in real life.
No disrespect meant to the author of the article, but I really think people just need to stop taking themselves so damn seriously and just enjoy things for what they are. I went and saw "The 40-Year Old Virgin" and, while not being a virgin (no,really), I am a big toy collector and have lots of things hanging on walls and unremoved from packages and things like that--the types of things that people like Steve Carrell's co-workers in that movie absolutely prey upon in terms of establishing "loser-hood," as it were. But instead of getting outraged ("I'm no loser, dammit! I've had sex!"), I just took it in the spirit in which it was intended. No harm, no foul. It's not a direct attack on me so why should I take it that way?

Besides, it should be noted the author was going to see "The Ringer" when she saw the preview, a film that makes light of the Special Olympics and those who participate in them. If there is a double-standard present in the article, I think that's it.
The trouble with some films is that that they can reinforce people's prejudices and are fodder for bullies in the workplace or at school/college.
>>The trouble with some films is that that they can reinforce people's prejudices and are fodder for bullies in the workplace or at school/college.<<

True. But only if these people are prejudiced/bullies to begin with. So it's not the films that are to blame, but the people/circumstances that made these bullies what they are. And that's a whole different debate.
Is 150 pounds really that much? In my book someone would have to be pretty short for that to make them overweight.
According to the CDC at 5'5", 150 pounds is considered overweight.
SoddingNancyTribe: Can I just say that this isn't really my type of movie either. I'm not a fan of the Scary Movie series. I'm not offended by it or anything, it's just not my cup of tea, and the Date Movie trailer didn't make me smile or laugh.

Typically, if people make fun of others for caring, then that annoys me. Doesn't really matter what it is, but if someone is "you suck, it's just a tv show, lol" or something, it just bugs me. I really do believe in "To each their own", and if someone is passionate about something then I can respect that. It doesn't matter if they're creating something and what they're making is bad, or tacky, or poorly drawn, written or whatever. Even if I offer criticism, I'm not going to make fun of them for having the need and guts to try, even if they fail.

But with things like, say, Team America: World Police, I can appreciate the message. Trey Stone and Matt Parker don't pick sides and tend to mock everyone indiscriminately. But to me, their satire is of the situation, rather than of the specific people. By not focusing on any one group, they're basically setting aside the real hate that exists between them all and saying, "It's all ridiculous. We can do nought but laugh."

And I like that.

Scary Movie and Date Movie? Less so.

nixygirl: Yes, there is such a thing as discrimination, but it so rarely exists in these sorts of situations. The trailer shows an overweight woman trying to attract men by dancing. She's happy, care-free, and smiling - but the men are repulsed and don't want anything to do with her. Setting aside the fact that you can't hold a persons taste in the opposite sex against them (some like large women, some don't), this is NOT the same as real-world discrimination. This isn't the same as a black person, or a fat person, being turned down for a job because they're black or fat. Comparing this to some of the real discrimination in the world seems petty, especially when I can't see what the filmmakers are supposedly saying about women that's so objectionable. That a lot of men don't like large women? Well... that's true, to be fair.

Djungleurban: Agreed. Anything should go in art. There shouldn't be a line beyond which things are banned or unallowed. Freedom of speech protects all. We shouldn't be trying to stick the pants back on Michelangelo's David, and like it or not Date Movie is protected just the same.
"The trouble with some films is that that they can reinforce people's prejudices and are fodder for bullies in the workplace or at school/college."

People will see what they want to see, and take from things what they want to take.

I'm fairly sure you're in the UK, so do you remember the playground insult of calling some "a Joey"? "You Joey", or "A big Joey"? This was an insult that came from an episode of Blue Peter. They had a mentally disabled person on the show called Joey, and the idea was to encourage tolerance towards people with mental illnesses, and to stop terms like "retard" and "spastic" being used as insults.

But all that happened was that this guys name, "Joey", became a *new* insult in its own right.

You can't blame the producers of Blue Peter for that sort of thing, nor can you blame the creators of films for what people take away from their work. If people decide that all lesbians are crazy witches after watching Buffy, then that's not Joss' fault. If people watch Chasing Amy and decide that all lesbians need is some "serious deep dicking" from Ben Affleck, then that's not Kevin Smith's fault.
People will have prejudices, it's a fact of life. Unfortunately. But is it really a good thing for movie makers to constantly reinforces those prejudices in the name of entertainment and the mighty dollar?

