Sometimes, the so-called experts can be total fatheads over the issue of weight on television, especially when it comes to female characters.
Brooke Elliott, the star of Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva," is easily one of the hottest stars on television. Elliott plays Jane Bingum, a top-notch attorney who died from a gunshot wound. Her body is now inhabited by Deb, a wannabe model who inherited Jane's brains and knowledge of the law.
Although she works opposite the love of her former life, Jane is wooed frequently by handsome men at the tops of their profession, including one nice-looking doctor. As they used to say, Jane's date card is usually full.
By the way, Brooke Elliott is what fashion designers call a plus-sized woman.
Elliott came to mind while I was reading "Big, Fat Stereotypes Play Out On the Small Screen," an Alex Cohen piece that appeared on the NPR website. In that segment, Beth Bernstein said that heavier women on TV are never the focus of the story and never have a boyfriend.
As Jane Bingum, Elliott disproves that theory with gusto. And she is not alone.
Missing the point about "Mike and Molly"
Long before "Bridesmaids" tore up the summer box office, dedicated TV watchers knew that "Mike & Molly" star Melissa McCarthy was one hot number. Pretty, funny with a bit of a temper, Molly is the kind of woman that lucky guys marry.
On the show, McCarthy and co-star Billy Gardell deal with normal relationship problems; weight is seldom a factor in their romance, but Mike's collectible juice glasses was an issue on a recent episode.
In the NPR piece, activist Lesley Kinzel credits the show for being more "normalizing of fatness," but also criticizes the fat jokes. It's funny but the jokes on this season of "Mike & Molly" deal more with Mike moving in with Molly and her family than extra poundage.
Dot Marie Jones is a standout on "Glee"
The NPR piece also singles out "Glee" to give credit to Ashley Fink, the actress who plays the plus-sized singer and wrestler Laura Zizes. Laura gets her share of male attention, but she was floored when the Puck character tried to woo her with a rendition of "Fat-Bottomed Girls."
I'm surprised the boneheaded Puck still has teeth after that. Beautiful women come in all shapes and sizes, but no one, male of female, wants a sensitive area immortalized in song.
NPR also ignores the contributions of Dot Marie Jones, a welcome second-season addition as Coach Shannon Beiste. The impressive Jones makes Beiste tough, but gives her a heart of gold. She's the type of woman who will sing country karaoke with you and dump any loud-mouthed drunks in the nearest available trashcan.
Coach Beiste is a "larger woman," but any guy with half-a-brain would be proud to sit down to dinner with her at a fancy restaurant.
There may be a perceived "fat barrier" on TV, but actresses like McCarthy, Jones, Elliott and Fink have smashed through it with ease.
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