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ChromaKelly

This Is Our Social & Cultural Issues Thread

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I thought it might be a good idea to make a thread for the social and cultural issues that run through This Is Us. Namely, race, adoption, weight, parenting... whatever else I'm not thinking of right now.
I am basically Rebecca. I am white, have biological twins and an adoptive black son. So, yeah a lot of the issues in the show are ones I relate to. I am very interested to see what they get right, if they fall into typical TV adoption tropes, etc.

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Great topic, by the way.

One thing that they haven't gone into to deeply (yet) are the issues that Kate faces in society.  Yes, she's insecure and she is dealing with her own issues around her body, we haven't seen THAT much about how she deals with reactions from the world.  Yes, she got the stares at the Hollywood party (although she and Toby WERE showing off their moves on a what looked like a non-existent dance floor, so....) and the reaction she had at the pool as a child (which even that was not cut and dried about her weight--yes, it probably played a role, but it was also clear that Kate had some social issues going on).

Part of this may be because Kate has probably lived a very sheltered life.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I don't think she had to interview for her job as Kevin's assistant and I'm pretty sure that her resume is pretty short.  I think this is why I had a hard time "buying" Josie offering her a job.  Josie's shop looked as though it didn't exactly cater to clientele like Kate and, this is sad but true, I think that retail business owners are going to hire staff to whom their customers can relate*.

I'm not faulting the show here...I think they are doing a good job of dealing with Kate's internal issues about her weight.  However, at some point I think they are going to have to get out of Kate's head and into the world.

*This makes me think that Josie may have had another reason to hire Kate?

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Regarding Yvette's attitude to Rebecca at the pool:  If I were Yvette, the tone would have been more like "I don't mean to pry, but..."  Rebecca would have taken that much better.  I mean, I won't go up to an adoptive mom with an Asian child and ask if the kid has had any exposure to his/her heritage (or maybe too much exposure...some adoptive parents do that and it looks strange to those of us who were born here, but have at least one Asian parent).

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18 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

Part of this may be because Kate has probably lived a very sheltered life.  I'm going to go out on a limb here and say I don't think she had to interview for her job as Kevin's assistant and I'm pretty sure that her resume is pretty short.  I think this is why I had a hard time "buying" Josie offering her a job.  Josie's shop looked as though it didn't exactly cater to clientele like Kate and, this is sad but true, I think that retail business owners are going to hire staff to whom their customers can relate*.

It will be interesting to see what she may have been doing in her twenties.  Is she a college grad?  What happened before Kevin needed an assistant, she must have worked elsewhere for some years.  The agent said the biggest thing he had done before The Manny was a 3 episode arc on some show, and he was on his hit show for 3 years?  So that success might not have come until his/their early 30s.  She probably did other work before he could afford to pay her.  It was pretty unrealistic for her to be hired basically on the spot, no resume, no background check, unless we just didn't see that.  I would think it would be a little harder for a heavy woman to get a job just like that in an apparently trendy L.A. shop. 

The creation of this topic made a thought occur to me that hadn't until now -- the "us" of the title is not just the family being shown, it is the broader us, the collective us.  Sometimes I am slow on the uptake. 

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1 minute ago, ShadowFacts said:

It will be interesting to see what she may have been doing in her twenties.  Is she a college grad?  What happened before Kevin needed an assistant, she must have worked elsewhere for some years.  The agent said the biggest thing he had done before The Manny was a 3 episode arc on some show, and he was on his hit show for 3 years?  So that success might not have come until his/their early 30s.  She probably did other work before he could afford to pay her.  It was pretty unrealistic for her to be hired basically on the spot, no resume, no background check, unless we just didn't see that.  I would think it would be a little harder for a heavy woman to get a job just like that in an apparently trendy L.A. shop. 

 

I have the feeling, and this is based pretty much entirely on Kate's post-scale confession to Kevin, that her life has been a series of what she considers dead ends.  I'm guessing she went to college--if only because that seems to be the natural thing for people of that age group to do, but I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't finish, or only go a 2 year degree.  She must have done something in her 20s, before her brother hit it big and brought her along, but--and I'm putting my "create a backstory" hat on here (which seems a weird thing to do with this particular show)--I would suspect it would have been things like the under appreciated admin or a phone customer service rep or such.  (Not that there is anything wrong with customer service or admin work--except when it is under appreciated).

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I'd also like to know more about Randall's high school and college years. I don't necessarily need to see it on the show. But I still think about those years. 

Was his high school diverse? Where did he go to college? Did he hang out with other black people in high school and college? 

Part of the reason I'm curious is that I'm a black woman who's been told for most of my life that I "talk white." I feel free to say Randall doesn't talk "white." Although he uses proper grammar, always puts a 'g' on the end of his gerunds, and rarely uses slang--unless he's joking with his wife--Randall definitely sounds like a black man. He said his home town was mostly white, so I wonder if his exposure came from his trips to the black barber, or if it came later in high school and college. 

And his wife is black. I mention that only because it means that sometime in his life, he was exposed to black woman other than the ones on TV, and he didn't have the mindset that white women are the only beautiful women on the planet.

