FIRST LOOK: NBC's This is Us: Another Sad Fat Girl on TV

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The highly anticipated dramedy from the people who gave us Crazy. Stupid. Love. (a wonderful dramedy in itself) starring Milo Ventimiglia and Many Moore is about to hit televisions and, from what I hear, it fills the void left by the much beloved Parenthood (I never watched that show, but sure).

With a stellar cast – you’ve got heartthrob and former Heroes star Milo Ventimiglia, singer/ actress Mandy Moore alongside mega-hottie soap alum Justin Hartley, The People v OJ’s Emmy nominated Sterling K. Brown, and American Horror Story: Freak Show’s Chrissy Metz – it’s a must see! But that’s not what this is about…

From the promos we’re led to believe that Chrissy Metz’s character, Kate, and Justin Hartley’s have something going on (see photo).

What it is, we don’t know, but this was the moment in the trailer that got me excited for the show! I was so excited to finally see a big woman with a HOT man (seriously, did you see him on Passions, Y&R, Smallville, and/or Revenge?!). No spoiler here, yet, as soon as the pilot starts, all my dreams were dashed. I will not explain further, but I felt it necessary to warn you, because I would hate for you to feel the immense disappointment and frustration I had when I learned who they are to each other. I actually shouted at my television.

So, let’s talk about Kate. She’s what I refer to as a “sad fat girl” – an archetype portrayed on TV all the time: she’s depressed (because she’s fat), she’s lonely (because she’s fat), she can only date another fat person (because she’s fat) and chances are, she’s on a diet, because who could possibly be okay with themselves the way they are?

Knowing that this is television, and we have at least a season to fill, we can assume that her character’s arc is to find a way to accept herself, love herself, blah blah blah. But why can’t her character arc be ANYTHING else? Why does the show have to base her entire personality on her weight? Fat women who love themselves DO exist (*cough* the author of this blog *cough*) and want to see themselves represented on TV. Is the issue that non-fat people aren’t ready to see us happy? Do we need to take baby steps for them to be as comfortable with our bodies as we are?

According to Variety, while at the Paley Center Fall TV Preview Metz discussed auditioning for this role, stating, “A plus-size actress that is remotely attractive and has a love interest… in Hollywood? I need this!”

Okay. Let’s talk about a love interest. Why can’t it be someone who looks like Justin Hartley? Why are we stuck in a Mike & Molly world, where fat women can only be with fat men, the same world as The King of Queens, Still Standing, According to Jim, andGrounded for Life, where a fat man can absolutely be with a not fat woman?! This disgusting double standard continues to fill our screens and remind viewers that a woman’s body determines who she may or may not be with.

I’d like to make sure I’m clear that my complaints are in no way a reflection on Chrissy Metz, nor her beautiful performance. Yes, there are many women (and men) out there who can identify with Kate’s struggles. But for a television series that is clearly trying to break the mold, diversify, and increase representation, I’d hoped the writers would be less lazy.

This Is Us premieres September 20th on NBC.