Packing On the Pounds Hollywood Style

I’ve been watching the Showtime series Episodes. It follows a married British couple (Tamsin Greig & Stephen Mangan) who are writers of a hit BBC show that is opted by an American network. The show is basically contorted into something entirely different.

One of the changes is replacing the original show’s lead (played by Richard Griffiths) with Matt LeBlanc of Friends. The show plays LeBlanc as a rather self centered jerk who has alienated his former cast mates (one recent episode had him scrambling to get ahold of one of the other Friends cast to appear on his failing show).

The show tackles a lot of the typical things Show Business Satires, such as network meddling (the primary network execs are played by John Pankow and Kathleen Rose Perkins), Hollywood narcissism and so on. A running gag is the implication that one of the actresses (Mircea Monroe) is much older than she appears.

This week, they touched on actors’ weight and television. The studio decides Matt is looking to chunky. LeBlanc swears he has not gained weight…but it starts to eat away at him, and his ego is dealt a heavy blow when a tabloid christens him Matt LeChunk.

And I could not help but think about heavier actors in Hollywood. The mainstream seems to only afford one overweight guy a lead about every six years or so. Even less with women. After Roseanne, it was probably until ABC’s Less Than Perfect where a heavier than average woman was the lead. And the thing is? Sarah Rue was fuller figured, but hardly fat. One of the things that makes Mike and Molly stand out is the leasts are both larger people. Billy Gardell and Melissa McCarthy are both solid comedic actors…who would have likely been shoved over to Funny Fat Friend in other sit-coms. Sadly, Mike & Molly did not kick off a trend of more variety and body types in films and television…

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