Questions to Ask

  • How do we usually see fat women portrayed?
  • How is Shrill portraying fat women differently?
  • What’s Shrill‘s point of view on weight loss and dieting?

What We Think of “Shrill”

Into our recent canon of delightful, thought-provoking shows about fat women coming into their own (I’m thinking Dumplin and Dietland), comes the first season of Shrill on Hulu. Based on Lindy West’s memoir of the same name — which you absolutely should read — the show boasts a slew of female writers and directors with tons of lady-cred.

Aidy Bryant (SNL) stars as Annie Easton, a writer at a Seattle newspaper. Her roommate and friend, Fran, dates women and is so cynical she inspires an eyeroll a minute (she’s also “the black and gay best friend”, urgh). Annie’s exasperating boyfriend, Ryan, often acts like an idiot toward her, but who hasn’t had a not-right romantic partner? And her boss at the newspaper is a fatphobic gay man who can’t get with the body-positive program.

Aidy Bryant dances freely with many other fat women.
Annie Easton (Aidy Bryant) lets loose at the Fat Babe Pool Party on Shrill.

Shrill embodies body positivity and fat liberation, and more. It’s not watered-down or overly slick. Annie has a realistic personality with multiple facets and various parts of her life that are not related to her weight at all. Fat women and girls will likely be able to see themselves in Annie.

And this show is not a downer — it’s quite funny a lot of the time. Annie isn’t just a nice girl who has totally bought into society’s view of her — she’s at least halfway to being a bad-ass. Unlike Plum in the show Dietland, Annie already knows she’s pretty awesome, and she’s ready to break free. At one point, she goes on an illuminating rant:

“It’s a f***ing mind prison, you know, that every f***ing woman everywhere has been programmed to believe. And I’ve wasted so much time and money and energy, for what? I’m fat. I’m f***ing fat. Hello, I’m fat.”

— Annie Easton in Shrill

If you’re crawling your way out of the hole of diet culture and body hatred, this show may be one of the strong hands who helps pull you out. For everyone else, Shrill is super-affirming and enjoyable. I’d like to see at least 3 more seasons of Shrill, so I hope the producers keep it going. Help out by tweeting and emailing the producers and Hulu, contact info on this page! — Jennifer Berger

Where We Saw “Shrill”

Hulu, first season released March 22, 2019
(Note that this show has some sex scenes, an abortion, and “foul language”.)

Take Action Now!

Encourage the people who made Shrill to create another season! These are the folks to tweet at and email to say “I want more of this!”

Tell Hulu you want more Shrill:
On Twitter @hulu

Contact the Executive Producers (the people who invest money in making the show):
Email Lorne Michaels
Tweet at Elizabeth Banks
Tweet at Max Handelman

Let the women who made Shrill happen know you appreciate their work:
Shout-out Aidy Bryant on Instagram
Tell Lindy West you love her work via her website
Tweet to Ali Rushfield (writer, producer, and showrunner)