Brit Fix: ‘Fat Friends’ Features A Blonde Ruth Jones
If your introduction to the singular Ruth Jones was as the deeply-voiced, monolithic, Louise-Brooks coiffed Welsh-woman with a hilarious past, ‘Nessa of Gavin and Stacey, it will be very, very, very, difficult – in the best possible way – for you to get over how easily she slips into the persona of pretty, ditzy, sassy, SO BLOND OH MY GOD, Kelly Simpson of Fat Friends fame. And talking of Gavin and Stacey – you might find it equally difficult-but-in-a-good-way – to get over Alison Steadman as playing anything other than happy-go-lucky (“Oh my Christ!”) Pam Shipman, or, for that matter, Mrs. Bennet in the BBC’S Pride and Prejudice.
Fat Friends originally ran on ITV from 2001-2005 and it’s rife with notable faces and sharp farcical edges. This isn’t to say that the show is as swoon-worthy as the titles mentioned in the above. If anything, it’s a bit of a tough nut to crack. The show ostensibly deals with the problems of dieting in the modern age, which it does by following the recurring cast of characters to the English equivalent of Weight Watchers every week. While there is real heart and real depth found, the show doesn’t seem confident in the body acceptance it espouses. In fact, it’s hardly big beautiful and proud, and more, big and abashedly covering our insecurities with humor. All that said, a show that actually centers around weight and body image? So rare! Um, almost not a thing! Like, this could possibly be genre defining, am I right?
Showrunner – and cast member – Kay Mellor – is really grappling with issues and trying to work stuff out – you just feel she can’t quite commit to it. Her send up of weight loss culture is supreme, but in the pilot while a despairing Kelly mews at her mother “I have no problem with being fat, but everyone else does,” it seems to be the wishy-washy theme of the show as a whole. But again, any program on television that shows the depth of how obsession with weight loss effects our culture is worthy of praise. And any show that makes a point of showing that fat people are sexually desirable beautiful people is a show well-worth the watch.