On being fat and liking creators who have done anti-fat material


I love some of Tina Fey’s work. But she tells fat jokes, including a sketch where she appeared in a fat suit.

I love The Simpsons, but soooo many fat jokes.

By far my favorite MCU work is Jessica Jones, which had a nasty fat joke in the first episode.

I love some of the Austin Powers movies, but the fat jokes (and the fat suit) – ugh. The worst of the worst.

Bill Murray apparently makes more fat jokes on screen than any other actor, but I will love Groundhog Day until I die and then i hope they bury me with a video player playing Groundhog Day on infinite loop.

I love Evan Dorkin’s “Eltingville Club” – it’s brilliant cartooning, and a great satire of the darkest side of fandom – but it’s a trashfire of cruel fat jokes, and in the early installments, at least, it doesn’t read like Dorkin sees a problem with that.

In the TV show Maya and Marty, Martin Short wears a fat suit for a sketch full of “fat people are gross” jokes at least once per episode. That won’t stop a liberal site like Vox from loving it – they won’t even find that worth noting.

I love love love the show Grace and Frankie, created by Marta Kaufman, who also created the fat-joke-filled sitcom Friends. (To tell you the truth, I like Friends, too, although it did so much so wrong.)

I’m a big Joss Whedon fan, especially of Buffy. Hey, remember this travesty of a fat suit from Buffy? It’s nearly the only time any fat character has appeared in a Whedon production.

I could go on, and on, and on, and on. Honestly, comedy is so saturated with anti-fat ideology that you can pretty much safely assume that everyone in comedy has done it. And entertainment as a whole is only a little better.

So do I think we should all stop watching works by these creators and more? No.

I’m not willing to harm myself by refusing to watch entertainment by people who have made or participated in anti-fat jokes. If other people want to cut these folks and a zillion others out of their entertainment menu, that’s fine, but I’m not going to do that. Nor do I think others should do it; nor do I think that thin people are bad allies if they enjoy works by creators who have made anti-fat jokes.

I don’t think Tina Fey and Joss Whedon and all these other folks are bad people. Or that they hate fat people. I think they come from a society in which anti-fat beliefs are the norm, and that’s reflected in their work.

I’m all for criticizing the anti-fat ideology in their work. But I’m not going to call them bad as people, and I’m not going to call anyone else bad as people for enjoying their work, and I’m not going to call myself a bad person for enjoying their work.

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8 Responses to On being fat and liking creators who have done anti-fat material

  1. 1
    JutGory says:

    I would not say I am anti-fat (pro-fat?, whatever). I don’t mind fat jokes; if it’s funny, it’s funny (Cartman and Homes being good examples). But, I could never get into Mike and Molly because it seemed like that was the only joke they had. It just wasn’t funny.

  2. 2
    nobody.really says:

    I love love love the show Grace and Frankie, created by Marta Kaufman, who also created the fat-joke-filled sitcom Friends.

    Me too! But I rarely encounter other fans.

    And I can’t friggin’ believe that they’re not putting out another episode until 2017. Jeez, it’s not a small cast–and they ain’t exactly spring chicks, ya know? So what are the odds that everyone will survive until the new year? Let’s get a move-on, guys!

    But why call the show Grace and Frankie rather than the more melodic Frankie and Grace?

    And finally: Have they done fat jokes on the show? (I hope hope hope they have–‘cuz that would mean that there’s an episode I haven’t seen yet!)

    (“…that’s cold, mom….”)

  3. 3
    Doug S. says:

    Would you give the same pass to works by 1920s comedians that included racist material?

  4. 4
    Ampersand says:


    If I can jump forward to the 1930s, the “Gabriel” number from the Marx Brothers’ movie “A Day At The Races” is extremely racist – too racist for me to enjoy. But that doesn’t prevent me from enjoying other Marx Brothers bits, and I don’t have to defend the racism to say that doing a racist sketch in the 1930s didn’t make the Marx Brothers irredeemably awful people.

  5. 5
    Ben Lehman says:

    I like Looney Tunes. But not all of it.

  6. 6
    Chris says:

    Yeah, I’m not sure what “give the same pass” means in your comment, Doug; I don’t think Barry is giving anyone a pass.

    Were I alive in the 1920s, even if I were an anti-racist at that time, I’d probably have to ignore certain racist material in otherwise decent works. I don’t think anyone is saying such material isn’t wrong, just that it’s part of the society of the time, and should be understood in context.

  7. 7
    Mandolin says:

    I don’t disagree with any of this — but is someone asking you to do these things?

  8. 8
    Ampersand says:

    Mandolin, I’ve been seeing the idea that if an actor or creator has participated in something bad, then they’re trash and they or their work isn’t any good. Recently, I’ve seen this said about the upcoming Wonder Woman movie (because the lead actor is Israeli and pro-Israel), and about Kate Mackinnon of “Ghostbusters” (because of a trans boy character she played on Saturday Night Live), and about the writer of the new “Captain America” comic because of alleged antisemitism; but there are many other instances, especially if you read Tumblr. :-p

    But no, no one has specifically asked me this stuff. But it’s been in the air enough so that I felt like writing this post.