"Fatty" jokes on TV and Movies

I’ve been watching a lot of How I Met Your Mother lately, and I’ve noticed that Barney’s character in particular is very insensitive towards overweight people. It almost kills the show for me sometimes. I’m not overweight, but I definitely don’t like all the “Never let me do a fatty!” or “I even did a fatty once, I’m a good person!”

I know these kinds of jokes about overweight people are in all kinds of sitcoms and movies. And I am getting really tired and annoyed by them. I don’t think it’s really all that funny to consider having sex with an overweight person to be some act of charity. Or that hooking up with an overweight person would be the WORST THING EVER.

And like I said, personally I’m not overweight. I’ve even made some people pretty angry on this board before by suggesting that overweight people who have just given up and feel fine about living an unhealthy lifestyle are making a mistake that I don’t support. I support being happy with living a healthy lifestyle that includes eating well and exercising regularly, regardless of your weight.

But these jokes just… really grate on me. I don’t know why really. I mean, there are plenty of gay jokes that play on gay stereotypes, and they usually don’t offend me at all. In fact, most of the time I think they are pretty funny when I see them on tvs and sitcoms. And I’m a gay guy.

So, a few questions.

Do you find these “fatty” jokes offensive, bothersome, unfunny, etc?

Do you or your friends ever joke about having sex with “fatties” as being some ungodly horror or an act of charity?

This might be better suited for Cafe Society, so feel free to move it there if you want, but I am looking for opinions that kind of verge on debate/discussion.

I guess I’m just used to it. It hurts my feelings a little, I guess, but I’m not running off to the bathroom sobbing, either. I’m not grotesquely overweight or anything but nobody would call me skinny either. The weight thing has always been a struggle for me. But my husband is genuinely attracted to me and that’s really all that matters. The rest is just Jr. High bullshit.

No, we don’t talk that way with our friends, because we aren’t assholes. People who do that are callous and rude.

You know, I’ve been thinking about something. Obviously I buy into the stigma on some level because I felt the need to explain that I’m not grotesquely overweight. Because I don’t want people to judge me or make assumptions about me - they might, for example, assume that I’m not attractive, or that I am lazy. I want to say, ‘‘People come in all shapes and sizes and it’s none of your goddamned business’’ but still I had to distance myself from the notion that I, myself, am a Fattie.

I don’t know why people are assholes. I really don’t. But I didn’t mean to be one myself.

Barney Stinson is a terrible, terrible, terrible person. He’s funny as hell, but he is a reprehensible human being. I wouldn’t take anything he says personally. He once flipped out that some girl lied about her age was gasp slightly over 30!

And I am a certified fatty myself. I make fat jokes about myself, and I don’t mind if my friends do. It stings when its done maliciously, though. I guess it might bother me if actual protagonists that we’re supposed to sympathize with make mean spirited fat jokes, but that seems less common.

It’s been a long time since I watched a sitcom, so I don’t have as much invested in this as you do. However, it makes me feel moderately eyerolly because fat jokes are overdone, they cater to a lower common denominator than I associate with, and they make fat people (who form a significant part of the audience) feel bad.

Hackneyed jokes suck in general, though. It’s not just fat jokes, but the stupid gender, sexual, age, class, and racial stereotypes that the average sitcom stoops to for “entertainment.” I just don’t find them funny.

I don’t mind them when they’re funny which they rarely are.

Come on :smiley:

A cheap laugh at one of the few groups that you can overtly make fun of.

I think that’s why it annoys me. WHY is it ok to overtly make fun of fat people? And the way they do it is just so mean. It’s making fun of the condition itself, not like the gay jokes that often are in good nature and about the stereotypes peripheral to being gay.

If every gay joke was just, “ew that guy wants to have sex with other guys? How fucking gross!” cue laugh track I think I’d get pretty annoyed. This is essentially what every fat joke is.

“Eww you’d have sex with that fat chick? How gross!!”

Seriously, it’s offensive and unfunny…

Before you know it, though, fat jokes will be on the no-no list. It’s already getting that way in other countries (in Britain I read they are trying to pass legislation to make it punishable by arrest), and here will probably follow.