Simon I agree 100% with your post.
At first I thought the article was a parody actually. Because I didn't know much about "The Ringer" so right away I thought that was a funny double standard, and than "mid-popcorn" it just seemed like an odd article for someone to mention food consumption, since the author was seemingly sensative about her weight. But by the end of the article it seemed more like the author was being serious, and just I dunno clueless.

I personally won't be seeing either movie as they aren't really my type of humor.

[ edited by Odysseus on 2006-01-09 03:26 ]
Gonnas I wasn't comparing that trailer to real world discrimination, if you had read my previous posts, you'll notice I thought she looked cute dancing, and wasn't offended at all. What I was commenting on was the highlighted section I had made of your post. I was aking you if you agreed with me that there was a line between poking fun and discrimination. Also to say it hardly exists in film, well, that'd be incorrect. The original Willow was chunky until some exec said, No we want her thin. (I mean I'm not complaining, I love Aly)

Simon and exoticmushroom really pointed out what I was trying to say, in a lot of ways. Cheers my lovelys.

Anyway, can you just re read my posts? I'm not a raving left wing fatty on a crusade to make the world PC for everybody to live in. (not that theres anything wrong with that) ; P

ETA: And to add some Valley speak, take a chill pill, dude. (just jossing ya, don't get cranky)

[ edited by nixygirl on 2006-01-09 03:49 ]
hmmm... I'm not going to comment until I see the movie.
Having once been VERY overweight (hmmm no longer...lost 100 lbs..am now 156lbs), I tend to get uncomfortable with this issue.

However, this movie seems to be making fun of romantic comedies as a whole (Hitch, Shallow Hal...blah.. blah.) and those movies tend to have a darker message (and I liked those two movies) underpinning them...
"You can't be complete until you are with your 'soul mate' "
whatever the heck that is.

And that's a terrible message for men and women.

Which, if you'll allow me, I will remind you of the great "cookie dough" exchange (benefit of Marti Noxon).

Which was a much more positive message than all that romantic comedy crap.

What we really need in this genre...is "Jerry Maguire" for women.

Jerry Maguire is, in some ways, a romantic drama/comedy for guys and it still smacked of that "you complete me" crap.

But the true heart of the movie was... what happens to you when you own up to your beliefs...when you follow who you're supposed to be?
You grow up...You become a real boy.

But the romantic comedy, tells women AND men (although you'll hear guys writing them off "chick movies"...they listen to the message too), you don't need to grow up, your mate will make you complete.

Bull...
We're all cookie dough.

[ edited by hbojorquez on 2006-01-09 04:54 ]
There is a line between poking fun and discrimination. But my point was that in film, it tends to be "poking fun", and NOT discrimination.

From all I've read, it was Joss' decision to re-cast Willow. And from having watching the unaired pilot myself, I can see why. Not because the original actress was a little overweight, but just because she wasn't... right. She just wasn't.

But to say that this is an example of it existing on film (which is what I was referring to), it's not really. That example isn't IN film, it's in the film *industry*. It's the equivalent to my example of real discrimination: "This isn't the same as a black person, or a fat person, being turned down for a job because they're black or fat."

But you seem to have mistaken the tone of my comment: while I was answering your question, much of what I then went on to say wasn't directed at you. And trust me, I couldn't be more chilled. I am cucumbuer, as in cool as a. I'm just also very dry, so sorry if that came off as, I don't know, rage or something.

Especially as "take a chill pill, dude" was actually my initial comment about the linked article.
Gonnas is right.
That actress for Willow was awful. No charisma at all. She just played up the part's victimhood as school nerd and not the inherent cheeriness of nerdliness.
No worries Gonnas, tone understood now. Valid points on all sides.

As to the original Willow, here's what Joss said at the Melbourne Q&A:

Question: Hi, I know you have a history of wanting more zaftig or curvy women in your 'verse, I know Willow was originally conceived that way, and Kaylee was originally conceived that way. I know we all like attractive people to be in film and television, but there's a lot of different ways to be attractive, and I'm just wondering whether you see that there's any hope to see more zaftig, curvy women in film and televsion in general.

