TVLine’s Michael Ausiello recently wrote a piece regarding the show’s decision to withhold Kate & Toby’s weight on the hit new NBC drama, This Is Us. In the article, Ausiello opens up about his previous weight-struggles while arguing that by keeping this number a secret on the show, we continue to “reinforces that it’s something to be ashamed of.”
While I agree, my real question for Ausiello, a well known and highly respected TV critic and journalist, is: as a former-fatty, wouldn’t you rather see a show about a person who discovers that she can love herself and her body regardless of her size, or the number on a scale?
In the Thanksgiving episode, Pilgrim Rick, our beloved Kate (Chrissy Metz) breaks up with Toby because she believes that her unhappiness is due to her weight. In fact, she tells Toby about her unrealistic dreams of finding the rom-com type of prince: a man who sacrifices his own dreams so that she can follow hers, a man who does big romantic things to prove his love. Kate informs Toby that he actually is that man. He has won her heart with his grand gestures, yet she is unable to love him because she doesn’t love herself.
And THAT is the big issue here. That is the storyline this series should be following – a woman who learns to love herself! Yet, as a viewer, I fear this story will become a journey of weight-loss only to discover that she’s still unhappy. Honestly, I would prefer to see a journey of learning to love oneself, regardless of the body you’re in.
I agree that the show’s portrayal of real issues – airplane seats and belts, dieting, intimacy, stairs! – are important. After the viral “Dear Fat People” video from a YouTuber [who doesn’t deserve to be credited for her bullying], I feel passionately about the significance of showing viewers some experiences that they may not be aware of. And as a life-long-fatty, I genuinely appreciate it.
That said, why can’t these be expressed by a Kate who loves her body? She will still have the same struggles, be perceived the same way, but not hate herself.