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I do have to cut Rebecca some slack as an adoptive mom, as this is the era of Diff'rent Strokes and Webster. Parents were encouraged to go with a colorblind, love is enough attitude. So no, it probably didn't occur to her to reach out to other black people.
*Interesting to note that we're all, myself included, talking about Rebecca's role in this and not Jack's. Even today, in the online adoption groups I'm on, it's 85% moms. Some gay dads. Rarely any hetero married dads. It seems to be the woman's role to go do all the adoption/parenting research and bring back the clif notes version. Jack could have been taking Randall to a barber shop, as that's usually a father/son thing to do.

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8 minutes ago, ChromaKelly said:

I do have to cut Rebecca some slack as an adoptive mom, as this is the era of Diff'rent Strokes and Webster. Parents were encouraged to go with a colorblind, love is enough attitude. So no, it probably didn't occur to her to reach out to other black people.
*Interesting to note that we're all, myself included, talking about Rebecca's role in this and not Jack's. Even today, in the online adoption groups I'm on, it's 85% moms. Some gay dads. Rarely any hetero married dads. It seems to be the woman's role to go do all the adoption/parenting research and bring back the clif notes version. Jack could have been taking Randall to a barber shop, as that's usually a father/son thing to do.

This is my experience too.  99.9% of our adoption (and even surrogacy as that's another option for us) research comes from ME.  My husband just agrees or disagrees with what our choices should be.  And if he disagrees but I'm for it, then we discuss.  :(

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I imagine that, with any interracial adoptive families, there might be questions one would have but they wouldn't feel comfortable asking. If I'd adopted a black child in the pre-Google days, unless I had a very very close black friend, I wouldn't feel comfortable just going up to a black woman and asking her questions like "does my kid need sunscreen?" Not because I would think the black woman would react poorly, but because I would feel extremely awkward and I wouldn't want her to think I was being disrespectful. Now interracial adoption is more common (maybe? Or perhaps just more visible?), so there are more resources, especially with the internet. But it was tough to get answers to sensitive questions back then, I bet!

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I'm an adoptive mother. My daughter was born in 1977.

DH stayed home with her for the first year. We very carefully did not tell the Children's Aid (the adoption agency) because they had only just changed their standards to say that "a parent" must be at home with the child for the first year, instead of "the mother".

It was considered very unusual. I believe we ended up in a book about weird new relationships.

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2 hours ago, ChromaKelly said:

I do have to cut Rebecca some slack as an adoptive mom, as this is the era of Diff'rent Strokes and Webster. Parents were encouraged to go with a colorblind, love is enough attitude. So no, it probably didn't occur to her to reach out to other black people.

Yeah, me too.  The picture I am getting so far:  It looks like Rebecca and Jack live a solidly middle class life, white-collar teetering a rung or two above blue collar.  They most likely live in a white neighborhood but not one affluent enough to have their own backyard pools.  Since Randall keeps a hashtag book counting he # of black people he sees, he probably never sees any.  So Rebecca & Jack most likely don't have any in their social circle, definitely not in their neighborhood.  Rebecca doesn't seem like she gets much free time, I mean it seems like she has been struggling to even finish her book.  The popularity of international adoption, esp. from China  didn't really explode til around the early 90s so the concept of making sure your child has connections to his/her culture hadn't really taken off yet. So yeah, she is operating from mostly ignorance.

I did like how at the top of the show during the Rubik's cube argument, they showed Randall scratching his neck and Rebecca calling it a rash and telling him to leave it alone.  And then after her encounter with Yvette, she sees him scratching again and that is what prompts her to reach out. She just had to be made aware that no matter how Yvette said it, what he said was important for Randall.  It was a really nicely subtle element that made the whole thing work for me.

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19 hours ago, topanga said:

I'd also like to know more about Randall's high school and college years. I don't necessarily need to see it on the show. But I still think about those years. 

Was his high school diverse? Where did he go to college? Did he hang out with other black people in high school and college? 

Part of the reason I'm curious is that I'm a black woman who's been told for most of my life that I "talk white." I feel free to say Randall doesn't talk "white." Although he uses proper grammar, always puts a 'g' on the end of his gerunds, and rarely uses slang--unless he's joking with his wife--Randall definitely sounds like a black man. He said his home town was mostly white, so I wonder if his exposure came from his trips to the black barber, or if it came later in high school and college. 

And his wife is black. I mention that only because it means that sometime in his life, he was exposed to black woman other than the ones on TV, and he didn't have the mindset that white women are the only beautiful women on the planet.

I'm interested to see if the show explores this as well. I've read blogs and have been in adoption groups with adult transracial adoptees. Almost all had trouble fitting in with their own race as they became teens/young adults. They were "too white", didn't know their races' customs, in-jokes, etc. Like those "You know you grew up black when..." things. It's one of my concerns for my son. He already notices when black people "talk black" and we've had conversations on why he doesn't sound like that. But then, he also has some black friends at school who don't "talk black" and they have black parents... it confuses him. So hard to discuss without coming off classist.
Maybe it's part of why he now lives in a white neighborhood, because he's actually more comfortable in one?

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3 hours ago, ChromaKelly said:

I'm interested to see if the show explores this as well. I've read blogs and have been in adoption groups with adult transracial adoptees. Almost all had trouble fitting in with their own race as they became teens/young adults. They were "too white", didn't know their races' customs, in-jokes, etc. Like those "You know you grew up black when..." things. It's one of my concerns for my son. He already notices when black people "talk black" and we've had conversations on why he doesn't sound like that. But then, he also has some black friends at school who don't "talk black" and they have black parents... it confuses him. So hard to discuss without coming off classist.
Maybe it's part of why he now lives in a white neighborhood, because he's actually more comfortable in one?

