Friday, February 25, 2005

“Attraction Is Subjective; It Can’t Be Analyzed.”

C.S.I. ran its "chubby chaser" episode last night, "Big Middle," and, naturally it has the members of the Dimensions Weight Board discussing it. The big question: whether a woman who is described as just under 300 pounds could really crush a man if she passes out from a deadly combo of hypertension medication and booze. As more than one boarder points out, the experiment performed by Gil Grissom (William Petersen) to show that the weight on a male body would be enough to kill him was fairly dubious, since the weight they used was on an average-sized female dummy and largely centered in the middle of its torso – and a super-sized woman would have had her weight more widely dispersed. Since the dead fat admirer was shown helping another plus-sized partner onto a hotel room table, it's clear that he had a decent amount of upper body strength, so perhaps the show’s critics have a point.

Given that the show is designed to present us with a series of suspects who all appear to have something to hide, its take on a size acceptance convention didn't strike me as too out of line. The FA victim turns out to be a pretty slimy predatory type – the kind of guy who sees these events as an opportunity to bed women that he otherwise holds in contempt ("He liked doing fat girls, but didn't want to be seen with them," we're told.) – not an unbelievable figure, unfortunately. The SSBBWs depicted on the show were generally either flirtatiously assertive (there's a great comic moment where one of the attendees, played by Lisa Brounstein, thinks Grissom is gay because he doesn't immediately respond to her signals: "Fat girl, gay guy – it's not unheard of!"), struggling with self-esteem or, most likely, both.

We also, of course, get a variety of reactions to the fact that a bunch of provocatively dressed fat women and their admirers even exist: from a piggy comment by a unformed cop (who is chastised by Jorja Fox's outspoken feminist, Sarah Sidle) to curiosity by neophyte criminalist Greg Sanders (Eric Szmanda). Several appealing fat actresses were given film time to show what they can: I especially enjoy the beardless Deb Christoffersen (hadn't realized until I saw without the Carnivále beard that I'd seen her years before, dressed in rubber on N.Y.P.D. Blue) as a convention vender specializing in sexy plus-sized lingerie. Would've been nice if the show had indicated that there were actual FAs out in the world who were much less exploitive than the love-'em-and-leave-'em lothario who snuffs it. But in the world of C.S.I., the point isn't to establish a fair-and-balanced view but to take us into a world where practically anyone could commit murder. . .

Friday, February 18, 2005

You Also See Some Plus-Size Pool Poses

Watching the previews at the end of last night's C.S.I., I see the upcoming ep is the one featuring Lisa Brounstein – and a whole lotta other fat women, since the investigation seems to be set at a public social gathering for SSBBWs and their admirers. The approach, one suspects, won't be that much different from an earlier outing set at a little people's convention: titillation and empathy being dispensed in equal doses, no doubt. (It'll be intriguing, though, to see Gill Grissom's inquiring-minded take on the whole scene.) Since C.S.I. is such a top-rated show, this may be the first time that many in the audience will be exposed to the size acceptance social scene, so I know I'll be watching it. It's gotta be better than last night's fat-man-in-a-diaper ep.

Commentary sure to come. . .

Monday, February 14, 2005

The Daily Bros. Circus

Last night's episode of Carnivále, which featured (among its many subplots) a troupe of stranded carnie performers whose show had been burned down, will forever be known to fat admirers as The One With the Sideshow Fat Lady. Co-starring Lisa Brounstein in the small speaking role, the ep took advantage of her exuberant proportions in several camera shots, most memorably in a round table discussion between her (unnamed?) character and some of the show's female carnie regulars (including Debra Christoffersen's zaftig and unapologetically sexual bearded lady, Lila). In another scene, we see her holding onto a guy who, one can't help hoping, is her character's lover. A good number of sideshow fat ladies found husbands over the course of their careers on the road – FAs long before the term came into existence – so it's not at all unlikely.

With two exceptions, the troupe of stranded performers leaves for parts unknown at the end of the episode – tough news for those of us hoping to see a bit more of Lisa in the weeks ahead. You'd really think management would appreciate a good fat lady on the bill, though regular viewers know that the business of show takes second place in the world of Carnivále to broader, more apocalyptic concerns. So let's take what little footage of the divine Miz B. that we can get. I read where she has a role in an upcoming C.S.I.: let's hope that it isn't too Se7en-ish. . .

Sunday, February 13, 2005

The OCD Writer Thing

Yesterday, while waiting for my TurboTax updates to download over our slow-as-molasses dial-up, I decided to spend some time re-reading a "Fat Magic" manuscript of mine. It was for a story I posted on the Dimensions website back in August, "Thoughtful" (the illo on the left is a thumbnail of BeakerFA's wonderful story graphic.) As usual, when I revisit my manuscripts, I felt the pressing urge to tinker with it.

