FX’s Louie Gives A Voice to TV’s “Fat Girl”
Louie is one of televisions best shows and it has garnered such admiration from fans, and acclaim from critics, for its ability to put a microscope over a myriad of life’s little moments, moments considered to be mundane and/or trivial. But Louis C.K., creator/writer/director/editor and, of course, the star of Louie, brings a sense of importance and weight to these moments. It brings up questions in life that aren’t necessarily discussed on television, but because C.K. is a comedian and has worked out a deal with FX to have full control over the show and its content, we seem to be getting a personal (sometimes hilarious, other times dark) declaration from him, a declaration that has become one of the most enigmatic and fascinating half hours to watch on television.
How Would That Look
In episode three of Louie titled “So Did The Fat Lady,” Louie has an encounter with a charming and funny waitress at the Comedy Cellar named Vanessa. Vanessa doesn’t look like the model played by Yvonne Strahovski in the season four premiere titled “The Model,” but we were intrigued when Louie had the opportunity to sleep with her before he knocked her out cold. When Vanessa bluntly asks out Louie after his set he turns her down, and the first thought that went through my head was the thought that Louie wouldn’t like how he would be perceived if he went out with a fat girl. To me it’s a funny premise because how dare Louie think he’s above Vanessa because of the way she looks, when in a previous sequence we witness Louie and his brother gorging two meals back-to-back (coined a “bang-bang”) and Louie is ashamed that his brother would explain this to a cute waitress because of how it would be perceived.
You see, we often praise men for dating up, but if a woman dates up (remember the Girls episode, “One Man’s Trash”?) it’s ridiculed and bashed for weeks on end. It’s a double standard that has gone on for as long as we can remember within popular culture, and I’m glad Louis C.K. found a way to address it in “So Did The Fat Lady.” Now I’m not here to say that the perspective is 100% right, but at least it’s a perspective that could easily be the right one for many overweight women. On the other hand there are other ways to express this double standard, but you won’t catch me attempting to do that here.
But there’s a discussion to be had about the stigma of the “fat girl” in this world and how it’s portrayed in film and television. The backlash brought forth on Lena Dunham after “One Man’s Trash” was ridiculous and disgusting. Dunham isn’t a “model type” so when we see someone of her appearance making out on screen and humping someone that looks like Patrick Wilson, we scoff at it. We put it in a pile of ridicule because it’s beyond comprehension that this could ever happen. There are incidents in life as a man when we meet an attractive woman and she’s a complete dud or so full of herself. There’s that notion that she’s out of our league or we’re not good enough for her, but we also piece together that notion because it’s the societal norm and that she’s of a higher status because she’s attractive and we’re not. It’s the same thing if you flip it around, and I commend Louis C.K. and Sarah Baker (who plays Vanessa) for somewhat addressing this.
So Did The Fat Lady
“So Did The Fat Lady” is one of the most thought-provoking episodes of Louie to date. It’s a great episode of television that is both funny and captivating, and I like to think that’s the most appealing blend for this show. But there’s also the plethora of little questions Louis C.K. asks in every episode about being a comedian, a father, a fat guy, a fat girl, what is real, what isn’t real and what is right and wrong. It’s like nothing else on television and you should take a peek at it if you get the chance.
Louie airs at 10 and 10:30 p.m. Monday’s on FX.