JOSS: There are a few people out there who understand that, you know, there are some fairly chubby girls who are *wicked hot* and that there is nothing wrong with that, but like, it is unbelievable how much resistance those people meet. And, I'm talking about me, I'm talking about some other people too. I literally had executives who, you know, themselves might have fit that description, fighting against it. Like, it is a disease in LA, I've seen girls who were perfectly well proportioned start to lose weight, I've seen it over and over again. They look at themselves on the camera and they think they're fat. It was-- I mean I went to Canada to find somebody who was even remotely, you know, zaftig, and actually, Jewel was just eating a lot because I asked her to, and then of course by the time the movie came around she'd stopped, and she was very nervous when she came back, and she lost all that weight, and I was like "Sweetie, you're Kaylee, there's not a lot I'm gonna do now." But, it's a fight, it's a weird thing that it's a fight, but it is. If I want to have a character like that, I have to have so much power that I can't be shouted down by a network or a studio, because they're gonna shout, I don't know why. I don't know why, I know there are guys out there that are waiting for this, I know there are girls out there that need this, and I know there, you know it's, I mean-- It's ridiculous to me, that this is even remotely a stigma, because it's, you know, so much a part of us. It's like - are these girls who are all made up of elbow, are they hot? Is that a good thing? Are bicycle frames sexy? Did I miss something? It's just, you know, it's just I can't explain it, it's like, a sort of, you know, pure(?) misogyny, and it's just, you know, the homophobia that, just, the most liberal, and decent, right-thinking and artistic people in the world that you're hanging out with suddenly hit you with, and you can't believe just how, stuck in Hollywood culture it is. It's a fight, it's a battle, it's one that I've failed to win, twice now, as you know, not that you were saying I failed, you were very nice, but that's basically the case. So, but, you know, I'm out there, and I know there's other people that are, so you know, just give us time. We'll beat 'em down.

*applause*

I am overweight myself, because of something that happened with my tonsils that happened when I was but a wee lad, and I've been on a fitness program as of late, which is really helping.

But I still find fat jokes offensive. And not just fat jokes. Racist jokes, ethnic jokes...pretty much everything that rips others apart because of their appearance. Which is one of the many reasons I am appalled by the Date Movie trailers. The many others are each the same thing: "It sucks."

I can deal with Paris Hilton jokes, though. Those never get old.
Not touching the wider political debate here, except to say that I believe being obese (as opposed to needing to lose a few pounds, which is the condition of many of us) is much less a matter of personal choice than most people realize.

Absolutely correct, SNT, and there is ample scientific evidence that's been around for decades to prove that obesity is not a matter of bad habits or poor choices for the vast majority of people who struggle with it. The reason it's not emphasized may have to do with the profit motive of the diet industry - but that's another discussion.

I am a little appalled at the choices AH has made in movies and television since BtVS ended. I hate to say it but even her stints on Veronica Mars don't redeem her, because she hasn't been all that good on them. Here was a woman who was in a very intelligent, "woman-power-is-good" show, who could have made choices to make herself look less desperate as an actor and more intelligent as a human being; instead she chooses banal teen flicks and mediocre TV shows where fart jokes might actually elevate the level of brain-function. I want to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she hasn't had much of a choice (which maybe she hasn't), but it is kind of embarrassing to watch her these days.

The author of this article has every right to feel the way she does about the constant barrage of imagery perpetuating stereotypes of obese people. Humor at the expense of others is the lowest form of humor. It's inherently cruel, and is usually perpetuated by people who never think about the consequences of their behaviors, never see the connect between their actions or words and the distress a lifetime of putting up with them can cause an individual, and usually deny that they've done anything to contribute to someone else's pain. These people are usually in a position of advantage or privilege, so someone who has never struggled with obesity and has never had anyone in their family struggle with it might arrogantly think that they are doing everything right, while people struggling with their weight must be doing something wrong, when in fact they simply have a genetic predisposition to have a higher metabolism than other people (or a tapeworm).

And nixygirl and hbojorquez, I'm so in love with you two in a very chaste, platonic, and non-gender-specific way!

