Don't Let's Start Calling Me Molly

First, if my supervisor is reading this, I really am home sick. It's just it's that kind of home sick where you can prop yourself up and type but standing in front of people all day and being bright and alert is right out. Also, it's really hard to make it to the potty and back on short notice at school, you know? I do appreciate that, since the bathroom refurbishment, we have three stalls now, don't think that I don't.

This is why my email just says "cooties." You have to trust me on the rest.

I'm thinking about the grammatical construction of my title. I don't know what it's called. It's kind of like that They Might Be Giants Song, but it's also like this book I tried to read once. When I Google, I just seem to come up with ESL sites that assure me of the commonness of the construction. What? Isn't "don't let's (whatever)" something only posh flappers say? (I mean, in the United States, where the kids giggle appreciatively whenever I say "shan't." Look, "shan't" has too much pleasurable mouth feel for us to lose this one. Come on, America. Don't let "shan't" go the way of fortnight!)

Last night I watched, even DVR'd, Mike and Molly. The previews looked extremely mediocre, but Chuck Lorre is the guy behind The Big Bang Theory, and I do love that show. On the other hand, I can't get into Two and a Half Men at all, and Dharma and Greg left me somewhere in the middle. (More watchable, at the time, than TAAHM, but not even five-percent as clever as TBBT.)

Oh no," I said, when the previews came on. "A show about an obese couple? And one of them is named Mike? If this thing takes off, I'll spend the next decade cringing, hearing a hopefully silent "Molly?" whenever Mike and I meet people."

Still, I thought it might end up being a rather intelligent and insightful show that in the course of being these things raises awareness of a problem so many Americans have without the Very Special Episode vibe.

Heh. Not even close. More like "low-hanging fruit picked by heavy-handed skinny people."

Its greatest sin, really, is that it's just so pedestrian. The fatness of the two characters is all the show really has going for it, and their obesity is just tired vaudeville. The woman talks about her father, who of course died in the drive-thru (because it's cliche to choke on a ham sandwich), and of course it was his third lap around. Fat people have no control, amirite amirite? The guy breaks his diet and orders an armful of food because, again, that's what we're all busting to do what with all of that lack of self-respect and control and stuff.

Otherwise, he's on a new diet and just eating a hot dog weiner while his friend has a regular meal. Here was a great place to slip in the observation that fat people aren't necessarily more piggy than other people - in fact, despite all criticism that fat people lack self-respect and control (for which crucifixion is the only appropriate bystander response, natch), fat people are probably far more experienced in actively denying themselves. (Perhaps not whilst on the road to fatness, but once there and trying to solve the problem? Yeah, just look at the number of people who diet every year.)

The initial write-up of the show was that the guy was going to be someone trying to lose weight and the woman was going to be happy at her size and just looking to be healthy. For a sitcom, that's not a bad way to set up some romantic tension. Sexual tension, too, if she is more uninhibited. (Or maybe she wants to be, but isn't there yet, and he - despite his shame - is hot to trot - here come the male stereotypes - but his body image hasn't given her much confidence for getting nekkid with him.)

This "wow, not all fat people are alike" perspective sounded much fresher, what with the fat acceptance and Healthy at Any SIze movements generating so much controversy, than the slapstick that was actually delivered. I mean, the guy breaks a table because of his weight, and that's the joke? That's it? Why not have the table break for some other reason, and the guy panics because everyone will assume it was his fatness? Don't make it a major plot element, either, just something that happens on the side, and everyone who has ever been in a situation that just looks bad and is hard to explain will have that laugh in common, regardless of size.

(In real life, I had a student desk break last year, and I was paranoid that everyone would think I was sitting on it, as so many teachers do. However, unlike several of my fit counterparts, I don't sit on student desks. My co-workers, who come in a variety of sizes, did always sit on that desk when visiting. None of this is particularly funny, but if I were a comedy writer, surely I could do something with it. Show skinny person after skinny person hopping up on the desk to chat, and then the fat person leans a little against it and it finally comes apart. I don't know.)

I'm tired and - speaking of food and also, several paragraphs ago, of books - I think I'll have a lie-down and get back to reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. I can't believe I (once again) didn't quite make it a month without taking a sick day. I swear it has nothing to do with the 30+ kids who joined my three freshman classes yesterday, although that is its own particular sadness. Vive le stereotypes after all, and pass the lemon cake.

21 September 2010 |






Carnival Elation (2009)
Carnival Splendor (2009)
Carnival Spirit (2010)
Carnival Spirit (2011)
Carnival Splendor (2011)
Norwegian Pearl to Alaska (2012)