Monday, June 8, 2015
Will McCarthy break the cycle?
Melissa McCarthy has been perfectly satisfied to make one movie after another in which she plays a "funny" fat woman doing what America thinks "funny" fat women do (like eating their own napkins- that's considered so "funny" it's actually included in the trailer) like be fat and make stupid, snarky and decidedly unfunny comments about being fat until the credits mercifully roll and the tasteless clods who paid upwards of ten bucks to watch this dreck giggle their way out of the theaters.
Hey, I get it- it's a living, and we all need to make a living. When Cass Elliot's career was on the wane she allowed herself to be humiliated on one awful variety show after another, celebrated for her weight issues much more than her beautiful voice. Every generation since the Silent Era has featured comedians trading on their girth, from Fatty Arbuckle to John Candy and Chris Farley. And we know what they all had in common- they were "funny" because they were so big and clumsy and goofy. Oh, and they all died early - Farley at 33, Candy at 43, Arbuckle at 46.
Mama Cass? She didn't make it to 34.
McCarthy will be 45 in August. She's been pretty fortunate in her career- inexplicably popular sitcom, inexplicably popular movies. Unlike Farley and Candy, she's apparently decided that her health is more important than her ability to make slack-jawed idiots laugh at her Just Because She's Fat And Fat Means Funny, because she's recently lost fifty pounds in order (in her words) to become a "healthier, happier person" for herself and her family.
I'm not a Melissa McCarthy fan, but I'm rooting for her to keep this up and break the cycle. No, I'm not going to see this movie, partially because from the trailer it's clear she's still playing on the "laugh at me because I'm unhealthy" theme, but also because what passes for humor in movies these days just isn't for me. But I'm pulling for her to move beyond the Fat Lady stage and be funny AND healthy. Because I was sick of seeing talented people drop dead way too early a long time ago.