Some Obese Characters

How many media connoisseurs have noticed the similarity between two works about obese teen girls? In the TV series “Huge,” the main character’s name is Will. In the later film, Dumplin, the protagonist is also Will. Could this have been an intentional creative homage?

The same Childhood Obesity News post quoted a disgruntled critic who felt that the TV series “Mike & Molly” was a dismal failure and a wasted opportunity…

[…] all too often buried under an endless stream of completely tacky sex jokes or even worse, fat jokes… And many of the fat jokes just don’t work, even when they come from the mouths of the overweight characters.

Some years late, Tim Goodman wrote of Melissa McCarthy,

[…] she’s on a show where the original premise was about two obese people falling in love. The pilot was, and many subsequent episodes have been, filled with fat jokes and food jokes.

Melissa McCarthy was also been in other works, including the insanely popular TV series “Friends” and the film Bridesmaids, of which Kelsey Miller wrote,

Her roles reflect a smorgasbord of fat-lady tropes. She’s loud, gruff, hypersexual, and intimidating. She’s a supportive friend to the lead character. And, she can’t have sex without a sandwich in the room.

Incidentally, Tim Goodman has made the astute observation that, counterintuitively, it has been a lot easier for Black women actors to get away with being both fat and funny.

In entertainment media, obesity is sometimes just a wispy sub-theme. During a girls’ group-home talk session in “The Fosters,” a series about troubled kids, the social worker admits, “I am an addict. I’m addicted to food. I’ve struggled with it my entire life.”


In the overlooked film Carny, as in American Horror Story and Todd Browning’s Freaks, a prominent theme is that the people in the sideshow, despite their physical anomalies, are full-fledged human beings, earning a living with the attributes that Providence gave them; and it is better not to disrespect or disaccommodate them.

The human spectacle known as the Fat Man never leaves his trailer. At a jamboree exclusively for carny folk, he plays blues guitar and sings a song about being the fat man. After almost everyone has bunked down for the night, rain falls, and he has a beautiful and extended scene outside, wearing only a thin gown, glorying in the feel of the heavenly shower on his massive body. The unnoticed observer is a character called Patch who, although the epitome of young studliness. is not a shallow man. Robbie Robertson’s face reveals that while watching the Fat Man’s solitary ecstasy in the rain, Patch is learning a few things about life.

Your responses and feedback are welcome!

Source: “Race, Weight and Beauty: How ‘The Mindy Project’ Is Both Funny and Important,”, 09/25/12
Source: “The Problem With Fat Monica,”, 02/22/20
Image by Midnight Believer/Public Domain

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About Dr. Robert A. Pretlow

Dr. Robert A. Pretlow is a pediatrician and childhood obesity specialist. He has been researching and spreading awareness on the childhood obesity epidemic in the US for more than a decade.
You can contact Dr. Pretlow at:


Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the American Society of Animal Science 2020 Conference
What’s Causing Obesity in Companion Animals and What Can We Do About It

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the World Obesity Federation 2019 Conference:
Food/Eating Addiction and the Displacement Mechanism

Dr. Pretlow’s Multi-Center Clinical Trial Kick-off Speech 2018:
Obesity: Tackling the Root Cause

Dr. Pretlow’s 2017 Workshop on
Treatment of Obesity Using the Addiction Model

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation for
TEC and UNC 2016

Dr. Pretlow’s invited presentation at the 2015 Obesity Summit in London, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s invited keynote at the 2014 European Childhood Obesity Group Congress in Salzburg, Austria.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2013 European Congress on Obesity in Liverpool, UK.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2011 International Conference on Childhood Obesity in Lisbon, Portugal.

Dr. Pretlow’s presentation at the 2010 Uniting Against Childhood Obesity Conference in Houston, TX.

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