Fat Is Fat, Farrah Is Not
Fat Actress (Showtime) – I know I’ve gone back and forth on this one, but it’s official, Fat Actress is my favorite show on TV. No doubt. The Leah Remini episode is a total hoot! FAT ACTRESS is PHAT!
Chasing Farrah (TV Land) – Do yourself a favor and watch the episode with Ryan O’Neal. Oh, before you do that, make sure to read Tatum O’Neal’s A Paper Life; it really sets it up nicely. I hate that I’m even watching this show – but I find myself rewinding and replaying endlessly! Count the number of times that Farrah plays with her hair, you will give up within 10 minutes. Watch Ryan humiliate Farrah (“Have you gained weight?”). Watch Farrah get drunk and bit-by-bit reveal that she and Anna Nicole are actually more alike than she would ever want to believe. Watch Farrah chastise the tabloids then snap into business mode as she proudly reports that the cover announcing her and Ryan’s split was the second-highest-selling issue ever. Watch the psychologically abused makeup artist on her hands and knees scrubbing the beige carpet. Yes, watch closely and you will see how damaging celebrity can be.
It’s strange, because both Farrah and Kirstie’s shows are good bedfellows. They offer great points of comparison in the age of celebrity. Both stars are eager for us to acknowledge that they don’t take themselves too seriously, and they are up for mocking their celebrity. They are both worth watching – one for her failings and the other for her success. Both shows illicit laugher: one hearty and the other bittersweet. I’m convinced that in years to come they will both be seen as important texts to understanding the celebrity-obsessed culture we are currently living in, or barely surviving!
– Randy Barbato