[ edited by Nebula1400 on 2006-01-09 07:14 ]
Thanx Nebula1400, altho, I was going for the sexay vote! Heh heh. ; )
Thank you Nebula...
hmmm... hmmmm.... I'm vklempt
I am very overweight. I have a condition that makes it very difficult to lose weight; my mother also has it and she utterly starves herself (consuming about 800 calories per day) yet she can't get lower than about 180 lbs at 5'5". I don't starve myself so I weigh considerably more than that. I haven't seen this trailor so I certainly can't comment specifically on it, but I've certainly seen plenty of fat jokes in movies and television. And they do hurt.

The trailer shows an overweight woman trying to attract men by dancing. She's happy, care-free, and smiling - but the men are repulsed and don't want anything to do with her. Setting aside the fact that you can't hold a persons taste in the opposite sex against them (some like large women, some don't), this is NOT the same as real-world discrimination. This isn't the same as a black person, or a fat person, being turned down for a job because they're black or fat.


You're correct. This is not the same thing as being denied employment. What is is doing is reminding me that because I am fat I am repulsive. That the idea that I could possibly be attractive to a man is so ridiculous it's funny. And I'm sorry, but that hurts.

How would you feel if someone informed you that you were repulsive?

I don't normally walk around thinking I'm disgusting. I usually feel mostly okay about myself. But then I see something like what this article describes and it feels like I'm being slapped in the face.

See, it's not all about being Politically Correct, it's just about not hurting people's feelings. I don't think that's all that much to ask, really.

Incidentally, if you think no one's ever been denied work because of being overweight, think again. And I'm not just talking about jobs that actually have anything to do with one's size like Flight Attendant. One of my dearest friends was able to prove that she wasn't hired in a social work postion, due to her weight.
I don't blame Alyson for taking the role, and I don't know how much of the movie it takes up, but I DO blame the editors of that trailer for deciding that the majority of it should be taken up by a scene that isn't so much a "fat joke" as "fat woman hate." Other than the two fat guys who ignore her completely, every man in that scene shows that they're beyond disgusted that a fat woman would dance happily and flirt (but it's okay for the two fat gays to dance, since they're men, so they're not disgusting). Sure, not every guy is attracted to large women, like not every man is attracted to [fill in the blank] women, but the men are just staring rudely, making horrified, nauseated faces, and the firefighters react to her by turning a firehose on her. Yes, the proper reaction to seeing a dancing woman who's not your type is to make rude faces and turn a firehose on her, knocking her over and sending her sliding down the rough pavement. But only if she's fat, not just because she's [fill in the blank same as above]. And the editors of the trailer chose that to showcase in their trailer, because they believe everyone in the audience must think making rude faces at and physically assaulting dancing fat women is their kind of funny, funny humor.

And why does it make any difference whether or not someone's capable of losing weight? Dieting shouldn't be considered mandatory for someone to be treated with respect. Plenty of people who are 300-400 pounds live long productive lives and die in their 80s or 90s, and plenty of skinny people drop dead of a heart attack while they're in their 40s. It's a personal choice whether or not to starve yourself in order to try to reach society's ideal or to achieve possible health benefits, but choosing not to (or not being able to successfully diet) shouldn't make it right for strangers to call you a sea mammal. If the writer is expressing her anger at the media continuing to make jokes at how disgusting it is for a woman to be anything but rail-thin, it shouldn't matter whether or not she eats popcorn in a theater like every other single human. (And unbuttered air-popped popcorn is very low in calories, but apparently it's not okay for a plump woman to eat or drink ANYTHING)
Thank You Ladies. Your both much more eloquent with speach than I!
do you remember the playground insult of calling some "a Joey"?

*nods* Same thing here in the U.S.; "Corky," a character in a show called "Life Goes On" who was played by an actor with Down syndrome.

I agree with gossi when he stated that AH probably doesn't have that much choice in roles. I will bet you anything that, at her age and as pretty as she is, a lot of the roles Aly gets offered involve nudity. That's certainly what has been reported about SMG. When both of these talented ladies turn down these roles, there's probably not so many left. A sitcom or a guest role on a TV drama (which I'm a huge fanboy of! ;-)) sound pretty good!

How would you feel if someone informed you that you were repulsive?

It's the same fine folks who turn away or can't make eye contact with me when I smile at them while sitting in my 'chair. Jerks. Frak 'em.

