One of my favorite sometimes cringe-worthy shows is Louie on FX. I’ve long been a fan of Louis C.K., while I will admit his humor is sometimes problematic. So his new show, naturally, is hilarious and sometimes problematic. I haven’t had a big problem with it so far, but the last episode (I don’t know what day it was actually on because I TiVo everything) was full of fail on so many different levels it’s amazing. I’m not going to go into detail on every level of fail. Other sites have dealt with that. What I am going to go into is the very last part of the episode when the above screencap took place, because this is a blog about representations of fat in pop culture. Yes, Louis went there. He made it with a fat black chick. A very vigorous fat black chick.
My beef with this is that the short scene in which the making occurs basically reinforces every stereotype about fat women’s sexuality and in particular fat black women’s sexuality. Louis has spent the last half of the episode pursuing a black woman ostensibly to go black and not go back. At the end, she rejects him and goes into her house. He’s all sad because he didn’t get to dip into that. But out comes another black woman, a fat black woman who leers at Louie and smiles suggestively. You know, that creepy sex-crazed smile and leer that fat black women are CONSTANTLY shown as affecting in every damn representation of fat black female sexuality. Cut to the next scene, said woman is on top of Louie, rocking the bed, making exaggerated faces indicating extreme sexual pleasure, and Louie is just under her looking bewildered.
Now how you’re going to get pleasure out of a dude laying there underneath you not doing shit I don’t know. But fat black women are portrayed doing this pretty much every time they’re shown having sex. Apparently we have some kind of animalistic desire bubbling under the surface that’s just waiting to envelop some awkward but eager guy. And apparently we harbor this desire for any paunchy balding guys we see hanging out creepily next to our doorways.
I’m not going to say fat black women don’t get buck wild sometimes because we do. Of course, pretty much every woman does at some point. But when we’re shown doing nothing BUT getting buck wild in a humorous way, well, that’s a harmful representation. It feeds into the “black women are oversexed freaks” stereotype as well as the “fat women are desperate for sex” stereotype. I mean, basically if you wanted to name a stereotype involving fat women and black women, that two-minute scene was a great mashup. It was extremely disappointing, and that’s saying a lot because however it may appear, I am not easily offended. But I had to say something at that point because the episode was iffy as is and then that was just the cherry on top of the shit sundae the viewer was served.
This is why we must critique the pop culture we consume. You better believe if I’m going to watch a show that I love but can be problematic—I’ve got to analyze the problematic elements and recognize them when I see them. Like I said, I’m a fan of Louis C.K. But that doesn’t mean I can give him or his show a pass when he produces something like this last episode.