men_in_full: (sun couple m/f)
Somebody sent me this sweet pic found on TV Tropes, from Fullmetal Alchemist. Don't know the story or who the character is, but I do like the pic.

On hiatus for awhile here. Follow me on men-in-full on tumblr...

men_in_full: (sun couple m/f)
The Nip/Tuck episode I mentioned recently (Season 6, Episode 10, "Lola Wlodkowski") is now up on Starting at 29:52, you can see the totally charming sequence which left me squeeing like a little girl.

Nip/Tuck screencaps, with NSFW SPOILERS )

I'm still smiling, just thinking about it.

men_in_full: (beardsley bacchus)
If you don't follow the FX channel's cracked-out series Nip/Tuck, the episode probably won't make a lot of sense, but even so, it is so worth watching. It will be up on in a week, and while I don't know how to make video clips, some of you worthy readers no doubt do. There's a 2-3 minute section in the middle which is worth excerpting. It made my night, and my husband even remarked, "It's a men-in-full extravaganza!"
men_in_full: (discovery channel 101)
[ profile] paladincub21 linked to this comedy show called "Gaytown," and one of the actors you see in the opening credits is the very large actor Ramsey Moore (thanks, [ profile] nilotec, for identifying him!) I like this shot because other than a character like Baron Harkonnen from Dune, or outside animation, you don't often see a fat man giving someone such an intense, rather malevolent look.

Also, if I were casting a movie version of Neil Gaiman's American Gods, he would fit "The Fat Kid" (the god of technology) perfectly, especially with that stink-eye glare.

men_in_full: (hurley love)
Fillyjonk gave [ profile] men_in_full a shout-out in this article in Shapely Prose called "Hurley is Kind of Hot. She says:

... I realized that in fact fat men can be totally sexy [Thanks, Fillyjonk!] ... Jorge Garcia of LOST has a blog (thanks Miss Conduct for pointing it out!), and now I totally have a crush on him. He’s so cute and so funny! ... Of course you can’t force attraction, but you can broaden your mind and see what swims in. So if this sounds like you, and you are attracted to menfolk, here’s your assignment: go read Jorge’s blog. I’m thinking you will fall in love a little.

Jorge Garcia's gams ... Lucky dog! :D
men_in_full: (daniel lambert)
I'm pretty flattered - The Rotund invited me to write a guest column on "The Invisible Fat Man," and so I did. (Thanks so much for the opportunity!) In it I made some mention of Glenn Gers' film Disfigured, which just had its New York opening. From what I have seen of stills and the trailer, Ryan Benson's character Bob is just too cute for words; the kind of sweet, rounded man with a gentle face and chest that just demand cuddling.

I was talking about why fat men don't get to take their shirts off very often in movies, and speculated that some of it was that creators don't want to subject a sympathetic or favorable character to mockery or cruel laughter (as is so often the case when a fat man is shown unclothed in the mainstream.) In Disfigured, fat heroine Lydia (Deidra Edwards) forms a friendship with recovering anorexic Darcy (Staci Lawrence.) After starting a relationship with the well-padded Bob (Ryan Benson), Lydia makes the unusual request of Darcy for “anorexia lessons.” I wrote:
What I found interesting re: fat male invisibility is that in the trailer for Disfigured, the fat heroine and her fat boyfriend are shown in an erotic moment, but she is shirtless and he is not. Perhaps he disrobes later in the film. But trailers are marketing tools, and scenes for them are picked accordingly. It may be that we’re seeing a “LOST effect” here. To wit, if the boyfriend is intended to be shown as cute and sympathetic, it’s not possible to show him shirtless in the film marketing. In other words, if the fat male lead is seen by the audience as “gross” or funny, the audience will have already turned away from whatever (hopefully) open-minded or new things which the film possibly has to say about fatness. So while it remains to be seen how Disfigured handles its fat male romantic interest, at least in the trailer the fat man’s body invisibility is maintained.

Well, knock me over with a feather, but the director/writer left a comment in the combox. Ulp! Now I have to gather my wits to answer. ; ) Seriously, this to me is the best part of writing this blog - communicating with those actually creating the art which interests me.

Gers sounds pretty sensitive to what it means for fat men to be sexually "revealed" in the mainstream media. Rachel at The F-Word interviewed Gers here, where she put to him ten questions about his film. This one is worth repeating:
Sexual scenes involving one or more fat partners are unheard of in Hollywood. And yet Disfigured features a beautifully-crafted and graphic sexual scene shot between Lydia and Bob. What did you hope to accomplish or show with this scene?