And the editors of the trailer chose that to showcase in their trailer

The editors are just taking their orders from suits at the studio. J'accuse les suits! ;-)

(And unbuttered air-popped popcorn is very low in calories, but apparently it's not okay for a plump woman to eat or drink ANYTHING)

Excellent point! I've heard that people who are overweight get dirty looks from strangers when they eat out. "OK, you've lost your right to eat, you sea mammal, and I, a walking skeleton, have the right to judge you!" Like I said earlier...frak 'em. ;-)
As long as it is ok for those of who want to and are losing weight...

I'm starting to feel guilty that I want to be thin.
TamaraC, hun, don't feel guilty, please. Nobody is saying that desiring to be thinner, or working at being healthier is a bad choice. We have a new thread about healthier choices on Flickr. We're objecting to the media's obsession with skinny, and the denegration of chunkier people. You should absolutely not feel guilty about wanting to loose some weight, unless that itself is unhealthy.
Nobody is saying that desiring to be thinner, or working at being healthier is a bad choice.

Hear, hear, nixygirl! Making a choice with your life for your own reasons, whether profound or not (doesn't have to be "i'm concerned about my health;" "I can't afford to buy new, bigger jeans" is just fine), is great! Being pushed into it by magazines, or by people rejecting you, not great. :-(
It has long amazed me how so many intelligent, seemingly self-empowered, free-thinking people in the world have, for the last 30-35 years, slavishly worshipped at the altar of "thin". How did the fashionable style in bodies change over time, and why does anyone feel compelled to follow styles anyway? To paraphrase Thoreau: the head monkey in Paris says to (I forget this bit) and all the monkeys on both sides of the Atlantic follow suit. Joss is right, human nature doesn't change.

I am a male who decades ago became a member of NOW at the age of eighteen, and it saddens me that as progress has been made in employment, wages, etc., most women I know are still mindless automatons when it comes to their body shape. Conformity is king (or queen).

Also, if making fun of what you percieve to be another's shortcomings isn't the lowest form of humor, requiring the least talent to produce, and appealing to the basest instincts in the most people, then Joss' work would be raking in a lot more viewers than the crap that is.
most women I know are still mindless automatons when it comes to their body shape. Conformity is king (or queen).

OK, my brothers, then we have to support our sisters! Men, we need to remember that women are beautiful at all sizes. We can help remind them, instead of turning away from a woman who is larger than a waif. I'm just sayin'. :-)
Most people I know are still mindless automatons when it comes to everything. Be it weight, speaking up about things (don't rock the boat about anything!), having opinions about things yadadada. I don't think it's fair to suggest women are any more programmes of society than any of the rest of us.
"What is is doing is reminding me that because I am fat I am repulsive. That the idea that I could possibly be attractive to a man is so ridiculous it's funny. And I'm sorry, but that hurts."

As I noted, some people like large women and some don't. Some people like skinny women and some don't. It's that simple. It doesn't mean you're repulsive, it just means that peoples tastes are subjective. At the moment society seems to prefer, as a whole, the ideal of a skinny woman, but it hasn't always been that way and it could very easily change in the future. I'm sorry that the trailer reminds you that some people don't find you attractive, but the trailer is obviously an over-the-top charicature, and if films spent their entire time trying to avoid offending *everyone* then they wouldn't ever be released. I'm sure lots of people were offended by Joss' work. In fact, I know they were. Just look at all the Family Media groups that rally against it.

"How would you feel if someone informed you that you were repulsive?"

Unsurprised.

"Incidentally, if you think no one's ever been denied work because of being overweight, think again."

I don't think that. What makes you think I think that? Was it that I made reference to people not getting a job because of their weight being an example of real discrimination? Because surely that would have imply I thought it DID happen.

You're offended by the idea of the trailer, and I'm sorry for that. I'm betting a lot of people aren't though, and I'm betting a lot of overweight people aren't. It's all subjective, so what would you do?

"Yes, the proper reaction to seeing a dancing woman who's not your type is to make rude faces and turn a firehose on her, knocking her over and sending her sliding down the rough pavement."

Welcome to comedy. It's not about the proper reaction. I'm fairly sure people don't dance in the street in the first place.

And the cab driver was attracted to her to begin with, despite her size. He was only turned off when her breasts swung round her back. Which is why I'd say it's fairly obviously not a realistic depiction of overweight women. It's not meant to be serious or real. It's a cartoon.