It's funny because I wonder if it works in reverse. Maybe not for adopted people, but white kids who grow up in black neighborhoods. For example, when I was a teenager I heard a girl behind me who, ya know, sounded black...imagine my surprise when I turned around and it was a white girl. And it wasn't an affect, either, that was her actual voice from growing up in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood. I wonder if she was constantly accused of "putting on" a "black voice" as she grew up, and if it had any effect on her socially or professionally or whatever. It would be an interesting sociological experiment.

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12 minutes ago, ClareWalks said:

It's funny because I wonder if it works in reverse. Maybe not for adopted people, but white kids who grow up in black neighborhoods. For example, when I was a teenager I heard a girl behind me who, ya know, sounded black...imagine my surprise when I turned around and it was a white girl. And it wasn't an affect, either, that was her actual voice from growing up in an inner city Milwaukee neighborhood. I wonder if she was constantly accused of "putting on" a "black voice" as she grew up, and if it had any effect on her socially or professionally or whatever. It would be an interesting sociological experiment.

A guy I once dated said I sounded like "a Jewish prep school girl."  He was Jewish prep school boy.  I'm of Chinese descent. 

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Great thread idea! Oh Kate, girl I feel you. One thing that strikes me as an adult fat woman almost the same age as Kate (just turned 37) is how I also never really gave much thought to my weight until kids started picking on me. It was around that age too, 8/9 when it started. I never got it too badly, thank god, even in high school when I got even fatter. I focused on being smart and funny as a shield (doesn't work for everyone). I wasn't "cool" but I wasn't tormented and always had friends. I also can't wait to see how the show deals with Kate as a teen/college student. I hope they show it, because those years were the toughest for me. Not necessarily bullied, just feeling totally "other" compared all my slim pretty friends and struggling with the crippling insecurity. I wanted to rush a sorority when I got to college but I didn't because I figured (probably correctly, knowing the culture at my school) that they wouldn't take a fat girl. I also never had boyfriends until well into my twenties. 

When you go that long without all the usual "normal" relationship milestones, suddenly dealing with a guy who seems to like and want you can make you feel very weird. I 100% relate to this character. Heck, I remember side-eyeing the photo of my husband's prom date I saw at his parents' house because she was thin, and she wasn't even his girlfriend! Us fatties can have issues, heh.

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On 10/20/2016 at 2:17 PM, topanga said:

Part of the reason I'm curious is that I'm a black woman who's been told for most of my life that I "talk white." I feel free to say Randall doesn't talk "white." Although he uses proper grammar, always puts a 'g' on the end of his gerunds, and rarely uses slang--unless he's joking with his wife--Randall definitely sounds like a black man. 

I wonder how much of this is inadvertently Sterling. But I'm glad you reference the talking white vs black thing NOT being about use of proper grammar.  There's an inflection and tone common, though not exclusive, to blacks with deep American roots. Especially if those roots are Southern.     

On 10/20/2016 at 2:18 PM, ChromaKelly said:

I do have to cut Rebecca some slack as an adoptive mom, as this is the era of Diff'rent Strokes and Webster. Parents were encouraged to go with a colorblind, love is enough attitude. So no, it probably didn't occur to her to reach out to other black people.
*Interesting to note that we're all, myself included, talking about Rebecca's role in this and not Jack's. Even today, in the online adoption groups I'm on, it's 85% moms. Some gay dads. Rarely any hetero married dads. It seems to be the woman's role to go do all the adoption/parenting research and bring back the clif notes version. Jack could have been taking Randall to a barber shop, as that's usually a father/son thing to do.

In my few comments on the episode thread, I call out Rebecca and Jack on their Randall parenting.  And to further clarify, my issue with them, but particularly Rebecca since her reactions were the focus, was more about what I inferred how she didn't pay attention to Randall enough to know he sought out and felt comfortable with other blacks at a young age.  Some black kids in an overwhelmingly white environment, adopted or no, prefer to socialize with whites and/or other non-blacks.  That wasn't Randall.  I just find it hard to believe she and Jack wouldn't have ever interacted with black parents, even in passing, before that pool incident.  

Presumably, black families live in the area because they came to the pool.  My interpretation was that they (Rebecca and Jack) may have deliberately avoided it because it was uncomfortable, not because they didn't have opportunity. Which is very human, but unfair to Randall. I emphasize Randall, because for me, it's beyond the general "black kids should get to know where they came from" spiel.  Some kids don't care. It's that Randall was genuinely interested, and I expect parents to tune into their children.  Particularly "I'm a 9 out of 10 on the parenting scale and am a helicopter parent before that was even a thing" Rebecca.  

I know most were sympathetic to Rebecca because she was panicked about finding Randall, but eh, I feel like the average parents in the mid-80s would have been perfectly fine with letting their 8-year-olds out of sight for a bit at a neighborhood pool.  It likely wouldn't have been an issue until they were getting ready to leave and couldn't find the kids. I'm only a couple years older, and I distinctly recall, at that age, being able to go all around the neighborhood as long as I was home before dark.  I don't think my experience was exceptional. 

