On Monday night, Samantha Bee’s “Full Frontal” premiered on TBS. I’ve been waiting for this show for months. I wanted it before I even knew it existed, which is basically a week after Trevor Noah took over “The Daily Show.” I’m not saying Trevor Noah is awful, but he’s not good. He lacks the political satire I watched “The Daily Show” for, so when I heard about “Full Frontal,” I was excited. I wanted Samantha Bee to take over for Jon Stewart, so I hoped this would be good.
I was not disappointed. Within the first 10 minutes, I was in and I tweeted this:
— LeAnn Suchy (@lovelyleann) February 9, 2016
I wasn’t alone in thinking that “Full Frontal” was kicking “The Daily Show’s” ass, because a bunch of people favorited my tweet. I’m not claiming it went viral, far from it, but a few handfuls of people favorited it so I’m hoping “Full Frontal” sticks around for awhile.
But it wasn’t until later in the evening I really looked at who favorited my tweet. Most of them were people I’m not friends with on Twitter, and they’re just like me, tweeting things they like ranging from job stuff to television favorites, but then I saw it. Amidst all of us regular people there she stood. Roseanne fucking Barr. THE Roseanne Barr:
I can only imagine that Roseanne also enjoyed “Full Frontal” and was checking Twitter when she saw my tweet and clicked the heart icon. For one second, Roseanne and I were connected. She thought something I said was funny or snarky or clever or just simply true.
Or maybe it was Roseanne’s employee, because I’m not silly enough to think that she is the only one monitoring and using her Twitter account, but even knowing that, I don’t care. Roseanne Barr favorited my tweet without any sort of prompting or tweeting to her and I’m stoked.
This may seem simple to some people, and it really is, but the reason I’m stoked is that I love her. When “Roseanne” aired, it was a big deal to me. A fat woman had a life. And a family. And it wasn’t about her being fat. And there weren’t jokes about her being fat, unless she was telling them. And it wasn’t about her losing weight. And she wasn’t shy or reserved but loud and proud. And she was smart. And sassy. And behind the scenes, she was the boss of this show. A fat woman was the boss.
I didn’t have that image of fat women growing up. Being fat was bad, and being a fat woman was especially bad. Fat men were okay and had lives, ever since “The Honeymooners,” but for fat women it was drastically different. Fat women were wrong. And I was supposed to be ashamed of it. And I was supposed to always feel bad about myself. And I was supposed to want to change. And I was only ever going to have happiness if I was skinny. And I would never be desirable. And I was going to get turned down for jobs because I was fat. And I was never, ever supposed to be loud and proud. Being a fat woman was awful and shameful and disgusting.
These messages still permeate our society, and I’m sure always will, but Roseanne wasn’t buying it. That was so powerful to me.
You have to know, before and when “Roseanne” was on, it wasn’t that fat women weren’t on television, but the conversation was quite different. Any fat women on “Married with Children” were ridiculed by the (ahem) stunningly gorgeous Al Bundy. And every single show on ABC’s TGIF line-up had episodes where the young girls were trying to lose weight in awful ways (remember when DJ passed out after not eating and working out too much on “Full House”) because they didn’t want to be fat. And any after-school TV special with a fat girl was always about eating disorders. And oh my god, did Oprah get such flack for being fat, so much so that it’s still bothering her and she’s now touting that she’s found the magical Weight Watchers cure.
The only fat women that were acceptable on television were fat, old mothers or grandmothers. They were old so it was okay, but young women, fuhgeddaboudit. Being fat was bad and they’d only have a life once they got thin.
Except Roseanne. She wasn’t perfect, and she certainly didn’t have the life that I wanted, but she had a life. She wasn’t shy and scared and degraded. She was living a life just like anyone else and that was the first time I saw a fat woman doing that on television.
So, yes, all Roseanne did was favorite my tweet, and I’m sure she forgot about it soon afterwards, but I won’t forget for awhile. It still makes me smile, me, in my adult life, not hiding in the corner, not feeling bad for myself, and definitely not being quiet.