What's funny is that if it had been a skinny woman dancing, and the men had thought, "Ugh. I like large women." and had hosed her down, then no one would have complained. It wouldn't have been an assault on skinny women, and skinny women wouldn't have been offended. Because mostly these things are only objectionable if you're already insecure, and while you might be insecure because of the media, you can't blame a film for *reminding* you that you're insecure.

This whole thing is just silly to me. You can't be offended by every little thing, let alone an over-the-top comedic depiction of men finding a particular woman unattractive.
I'll watch one of those entertainment interviews shows and they'll be all about some actress losing the pounds she gained and how great it is (kristie alley, anna nicole) but in the next breath they go on about the young actresses like Lindsay Lohan and Richie who are starving themselves to exhaustion. I don't know whether to pick up a popsicle or a crackpipe.

And its not just women who have problems with their appearance. I'm constantly told that to be desirable I must be buff or rich, preferably both.

[ edited by eddy on 2006-01-09 14:24 ]
This thread makes me want to pick up a popsicle AND a crackpipe.
No wissxwe, a popsicle is never the answer! ; )
You know, I've seen enough people tormented by their excess weight that I just have to say that it's not, and never will be, funny. Sure, sometimes it's about too many Big Macs, but just as often it can be about genetics, stress, and economics, or a combination of the three. Yes, seriously: economics. Overweight is related to poverty because processed foods are also cheaper, and it's easier to just grab something like that when you're working all day. And "working" often means "sitting on your butt for 8 hours straight."

Wealthier people also may have more time to exercise, or can afford to buy their own exercise machines. My beloved former boss had his own gym at the office--employees were not permitted within its hallowed walls and besides, with a 45 minute lunch break in a 9 hour workday, who would bother.

Anyone who doubts this should ask themselves how often they've seen someone very wealthy who was fat, as opposed to buff and in shape. In the middle ages, fat was related to wealth and thinness to poverty; nowadays it's quite the reverse situation.

[ edited by Ilana on 2006-01-09 15:30 ]
Sorry -- I haven't had time to follow the whole thread, just saw a few comments... I just want to add that, in my experience, debates along the lines of "who is oppressed more" never are that fruitful, really. To say that minority people or handicapped people (or any group of people) also face discrimination does not counter the view that this trailer is harmful.

[ edited by Ronald_SF on 2006-01-09 16:26 ]
wissxwe I concur.

Two points re humour and body types

One: I once had a co-worker who told date rape jokes at work. When I asked him to please not tell them in my presence as I found them offensive he told my male co-workers I was a "castrating man-hating lesbian feminist b**ch with no sense of humour". Lovely.

Two: It's interesting how in this discussion on discrimination against larger women, negative comments about smaller women have been made. I am thin - I have been all my life but total strangers have no problem make snide comments about my body. I am not dieting. I am not anorexic. I am not obsessed about my weight. 100 years ago I would have been considered repulsive. Put me beside Marilyn Monroe and I'd look like "stick figure Barbie". But this is me - my real shape. When the genetic dice were rolled this is what I got. My Mom got pear, I got "coat hanger".
redfern, you bring up a good point. Any prejudice based on surface appearance leads to belittling a person. I would say that I think we were talking about the starlets who have drastically changed their appearance, such as Nicole Ritchie, Lindsay Lohan, Anna Nicole Smith, etc., who all have had "before and after" pictures printed by the tabloids because you can't help but notice that they lost a lot of weight in a short time -- so it was their choice to become very thin. Sorry people have been snide to you, and hope I wasn't one of them. :-(

Maybe we can put your ex-co-worker in front of the engines and turn them on? What a creep! For the 3rd or 4th time in this thread -- frak 'em.
Thanks billz - I loved the engine comment. Frak 'em indeed.

Sorry about the people who won't look you in the eye cause you are in a chair. I use a cane and I find people are either absolutely lovely or the opposite.
okay....
Being overweight and unhappy about it and the butt of jokes, mistreatment and abuse is simply a horrific situation.

It becomes your identity.
Your sense of self becomes completly wrapped up in that place.

I understand completely....This Christmas I showed up with some baked goods at work, a co-worker (who didn't know me when I was overweight) said, "oooohh Santa"

My response, "Is that fat joke?", was only in half-jest-- because there's a part of my brain that remembers all too well what it was like.