First off, I wanted the audience to be increasingly aware that they were going someplace they hadn’t been before in a movie. I knew it would provoke a lot of things, and the only one I feared was laughter - so the scene calls attention to itself through technique and makes the audience self-conscious, thoughtful about their response. We also used all the classic aesthetic tricks of movie love scenes, to declare uniquivocally: this is beautiful. Plus, it actually is beautiful and Deidra and Ryan are beautiful people.

I wanted the audience to become aware of their own awareness - their discomfort and curiosity and pleasure, and all the countless personal thoughts that they came into the movie with, but hadn’t really faced. It was my hope that when the audience was that self-aware, they would be forced to ask a simple question: why? Why is this not shown? Why are these bodies objects of ridicule or contempt?

My answer - the movie’s answer - is pretty simple: it should be shown. We’re all ugly, and we’re all beautiful. Let’s not hide so much, and let’s not look away. I think the sex scene affects people so strongly because it’s not just about “them,” it’s about us.

I'm looking forward to seeing how Gers treats this - well-done sex scenes in recent movies are rare, and I don't think I've ever seen one with a fat man, outside of a German porno flick which I saw in college.

Finally, a parenthetical note on heroic fat male characters. I just watched the Babylon 5 episode "Racing Mars" (Season 4, Episode 10.) In it we meet Mars resistance fighter and smuggler Captain Jack (Donovan Scott), the bewhiskered and quite round older man familiar with "pleasures of the mind and pleasures of the body." In a rare display of heroism involving a fat man, Jack sacrifices himself to avoid betraying the resistance movement. And we know Jack at one time was a lover as well, as he talks of his daughter. Just another little grain of sand, but put enough of them together, and you have a whole beach ...
men_in_full: (nacken)
While looking up "fairytale" on youtube, I found this charming video clip from a 2006 German television series based on the Grimm's fairy tales. In this adaptation of Hans im Glück ("Hans in luck," or "Lucky Hans,") German actor Joseph Hannesschläger plays "der Meister" and Christian Ulmen his hapless apprentice Hans. In the original Grimm story, Hans has served his master well for seven years, and for his pay gets a lump of gold the size of his head. Of course, at each step of the way, with each misfortune, he ends up "trading down" to the point where he has nothing.

My German is terrible, so I haven't much of an idea what's going on, although I do enjoy watching Hannesschläger. His silky bass-baritone makes me wonder if he sings as well as acts.

I found it interesting that the production team cast a fat man as the master. A head-size gold lump seems way too much for seven years as a craftsman-apprentice; why is the master so generous? He's more than just a master-craftsman, and what he has to give is more than simply wages. The fat master represents a huge - literally - storehouse of knowledge, tradition, and generosity, to which the graduated apprentice is entitled. And a fat man just "fits" as a bestower of that bounty. It's more than simply cute when the two of them try to give a good-bye hug over *both* the master's big belly and that lump of gold. It's as if, visually, the lump of gold and the master's fatness are somehow made equivalent.

I don't know how the German TV show ends; whether Hans gets to keep his wealth, or find even more. It seems that in this version Hans seems to reconnect with his old master after each mishap. My guess would be that since he returns to the source of original bounty after every "fall," he perhaps smartens up a bit more, learns more of the value of what has been imparted to him and how to retain it, than does the luckless dummkopf of the original story.
men_in_full: (opera goers)
"I Love a Fat Man" is the title of a song from this 1977 children's full-length TV musical, Once Upon a Brothers Grimm. Ah, for the cheerful days when children's movie entertainment wasn't always serious, educational, and uplifitng, but instead had sufficient double entendres to amuse the bigger folk (with songs like "A Happily Married Wolf.")

Anyway, some of the lyrics are pretty suggestive themselves, even if the Witch does ultimately want to eat him...

I love a fat man!
The fatter, the better they are!
I love a fat man
I'm crazy for [avoirdupois]
Love my men abundant
Redundant, though it may be
Softer, not hard-like
Not muscled, but lard-like
Could drive me to ecstasy!

I love a fat man
The fatter, the better
The better, the fatter
The fatter, the better for me!
men_in_full: (daniel lambert)
I've become increasingly sensitive about how fat men are portrayed in media. This is what I think - culturally, we have had a "fat guy" archetype throughout the ages, and the closer a media portrayal is to that archetype, the better it will probably be.

For instance, while Silenus (the drunken old man who is an indispensible part of Dionysus's retinue) is a figure of fun, at the same time he says something about the Dionysian appreciation of life - the need at times for abandon, for levity, for sensual pleasure.

The incomparable Sir John Falstaff was called in Henry IV, "this sanguine coward, this bed-presser, this horseback-breaker, this huge hill of flesh ..." and Falstaff gives back to the Prince of Wales as good as he gets.

A modern twist on this archetype is John Candy's role as Freddie Bauer in the 1984 mermaid-human love story Splash. Freddie is crude, drunken, kind of a fool,at first. He likes women (and they like him back.) Most important, he's the catalyst that gives his shy and diffident brother Allen (Tom Hanks) the "oomph" he needs to pursue mermaid-turned-woman Darryl Hanna.

Then, there's Chef from South Park - Ummm, hmmm, children, go play somewhere else for awhile ...

One reason I think Shrek has turned into such a franchise is because Shrek embodies the Fat Guy archetype in all the good ways, with a few improvements, even. He has "sass," attitude. He's "allowed" to be an introvert. He's amorous instead of just lecherous.

One thing that makes me groan about newer portrayals, though, is the recently-discovered puritanism which dictates that "the fat guy never gets the girl."

This prejudice undercuts a fundamental and essential element of the Fat Guy archetype, his strong sexuality. Yes, some big men do have confidence issues. On the other hand, it produces unsatisfying art to treat every fat man as dysfunctionally shy, withdrawn around women, or not considered as a partner even when it would follow logically in the story.

Which is where I see Lost going now (halfway through 2nd season) with Hurley (Jorge Garcia.) In the pilot episode, after the air disaster that lands the castaways on The Island, Hurley is the first person to aid and comfort the heavily pregnant Claire (shown left.) It seemed psychologically realistic to pair her with Hurley, not only because of his kindness, but because women tend to bond with men whom they see as "rescuers."

Instead, Claire was dysfunctionally paired with the drug-addicted rock musician Charlie. One wonders if the creative team of Lost would have even given Hurley the brief, aborted relationship they did, had there not been an online petition to "Get Hurley some lovin'."

In general, then, media portrayals of fat men could be improved sizeably (LOL) in two ways. First, unleash the Fat Guy archetype once again, give him full rein by restoring his satyric as well as satirical potency. Show him as attractive to women. Then, in the serious dramatic vein, give us larger men whose characters go beyond their size - who don't necessarily overeat, aren't necessarily humorous, who are intelligent, desirable, multi-dimensional main characters - as well as being men of size.
men_in_full: (daniel lambert)
I've been catching up with Lost on DVD, and one reason I wanted to watch was to see how the show treated Jorge Garcia's heavy-set main character Hugo "Hurley" Reyes. (Earlier I wrote about Garcia here as a perfect actor for Ignatius J. Reilly in "A Confederacy of Dunces.")

Halfway through the first season, at least, Hurley's shown compassionately. His windjammers and surfer-boy slang ("Duuuude!") place him from Los Angeles. He's kind and considerate. Immediately after everyone wakes up from the crash, he's the first person to notice and help the nine-month pregnant Claire. Physical work is initially hard for him, but he does it.

He's always alert to the "tone" of a situation. Often he acts on his own as an intermediary between two characters at odds with each other. In short, he has a high level of "emotional intelligence."

One would think that would make him a leader, and sought out. But no - because Hurley is also fat, with the pillowy, mattressy body of someone who's been big since childhood. As he remarks at one point, "I survived grade school and high school; I can survive this." Anyone who was a fat chilod knows exactly what he means.

Everyone in this story, though, has a gruesomely tormented past, and Hurley's no exception. At this point in the show we don't know of his multi-million dollar lottery win, his his burdensome guilt, the eating disorder that leads him to squirrel away food, his so-called "bad luck" and the extensive associated numerology sub-plot.

Nor have we yet seen his brief relationship with fellow mental patient Libby (who gets killed off.) I haven't seen the 'shipping scenes yet, but they sound sweet despite their brevity. Actor Jorge Garcia told the men's magazine Maxim, "I liked the relationship a lot, the romantic side of it. That's not usually a thing they let the fat guy on the show do."

Fan reactions to Hurley as a fat leading character vary. Some embrace him enthusiastically - and literally. As Garcia says, "A lot of women I don't know want to hug me. I haven't totally gotten used to that." Others are either tasteless or misguided in their actions, as Garcia remarks in an earlier article, "One lady sent me a coupon for Slim Fast along with a bunch of religious pamphlets. On another occasion, the same lady sent me dieters’ tea—but she didn’t send me the box, just a couple of bags in an envelope."

Maxim went on to ask: Have you found that chicks dig the belly?
I have this thing with my girlfriend, who lives next door to me, where we’re lying in the bed, and I just kind of collapse on her. And I’m like, “Go ahead, see if you can get yourself free. You know, just in case something happens. You’ve got to go to safety. Three, two, one.” She’s like, “Get off me!” I have to make her struggle out. That’s our little drill.

