I was thinking about fat guys the other day and what their role is in society. Fat guys are great. They’re either the jolly counterpart to a howling good time or the rotund whipping boy that gets dumped on like a county fair port-a-potty.
The fat guy in movies and TV has those two roles to fill and if he deviates from that, it causes problems. It’s like if a gay guy isn’t portrayed as a mincing fag on the various Bravo shows, you get confused.
When a fat guy is of the good natured sort, someone you want with you on a wild adventure, he’s more of the frat boy kind. The John Belushi character from Animal House comes to mind. You don’t fuck with this guy because he’s inherently tough and is his own man to the point that his size alone is intimidating.
Then there’s the whipping boy. This kind of fat guy is born to be abused. You blame him for your defeats and give him no credit for your victories. He gets whomped on the head a lot, ala Gilligan, and typically is found in crucial moments feeding his fat face when he’s supposed to be doing something important. Dipping back into Animal House, Flounder is the perfect example. If you’ve never seen Animal House, you’re either 13- years old or a complete douche bag. Don’t tell me which one.
Here’s how the Fat Guy Effect operates in movies and TV when race is involved: fat, white guys are not usually paired up with black people. I don’t know why this is, but I can’t really think of an example where this is the case. I think when you get the outgoing and aggressive fat guy (Belushi) he doesn’t pair up well with a black guy in a movie. The whipping boy style fat guy can, but it’s rare. A recent example would be the Will Smith movie Hitch where Big Willie slaps around the horribly shitty Kevin James. James is one of the worst fat guy’s in the business. He’s always eating in everything he’s in and you can literally see his dignity disappear with every bite he takes.
If a skinny white guy is in a movie with a tough, lean black guy watch out; he’ll get whomped on the head just like the incompetent fat guy no matter his race. Anytime the dreadful Steve Zahn appears in a movie with black people he gets abused like the charity candy box in an office break room. It doesn’t matter if it’s a man or a sassy black woman (probably played by a man), the white man is getting slapped up like an inflatable clown.
But it gets tricky with the fat black guy. He falls into the same mode as any fat guy with there being an incompetent version that gets blamed for everything and one who is cool and nobody is going to tell him what he can or can’t do. That stays the same. The only difference between the fat black guy and the fat white guy is the fat black guy seems to be eating more during the course of the film. Where it gets weird, and this could be the opposite of the Steve Zahn Effect, is where there is a fat black guy starring with a lean, tough white guy. 100% of the time, the black guy is going to get abused. A recent film that comes to mind is the Cedric the Entertainer / Tommy Lee Jones opus, Man of the House.
I didn’t see this piece of poop but I can tell you that Ced gets slapped around by Tommy Lee so much it’s embarrassing. I like Ced; I think he’s funny and talented so it’s just cringe inducing to watch him humiliate himself like this. He falls into the category of the cool fat guy but by signing on with a dominating actor like Tommy Lee Jones, he should have known what he was in for. This has set his career back to its very beginning I’m pretty sure.
And then there’s Mike Golic and the whole reason I wrote this ridiculousness in the first place. Mike Golic is an ex-football player, ESPN analyst and radio host. He is a classic example of the shitty fat guy who has somehow found himself in the role of the cool fat guy. I don’t know how it happened because he even looks a bit like Flounder from Animal House.
Golic is a doughy faced pussy whose opinions carry no weight because we all know he’s the inept lard ass who would take a major beating from even the lowliest Hollywood leading man.
Golic must have a good agent because he’s been cast as the ex-football tough guy even though no one knows what team he played for. Tony Siragusa is a fat, loud jerk who used to play for the Baltimore Ravens. That guy is who they’ve cast Golic to be like but he’ll never achieve that status. Siragusa is a fat slob who fills the role of the obnoxious fat guy to a T. He wouldn’t be caught dead getting grief from anyone, let alone a skinny white who weighs 100 pounds less than he does.
Co-hosting his radio show is ESPN’s Mike Greenberg who is the “geeky” counterpart to Golic’s fat, tough guy. Greenberg is likeable and knowledgeable sports guy but has to play the weak dork to this poor man’s Siragusa. Greenberg has to lob softballs to Golic who will then hit them out of the yard by pointing out how uncool he is by showcasing the difference between the two. It’s strange to see (they put the radio show on TV…TV On The Radio?) the two interact because at any moment you expect Golic to look up from eating a pie and have Greenberg hit him over the head with his head. It never happens and I think someone should be fired over it.
I’m not sure why I hate Mike Golic show much but I always have. I’m all for people transcending their stereotypes but when someone is such an ill fit for their faux persona, I want to scream, “get back to eating out of that bucket of KFC and looking up surprised with a greasy face you corpulent bastard!”
My theory is that Mike Golic and Bon Jovi secretly employ Karl Rove to fool everyone into believing they are something they are not: Golic, a tough guy fatty and Bon Jovi a band that never sucked and is still making good music. Only the genius spin doctor Karl Rove could achieve two such incredible feats. Considering what he’s done for Bush, I have to point to him for the Jesus caliber miracles that have been performed for Golic’s broadcasting career and Bon Jovi’s inexplicable longevity. Bon Jovi sucks so bad they deserve their own post. But again, I digress.
If you’re a fat guy (white or black), there’s work for you. It all depends on how you’re perceived by the public. Are you the sassy fat guy or are you the punching bag? If you’re fat and you want to get into movies or TV I would first suggest hiring Mike Golic’s agent (Karl Rove) and of course bring your own bucket of fried chicken to the audition.