Edited by ribboninthesky1
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Forgot to mention Kate - agreed with what Tooch wrote.  What I feel like is missing for adult Kate is how others treat fat people, especially fat girls and women.  It's not all in her head.  Her insecurities are not JUST because some 8-year-old girls drew a pig on a napkin and wrote they were embarrassed of her.  It likely persisted, in one way or another, for a very long time.  Maybe they'll show it, maybe not.  But this subtext that Kate just needs to pull up her bootstraps and get out of her own head reads wrong thus far. 

Edited by ribboninthesky1
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20 minutes ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

I wonder how much of this is inadvertently Sterling. But I'm glad you reference the talking white vs black thing NOT being about use of proper grammar.  There's an inflection and tone common, though not exclusive, to blacks with deep American roots. Especially if those roots are Southern.     

I think the tone/inflection has A LOT to do with social conditioning.  I know CBC girls/women (Canadian born Chinese) from Markham (a suburb of Toronto with a HUMONGOUS Chinese population) with very "childlike" voices, despite their lack of accent.  They watch A LOT of imported shows from Hong Kong and that's how young women there speak - it's their version of up-talk/valley girl.  It lessens as they get older (probably when they realize that like up-talk, their "young-sounding" voices won't get them anywhere, career-wise). 

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27 minutes ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

Forgot to mention Kate - agreed with what Tooch wrote.  What I feel like is missing for adult Kate is how others treat fat people, especially fat girls and women.  It's not all in her head.  Her insecurities are not JUST because some 8-year-old girls drew a pig on a napkin and wrote they were embarrassed of her.  It likely persisted, in one way or another, for a very long time.  Maybe they'll show it, maybe not.  But this subtext that Kate just needs to pull up her bootstraps and get out of her own head reads wrong thus far. 

Absolutely. It's a fine line for the writers to walk though, because they probably don't want to put the lovely actress through the wringer of having to act out things that have likely happened to her in real life. Though really, the life of a fat woman of her size is rich with story possibilities. It's one thing to be a bit overweight but when you reach Kate's size there is a lot that's just legitimately so difficult, and dealing with society's treatment is one of them. 

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7 hours ago, ChromaKelly said:

Maybe it's part of why he now lives in a white neighborhood, because he's actually more comfortable in one?

He lives in that neighborhood because of the schools. He told William that he and Beth chose the school district because its public schools are better than private schools.

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13 minutes ago, chocolatine said:

He lives in that neighborhood because of the schools. He told William that he and Beth chose the school district because its public schools are better than private schools.

Oh right, I forgot he said that. 
However, it's still a consideration though to have his children in near racial isolation. I moved from an area where the schools are supposedly "better" to a more diverse area because I didn't want my son to always be the only black kid in class. OTOH, his daughters are at least coming home to a black family, so it's different for them.

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1 hour ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

 

I know most were sympathetic to Rebecca because she was panicked about finding Randall, but eh, I feel like the average parents in the mid-80s would have been perfectly fine with letting their 8-year-olds out of sight for a bit at a neighborhood pool.  It likely wouldn't have been an issue until they were getting ready to leave and couldn't find the kids. I'm only a couple years older, and I distinctly recall, at that age, being able to go all around the neighborhood as long as I was home before dark.  I don't think my experience was exceptional. 

LOL, yeah. I was kind of like wow, they are certainly a lot more aware than my parents were. Shoot, mine would just let me wander the pool we went to. It had a quarry and two pools so we'd just wander all over the place. I was also a latchkey kid. I'm surprised I wasn't kidnapped.

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16 minutes ago, ChromaKelly said:

Oh right, I forgot he said that. 
However, it's still a consideration though to have his children in near racial isolation. I moved from an area where the schools are supposedly "better" to a more diverse area because I didn't want my son to always be the only black kid in class. OTOH, his daughters are at least coming home to a black family, so it's different for them.

Some parents - perhaps like Randall and Beth - believe school reputation ranks higher.  In addition, I won't be surprised if the kids attend some sort of African American cultural program so they'd be exposed to their heritage.  Aunts and uncles, godparents, etc... also help. 

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3 hours ago, Tooch said:

Absolutely. It's a fine line for the writers to walk though, because they probably don't want to put the lovely actress through the wringer of having to act out things that have likely happened to her in real life. Though really, the life of a fat woman of her size is rich with story possibilities. It's one thing to be a bit overweight but when you reach Kate's size there is a lot that's just legitimately so difficult, and dealing with society's treatment is one of them. 

True.  And maybe the writers will address it from that angle - it's early days yet. 

2 hours ago, ChromaKelly said:

Oh right, I forgot he said that. 
However, it's still a consideration though to have his children in near racial isolation. I moved from an area where the schools are supposedly "better" to a more diverse area because I didn't want my son to always be the only black kid in class. OTOH, his daughters are at least coming home to a black family, so it's different for them.

I do think seeing yourself reflected in your family is significant, especially as a child.  Also, the girls seem to be get along well - no sibling animosity.  There's also Beth's family, assuming she's close to them.  To PRgal's point, I could see Randall and Beth making it a point to have their girls socialize with other black kids, or connect with presumably other black parents and their kids via school.  I don't think there's been any commentary about the girls being the only blacks at the school, unless I missed it.    

