Skip to main content

Louis C.K.'s 'Fat Girl' strikes a nerve

By Lisa Respers France, CNN
updated 6:16 PM EDT, Wed May 14, 2014
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The show takes on the issue of plus-size women dating
  • One writer calls the episode "brutally honest"
  • Another applauds Louis C.K. for tackling the issue

(CNN) -- The fat lady didn't sing on "Louie," but she delivered one hell of a speech -- it's stirring debate.

A recent episode of Louis C.K.'s hit FX series involved the comedian grappling with the idea of dating an overweight woman, played by actress Sarah Baker. At one point late in the episode, Baker's character delivers a seven-minute speech that Jezebel called "absolutely magnificent."

The character Vanessa both berates Louis and laments the difficulties of dating as a plus-size woman -- though she's not one to use euphemisms.

'Fat Girl Dancing' video goes viral

"On behalf of all the fat girls, I'm making you represent all the guys," she says. "Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us, that's just not in the cards for us? Nope. Not for us."

(Warning: The following video contains explicit language.)

It's the usual uncomfortable style for Louis C.K., who writes for and stars in the show that bears his name. The comic is known for making audiences feel queasy even as he has them laughing.

Forbes called the scene "The Year's Most Brutally Honest Seven Minutes Of Television."

"As brilliant as the speech is, and as brilliant as Baker's performance is, what makes this work is Louie's willingness to just stand there and take it," Forbes contributor Allen St. John writes. "He makes a few lame gestures in self-defense, but even if Vanessa largely refuses to judge him, we don't. Louie is a jerk."

Baker told EW she thought the scene "was so beautifully written."

"My interpretation of it was that she's (telling Louie), 'You saying, "You're not fat," is like saying, 'The worst thing a woman can be is fat, so I'm not gonna call you that,' " Baker said. "Whereas she's kinda like, 'Yeah, I'm fat. You know, I'm nice, I'm funny, I'm cute -- so who cares?' "

Writing for the A.V. Club, Libby Hill applauded Louis C.K. for starting the conversation.

"No matter how sad it may be that the only way many will start to understand this maligned populace is if a white guy explains it to them, the fact remains that through the platform of his critically acclaimed show, Louis C.K. has given voice to the fat girl," she writes.

But not everyone is a fan. Writer Dan Weiss explored the episode for The Concourse, noting that "there's zero representation for actual FAs ('fat admirers,' which is admittedly a voyeuristic term; I prefer the classic 'chubby chaser') on TV."

"What's despicable about television isn't that it's not depicting enough happily-ever-after fantasies showing underdogs hitting the jackpot -- it's that real life is actually better than these depictions," Weiss writes. "Vanessa would have far less trouble getting someone to hold her hand in real life, and while this was every bit the excellent, conversation-starting Louie episode it's being touted as, is its creator, or anyone else in the TV bubble, actually aware of that fact? "

What do you think? Is too big a deal being made over the "Fat Girl" episode or not?

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT