6.2/10
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43 user 2 critic

Fat Actress 

TV-MA | | Comedy | TV Series (2005)
An actress (Alley, playing a version of herself) struggles to lose weight and revive her Hollywood career.
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2005  

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Cast

Series cast summary:
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 Eddie Falcone 7 episodes, 2005
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 Quinn Taylor Scott 4 episodes, 2005
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 Max Cooper 2 episodes, 2005
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 Sam Rascal 2 episodes, 2005
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Tait Ruppert ...
 Chuck Manson 2 episodes, 2005
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 Carmen Electra 1 episode, 2005
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 Larry King 1 episode, 2005
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 Melissa Gilbert 1 episode, 2005
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 Robert - Kirstie's Father 1 episode, 2005
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 Johnny Knightley 1 episode, 2005
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 Herself 1 episode, 2005
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 John McGuire 2 episodes, 2005
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 Jimmy - Kirstie's Brother 1 episode, 2005
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 Herself 1 episode, 2005
Kevin Sasaki ...
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 Police Officer #1 1 episode, 2005
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 Kid Rock 2 episodes, 2005
Harvey J. Newmark ...
 Party Musician #1 1 episode, 2005
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 Dr. Sigmund von Oy 2 episodes, 2005
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 Jillian - Kirstie's Mother 2 episodes, 2005
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 Leah's Friend 1 episode, 2005
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 Little Jorge 1 episode, 2005
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 Female Prison Guard 1 episode, 2005
Matt Gould ...
 Interviewer 1 episode, 2005
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Mark Z. Stevens ...
 Party Musician #2 1 episode, 2005
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 Woman in Restaurant 1 episode, 2005
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 McG's Stand'in 1 episode, 2005
Laura Dash ...
 Little Person #1 2 episodes, 2005
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 Police Officer #2 1 episode, 2005
Edward W. Vodicka ...
 Party Musician #3 1 episode, 2005
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 Leah's Friend #2 1 episode, 2005
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Sandra Genovese ...
 Paparazzi #1 1 episode, 2005
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Steve Maye ...
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 Man in Car #2 1 episode, 2005
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 Carmen's Friend 1 episode, 2005
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 Little Person #2 2 episodes, 2005
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 Man at Counter 1 episode, 2005
True Parker ...
 Vincent 1 episode, 2005
David Guzman ...
 Little Person #3 2 episodes, 2005
Jackie Harris ...
 Canadian Angel 1 episode, 2005
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 Stephen Wilcox 1 episode, 2005
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 Little Person #4 2 episodes, 2005
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 Nosy Lady 1 episode, 2005
Stacey Woods ...
 Receptionist 1 episode, 2005
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 Scottish Crewman 1 episode, 2005
Susan Rossitto ...
 Little Person #5 2 episodes, 2005
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Storyline

An actress (Alley, playing a version of herself) struggles to lose weight and revive her Hollywood career.

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Comedy

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TV-MA | See all certifications »
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Release Date:

6 March 2005 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Kirstie Alley är fat actress  »

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Trivia

Kelly Preston (Quinn) and John Travolta are married in real life. See more »

Connections

Referenced in 2005 Glitter Awards (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

A total mess. A disorganized, angry, convoluted and miserable series
17 December 2005 | by See all my reviews

Network: Showtime; Genre: Improv Comedy; Content Rating: TV-MA (for profanity, suggested sex, graphic sexual dialog); Available: DVD; Perspective: Contemporary (star range: 1 - 4);

Seasons Reviewed: Complete Series (1 season)

Kirstie Alley has gained quite a bit of weight since her days on "Cheers" and "Veronica's Closet". She's fat. Hilarity ensues. "Fat Actress" follows this thread-thin premise in which Alley, as herself, tries to claw her way back onto TV in Hollywood despite her now increased size. We're also supposed to forget (one of the many leaps in logic the show requires) is that the only reason Alley is in this position in the first place is because at one time Alley was Hollywood Hot and reaped all the benefits that come with. She's now fighting the beast that created her because she never developed a Plan B to fall back on.

