Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Why do you hate us so much?": Louie's amazing monologue on the way men treat overweight women

"Guys like you never flirt with me," Vanessa (Sarah Baker) tells Louie, "because you get scared that maybe you should be with a girl like me." Photo courtesy of FX

One of the best parts of Louie is its willingness to acknowledge that — despite being written by, directed by, and starring Louis CK — his aren't the only stories that count, and his voice isn't the only one you should be hearing. That's been a feature of the show since season one, when long chunks of episodes would be devoted to, say, Rick Crom explaining what it's like as a gay man to hear other comics use the word "faggot." But even so, what happened in season four's third episode, which aired last night, was remarkable.

After actively rejecting her advances for most of the episode, Louie agrees to hang out with a smart, funny waitress from the Comedy Cellar named Vanessa (Sarah Baker). They're having a good kinda-sorta-date (though Louie pointedly didn't agree to go on it until Vanessa clarified that it wasn't necessarily a date) until she off-handedly refers to herself as fat and Louie protests that she isn't. Vanessa then launches into a devastating monologue on the way society treats overweight women, how it isn't even acceptable for her to point out how cruel this state of affairs is, and how men like Louie fear what people will think of them if they're seen around women who look like her. "On behalf of all the fat girls, I'm making you represent all the guys," she tells him. "Why do you hate us so much?"

Gilbert Cruz at Vulture has the full transcript here. Baker has been making the interview rounds, and her conversations with Huffington Post's Maureen Ryan, Slate's Willa Paskin, the New York Times' Cara Buckley, and Vulture's Denise Martin are worth reading. Also be sure to read AV Club's Libby Hill, who, while praising the episode overall, points out that it's kind of messed up that it took a man to put a speech like this on TV and get people to pay attention, and Vulture's Danielle Henderson, who notes that the speech is weirdly infantilizing in the end ("in her entire romantic life, all she wants to do is hold hands, like an anemic fourth grader who doesn’t know what dating or sex even is").

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