My New Favorite Fat TV Character

Actual SizeMy sadness over the fact that Chrissie Metz’ character in This Is Us has decided to have stomach amputation (announced in an episode that I think they should have named “An Ode to the Stomach Amputation Industry”) has lifted a bit because I discovered maybe my favorite fat character ever on a TV Show.

The show is called Scorpion and it’s about a group of geniuses who work with the US Government to solve crimes (why did nobody tell me about this show before now?) The character I’m talking about is Sylvester Dodd, played spectacularly by Ari Stidham. (Note – I don’t know how Ari identifies size-wise, I think of him as a fat, he might not agree.)

What I love about the character is that he is a very multi-dimensional main character, the character is very physical and often given very physical tasks to do that are literally life and death and, with the exception of him being called “Big Fella” in a good-natured, non-judgmental way, his weight is never an issue (at least as far as I’ve seen.  Fingers crossed since we’re basically binge-watching this show right now.) The show isn’t perfect, it can play on stereotypes and there could definitely be more diversity in casting,  I enjoy the show and it makes me so happy to see a fat character portrayed as something other than a self-loathing side kick.

If you have favorite fat and fat positive TV characters (ie: multi-dimensional, no diet talk, no weight loss talk, accepting/affirming of their size etc.) please feel free to leave them in the comments.

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31 thoughts on “My New Favorite Fat TV Character

  1. I enjoyed Viola Davis’ portrayal of Amanda Waller in Suicide Squad. She’s perhaps the most ordinary-looking woman I’ve ever seen on the big screen and she still managed to be a smart, formidable, resourceful character. I don’t recall any mention whatsoever being made about her looks or weight – it was awesome!

    1. I’ve not seen the movie, but I’ve seen quite a few photos of her on the Suicide Squad sets. She doesn’t look fat to me in the photos, so maybe that’s why no “mention whatsoever [is] being made about her looks and weight”. From what I’ve seen in the photos she definitely doesn’t look “fat”. Which is unfortunate that they cast a non-fat character to play a character that IS supposed to be fat.

      1. She certainly doesn’t look as fat as the comic book illustrations portray her. Even so, she’s definitely “fat” compared to the Hollywood Hotties that are usually cast in such a role. She’s certainly fatter than Angela Basset, who played her character in “Smallville.” The point is, she’s not a “beautiful” woman and nobody seemed to hate her for it. I consider that progress!

        1. In what way is Viola Davis not a beautiful woman?! I guess you are content to follow in the blundering racially insensitive footsteps of that journalist (whose name I can’t even be bothered to look up) who previously called Viola Davis not beautiful. Which she actually is by the way, and it isn’t your eyesight preventing you from seeing that

            1. I thInk the lesson here is that the quotation marks were not sufficient to communicate what is going on here- which is less about size than it is about racist standards of beauty.


        2. I apologize for not seeing this earlier. She is a beautiful person and if we can’t see that, it indicates an underdeveloped skillset for seeing beauty on our part, not a lack of beauty on hers. If what you meant is that she’s not the Hollywood stereotype of beauty then I would ask that you notice and point out – as carabelle did (and thank you very much for that carabelle) that a lot of – if not most – of that has absolutely nothing to do with her size and very much to do with racist ideals of beauty.



  2. My favorite fat tv characters are still Rosanne and Dan Conner. Being fat was just a fact, never a main storyline. When the topic did come up it was in a very typical way, no shaming and not being the butt of jokes.

  3. I love Sylvester, too! The Scorpion story lines can be pretty implausible, but it’s still a fun show if you don’t look too hard at the plot. I’ve seen just about every episode, and I can’t remember Sly’s size ever being an issue or even really being commented on.

    Other faves:

    Penelope (Kirsten Vangsness) on Criminal Minds is one of my fave characters of all time. She’s not that big and probably doesn’t consider herself fat, but she’s curvier than most actresses, at least. She lost weight recently, and I was waiting for them to write it into the show with some cringe-worthy line, but I don’t think they ever mentioned it (as it should be!).

    Jackson (Daniel Franzese) on Conviction, who is also a gay man with a bisexual sister(!). There is one conversation where he bitterly talks about being kept away from the limelight when he became too fat and effeminate as a kid. But he is definitely portrayed as comfortable in his skin now (including during an adorable dance scene with his sister 🙂 ).

    In a very similar vein to Scorpion, CSI: Cyber’s story lines ranged from so-so to laughable, but Grummitz (Charley Koontz) is a pretty awesome character and I don’t remember his size ever being an issue. It was cancelled after two seasons but has a pretty satisfying ending.

    1. Oh, and I forgot Hank (Jonathan Langdon) from No Tomorrow. His character is pretty much comic relief for the first few episodes, and yet none of the comedy is about his size. Very refreshing!

