Maybe someday Melissa McCarthy will lose weight.
I'll be happy for her. (I mean . . . I think I will. If she doesn't do a self-loathing "Us Magazine" cover about it. If she's happy, I'll be happy.)
But I'm kind of glad she's fat right now.
Fat and beautiful on stage at the Emmys. Fat and hilarious on "Saturday Night Live." Fat and flat-out awesome in "Bridesmaids."
Because you almost never get to see someone be fat and awesome on TV or in the movies.
In real life, this happens all the time.
Your life, undoubtedly, is full of fat, awesome people.
Teachers, friends, siblings, coworkers — you. There's a very good chance that you are fat and awesome.
In real life, you can be fat and happy, even healthy. You can be fat and good at your job, fat and popular — fat and in love.
Real life is full of successful fat people.
But we simply don't exist on television.
When fat actors are included in a show, their character development usually begins and ends at "fat."
This is especially true for women. If a fat woman shows up on screen, it's a joke. She's there to gross out the gorgeous thin people, or she's there to be brusque and obnoxious and lascivious, or she's there so some thin person can feel sorry for her. And that's if she shows up at all. She rarely does.
(Name a fat actress. Besides Melissa McCarthy. And no, "that girl from Precious" doesn't count — unless you can remember her name. Roseanne doesn't count either. Her show's been dead for 15 years.)
Fat women are so rare on TV — and even more rare in movies — that it feels like we've been PhotoShopped out of entertainment altogether. Like we're such an abomination, we're not even allowed in front of cameras.
And then along comes Melissa McCarthy.
For me, Melissa McCarthy came along a few years ago through "The Gilmore Girls."
If you haven't watched "The Gilmore Girls," you should. Seriously. Right now. (You can come back and finish this column later.) It's smart and funny and full of heart, and even though it was a teen show, there are great characters of all ages and shapes.
Talk about some awesome fat people.
Melissa McCarthy's "Gilmore" character, Sookie St. James, is probably the best fat television character of all time. (Though Dan Conner was pretty excellent on "Roseanne.")
What made Sookie so wonderful was that being fat had nothing to do with her character. Nothing.
There were no fat jokes. No fat plotlines. Sookie never went on a diet or joined a support group. (Not that I can remember.)
Sookie was funny — really funny — but never because she was obsessing about her weight or obsessing about hunger. And her character was a chef!
A fat actress played a chef on TV! And there were no mean jokes about how much she loved to eat!
(I'm going to keep using exclamation points because, really, the more you think about this, the more amazing it is!)
Sookie's role on the show was best friend and business partner to main character Lorelai, played by the slim and lovely Lauren Graham.
But Sookie — who was adorable and had great clothes — wasn't the fat best friend, the one the skinny girl befriends so that she doesn't have any competition.
Her weight simply wasn't a factor in their friendship — or their conversations. (Just like in real life! Fat people have friends who don't really care how fat they are! Trust me on this one!)
Sookie never got angsty about how skinny Lorelai was. Sookie never got jealous over all of Lorelai's dates.
Sookie got dates! Sookie got married! Sookie had kids!
Just like fat people do in real life.
Just like people do in real life.
The beauty of Sookie — and of Melissa McCarthy herself — is that it doesn't matter that she's fat.
She's just awesome.
* * *
So I've just written a whole column about Melissa McCarthy and fat TV characters without mentioning "Mike & Molly" — the show McCarthy won an Emmy for. The truth is, I can't bring myself to watch "Mike & Molly." The whole premise — couple meets at Overeaters Anonymous meeting — is depressing to me. The idea that fat people can have their own show only if it's about How Fat They Are . It seems like the opposite of Sookie.
That said, friends who watch the show tell me that McCarthy is delightful on it.
Well, of course she is.