Having said that, I'm gonna give Aly the benefit of doubt, until I see it (if I see it). Acting is a difficult business- you just try to get what comes sometimes-- until you get some power...it's very difficult to be terribly choosy.

If I can forgive Whoopi Goldberg (who is a seriously fine and principled actress) for some of the train wrecks she's been in... Aly can get cut a break.

and BTW--"date rape" or "rape" jokes simply not funny EVER and I have an atrociously innapropriate sense of humor.

and if that makes me a castrating MAN.... hand me the dull blade!
Redfern I agree also, it's just as bad to make fun of thin people to. I love people of all shapes, colours and creeds, (wheels and canes included) I'd also like to be in the line up to see the silly frak in front of the engine. What a foolsh person he is.

This has been a heated and also good thread to read. It's not a bad thing dicussing all of this stuff. It also doesn't hurt to have a sence of humour about yourself, which I do. I've also realised how much more I love this board, and you wonderful people!
Big hugs to you all!
Personally I will be glad when this thread slips below the horizon; I think it is too bad to blame Aly for taking a staring role in a movie by the successful creators of the Scary Movie series. And I also think it is too bad to give more criticism to Aly for wearing a fat suit to spoof 'Shallow Hal' than Gwyneth Paltrow got for originating the role in the first place. I do not believe that Aly or 'Date Movie' intend to make fun of fat people, I think that they are making fun of movies like 'Shallow Hal', but until the movie actually comes out we (none of us) can know that for sure.
embers this thread isn't an attack on Aly, more like an interesting discussion on what constitutes comedy.

And I think rape jokes are a good example of why not everything has to be open to comedy. Rape? Not funny. Why would anyone want to laugh at that? Freedom of speech is vital, yes, but just because you can say stuff doesn't mean it's right.
Well, this thread is about to go, so it is time for me to post. (I really don't do this on purpose. Honest.)

I don't like cruel humor. I also don't like bodily function humor, humor based on how embarrassed someone is (I guess that really comes under cruel again.) and most extremely broad humor. That said it is a given I was not going to be going to this movie and have not seen most of the movies this one is making fun of.

I tend to agree with the writer of the article on a few points.

1. She is making a point about being subjected to offensive material in trailers and is judging what she saw in the trailer. I agree about trailers being potential sources of offence that you did not come to the theater to see. For instance, I hate and avoid horror movies. I remember being out to a movie with friends one New Years Eve looking to have a good time. Suddenly in a preview a close-up of a head exploded on screen. It totally grossed me out and put a damper on the rest of the evening. Am I too sensitive? Very probably, but knowing that about myself I avoid such things and this was sprung on me without my consent.

2. I think she was trying to point out that it is now considered bad taste to make jokes about almost everyone except fat people, not to compare victimization.

Fat jokes are cruel. Skinny jokes are cruel. So are a lot of other jokes about people. None of them are necessary. Popular entertainment does not create prejudices but it can tell people whether or not it is all right with society to have those prejudices and express them. Whatever the movie ends up saying, IMO the trailer does say all the bad things about being fat that people on the thread accused it of saying.

I have watched people shrivel up when being made fun of and being told they are repulsive and I have experienced it. It can be heart wrenching and I do not wish it on anyone.

As for AH, as I said when this movie first came up, it looks like a movie that will help her career while being something I would have to be paid big gobs of money to see. Good for her. I can see people being upset at her for being party to something that offended them, but I figure she is trying to make a career. If she doesn’t mind doing that kind of humor and it gets her noticed, she should go for it and good luck to her.
People find prison rape and "dropping the soap" funny. Its like schauddenfraude(sp?) in a way.
That's really true eddy, and a really good point.
Also newcj thank you for the really great post, hey, I'm glad you decide to write it. I think it somes up a lot of our feelings nicely.
Happily this film will go the way of "Just Friends", which had a small opening and went in a whimper. I don't exactly fault AH, but i eagerly await the bombing of said film and I hope that with the lack of success from both films, the appeal of sticking someone in a fat suit for this kind of lowest denominator humor will have dwindled. Oh i know fat jokes won't ever go away, sadly, but one day, i hope that it won't be a film's center premise.

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