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1 hour ago, ribboninthesky1 said:

True.  And maybe the writers will address it from that angle - it's early days yet. 

I do think seeing yourself reflected in your family is significant, especially as a child.  Also, the girls seem to be get along well - no sibling animosity.  There's also Beth's family, assuming she's close to them.  To PRgal's point, I could see Randall and Beth making it a point to have their girls socialize with other black kids, or connect with presumably other black parents and their kids via school.  I don't think there's been any commentary about the girls being the only blacks at the school, unless I missed it.    

@ChromaKelly wrote "I moved from an area where the schools are supposedly "better" to a more diverse area because I didn't want my son to always be the only black kid in class."  That's why I responded that some parents prioritize a child's education over being with kids who mirror them racially/ethnically. 

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16 hours ago, Tooch said:

Absolutely. It's a fine line for the writers to walk though, because they probably don't want to put the lovely actress through the wringer of having to act out things that have likely happened to her in real life. Though really, the life of a fat woman of her size is rich with story possibilities. It's one thing to be a bit overweight but when you reach Kate's size there is a lot that's just legitimately so difficult, and dealing with society's treatment is one of them. 

Maybe this belongs in the Kate/CM thread, and if so mods please move it.

But I think the problem with what I quoted above and the post this post responded to is that Chrissy Metz is bringing a certain level of confidence to the role so that even if Kate herself is not happy with her weight, I dont think she cares what society or people or whatever thinks.   

Particularly the way that psuedo job interview scene played last episode, I think it was a mistake to not make Kate some sort of high-powered music executive or something.

Yes, people still care about others' weight and appearance.  But in the corporate worldnin 2016 its about results.  And I think the show missed a huge opportunity to show someone who is not thin or even average being succesful in corporate.

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On 10/21/2016 at 3:52 PM, ribboninthesky1 said:

Forgot to mention Kate - agreed with what Tooch wrote.  What I feel like is missing for adult Kate is how others treat fat people, especially fat girls and women.  It's not all in her head.  Her insecurities are not JUST because some 8-year-old girls drew a pig on a napkin and wrote they were embarrassed of her.  It likely persisted, in one way or another, for a very long time.  Maybe they'll show it, maybe not.  But this subtext that Kate just needs to pull up her bootstraps and get out of her own head reads wrong thus far. 

Absolutely. I'm overweight, but not near Kate's size and I still have strangers say mean things to me. For example, I was walking to a trashcan at a gas station and grown men started shouting insults at me. It all revolved around my weight.

In the unpopular opinions thread, I just finished reading there were comments about not liking Kate because she's too fat. That obese people shouldn't get good acting roles.

It's easy to say just stop being neurotic and insecure when you're not having all the pressures of society, well meaning friends, and family all talk about weight. Society does not like fat people. Or people above a size 8.

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7 hours ago, Court said:

In the unpopular opinions thread, I just finished reading there were comments about not liking Kate because she's too fat. That obese people shouldn't get good acting roles.

One of the interesting things about this show is how it is making the audience mull over or reveal their own perceptions of thing like race, weight, addiction, attractiveness, etc. Of course, you are seeing a lot of concern trolling about the character Kate's weight. But is it really concern or is it more about how her weight makes us feel? After all, we are taught that any and all physical and social imperfections should not be tolerated and need to be squashed. People can yell health all they want, but at our cores most of us are nervous about what we've been taught is other and undesirable.

On the other hand, people have had very interesting reactions to a character like William.  Apparently a man, particularly a black man, can't be sensitive, intelligent, and kind while having been a drug addict and making terrible life choices but still basically being a decent man who has not ulterior motives. Even my first reaction was to speculate that William was grifting or not who he said he was. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little ashamed of myself) when it turned out he was a good but imperfect man. I know a lot viewers also had the same reaction and some are still in the corner that William should've been a shady grifter because of course! Is it inherent cynicism or does it say something deeper about our understanding of addiction and race?

For a sentimental little family drama, it has a been a real eye-opener to observe fanbase opinions on the boards. My take away has been that we ain't all as enlightened as we want to believe ourselves to be.

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I think society in general judges women more for their form than their function. This is especially apparent in women's bodies, where we care more about what size a woman fits into than whether she is healthy (medically and/or fitness-wise). We do this to ourselves, and we pass it on to our daughters every time we mention feeling fat or needing to lose weight or "I should be on a diet." My wish for society is that we all took care of ourselves health-wise and stopped worrying so much about a stupid number on a scale or wanting to fit into our high-school dress size. 

That being said, as an athletic woman who works hard to maintain good health, I do not like some of the comments that I get from other women. I am perfectly healthy and at 5'11" wear about a size 8, but still I get "eat a sandwich," "you're nasty skinny," etc. It really isn't just heavy women who get unwanted commentary on how they look. It's part of being female in a world that judges us on our appearance, and it sucks.

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4 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

I won't sympathize with any antipathy Randall has for Rebecca.  To blame the parents that took him in and raised him as their own for choosing a closed adoption would be a shitty thing to do.  Even without the foreknowledge that his birth father had a heroin addiction at the time.  