Whew. Now *that* is an interesting image.

I guess I should reserve opinion about the other plot points of Hurley's character, in particular his "secret stash," until I see them. On the surface, though, it looks like the writers wrote in Hurley squirreling away food as a response to the incessant fan question, "Why doesn't Hurley lose weight?" while stranded on the island.

Just the asking itself is telling. In the first season, Garcia apparently lost about 30 lbs. - which on his sizeable frame probably wasn't that noticeable. But it also shows a common misconception, that Hurley (and others) fat since childhood are fat because they eat a lot.

Fans ask why Hurley doesn't lose weight - but apparently don't think to ask why the other, thinner characters don't begin to look gaunt and hollow because of their initial lean rations (at least until Locke and Boone begin hunting, and the others begin foraging and fishing.) Is it only the fat man who's supposed to lose weight under privation? Actually, physiologically it's probably the other way around. It perhaps didn't occur to the writers that Hurley is most likely very well suited to the kind of extreme situation in which the survivors find themselves. He has the shape and size of a Polynesian islander - and that physique developed for a good reason. On an island with scarce and intermittent food, the "thrifty" genotype which uses relatively fewer calories proportionate to body mass, and stores any newfound calories with high efficiency would probably be far better suited to survival.

I can see why the character has appeal, and not simply to those of us who like fat men. Overlooked, the butt of jokes, simple, not perfect, Hurley is an archetypal "Hans," from the common German name for the Jedermann in the Grimms' fairy tales who goes out into the world and finds his fortune. He's the boy who would share his last crust of bread with the strange old woman in the forest, and thus win the fortune and the princess. Whether the writers of Lost recognize his archetypal attributes, use them in further stories, (or give him another girlfriend!) remains to be seen.
men_in_full: (ali baba)
... with the announcement of a possible film version of John Kennedy Toole's novel A Confederacy of Dunces.

This romp through New Orleans stars the irrepressible Ignatius J. Reilly (pictured left), a gargantuan lover of medievalism, masturbation, and Stoic philosophy, whose perpetually indignant heart is matched only in size and enthusiasm by his permanently spasmodic gastric valve. Ignatius harasses the New Orleans "po-leece," shows us a remarkably efficient business model in his office job (don't file the papers, just toss them), and tries to launch liberation movements for the oppressed, such as the Crusade for Moorish Dignity and a similar effort among the screaming queens of the French Quarter. (It was written in the early sixties, after all.)

I tip Ignatius's green earflapped hat to Rod Dreher of the Crunchy Con blog, who linked to this Slate Magazine article about how attempts to bring this novel to the screen have been as spastic as Ignatius's valve. But mine almost closed shut permanently when I read that they plan to star Will Ferrell as Ignatius.

Will Ferrell. In a fat suit.

This is one of my favorite books, ever. (I only didn't put Ignatius J. Reilly down on the list of "fictional characters I'd do" meme because he's so resolutely anti-sexual. It just wouldn't be fun ...) I don't expect the film to be anything like the book. But this is so wrong, I don't know where to begin.

First, there's the fat suit. I admit that in a film like Shallow Hal it was necessary, given the story line. But Ignatius doesn't magically switch between thin and fat. Ignatius is always fat. So there is no dramatic need for one.

Fat suits are a caricature of fat people, just like black-painted faces and exaggerated cornrows on white actors at the turn of the century grotesquely caricatured African-Americans. Portraying black people as ugly just reinforced the rampant racial prejudice of the time. Showing thin fat-suited actors is not the same as casting a real fat person, because the ugly and artificial fat suits don't look anything like a fat body.

They also send the message that just as black actors needed to be segregated from whites (even in separate entertainment districts, like New York's Harlem), fat people are somehow so "tainted" that they can't be given a starring movie role, even for a fat character.

Nor does a fat suit do justice to this character. Ignatius needs to be played by someone fat. Really fat, someone with the walk, the moves, the voice. He can't just lumber around like Fat Albert, under 100 lbs. of latex foam.

You know who would make a great Ignatius? Jorge Garcia from the TV show "Lost" (pictured right.) In that case, I might add Ignatius to my "fictional characters I'd do" list anyway...
men_in_full: (pensive)
I didn't want to write immediately about the November 7, 2006 House, MD episode Que Será Será, where 600 lb. George Hagel (Pruitt Taylor Vince in a fat suit) is admitted in a coma, and ultimately diagnosed with a terminal cancer that has nothing to do with his weight. It needed to sink in for awhile first.

What Will Be, Will Be... )


men_in_full: (Default)

September 2013



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