  4. Oh John Candy did this character with a snake tattooed on his face that owned a porn shop on SCTV that I love. He also played the host on this fishing show and took the Plasmatics out for wall eyed pike. Hilarious!

  5. I liked “My mad fat diary”! It’s a british series about a girl and her friends, and yes, her looks and weight are definitely a topic, but in a good and also funny/satirical way. Like her mom is constantly on a diet, and one is more ridiculous than the other. The girl herself is struggling a lot, especially when she falls in love. She’s sometimes bullied, but her friends love her the way she is and defend her. It’s set in the 1990s, the time when I was about that age, struggling, falling in love, loving the alternative music of the decade, so I found a lot of myself in the character. She sometimes does really stupid things, she’s not perfect, but authentic.

    Also I think it’s easier for fat men on TV and as public figures. For women it is always much more about being decorative, being appealing to men. A woman can be as smart as Marie Curie, but if she’s fat no one will see that. To me, fat-shaming is definitely also a feminist issue. Yes, men do struggle too (I’m thinking of a character in the hilarious movie “The full monty” about a group of men trying to be male strippers), but it’s a lot different for women.

  6. My favourite would have to be “Fat Amy” in Pitch Perfect. I love that she was unapologetically fat, an awesome singer and a fun person.

  7. I’m probably much older than most of the readers here and this may be a bit on the silly side but I always loved Captain Chaos (played by the funny and brilliant Dom DeLouise from the movie Cannonball Run.

  8. I loved that character, too! I haven’t watched Scorpion in a while because of lots of reasons, time, mostly, but I definitely remember in the first season that he was just an awesome guy and his size didn’t enter into it. Yep, that.

  9. I’d never heard of this either! So after I read your post I promptly went and bought the first episode from Amazon. This rocks! Thank you so much for telling us about it! This is my new addiction.  Ginny Wood Pshrink Emeritus

  10. I know this is disagreed with by some, but I love Sookie St. James on Gilmore Girls. Her weight is NEVER mentioned. Yes, she’s a “best friend,” and not the main star, but she’s also the one who winds up happily married – after, I might add, SHE does the asking out of the guy who will become her boyfriend and later her husband.

    Gilmore Girls also isn’t perfect. They’re not impervious to some weight jokes, but overall it’s far better than most shows. And the jokes are never at Sookie’s expense or even in her presence. Some people have said it’s a stereotype to make her a chef. But there ARE fat chefs, so I don’t get that personally.

    Melissa McCarthy’s weight varies throughout the series, but it’s never a topic of discussion in the show itself. I remember watching the show, thinking… wow. She’s fat. She’s happy. She’s not obsessing over her looks or her weight. She’s living her life. She dates. She gets married (when the star, Lorelai, struggles to find the same happiness). She’s stable.

    She’s silly, but so is the show. So are the thin characters.

    I know that others have disagreed with this assessment, and I respect that. I only know that watching Gilmore Girls and seeing a fat character in that role was the first (and really the ONLY) time I remember feeling like a female character just well… happened to ALSO be fat. It wasn’t about her being fat.

  11. I adore Empire’s Becky, played by the marvelous Gabourey Sidibe. She had a spicy sex scene a while back that got a bunch of people’s knickers in a twist, so that was extra fun. She has her own story line this season, which is awesome even if we don’t see it much and it’s a bit of a downer so far. Fingers crossed that she triumphs in the end!

    Also Samwell Tarly on Game of Thrones, played by John Bradley-West. He’s awkward and bumbling, but as he gains a bit of confidence, he accomplishes remarkable things. I have a personal theory that he’ll have a huge role to play in the end.

  12. There are two characters on Lady Dynamite that are fat and unapologetic about it, namely the amazing (and very hot!) Bridget Everett and Ólafur Darri Ólafsson. Being that it’s a comedy, the show revolves mostly around the main character’s life (who is a thin woman), but both of these two (who play the best friend and boyfriend) are given a lot of lines and real personalities, and their size is never mentioned.

  13. Sookie from Gilmore girls is my favorite fat character not sure so much about Melissa McCarthy but the character Sookie is wonderful

    1. Camryn Maneiem as Snow White, “the most beautiful woman in the Nine Kingdoms” on the mini-series “The Tenth Kingdom.”

      That was the first time I ever remember seeing a fat woman portrayed as actually attractive, let alone beautiful.

  14. I love Sookie from “Gilmore Girls.” Her weight was never discussed and, although she did play the stereotypical “funny fat friend,” she ended up in a relationship, with kids, and running a successful business.

  15. Ari Stridham was also on the 2010 ABC Family drama “Huge”, starring Nikki Blonsky (“Hairspray”) as a rebellious teen at “fat camp”. Ari plays a fellow camper. It wasn’t a great show, but at least it tried. Gina Torres plays the camp director and Hayley Hasselhoff plays another camper. You can probably still watch the episodes on YouTube or Amazon.

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