I don't think it would be shitty at all for Randall to be upset.  Maybe not forever, and we don't yet know several things, like if Rebecca knew William had made a turnaround, did Jack ever have involvement, and most importantly did Randall ever directly ask and was lied to.  By the time he was in his late teens/early twenties, if he had been curious, he was old enough to handle the download.  I'm guessing they'll play it as he wasn't interested until recently, or he would have found the guy since he did so with relative ease.  Of course the parents can make whatever decision they please, but the adult child can also choose differently, and that doesn't mean the child is wrong for wanting to know/resenting being kept in the dark.  It's kind of cleverly written inasmuch as William has kept the bargain all these years, and if he was a creep he could have sought Randall out and glommed onto his upper middle class biological son.  That and the fact that on the initial meeting he immediately said he was so strung out he doesn't even remember the firehouse, which could have sent Randall immediately away, make me think a twist where he pulls a scam of some sort would ring false.

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1 hour ago, ClareWalks said:

I think society in general judges women more for their form than their function. This is especially apparent in women's bodies, where we care more about what size a woman fits into than whether she is healthy (medically and/or fitness-wise). We do this to ourselves, and we pass it on to our daughters every time we mention feeling fat or needing to lose weight or "I should be on a diet." My wish for society is that we all took care of ourselves health-wise and stopped worrying so much about a stupid number on a scale or wanting to fit into our high-school dress size. 

That being said, as an athletic woman who works hard to maintain good health, I do not like some of the comments that I get from other women. I am perfectly healthy and at 5'11" wear about a size 8, but still I get "eat a sandwich," "you're nasty skinny," etc. It really isn't just heavy women who get unwanted commentary on how they look. It's part of being female in a world that judges us on our appearance, and it sucks.

This is so true.  I'm much shorter than you, but probably similarly proportioned, but people seem to freak out when you're thin/athletic just as much as they do so when you're very big.  I think it's a self-confidence thing - even if one is thinner (but not very thin).  In my experience, it tends to come from women of a certain age and can be as passive-aggressive as "how do you fit all that food into your little figure?" 

While we're on the whole body critique topic, I wonder if they are going to make Kevin's new role on stage a "himbo" role, because, you know, it's the Manny, right (stunt casting.  Ticket sales)?  Guys get commented too - just not nearly as badly as us.  I mean, why aren't there more fat shaming posts on Donald Trump?

Edited by PRgal · Reason: To make it a 'legit' post
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34 minutes ago, PRgal said:

In my experience, it tends to come from women of a certain age and can be as passive-aggressive as "how do you fit all that food into your little figure?" 

True, sometimes I'm eating a salad or something and a woman will tell me "you don't NEED to eat salads." I always respond "I LIKE salad." Since when is it appropriate to comment on someone's food choices? Whether someone is big or small or in between, MYOB applies. I think a lot of women are also conditioned to be defensive about what they eat at a restaurant. Every time we go out to eat with my MIL, she says "I'll bet you think I'm such a PIG for ordering this." Um, no, I don't give a shit what you order. It tells me that SHE is judging other people for what they order. Argh. It really is a disturbing societal trend. I hope this show kind of explores it a bit.

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2 hours ago, HeySandyStrange said:

One of the interesting things about this show is how it is making the audience mull over or reveal their own perceptions of thing like race, weight, addiction, attractiveness, etc. Of course, you are seeing a lot of concern trolling about the character Kate's weight. But is it really concern or is it more about how her weight makes us feel? After all, we are taught that any and all physical and social imperfections should not be tolerated and need to be squashed. People can yell health all they want, but at our cores most of us are nervous about what we've been taught is other and undesirable.

On the other hand, people have had very interesting reactions to a character like William.  Apparently a man, particularly a black man, can't be sensitive, intelligent, and kind while having been a drug addict and making terrible life choices but still basically being a decent man who has not ulterior motives. Even my first reaction was to speculate that William was grifting or not who he said he was. I was pleasantly surprised (and a little ashamed of myself) when it turned out he was a good but imperfect man. I know a lot viewers also had the same reaction and some are still in the corner that William should've been a shady grifter because of course! Is it inherent cynicism or does it say something deeper about our understanding of addiction and race?

For a sentimental little family drama, it has a been a real eye-opener to observe fanbase opinions on the boards. My take away has been that we ain't all as enlightened as we want to believe ourselves to be.

For me, it's that I'm hoping William isn't a Magical Black Man character. I eyerolled a little about the busing march (which, was anything still going on in the 80's?) Maybe they should have dropped the drug addict part and just had him be an overwhelmed father who lost the mother of his child and didn't know what to do.

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2 hours ago, HeySandyStrange said:

For a sentimental little family drama, it has a been a real eye-opener to observe fanbase opinions on the boards. My take away has been that we ain't all as enlightened as we want to believe ourselves to b

Too true. It has been rather interesting. Almost more interesting than the actual show. 

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1 hour ago, ChromaKelly said:

I eyerolled a little about the busing march (which, was anything still going on in the 80's?)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Desegregation_busing  According to what I read, it was still going on but rapidly declining in the 80's, coming to a stop in the for the most part in the 90s. So I guess the scenario isn't totally out of left field, though I think it would've been more appropriate if William was doing that in the 70's. But they wanted a plot point about William improving during the 80's and driving the point home that he was not there for Randall, thus angst.

As for William being too perfect--I'll agree that he has the potential to become a Gary Stu, but I do wonder if this perception that he is too perfect would be the same if he was white. Possibly, possibly not. They still have some time to show us more of his human foibles.

