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Being fat is something that has been taboo in Hollywood, as well as in
fashion. Talk about an actor that has gained weight, and it will be the
worst fate that happens to anyone in the movie industry.
Kristie Alley, is playing herself, and she's having a ball doing so. At least, it appears that way. If anyone could pull this off is Ms. Alley, who together with Brenda Hampton, has created this series for Showtime. It should be seen in network television as it brings down the myths about how being fat will be the end of a film or television career.
Enter Kristie Alley. She is one of the most natural and real persons in working in television these days. Sure, she has lost her figure, but is she a bad person for doing so? I don't think so. She's still the great fun person we met in movies and TV series where her uncanny knack for having a winning personality and telling it like it was, stole our hearts. We have a feeling what we see on the screen is pretty much like the real Kristie Alley.
The opening episode was good. The idea of being the ideal of a black man's fancy is carried out well. Ms. Alley and the cast played well together and we look forward to new installments to see what ensues in the life of this gorgeous woman.
OK folks. I have been hearing about Fat Actress for about 6 months now
and my expectations have been VERY low for this new comedy starring
Kirstie Alley. However, SO FAR this series on Showtime has been the
funniest new show of 2005.
Fans of Larry Davids "Curb Your Enthusiasm" will immediately warm to the situational disasters, misunderstandings, and pure dumb luck that help propel "Fat Actress" through its first episode. Aided by cameos from Hollywood folks such as John Travolta and others, Kirstie plays herself, spending much of her recent life lying on the bathroom floor eating chocolates, and crying at the ceiling. It is her sheer desperation,cell phone smashing conversations with her agent, and the ineptitude of others that help her to launch her "New Career"(despite all the "groceries in her trunk"). Enough said. I greatly look forward to episode 2 tonight. P.S. Larry David...you have really started something....(Hollywood Verite????)
First of all, I think Kirstie Alley is charismatic, talented, and
funny. I also love the premise, especially given Hollywood's
hyper-shallowness and the unbelievable, dehumanizing scrutiny put upon
high-profile people in America. That said, however, this show is
probably doomed -- and if it hasn't already been canceled, I fear it
will be soon.
Let's face it : how long can she really milk this idea? That's the first and fundamental problem I see. The second -- and equally important -- is the writing, which is uneven and hackneyed, at best. There have been a few great moments : Kirstie on the 'casting couch' with the handsome black network exec, who whacks her on the butt and croons hilariously about the "groceries" in her "trunk"; the jail scene where the lesbian guard wants to play slap and tickle with Kirstie, whose ex-boyfriend turns out to be gay; the whole Kid Rock thing was mildly amusing, as well. But when everything started slipping into midgets and toilet humor, I saw big FAT trouble looming on the horizon!
Lastly, Kirstie's accomplices, Bryan Callen and -- sorry, I can't remember the blonde's name -- seem like attractive, telegenic, capable performers but they're so befuddled in the bad writing that they end up looking very sad and superfluous. They're weak, annoying characters who add little to the overall entertainment value, and that's a shame because they could be such an asset if they had been granted a bit of depth, quirky individuality, and genuine humor.
...but unfortunately with this first episode of "Fat Actress," I don't
think that she is. Overall, it just wasn't very funny. Moreover, I
thought it was embarrassing for her. The jokes were forced, the plot
was dental floss thin, and when my TiVo cut off the last minute of this
show, I was relieved! I'm very happy that Kirstie Alley is able to make
fun of her own weight. And I'm glad that she appears to be on the road
to getting down to a more "comfortable" weight. But the show really
missed the boat on what makes her story interesting.
Honestly, I think a reality show about her battle with losing weight would have been a HECK of a lot more interesting than a fictional comedy about the same topic.
Kirstie, I love you, but I hope you can come up with something better to bring back your career.
After years in the Hollywood wilderness, Kirstie Alley returned to the
public eye when she put on lots of weight. The former Cheers star used
that negative publicity and wrote a semi-autobiographical sitcom about
her battle against being 'too fat for TV'
If you type, 'fat jokes' into Google and hit search it comes back with a hefty 172,000 results. If you do the same search for, 'why fat people should be treated with respect and not mocked for looking like a walrus with legs' it comes back with nothing at all. This is no coincidence.
We love to laugh at the rotund, the bulbous, the porky-chops, but despite the popular convention they are not all jolly. For a fat actress it's a miserable, tough slog getting work simply because network executives, more often than not, hire thin women for lead roles. This is what happened to former Cheers and Veronica's Closet star Kirstie Alley. And with no meaty roles coming her way she lost confidence and evidently got stuck into lots of meaty rolls of her own. When the media noticed that she had ballooned in weight, tipping the scales at nearly 300 pounds, they started featuring her on the cover of their magazines and metaphorically poking her with the always unfair 'ewww gross, you're not thin' stick.
Alley's response was to co-write and co-produce her own semi-fictional sitcom about life as a fat actress who's struggling to get work in Hollywood. The result is pretty much a cross between the outstanding mockumentary Curb Your Enthusiasm and diet-based reality show You Are What You Eat. In other words, Curb Your Eating. That's pretty much what the plot here is all about, following the first episode where Kirstie meets with president of NBC Jeff Zucker only to find out that he thinks she's too fat for TV, thus sending her on a mission to lose weight and get back on the box. Jeff Zucker is played by Jeff Zucker, the real president of NBC which just adds to the twisted reality of the show, as Jeff's a man who's no doubt done this for real a hundred times.
