Aidy Bryant had to fight to have her ‘Shrill’ character portrayed realistically

The second season of Aidy Bryant’s Hulu show,Shrill, based on Lindy West‘s memoir of the same name, will be released on Friday. Aidy stars as Annie, a journalist who’s trying to get her life together. Aidy sat down for a lengthy interview with Allison Davis at The Cut, during which she talked about how she had to “fight” to ensure that she was able to portray Annie the way that she felt the character deserved. Here are some excerpts from their chat:

Producers wanted her Shrill character to start off dumpy but she vetoed that
“It was a lot of conference calls with me saying, ‘I think this is condescending, and I’m telling you this is how it has to be. I’ve never been that person, so we don’t want to put that onscreen,’ ”

She gets asked a lot in interviews about her self esteem
“I feel like part of doing this show was to be like, ‘Let me get this out of the way for you. Let’s confront this head-on, and at some point we’ll move on,’ ”

She’s comfortable with the word ‘fat’
“I feel like it’s not the only thing I am… I feel like I’m a lot more things before that, like friend, wife, daughter, whatever. And I’m fat. I’m also a star! A certified star,” [uses diva voice] “I’m also rich now, so eat sh-t.”

On fighting to portray sex realistically on Shrill
How can you have a story about a person’s body and about their relationship to their selves and not involve sex? I just always felt like so many fat characters were so sexless, or the sex was hypercartoony… But I always was having cool sex and had boyfriends.”

[From The Cut]

I appreciate this whole piece, and I love that Aidy fought to make sure that her vision of Annie is the one that viewers get to see, and that she made sure that Annie has a sex life because fat people have sex, bizarre as that might seem to some people. I wasn’t at all surprised to read that people ask Aidy about “how she hated herself, how she overcame hating herself, does she still hate herself, and how it is possible for her not to hate herself.” I’m still slightly amazed by the obviousness of people who think, for whatever reason, that it’s OK to talk to someone about their body’s shape and appearance, and the assumptions that they make about how a person feels about their body. I love that Aidy comes across as completely unbothered by the negativity. I’m moved by her comment about “always having cool sex and [having] boyfriends” and how she thought it was strange to not see similar relationships on TV. I’m sad because she’s right, but I’m so glad she said it because she has a point (or several): fat people exist in the world and should see themselves on TV and in movies, and fat people have fulfilling, fun sex lives, and it’s insulting and strange to pretend otherwise.

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12 Responses to “Aidy Bryant had to fight to have her ‘Shrill’ character portrayed realistically”

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  1. Tracy says:

    So excited for season 2 of Shrill.

    I’m really glad she fought not to be portrayed as dumpy because I specifically remember thinking about how unique it was that they skipped the dumpy fat girl trope with the show. It made it so much more watchable and realistic.

  2. tealily says:

    “I’m also rich now, so eat sh-t.” Lolol

    I’m really looking forward to season 2. I don’t watch SNL, so I hadn’t been familiar with Bryant before season 1, but she seems really cool. I hope we continue to see lots of her!

    • Meg says:

      Aidy and Kate McKinnon are two of the strongest on the show, they’re so great. An old sketch of her working at a trashy romance bookstore is so great

      • lucy2 says:

        I love those too, and Cecily also. Aidy is great in every sketch, and excellent on Shrill. I’m looking forward to the new season.

  3. Meg says:

    Season 1 has an epsiode where they go to a fat girl pool party and I right away wished there was one in my city. I’ve always felt uncomfortable in a swimsuit, even in elementary school I was invited to a friend’s birthday that was a pool party and I was nervous right away about wearing a suit-in elementary school! Society seems to benefit from women hating their bodies. One of the actors from the good place posts great stuff on social media against how normalized eating disorders are now and what is actual healthy thinking. Lots of other accounts I follow talk about that too and seeing women with various body types help so much I actually wore a swimsuit on vacation last summer and felt great. Shrill was a huge part of that

  4. BellaBella says:

    I love Aidy’s show, “Shrill,” and I am thrilled it’s back for Season 2. Besides the excellent writing, on a more mundane note: she wears great clothes on that show — I always love her outfits.

  5. Jillian says:

    If you love Shrill, buy all of Lindy West’s books! Support her voice and vision with your cash money, honeys! I love Aidy Bryant but she’s really taking credit for a lot of Lindy West’s production demands on the show.

  6. Nicegirl says:

    Yes to Shrill!

  7. Seraphina B says:

    Honk for Aidy! She is so brilliant in that show and it is such a breath of fresh air , can’t wait for season 2.

  8. Fox says:

    This show is what we needed. In the first episode she deals with an abortion (not a spoiler). What I appreciated about this is they dealt with it so. Well. It wasn’t the traditional ‘woman struggles with killing her’baby” trope. They treated it as she doesn’t want one, so she goes to get a medical procedure and she has no regrets. Also they bring up how plan b is dosed for people under 175 lbs and how pharmacists don’t let people know…this show is a feminist fave