A story about a fat woman that is not the same as stories we've heard
March 15, 2019 11:08 AM   Subscribe

Q&A: Lindy West on Why Her New Hulu Series, ‘Shrill,’ Is Not a ‘Weight-Loss Narrative’. Shrill, the Hulu series based on Lindy West's book of the same name, starring SNL's Aidy Bryant, comes out today on Hulu. While it's groundbreaking simply for promising "under no circumstances will the lead character in the show, ever in the series, step on a scale and look down and sigh", it's also the first show on television that shows an on-screen abortion in the very first episode. Reviews have been mostly positive.

Lindy West, previously.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses (21 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite
I picked up her book by the same name at the library a few weeks back, and I'm about half-way through. It's really good, and I'm interested to see how it translates to screen. I don't think we'll watch all 6 episodes tonight, but we might stay up too late and be really tired tomorrow. Hurrah for the weekend!
posted by filthy light thief at 11:13 AM on March 15

Also, the show was shot in Portland, so for any locals who might watch you'll definitely recognize the locations and maybe even some local people — many extras were cast from the abundant (pun intended) fat liberation community here. I believe one of the plots is about a Chunky Dunk, a fat-focused pool party that started in California and now runs in Portland and Seattle.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:14 AM on March 15 [2 favorites]

I was just listening to Aidy Bryant's Fresh Air on the way in to work this morning. Really looking forward to watching this!

Also one of my favorite people on the planet, Samantha Irby, is one of the show's writers!
posted by Maaik at 11:17 AM on March 15 [11 favorites]

I just now finished watching the entire season, and ... fuck, I want more.

There's a scene where a woman in a red pantsuit crosses the street like a goddess among mortals, utterly confident in herself, and I just started crying here on my couch. I completely identified with Annie at that moment.
posted by rewil at 11:30 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]

I was at a screening here in Portland (of the first two episodes) with Lindy West last night, prompting my inspiration to post, and in the Q&A afterwards she said Samantha was responsible for one of her favorite scenes/episodes, 104, the pool party episode. I'm really excited to get to that episode at the watch party a local group is having for it this weekend.

I haven't read any of Samantha Irby's books or other writings and I figure after I get done watching Shrill then I'll be primed to dive into them!
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:32 AM on March 15 [4 favorites]

Oh and I love Fran (Lolly Adefope) almost as much as I love Ijeoma Oluo.
posted by rewil at 11:42 AM on March 15 [3 favorites]

Wait, I’m confused, do they show her getting an abortion or is she just getting Plan B/morning after pill (which often prevents pregnancy but is not an abortion)?
posted by saucysault at 12:05 PM on March 15 [1 favorite]

Both. They show the abortion (mostly zoomed into her face) but there's a Plan B storyline too.

I don't want to spoil it but since this can be a triggering kind of thing and someone might want to know up front: the abortion scene is short, she isn't shown as being in pain, and she doesn't express regrets afterward (in the episodes that I saw, but knowing that Lindy West is involved with Shout Your Abortion and that it exists to normalize abortion, I don't think it's going to come back to haunt Annie).
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 12:11 PM on March 15 [7 favorites]

Yay. Very into the Shrill audiobook which was read by West.

I know what I'll be watching tonight
posted by PistachioRoux at 12:43 PM on March 15

Very excited about this! Loved the book.
posted by tangosnail at 12:48 PM on March 15

I'll have to take a look at this one. I liked Shrill (my review of it is here). The fact that Aidy Bryant is in it is promising. I also read a profile of Lindy West on The Cut yesterday, and I see The Guardian has a review of the show posted.
posted by orange swan at 1:29 PM on March 15 [3 favorites]

Sam Irby Sam Irby Sam Irby!
posted by Lawn Beaver at 2:52 PM on March 15 [6 favorites]

I am looking forward to checking this out.
posted by Dip Flash at 4:54 PM on March 15

Ooh, can't wait to dive in! Love both Lindy and Aidy.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:27 PM on March 15

There are very few overt commonalities between me and Annie/Lindy, in that I'm a man and currently straight-size, but it did get me thinking and feeling a lot about some self-minimizing tendencies I have that relate to my body image, sexuality, and relationships with family members, all of which bleed over into the rest of my life.

I watched all six episodes and cried more than once today, is what I'm saying. This series could easily have been several episodes longer, but it did something really nice with the number it had.
posted by wakannai at 8:37 AM on March 16 [8 favorites]

I don’t Hulu, but I really want to see it, so now I’m bugging friends to see who has a Hulu account and a couch I can borrow for a couple of hours. I’m a huge Lindy fan. Twice, she’s appeared like a vengeful angel when I’ve needed one; once when my book was banned in Texas and a store employee was arrested for selling it to an undercover vice cop, and once when an artist friend’s house burned down, and she helped pu together a successful gathering of artists and writers to do an evening where we auctioned off everything created. She’s amazing and I love her. I wish I had even half her fearlessness.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 6:36 PM on March 16 [5 favorites]

Oh fucking gross, I’ve always hated Christopher’s Frizelle’s writing and I’ve always hated the Slog’s self importance and The Stranger’s overall belief that they are the best alt weekly in the world when most of their articles revolve around their own office egos. And now there’s the fucking convergence of that in this article Little Dawn links to where they claim Shrill is about working at The Stranger (nope, actually it’s about the main character slowly deciding that her weight doesn’t have to stop her from being happy and successful) and then goes on to claim that when it comes to Lindy West pushing back against her boss fat shaming her and Dan Savage then doubling down on claiming that fat people are lazy and disgusting that they were both right. And that they were “both exaggerated” — how so, being publicly bullied by your boss and then pushing back in a way that only asks you to see her as a person isn’t some kind of exaggerated drama, it’s the barest request for humanity from a fat woman.

Gross. Lindy West was always too good for them and quickly eclipsed them, and now they don’t get to claim her as their own after insisting that dealing with sick trolls pretending to be her dead father is something she should be honored by. To claim that she turned that “incident” with Savage into a book, a TAL podcast issue and a TV show is ludicrous. She’s writing about fatphobia and being dismissed as nothing more than a fuckable body but sure, Christopher, it’s alllll about the place you still work after 19 years because you can’t hack it anywhere else.

He goes on to say: I haven't seen the Hulu show yet myself, but I have been told by someone who's seen it that the mean-spirited boss character is an amalgamation of Savage and Sean Nelson and me. Great. Oh cool so you haven’t watched the show. As someone who has watched the show and heard Lindy talk about it, she’s been careful to say that John Cameron Mitchell never read her book and didn’t base the character on Savage, instead deciding to create his own interpretation and back story for the character that diverges from Savage completely.
posted by the thorn bushes have roses at 11:11 PM on March 16 [9 favorites]

I watched all six episodes of the show night before last and really enjoyed it. Watching Aidy Bryant dance at that pool party gave me a minute of the most pure, sheer pleasure I think I've ever gotten from a TV show.
posted by orange swan at 11:07 AM on March 17

Loved this show so much! Also being discussed on FanFare.
posted by ellieBOA at 12:22 AM on March 18

(light spoiler follows)

Annie writing the "restaurant" review in the show is based on an actual review by West (which I think was her first piece published in The Stranger?)
posted by Thomas Tallis is my Homeboy at 9:58 AM on March 19

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