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17 hours ago, Court said:

That obese people shouldn't get good acting roles.

That's not at all what I said.  I meant pretty much the opposite.  Obese people and moderately overweight people SHOULD get good acting roles.  But the only obese people I see on my tv are Sidibe and Metz, so it seems to me the trend is to only hire extremely, morbidly obese people.  Which is great that they get good jobs, but where is the representation for the size most of us women are?  I'm a 12, probably the most common women's size of all, and I can't think of one person my size on tv, really.  12 is dull.  It's not glamorous like a 4 or sensational like whatever size Metz is.  

I think the pendulum will settle in the middle ranges eventually but it's the early stages of giving plum roles to obese actors so it's at extremes now.  It reminds me of early roles for Native Americans being insulting like Tonto or the crying man on the littering commercial or black roles originally being white actors in blackface acting out black stereotypes.  The inclusion is good but there's an air of ridicule in how they're pulling it off, at this point, to me.  

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2 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

Which is great that they get good jobs, but where is the representation for the size most of us women are?  I'm a 12, probably the most common women's size of all, and I can't think of one person my size on tv, really.  12 is dull.  It's not glamorous like a 4 or sensational like whatever size Metz is.

Agreed. It seems like the only size diversity on TV is, like you said, thin women (who are considered totally normal and treated as such), and super obese (whose plot lines must totally revolve around their size because it cannot be ignored). If they had women in the 10-16 range and just had them be normal (meaning, their stories don't revolve around how they look in lingerie), it would go a long way.

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2 hours ago, ClareWalks said:

Agreed. It seems like the only size diversity on TV is, like you said, thin women (who are considered totally normal and treated as such), and super obese (whose plot lines must totally revolve around their size because it cannot be ignored). If they had women in the 10-16 range and just had them be normal (meaning, their stories don't revolve around how they look in lingerie), it would go a long way.

I am trying to think of an averagely overweight actress on TV and can't think of one right now. The closest I can come is Aidy Bryant on SNL. The vast majority of her roles in skits have nothing to do with weight.
But yeah... I don't see my size on TV either.
I'm also a little puzzled at Kate being so overweight and coming from a relatively thin family. I have struggled with my weight all my life, but I also come from a family that trends towards being heavy.

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45 minutes ago, ChromaKelly said:

I am trying to think of an averagely overweight actress on TV and can't think of one right now. The closest I can come is Aidy Bryant on SNL. The vast majority of her roles in skits have nothing to do with weight.
 

Katy Mixon on 'American Housewife', who played Melissa Mccarthy's sis on 'Mike n Molly'. The title of her show was once "The Second Fattest Wife in Westport'. She is, I would estimate, a size 14 or so. Normal, you know. And the character she plays is confident and funny and has a husband who can't get enuf of her. But it's still all centered around fat jokes.

Someone on the unpopular opinion thread actually said they didn't like Kate cuz she was fat. That wasn't the only reason, but her being 'too big' was a large (pun intended) part of it.

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5 hours ago, Winston9-DT3 said:

 I'm a 12, probably the most common women's size of all, and I can't think of one person my size on tv, really.  12 is dull.  It's not glamorous like a 4 or sensational like whatever size Metz is.  ]

You may want to check out the American Housewife sitcom on ABC. Katy Mixon is considerably smaller than Sidibe or Metz, in the size 12-16 range probably, and the show is about how she deals among the thin housewives in her well-to-do Connecticut suburb (there are also some class issues commentary since her family is not as well off as their neighbors.) The show is hit or miss, but she's very winning and she lives a full, mostly confident & happy life. 

ETA: Oops! Luna beat me to it by like 30 seconds. Lol. Ah well, worth checking into. 

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Cool, thanks.  It occurred to me Mindy Kaling also is normal-sized.  I do still watch her show but it's not very good anymore now that it's a Hulu original.  Also Kristen Vangsness who plays Garcia on Criminal Minds.  Maybe Christina Hendricks' various tv roles.  

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4 hours ago, ClareWalks said:

Agreed. It seems like the only size diversity on TV is, like you said, thin women (who are considered totally normal and treated as such), and super obese (whose plot lines must totally revolve around their size because it cannot be ignored). If they had women in the 10-16 range and just had them be normal (meaning, their stories don't revolve around how they look in lingerie), it would go a long way.

It's the same thing with age.  Women on tv are required to look quite young (even the forty+ women), which is why they have all botoxed their faces into submission, or they are very old grandma's.  There is no in-between with a normal, un-filled/un-botoxed/un-plasticized face.

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8 hours ago, luna1122 said:

Katy Mixon on 'American Housewife', who played Melissa Mccarthy's sis on 'Mike n Molly'. The title of her show was once "The Second Fattest Wife in Westport'. She is, I would estimate, a size 14 or so. Normal, you know. And the character she plays is confident and funny and has a husband who can't get enuf of her. But it's still all centered around fat jokes.

Someone on the unpopular opinion thread actually said they didn't like Kate cuz she was fat. That wasn't the only reason, but her being 'too big' was a large (pun intended) part of it.

Plus Mindy. Plus Queen Latifa. The lady how plays / played Bailey on Grey's Anatomy (stopped watching the show a long time back so don't know if she's still around). Most of the time the background characters / character actresses on shows are normal / larger than average sized. It's leads / significant roles that are missing, I find. But I think the cause of larger than average getting representation is queuing behind the case of female lead characters in general, and then people of colour, so it will be a ways to go before Hollywood pays too much attention. 

