Spoilers for "This Is Us" episode 13 "Three Sentences" lie ahead.
As a whole, "This Is Us" is basically reviving the cold, dead hearts of Americans. But for plus-size girls, Kate's (Chrissy Metz) storyline has been especially tumultuous.
During the pilot, we wrestled with our frustrations on seeing another pathetically framed weight-loss arc. But quickly, those frustrations turned to empathy, as we began to see some very real and relatable situations unfold.
And now that we're back to seeing "The Big Three" in this week's latest episode, Kate is piling on the fat-girl feels — again.
Since announcing her desire to get gastric bypass surgery, Kate had broken up with Toby (Chris T. Sullivan), reunited with him, watched him live through a frightening heart-attack, confessed her love, AND got engaged.
Her brush with Toby's surgery scares her out of her own, and forces her to admit to her doctor that while she was looking forward to losing weight quickly, she felt it wasn't the right time. Her doctor suggests an "immersive weight-loss experience" (aka fat camp) and surprisingly, she decides to do it.
On the way to fat camp, Kate waxes poetic about her "fantasy experience." She envisions it being hard, but seeing the pounds melt away — and finally, Toby is on board with her choice.
Upon arrival, Kate discovers that the expected, hardcore "Biggest Loser"-style camp doesn't exist, and this experience is really all about getting to the core of the issue: Why is it so hard for her to lose the weight?
While the episode takes a pivotal move toward her emotional breakthrough (which we learn is closely tied to her father's death when she was younger *cue sobbing*), there was another little detail that is going to really test Kate at her core: DUKE.
Duke (Adam Bartley), a horse caretaker at the fat camp, immediately and aggressively hits on Kate in his two seconds on screen.
Kate had already previously admitted that Toby is truly the first person she ever openly told she loved outside of family, so it is fair to deduce that he was probably one of the first to make her feel wanted and worthy of love.
I'm 99% sure Duke is going to be the first one to make her feel desired, and those are very big distinctions.
While it should be the mission of every plus-size woman to feel sexy without the validation of the male gaze, when it is ingrained in your head, it becomes a very real reality.
The show (very intelligently) doesn't emphasize her "shock" at the fact that he finds her attractive, but as a fat woman, I can anticipate that Duke's aggressiveness is gonna have our girl shook.
The fetishization of fat bodies is nothing new. But the sexualization? Making a non-hour-glass shaped woman sexy? It's practically uncharted territory.
No matter what sexual orientation plus-size women have, we've been fed the idea that when we are desired, we are the exception, not the rule. Toby — being a genuinely good and not stereotypically attractive guy — finding Kate desirable is, while still perplexing, somewhat comprehensible to her.
Duke is much more of a "brawn" kind of handsome, and I think his forwardness, his affirmation of her sex appeal, is something that many plus-size girls find somewhat unraveling when faced with it for the first time.
I have no personal intel to confirm that Kate is going to cheat on Toby, but I do think that "This Is Us," in tackling sexuality in this way, is extremely helpful to the overall conversation on fat sexuality.
We aren't novel. We aren't a dirty secret. We're desirable, and dammit, it is high time TV recognized that.