Also appearing as themselves are Kid Rock, Rhea Perlman (Carla from Cheers), Carmen Electra and Kirstie's fellow scientologists John Travolta and Leah Remini. However in 2006, Alley expressed some disenchantment with scientology, pointing out that it was of no help in her attempts to lose weight, and ultimately she turned to diet guru Jenny Craig. She has since been something of a poster women for her diets. In Fat Actress, there's a scene when Alley gets excited after her agent calls with a job offer, thinking someone has overlooked her size when casting, but ends up screaming in despair when the job turns out to be diet guru Jenny Craig wanting her as a spokesperson. Sometimes it's hard to see where the acting ends and the real Kirstie begins. For much of the time what you see is entirely unscripted and in many ways this is half of the appeal. You also get an eerie feeling that many of the things you see could well have actually taken place in the not-to-distant past. John Travolta (Alley's co-star in the Look Who's Talking movies) has a cameo in the first episode and a desperate Alley tries to convince him that there's some mileage in Look Who's Talking 4: 'But we haven't explored all the possibilities,' she begs. 'We haven't done talking cats.'
After a while, the string of fat jokes does wear a little thin, but there are some great set pieces and genuinely funny scenes even if Alley is too over the top on occasions and at times it can get a little bit uncomfortable. It's one thing watching her scream at her bathroom scales, wrestle with stretch pants that won't give enough or even cruise doughnut shops in hope of getting picked up by 'big-butt-loving black men', but when she starts munching on laxatives and shoving fingers down her throat you begin to wonder if she really did all these things behind closed doors. The comedy attracted a lot of criticism from eating disorder groups who were angered that it showed Alley making herself sick after binge eating, but that somewhat misses the point. It's not sitcoms like this that lead people to eating disorders, it's more often a result of the body fascism in society that's perpetuated by magazines and the Hollywood system that Alley herself is battling against.
If anything, there is poignancy buried deep in the utter debasement and humiliation that she pours upon herself for big belly laughs. It's a strange, post-modern and mostly truthful take on an actress and her real problems and at times it's very funny. A big slap on the back and fair play to Kirstie for using her talents to write, produce and star in a comedy that gets her back on the small screen by using the situation that kept her off it for so long. Sure, she went on Oprah to cry about her life, like every other 'troubled' and fading star, but this way she had something new to plug while talking. As a result, her appearance was almost a triumphant declaration of defiance and I'm sure she would have 'done a Cruise' and jumped over the sofa if only she didn't weigh more than the sofa in the first place.
Fat Actress is worth checking out, despite its faults. There are only seven episodes in the first series and no sign of a second being made, but no matter, it's a fine romp as it is. Any more would be overindulgence.
I think Kirstie Alley is fantastic! She is hilarious and so is her
ensemble cast. Bravo to Kelly Preston - she was hysterical! ...I
recently gained a lot of weight and am an actress - paid? no,
recognized? no, but I do understand how hard it is to get parts and how
you just want to hide away, but yet you love the acting so it's a
freakin' vicious cycle. Especially when the parts you want to get are
for skinny people. And understandably so. It takes physical energy to
be an actor. Being obese is not healthy nor is being anorexic.
I'm glad Kirstie has found solace in Jenny Craig. That's not my weightloss option of choice, but hey whatever works and different strokes for different folks....in saying all of that...
I still think that she could have continued the show for another season even though she lost a lot of weight. There were still topics to explore and I think she would have done that marvelously.
I can't wait to see Kirstie in more roles soon!! Keep it up girl!
Kirstie Alley is back, and bigger than ever. The results are somewhat
mixed - Kirstie is hilarious and has no problems shamelessly poking fun
at herself in a variety of different scenarios. However, the supporting
cast (mainly her two assistants) stand around looking lost for most of
the episode. When subplots emerge and the story focuses solely on their
characters, I find myself impatiently waiting for the show to get back
to what Kirstie's up to.
I almost stopped watching after the totally unfunny second episode (with Kid Rock), but luckily the show got better with subsequent episodes (the episode with Leah Remini was a hoot). It's hard to say if this show will last, but better writing and more interesting supporting characters will definitely help.
Fat Actress is, without doubt, one of the best new sitcoms since
I laughed my butt off. I have always been a semi-fan of Kirsty Alley, but I have to say that she is SOOO good in this show that I immediately fell in love with her. I have a feeling that the people who won't find this show funny are actually the targets of its humor -- which is, to say, most definitely NOT fat people.
Smart, hilarious writing, great acting, all around brilliant. The appearance of Travolta and, later, Kelly Preston, had me rolling on the floor. I am not a Showtime subscriber, but after watching this preview, I'm seriously considering signing up.
Congratulations, Ms. Alley.
The premise is a lot like Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiam",
following the 'homelife' of a celebrity that's star has tarnished a bit
over the years and their bid to get back into the limelight.
It's obviously trying (desperately) to parody Kirstie's attempts to get back into television, find a man, and deal with her weight.
The show is rife with fat jokes, from Kirstie cursing a fast food joint for forgetting her fries to the stereotype that black men like big, white booty.
It was a relief to see that the show has toned down language moreso than Larry David's "Curb Your Enthusiasm". I'm no prude but I do cringe at hearing the f-bomb multiple times for no particular reason. This is one redeeming quality.
It'll take a few more episodes to really give it a more complete comment. If you're looking for some cheap laughs and less f-bombage, check it out.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This is a Refreshingly honest show. And it is finally been shown in the UK. It takes a great deal of guts for anyone to show themselves at their weakest. that scene when she meets the three nbc producers and she pushes her oversize self as if she was miss universe herself is TV at its best. I love the writing (or structure as I am not sure they followed a script) and the acting. Why is it that shows such as this and Arrested Development don't find a place in the US? I think they would love to have more shows like that here in the UK. And i would give Kirstie Allie an emmy and not to the standard network comedians or drama actress.
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