Edited by romantic idiot
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4 hours ago, izabella said:

It's the same thing with age.  Women on tv are required to look quite young (even the forty+ women), which is why they have all botoxed their faces into submission, or they are very old grandma's.  There is no in-between with a normal, un-filled/un-botoxed/un-plasticized face.

Such a good point about age.  Some male actors have work done, but many don't, and their careers don't seem affected and they show up all over the place.  There are so many things about media and pop culture that have a damaging effect on how people think about themselves.  Aside from age and weight and appearance in general, many t.v. shows feature the most gleaming gorgeous homes for even characters who are shown to be struggling financially.  And then there are a myriad of really smart-mouthed kids, and loutish people in general in sitcoms.  There are notable exceptions, and I hope the pendulum keeps swinging towards less nastiness and less unrealistic/unattainable physical representation.  I think we'd all be better for it, but I'm pretty pie-in-the-sky sometimes.

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Basically, in tv land people that are "average"-average in looks and weight- don't exist in large doses. Which is why you have a gorgeous, young actress playing the lead as a housewife in a middle-class family instead of an actress that is more realistic for that role. The few times I've seen less then stellar looking people cast in lead roles, quite a few internet trolls come out of the woodwork to moan and complain about there eyes being burned out by having to suffer from someone who isn't a supermodel.

In other countries, this isn't as big a problem. You will actually see on tv middle aged mothers and fathers that look middle-aged and not botoxed to oblivion, a 20-somthing single mother who works as a cashier that isn't glamorous and photo-ready, and people who are normal weights without being super skinny or super large. I'd like to see more of that over here but I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

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1 hour ago, HeySandyStrange said:

Basically, in tv land people that are "average"-average in looks and weight- don't exist in large doses. Which is why you have a gorgeous, young actress playing the lead as a housewife in a middle-class family instead of an actress that is more realistic for that role. The few times I've seen less then stellar looking people cast in lead roles, quite a few internet trolls come out of the woodwork to moan and complain about there eyes being burned out by having to suffer from someone who isn't a supermodel.

In other countries, this isn't as big a problem. You will actually see on tv middle aged mothers and fathers that look middle-aged and not botoxed to oblivion, a 20-somthing single mother who works as a cashier that isn't glamorous and photo-ready, and people who are normal weights without being super skinny or super large. I'd like to see more of that over here but I doubt it will happen anytime soon.

There used to be more "average" people.  I remember 1980s sitcom moms being age-appropriate (maybe a little bit on the young side to have a 15 year old kid, but still "reasonable" - if they marry at, say, 22), even if they were a bit prettier than most people's mothers.  I think things changed with the new century.  And now, even large people (women, anyway) have fairly attractive faces (sorry, most women don't look like they had their make-up done at the Lancome counter every day nor do they have time for a blow-out).  At least we aren't in East Asia.  Lookism is BIIIIIIGGGGGG there.  There, a Kate-type character would probably be a size 10 or 12.  Because that's HUUUUUUUGGGGGEEEE there.

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19 hours ago, PRgal said:

There used to be more "average" people.  I remember 1980s sitcom moms being age-appropriate (maybe a little bit on the young side to have a 15 year old kid, but still "reasonable" - if they marry at, say, 22), even if they were a bit prettier than most people's mothers.  I think things changed with the new century.  And now, even large people (women, anyway) have fairly attractive faces (sorry, most women don't look like they had their make-up done at the Lancome counter every day nor do they have time for a blow-out).  At least we aren't in East Asia.  Lookism is BIIIIIIGGGGGG there.  There, a Kate-type character would probably be a size 10 or 12.  Because that's HUUUUUUUGGGGGEEEE there.

This is a good point.  Thinking back to the sitcoms I loved as a kid, the moms were pretty but they weren't these perfect supermodel types you see today - I'm thinking Growing Pains, Family Ties, Aunt Becky from Full House, etc.  They were above average, but none of them were Sofia Vergara types.

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In talking to kids about death:  I'm actually surprised they had THAT many questions.  The oldest is eight or so.  I'd think kids her age would have a much better idea - even those who live in very sheltered environments.  Or did Catholic school ruin me?

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2 minutes ago, PRgal said:

In talking to kids about death:  I'm actually surprised they had THAT many questions.  The oldest is eight or so.  I'd think kids her age would have a much better idea - even those who live in very sheltered environments.  Or did Catholic school ruin me?

I think, by that point, the girls realized that something was up with William.  Yeah, if the discussion of death had come up in more benign way, they may not have had as many questions but, since they had a personal stake in the conversation, they were seeking more information.

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13 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I think, by that point, the girls realized that something was up with William.  Yeah, if the discussion of death had come up in more benign way, they may not have had as many questions but, since they had a personal stake in the conversation, they were seeking more information.

Each of my kids got upset about the idea of death at about the same time, age 5, so this seems a little late.  I think the little girls probably had their ideas and were looking for answers and confirmation, and they could sense their parents weren't going to be giving that.  Like Kevin said, it was a ballsy move on Beth and Randall's part, but he got stuck holding the bag (I hope Randall doesn't punch him).

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