Acknowledging at the top that the slings and arrows actresses like Alley suffer from the celebrity tabloid culture is deplorable, I have to also admit that any show spitting back isn't automatically good either. But any hope for an intellectual discussion about showiz superficiality, or even a forceful attack on the culture, flies out the window from the beginning when the show sinks like a stone into "black man's c***" jokes David Brent wouldn't tell in episode 1 and a protracted laxative sequence that consumes the majority of episode 2.

"Fat Actress" is a packaged hissy fit for Alley in which she (literally and frequently) whines, screams, cries, throws herself around her mansion and generally acts like a toddler in a movie theater. Alley uses the soap box forum given to her by Showtime and some money freed up from the cancellation of "Dead Like Me" to let loose all the anger she has bottled up at the tabloid press over the years. Her self-loathing swallows up everything on screen. It is a punishing experience.

Alley and co-creator Brenda Hampton ("7th Heaven") have studied Larry David's HBO improve comedy "Curb Your Enthusiasm" intently and recreate the formula pretty much verbatim. But here is the thing. While the dialog in "Curb" is improvised, giving the show that wonderful conversational rhythm, David and his players have a focused idea as to where the story is going to go. Here nobody seems to know what is going on. "Fat's" unfolding stories are a disorganized mess making almost no sense from minute to minute. Case in point, the finale involving Alley, a bathtub, NBC president Jeff Zucker and a $2 million development deal is so disjointed it requires us to put the pieces back together like a puzzle. The show nonsensically swings from self-loathing to self-indulgence at the drop of a hat (witness "Cry Baby McGuire" where Alley goes from a lonely depression to being whisked away to a billionaire's cabin).

And that natural dialog that comes from improve? Alley and Hampton's idea of natural is having the actors screaming over each other, repeating their lines until they think they've been heard. And as you might expect the joke of choice is the age-old "fat joke" - stretched a thousand different ways. What you might not expect is that the show seeks to be as weird as it is broad. Alley dances with little people during a play-date. Kelly Preston, as her extreme weight loose consultant, eats tissues with a pair of chopsticks. Each episode ends with a retro dance number sequence via "Strangers with Candy". It marks the first time any use of "Baby Got Back" doesn't get a free laugh from me.

I'm just going to say this and if nobody gets it, nobody gets it. What "Fat Actress" reminds me the most of is the Joe Eszterhas film disaster "Burn, Hollywood, Burn". A smarmy, mishandled Hollywood satire buried under a gluttonous use of celebrities patting themselves on the back using jokes that conceptually may have sounded like a good, cheeky, idea except that none of them ever go anywhere. A painful sequence on the set of a third "Charlie's Angels" film - where Alley is flying through the air on a harness and you can probably take it from there - is a perfect example. What are we supposed to do when Mayim Bialik (having gained a bit of weight herself) shows up and spontaneously dances to the "Blossom" theme? Or with Kevin Nealon as a psychotic neighbor whom everybody knows beat a murder rap? Or the revelation that McG has a "stunt director"?

Another spectacular miscalculation is the use of Jeff Zucker (in an atrocious comic turn) to bump up the "cool", "inside Hollywood" factor. That should say it all right there. It you're still watching, Christopher McDonald gets the only laughs as Alley's crack addicted brother. In "Crack for Good" the word "crack" is the punch-line.

Bryan Callen and the charming Rachael Harris as Alley's live-in assistant and hairdresser, respectively, do their best to make the show tolerable. In "Hold It", "The Koi Effect" and "Holy Lesbo Batman" (told you it wasn't funny) they are the shining points in this otherwise bankrupt production. You almost get the feeling that if "Fat" wasn't already a runaway train, they would know how to turn it around. In "Hold it" when the two are running around trying to meet the unreasonable demands of their pampered boss as well as keeping her from making a fool of herself, I started getting the idea that THIS is what the show should really be about.

"Fat Actress" is total mess. One of the most disorganized, angry, convoluted and miserable shows in quite a while. It isn't a pointed satire of Hollywood superficiality, it doesn't have a message, it is about Kirstie Alley and only Kirstie Alley. That which was retroactively proved when Alley decided to end the show after she lost her own weight. Sorry, all other fat actresses, you're on your own.

½ / 4


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