While certain people (Oprah, Anna) were out dancing at the Met Ball, I was at home doing important things. By which I mean, watching endless re-runs of 30 Rock and grappling with profound questions like “shouldn’t Liz Lemon be obese?”
This is a woman who eats so compulsively that she does it in her sleep. And in every episode (including the last one) her lame attempts to go to the gym are thwarted. Possibly the best line in the entire show is “I want to go to there” which refers to Liz’s consuming desire to visit various fast food chains.
Other choice quotes from Liz? “I want two lobsters! Totaling five pounds of lobster meat!” or “There are plenty of core American values in New York. But there are not restaurants called “Fatty Fat Sandwich Ranch. Turn here! Turn here!” or “I believe that all anyone really wants in this life is to sit in peace and eat a sandwich.”
Now, look, I think that outlook on food is great, because I also want five pounds of lobster meat. Unfortunately, to maintain a normal weight I also have to hit the gym very regularly and, you know, not eat Cheez Curls in my sleep. Does no other character ever think to point out that it’s really mind boggling that Liz is downing that much food, not exercising, and still maintains an amazing figure?
Because honestly, every time I watch the show I feel more and more as though I’m the main character in Shallow Hal, where only I can see that Liz Lemon is a very attractive and slim woman. I’m actually getting concerned about this because either I am deluding myself into thinking Tina Fey is pretty, or it all seems to point to an upcoming episode called “Liz Lemon, You Need to Get Your Bulimia Under Control.”
I would be more worried, if it weren’t the case on other shows, too. Remember Will & Grace? Half the show hinged upon pointing out how Grace Adler would eat everything in sight (the other half hinged upon phrases like “the gays”). And yet, Debra Messing can never, ever have exceeded a size four.
What exactly is the mentality behind this? It’s not the case that the actresses just have crazy metabolisms and the characters eating habits are an accurate reflection of their own personality. We actually know that Tina Fey eats really carefully as a major part of her story is the fact that she had to drop 35 pounds before people noticed she was attractive. And I’m betting that Debra Messing hits the gym daily.
It’s not their eating habits themselves that I object to. But trying to create characters that women who love to eat can relate to – while also making sure that they maintain Hollywood perfect figures – well, that just seems weird. And dishonest. Wouldn’t it be better if that issue was at least adressed so it doesn’t seem quite so outrageous? I’d settle for one throway line on how Liz has the metabolism of, I don’t know, something funny that has a fast metabolism. Or a character who would, indeed, love five pounds of lobster meat but can’t necessarily have it because she’s on Weight Watchers (like Tina Fey). Or, how about this: just cast an actress who is a little bit chubby.