May 15 2014 7:29am

FX’s Louie Takes on the Plus-Sized Heroine

Comedian Louie CK has a talent for presenting issues without really sugar-coating them in his popular FX comedy, Louie. On the Monday night episode of his semi-fictional show, our intrepid main character goes on a date with a waitress named Vanessa. She'd be perfect for him—she's sharp, funny, and takes no prisoners—except for one tiny wrinkle: she's overweight.

In a monologue (featured in the video above), Vanessa (played by Sarah Baker) gives Louie a thorough set down after he tells her “she's not fat.” Baker goes on to say:

You’re truly a good guy, I think — so, sorry. I’m picking you. On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys. Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness – you know, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us – that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope, not for us.

This speech has sparked a debate of how plus-sized characters are portrayed in popular media. A few months ago, we had a our own debate over whether a plus-sized heroines could actually be a trope—the jury is still out—but, either way, the plus-sized heroine is a favorite in the romance community. How do you think plus-sized characters are treated differently in the romance community compared to mainstream media? What do you think of Vanessa the Waitress's monologue?

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Teddy Pierson
1. TeddyP
I long for the day when no one uses these types of descriptive words for people. Instead of saying "plus-sized women" or "thin women" - we only say "women". I extend this dream to everything, including race/creed/whatever. I have always felt as long as we label people like that, we are holding back progress and not living the way we should.
Carmen Pinzon
4. bungluna
@TeddyP- it irrealistic to expect physical, observable attributes to not be used in describing individuals. We can say, "she has green eyes," but it's offensive to say, "she's black," or "she's fat"? I think words have the connotations we as a culture give them. Why else is "negra" and endearment in Spanish but "black" a dire insult in English?

In our society, the prize is the perfect physical specimen. Why else does the dorky old hero in books and movies conceived by men always get the supermodel, bodacious heroine? (Points if she's also a nuclear physicist!)

As for the clip above, good for her on calling Loui out on his not dating a 'fat' girl cause of his own insecurities!
In romance, any heroine deserves the utimate in prizes: the hot, ultra alpha, preferably loaded hero! There are all sorts of books out there with heroines that run the gamut from famine to "all-you-can-eat-buffet" body types, but tell me, how many poor, shlubby hefty heroes are there?

Finally, I know plenty of real life women who are not skinny by any stretch of the imagination, who manage to get married and have families with guys they love without any difficulties. I think this subject, like many other in our society, are distorted by bias in the different media outlets.
5. willaful
I completely agree with your last point, bungluna. I'm fat myself, so I'm certainly not arguing that prejudice doesn't exist, and it can be extremely vicious. And very large fat women tend to become invisible in society -- I saw this from both ends, because I gained a lot of weight and became invisible and then lost a lot and became visible again, albeit still fat. But no way in hell do I believe that an attractive fat woman like that actress would have so much trouble getting a date. Well... maybe in New York or Los Angeles, where conventional good looks are so highly regarded.
6. willaful
P.S. I should add that by attractive I don't just mean looks, although she is very pretty. Your attitude and the way you carry yourself makes a lot of difference.
Marie Sullivan
7. minime2
I loved her delivery of the monologue, it felt very raw. I also love it in relation to most sit coms with a fat husband and fit wife. To me it felt more like a shot at most sit coms. I can only name 3 or 4 shows off the top of my head with a "curvy" heroine (I hate that term just call me fat don't try to win me over with no your not fat just curvy..BS) but I can name many with the chubby side kick/ fun fat chick.
Jennifer Proffitt
8. JenniferProffitt
@minime2, I did some research about this monologue afterwards--and it was interesting that a lot of people pointed out that Louie CK himself has fallen prey to the overweight man and fit wife. I see the disconnect less with British shows actually--there are a lot more "normal" looking people over there (as in not models, etc.). For example, if My Mad Fat Diary were to be adapted for U.S. TV, would the actress be as big as she is, would her love interest be more or less fit? The one TV exception to this monologue that I can think of is Drop Dead Diva, with a plus-sized heroine and a svelte hero (I'd love to see the shows you can think of that put this trope on its ear!).
Marie Sullivan
9. minime2
Ugly Betty! I so loved that show and while to me she wasn't plus sized she was larger then everyone on the show and was still the herione and dated some yummy looking men.
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