louie sarah baker so did the fat lady

This week’s episode of Louie featured that now infamous “So Did The Fat Lady” scene, and has garnered a hurricane of praise, criticism, analysis, and conversation. This episode was pretty revolutionary–we aren’t allowed to talk about being fat because fat is seen as the worst thing you be, even if fat people don’t actually feel that way about themselves. I’m not surprised that it started this conversation (one that was already happening on a smaller scale), and I can’t log onto Facebook or open any site with remote pop culture leanings without reading a new take on the scene. Of all the content swirling around, here’s 12 responses well worth reading.

1. There was overwhelming support for Baker’s performance.

2. It makes sense that people reacted the way they did, because Baker was spot on.

  3. She completely had me hanging on her every word, despite the length of the scene.

4. Some hit on the simultaneous euphoric high five and sobbing the monologue inspired.


5. I’m not going to lie, I teared up during the speech.

6. But there was also valid criticism, and Amy McCarthy reminded us to temper our reactions.

7. In a slightly stronger stance, Shelby Fero pointed out the slightly uncomfortable reality of Louis CK speaking for a group he’s not a part of. 

8. xoJane, who we can always count on for finely tuned analytical thought, published a post from an anonymous actress who allegedly auditioned for the role of Vanessa but didn’t get the part. While it certainly makes some valid points about the shortcomings of the episode, I’d take it with a grain of salt:

Oh no… she’s just a another attempt to make Louis C.K. look perplexed and caught off guard while showing empathy and care in his eyes as his eyebrows come together in confusion and pain while his heart is torn as to whether he should take the chance and encircle her outstretched hand with her own; sacrificing his own misconceptions about the world of the pathetic fat lady and delving into a significant relationship with someone who may just be his equal… emotionally and physically and— BARF. I’m sorry. I just barfed while writing that.

9. Vulture’s take focused on the issue of presenting fat women as inherently weak and worse off. While Vanessa’s declaration that it sucks to be a fat woman rang true for many in the audience, this piece showed a different point of view:

To me, the entire monologue was heavy-handed and aimless, relying too much on tropes of fat girl-ness (we can’t tell anyone how bad it sucks, but all we want to do is scream at men about how bad it sucks) instead of the usual curiosity into the weird complexity of the human condition that we’ve come to expect from Louie. This didn’t feel like a joke — it felt like a plea, a plea I’m not sure he’s qualified to make.

10. Sarah Baker has become a bit of a star in her own right following her Louie appearance, and Slate asked her to respond to the strong language used, specifically, around the word “fat.” She said:

There’s just such a stigma to that word, it feels so harsh and so blunt. And it’s not how I want to define myself. I think you’re right that within the context of this episode, he tried to create a character who was open about it…But I don’t think most women would openly describe themselves that way, though I see the point in her doing that. Do I go around saying, “Hey, I’m fat!”? No, definitely not. But then sometimes I think why can’t you just say that? Why do you have to be like, “I’m overweight” or “heavy” or “plus-sized”? It’s all saying the same thing. Like any word that has a lot of history and emotion attached to it, there’s definitely some power in trying to take that back.

11. One of my favorite reactions came from a response to Good Morning America’s conversation-starter about the episode, which nailed the idea of having fat people treated like everyone else.

12. But this might sum up all the criticism most succinctly:

Photo: Louie (FX)