Nothing major, mind you: on the whole I'm satisfied with the story, which involves the magical ultra-fattening of a leggy conservative talk show pundit clearly modeled after Ann Coulter. Though a part of me was tempted to treat the character rather nastily (anyone who calculatedly throws the word "treason" around to trash those she disagrees with is a creep, end-of-story), to do so would run counter to the spirit of Fast Majicke that's been established in dozens of stories: super-sized fatness is seen as a desirable state in these stories, not just because the characters look good that way, but because size is aligned with magickal power. Once I decided to initiate my pundit heroine into the world of Fat Magic, there was no way I could be too mean to her.

No, my urge to tamper with the ms. was connected to smaller concerns: most of which related to the way I'd expressed myself. "Thoughtful" is a longish piece – about 11,500 words in length – and sometimes when you're in the midst of an uninterrupted yarn like this, it's easy to slack off when you're halfway into it. Reading the work again, I found several instances where I'd repeated either the same words or sentence structure too monotonously. I also came across a few spaces that needed to be beefed up with an additional sentence of description. And, of course, there were also a couple of previously uncaught grammar gaffes.

One big advantage of posting stories on the web: if you have access to 'em, you can revise any material that dissatisfies you. (One big disadvantage of posting stories on the web: if you have access to 'em, you can revise any material that dissatisfies you.) As a result, I spent part of a Saturday afternoon that could've been used working on something new, tweaking a story that most of my limited online audience read months ago, then posting the revised version Sunday morning. In the end, one of the primary reasons that anyone does this type of fanta-sizing fiction is to tell tales that you'd wanna read yourself – so, even if the changes are being made for an audience of one, it's worth it.

But next time I'm just sitting 'round, waiting for a download to finish, I'm picking something by The Studio to read. . .

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Down in the Dust Bowl

From the Dimensions Weight Board comes the news that actress Lisa Brounstein, who was in Shallow Hal and has also had parts on series television, will be playing a sideshow fat lady in the Sunday episode of Carnivale. As a viewer who's already decried the absence of a good full-sized sideshow performer on the show, I'm heartened by this news - as one look at her website shows, Miz B. is a gorgeous SSBBW. Unfortunately, from the previews, it looks as if she's part of a competing traveling carnival show, so it's probably just a one-shot deal.

CORRECTION: The above has been corrected to fix my original mistaken statement that Lisa played body double in Shallow Hal. (She has politely corrected me on the Dimensions Weight Board.) Instead, she played a woman that Jack Black dances with in a bar. In Lisa's words: "They made me pretty icky. Greasy hair and bad make-up. They didn't want my fat body to be what was unattractive about me."

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Happy Fat Tuesday!

And, kudos, to blogger Aida Lott for posting her Mardi Gras menu.

Weird Moments from Rerun Land

So last night, still wired from hosting a rotating poker game at our house (lost a grand total of $2.50, if you must know) and flipping through the offerings on cable, I came upon a repeat of a sitcom that I rarely watched when it was on in prime time, Just Shoot Me. You know the show, of course: set in a New York fashion magazine in a blatant attempt at grabbing the Ab Fab audience, it starred Laura San Giacomo as the lone voice of normalcy in a world inhabited by comic overachievers like George Segal, David Spade and the elegantly slatternly Wendie Mallick. Because it's set in a glossy NYC fashion mag, there's typically been little in the series to interest an FA viewer like me. But this ep proved an exception.

In it, Laura's character Maya was being romanced by a guy who, it turns out, is a feeder. His previous girlfriends have all been fat (we see one in a bar: a super-sized blond beauty who I unfortunately didn't recognize), and whenever he's out with Maya, he constantly plies her with fattening foods. He even sends her a large wheel of cheese as a romantic present. She begins to gain some (unseen) weight, and in one scene, her pants button pops and is imbedded in the wall. When our heroine finally confronts the guy about this, he admits that he thinks she'd look better a hundred pounds heavier (me, too – but never mind). When she balks, he tries to bargain her down to "fifty pounds – and I'll buy the elastic pants!" Unhappily for the FA viewer (though fortunately, I suppose, for her character), Maya dumps the chump before he can do any serious work on her waistline.

If he had, I bet I would've been paid attention to the show in its final seasons. . .

Saturday, February 05, 2005

When It's Story Time Again. . .

If there are any readers of this blog out there who don’t frequent the Dimensions site (and why the heck don't you?), I should probably note that in my capacity of story librarian for the site, I've recently posted a fresh batch of stories. If you haven't already, why not check 'em out?