Obesity on Television, or Why I’m Hating on Glee

My Sociology 101 professor at university studied obesity on television, and I’m personally interested because I used to be obese. Morbidly obese. (When I had a gallbladder attack, just after The Informant was born, a doctor told me that most gallbladder attacks happen to the 4 Fs: Fat, Female, Fair-skinned, and Fifty. I said, “But I’m only twenty-five!”)

So, obesity on Glee. I’m talking specifically about Lauren Zises. She’s morbidly obese, and rather than just letting her be a regular human being with regular human interactions, the writers have her on this weird archetype path. She’s not the slutty one (that’s saved for the Latina character, Santana), but she’s the “flaunting my sexuality” one. She’s always talking about how hot she is, how she knows all the boys want her — considering this is the same show that dealt very sensitively with an openly gay teenager who had never been kissed, a cheerleader unexpectedly pregnant and kicked out of her house, and a teacher with OCD, I hate how Lauren is being portrayed. I feel like she’s cartoonish. I feel like they’re mocking fat acceptance by turning it into an issue.

Most of the female characters on Glee are written with a lot of sensitivity, but Lauren Zises is written like an anvil. A rock in the punchbowl. All we know about her is that she’s fat and thinks she’s hot. It frustrates me to watch her — I want to see the character develop, not just follow the protocol.


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