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In a piece for Vulture, Danielle Henderson wrote that she liked the episode until the last few minutes of the speech. I was bothered that he took this previously badass woman…and turned her into a pathetic showcase of hidden weaknesses just looking for the right man to unleash her unhappiness upon.
The real kicker is when after all of her pleading, she says “I don’t need a boyfriend or husband, I just want to hold hands with a nice guy.” “This Is Us” has an opportunity to shift the dating conversation through Kate’s relationship with Toby, who she meets at her weight-loss support group.
After introducing themselves, the women fall into the sort of high-speed bonding chatter that wouldn’t pass the Bechdel test and involves more than a little squealing.
Their quick getting-to-know-you conversation reveals that not a single woman has been able to land a boyfriend in their respective hometowns, even though they are attractive, successful, and adventurous.
There is nothing wrong with having a very real, common struggle be a part of Kate’s story, but it should not be the entirety of it.
In the pilot, we see her attend a weight-loss support group and go to extreme lengths to stop herself from eating junk food.All of these shows have a few things in common: a lack of diversity, a lack of female empowerment, and really cheesy music.Burnett’s solution to that tired and retrograde formula looks similar to a fever dream you’d have after too much Tindering: Twelve single, 20- and 30-something women are brought to an island (old habits die hard).Recent efforts, including the late CBS sitcom “Mike and Molly,” Lifetime’s “Drop Dead Diva” and the short-lived ABC Family drama “Huge” took a step in the right direction, but tended to focus on the fact that a lead character was overweight.There is similar criticism when it comes to Kate, whose storyline so far revolves around her desire to “lose the weight.” (Salon’s Melanie Mc Farland called her storyline “distressingly awash with problematic messages about food and fat shame.”) But Kate is one of several characters with dynamic stories, and there is also something to be said about seeing a plus-size woman court a genuine love interest in a non-comedic way.