Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Mac Gets Fat For Laughs
So, there's a bit of a buzz about Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor Rob MacElhenney gaining 50lbs in order to play a "fat Mac" in the next season of the show. First off, I should be upfront: I think Its Always Sunny in Philadelphia is one of the funniest shows on TV! So, if my love for the show is getting in my way of being appropriately critical of it, let me know in the comments. Some of his cast-mates expressed concern for the health implications of gaining 50lbs through eating tons of junk (and that's super valid), but why I think this will be okay artistically if not generally okay healthwise is that the writers of Sunny are super smart satirists and Mac is NOTORIOUSLY VAIN. I think they will explore several issues of weight, self-perception, self-esteem of men based on their physical appearance, prejudice and double standards of beauty in this up-coming season with this deliberate choice of weight gain. Now, this doesn't all happen in a vaccuum and fat men are often "the funny guy" as a defense mechanism in our culture. Fat men like Chris Farley and John Candy died prematurely due to their lifestyles, which in Farley's case at least, included lots and lots of drugs to keep him manic as well as funny. There's also the softer side of the fat man trope, the jolly fat man--think Santa. So, these are cultural touchstones Sunny will have to deal with, and maybe they'll just stick with the Big Mac theme of MacElhenney as the fool who doesn't know that he's fat. We'll see. But I'm going to give them the benefit of the doubt and see where they take this. If its all bad, I'll retract this post!