Because fatties are:
[li]stupid[/li][li]lazy[/li][li]have no will power[/li][li]disgusting[/li][li]gross[/li][li]stupid[/li][li]weak[/li][li]pigs[/li][li]…[/li][/ul]
or so I hear.

I’m 400 pounds, I get rude comments from strangers often. I was almost in tears in the grocery store last week because I don’t know how to make it all work given my limitations.

BTW: Some of those gay jokes do bother me. I’m almost as tired of jokes that because I’m gay I’m suppose to be some sort expert on fashion/decorating/shoes or celebrities as I am of claims that I want to molest little boys.

I avoid people as much as possible to avoid all of this.

:frowning: That’s terrible. I’m sorry to hear that!

The easiest thing to do is to probably say something like “You don’t know me, and are unqualified to judge me when you don’t know my circumstances or anything about me other than what you see. Your judgments reflect on you, not me, so kindly take them elsewhere.”

I’ve had to use similar phrasing to defend myself for various other reasons against strangers… usually it catches them off guard as they don’t expect a response, and sends them hurrying on their way.

Do you have any other examples, besides How I Met Your Mother? I’ve never seen the show myself, but from what JSexton said, I wonder if Barney’s “fatty” jokes are to be taken in the same spirit as, say, Eric Cartman’s antisemitic remarks: the real joke is how horrible and insensitive the person making the joke is.

You know what I hate worse than fat jokes? Plot lines that revolve around the fat kid finally having his moment of triumph, doing something utterly ordinary for anyone else. Like we are all supposed to be moved to tears at the beauty of some poor slob being taken almost seriously for five minutes.

What I hate worse than that is when someone is overweight and they are giving some sort of public speech and they make some joke about “obviously I don’t miss many meals” or “And let me tell you, I can eat”. The self-deprecation always seems defensive, like “I’ll say it first before anyone else can call me on it”. It’s basically conceding that you have no dignity to preempt anyone from trying to steal it And, frankly, as another fat person in the crowd, I always felt it as a slap at all of us, and that it made me stand out, like they were saying those sorts of sentiments are reasonable inviting others to point at me and be like “she doesn’t miss any either hahaha”.

That’s a fair point. Barney is an arrogant, egotistical, sexist womaniser. If you’re going to take offence at his fat jokes then it’s only fair to take offence at a hell of a lot more too.

That said, I do get the point that it’s far more acceptable to make fun of people for being fat than it is to make fun of most other characteristics. Presumably the logic is that the majority of fat people are fat through their own choices and some probably also think that fat (or at least obese) people need to be prodded into changing something. I can’t say I entirely agree or disagree with those things.

Beyond just Barney in the show, there was a recent episode where Ted (who is mostly a decent guy) finds out that a girl he is on a date with used to be very overweight. He then runs off in literal horror at the idea that she might once again become fat. He runs away screaming, if I remember correctly.

I seem to remember a lot of jokes in The Office about making fun of Kevin, Stanley and Phyllis’ weight, too.

I don’t watch many sitcoms honestly, but I assume these show up in others, and not just from “bad” characters where their stupidity/racist/bigoted nature is the actual brunt of the joke.

Some of these jokes might be of the Cartman variety, but they don’t strike me that way if that’s the intent.

Also, didn’t the movie Shallow Hal revolve around some guy finding an overweight woman attractive, as if this were some herculean feat that was so amazing they centered an entire plot around it? And his friends and such in the movie were just blown away that he saw her as a skinny, attractive woman? Or something dumb like that? (I only saw bits and pieces).

If I remember rightly it was about a shallow guy named Hal finding an overweight woman attractive. I mean, it’s right there in the title that it’s not supposed to be a positive thing that he dislikes fat women.

Unfortunately, most of the movie was about him finding her attractive because he “magically” misperceived her as thin.

Lots of cheap fat jokes. The moral of the story gets better at the end, though.

And (spolier alert…
…there are two scenes with children that, taken together, are poignant and profound.

As an aside did you notice the guys in movie look better than they actually are as well?