When Shrill premiered last year, I was cautiously optimistic. Aidy Bryant? A comedy angel. Lindy West? A trailblazing, internet-troll-fighting goddess. But a show that doesn't focus only on a plus-size woman losing weight? Well, I had seen one too many episodes of This Is Us to be sure they could pull it off. Of course, I was delighted to be proven wrong.
Season one let many plus-size viewers finally see their experiences on screen. And now that Bryant has announced that season two will be released in 2020, I asked plus-size ladies on the internet what they loved about the first season and what they hope to see for protagonist Annie in season two.
First things first, season two premieres on January 24 on Hulu.
Clear your schedules, because a post from Aidy Bryant on Instagram confirmed that all eight episodes of the second season will drop in late January. "I cannot wait for you to see!!!" she wrote, even giving users a sneak peek at what's to come with some stills from the upcoming season.
While it's hard to get all the details from the photos, Entertainment Weekly reports that season two will focus on what happens to Annie (played by Bryant) after she quits her job and confronts her internet troll. And she might have some regrets after quitting her job to save her integrity.
Her relationship with boyfriend Ryan (Luka Jones) will also hit a rough patch, as she finally (FINALLY) sees what a slacker he is.
OK, we're already psyched.
Season one delivered on so many things.
Based on the book of essays with the same title by Lindy West, there were many, many things that Bryant and company did right in season one. From showing how tough it can be to feel pressure from your family to lose weight, dating someone who doesn't want to be seen romancing *whispers* a Fat, or even showing the very real harassment that fat ladies have to go through online — there was definitely a lot to applaud in the first season.
But of course nothing is perfect, which is why I asked six plus-size ladies to give their real opinions on the show and how it's handled fat bodies so far. Some people loved it, while others thought the show could use a few helpful tweaks.
(Small note: Fat activists have made strides to reclaim the word "fat." In these circles, describing one's self or others as "fat" is no different from saying someone has blue eyes. In fact, Lindy West herself even said she doesn't mind the term because "the problem is the stigma, not the term itself." So you'll see a lot of the term used freely here because there is NOTHING wrong with being fat. Plus, I'm fat and am using the term with ~*love*~. OK, back to your normal programming.)
The good: Showing those teeny, tiny micro-aggressions that are totally frustrating.
"I loved that the first season showed a lot of the behaviors fat people deal with on a daily basis, big and small. From having to go out the back door at her boyfriend's place to having a troll threaten her life — and I hope to see more of that," Kristin Clifford tells Revelist.
"Fat shaming is one of the last remaining negative feedback outlets that society allows people to feel free to participate in, particularly those who shame [fat bodies] using 'concern' as their primary reason," she adds. "But this is unhelpful because 1) shaming has never worked as a lifelong weight loss plan; and 2) many thin people are not healthy in the slightest."
That pool party scene was EVERY. DANG. THING.
Beatrice Zanatta tells us that she still can't get over the fat babe pool party.
"I would love to see more episodes like the pool party one because honestly I never felt so seen and so attacked and so relieved and so happy at the same time while watching a TV show," she says. "And I would love to see more self-love and more pride and more fat people being aggressive and assertive and mean and disruptive," she adds. "I'd love to see more of her bff."
Yes, more Fran please!
*So sorry*, but fat people have SEX.
"I loved the realism of her relationship, like, Hi, fat people have sex. I would love to get more of those moments," Lauren Perdue Bradley says. "I want them to keep going with stories I know well from my life, but on the screen in front of me. Some of the [expletive] on Shrill was a real gut punch simply because I had never seen myself on TV before."As for season two, Bradley says she wants them to go after some pretty big targets. "Oh man, they could touch on the whole intentional weight loss and anti-weight-loss-surgery vibe in fat spaces on the internet," she says. "That would be pretty radical to give those people a voice."
More fat babes on screen, please.
"One of my favorite moments of season one was the Hunter McGrady cameo, because she is just so pretty and gives me so much joy," Stephanie McClung says. "I would love to see more like *wink* to the camera cameos like Roxane Gay or Tess Holiday. Just like beautiful fat women being fabulous."
You heard her, no one rests until Gabi Gregg is on set!
"Next season I would love to have Annie go to the doctor and have her doctor say, 'Hmm, you're perfectly healthy,' so that people realize that being fat does not mean you're on a slow march to death," she adds.
And while mostly everyone agreed that Shrill had kicked some serious butt, a few people felt differently.
The meh: Annie's problems were boiled down to not loving herself enough.
"I think the real feeling I had watching season one was that it was setting up Annie’s problems as largely internal," Sophie Rose Zucker tells us. "If she just stood up for herself enough, if she loved herself enough, things in her life would improve. The structural issues, even the big ones, like Plan B [not being viable for women over a certain weight], felt secondary to her emotional journey."
"I’m not sure if I liked that aspect of the first season," she added. "I felt at times that it had to be that way in order to appeal to thin audiences."
Show us how frickin' hard it really is to shop for plus-size clothes.
"Something that I've thought was really interesting about Shrill is the way they talk about Aidy/Annie's clothes," Kelsey Saragnese says. "There were so many articles about how they custom-made most of her wardrobe for the show because they couldn't find what they wanted."
"I would love to see the show grapple with that on-screen and have Annie go shopping with her thin friends/coworkers/mom/whoever and have the classic fat girl experience of not finding anything in her size," she continues. "Or maybe finding something in her size, but it's hideous or boring or overpriced or sold on one rack in the back corner of the store or out of stock/online only."
"I love Shrill for a lot of reasons, but especially because it's one of the only times a fat woman has been on TV looking cute, having sex (and with hotties!), and talking about being fat in a non-weight-loss-focused way," she adds. "The struggle of shopping and having the chance to develop a personal style as a fat woman is hard and so, so common."
We'll just have to wait until January to see if our questions will be answered.
There definitely are some high expectations going into the next season, but hopefully as Annie's story continues, we'll get to see more facets of the plus-size experience.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to rewatch season one for the zillionth time.