Shrill shoots to the top of our feminist must-watch list
Last night, after hearing about it on NPR, my babies’ daddy queued up Shrill for the evening’s entertainment. I had not heard about the show and assumed it must be a typical comedy (his favorite, my least favorite genre). Expecting the worst, I grabbed a glass of wine and braced myself.
Just a few minutes into the first episode and my interest was piqued. Shrill is about a young, fat (adorable) writer named Annie living in Portland. And boy does it do a fantastic job of capturing the essence of my city. But what really kept me engaged, is the light tone show uses as it kicks the shit out of you with the fat woman’s reality.
Numerous times I found myself saying, “Holy shit, do you think that really happens?” Or, “Who the fuck says that to someone else?” Or, “Do people really notice other people’s weight that much?”
Annie’s character is sweet and lovable, and painfully real. She’s an ambitious writer who longs for a better life while struggling with her jackass (seriously Portlandy) boss; douchebag fuckbuddy/boyfriend, an ailing father and a fatphobic mother. The first episode lets the viewers experience life through Annie’s eyes. You see how she internalizes the way the world treats her because of her weight. You feel her feeling deserving of being treated less than, not as good as, unworthy of. However, as a viewer all I could see what how nice and fun Annie was. I wanted to be her friend.
The series follows Annie as she begins to realize that she is as good as every other person and deserves to be happy. Interestingly, this revelation kicks off after she discovers she is pregnant by her man-child boyfriend and decides to have an abortion. Fran, Annie’s queer roommate and best friend is a real highlight for me. I love their friendship. I love that Fran is the one that is with her through her abortion and after. It’s refreshing to see a friendship between females so accurately depicted.
It was difficult to tear myself away from this show mid-binge. Watching Annie’s revelations of self-worth, which often come from small, seemingly unimportant moments really affected me. It made me reconsider my own feelings about myself—especially the ones that are based on body image.
This show is a must watch for every woman, because every woman—regardless of size—either struggles with or knows someone who is struggling with their body image and/or sense of self-worth.
Shrill is based on writer Lindy West’s memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman. My research says the show doesn’t follow the book exactly. I haven’t read it yet so I can’t verify, but you can bet it’s on my must-read list now.
You can find 6 episodes of Shrill on Hulu.