Monday, September 1, 2014

"And So Did the Fat Lady" - Challenging American Beauty by Louis C.K.

The American media perpetually create stereotypes or ideals that drive the actions of the American people. Many of these stereotypes surround gender or beauty. For gender, they drive home a message that in order for men to be "true men", they have to be sexually involved with attractive women. For beauty, the American ideal is, and always has been, young, thin, healthy individuals. We often hear from the media how important it is to strive to be beautiful, but we rarely hear it from the other side.

Talking about not fitting in with the American ideal of beauty. has always been a sensitive issue which people tend to stray away from. However, Louis C.K., an accomplished standup comedian, actor, writer and director, chose to face this topic head on in the episode "So Did the Fat Lady" from season four of his critically acclaimed show Louie. Early on, Louis C.K. asked out multiple skinny waitresses, and was rejected by all. Later on, a heavier waitress named Vanessa (played by Sarah Baker) attempts to woo him. He then rejects her multiple times until she buys him hockey tickets. Later on, while on a pleasant walk by the river, Vanessa refers to herself as being fat, and he disagrees and says she is not fat. She says the worst thing someone can say to a fat girl is that she is not fat, and how it sucks that she cannot complain about it. Vanessa then addresses the sexist undertones in her inability to complain, saying that if a guy complains about how being overweight affects his life, it could be comedic. However, if women complain about the same things, she would be considered suicidal. Vanessa also brings up the ideal that men are supposed to be with attractive women. She says the reason why people are afraid to date her is because then that means the man is meant to belong with her, meaning that he would not live up to the ideal of having to be with someone who fits inside the standards of American beauty.

This episode, and mainly this monologue, became widely popular. The clip has amassed over 1.2 million views on Youtube. Louis C.K. very recently won an Emmy for Best Writing for a Comedy Series for this episode. Forbes called it "The Year's Most Brutally Honest Seven Minutes of Television." The female-driven blog Jezebel called it "absolutely magnificent." Libby Hill of the AV Club said "through the platform of his critically acclaimed show, Louis C.K. has given voice to the fat girl." The acclaim goes on and on. The most important part of this is how Louis C.K. struck up this debate. He challenged American standards head on. He gave the people who do not live up to the American ideals a chance to be heard. This monologue wasn't just about weight. Any perceived problem could be substituted into this monologue and it still would make sense. This episode brilliantly pointed out the flaws in American culture.

The whole scene

1 comment:

  1. Louie C.K. for president. This is a great analysis for a great show. One of the truest and funniest shows on television. Bravo!