The devil works hard, but Netflix works harder. After dropping enough true crime documentaries to entertain me into the next century, and a new
thirst trap movie starring none other than everyone’s favorite internet boyfriend, Noah Centineo, they have done one better and made a movie starring our favorite female comedy trio: Amy Poehler, Tina Fey, and Maya Rudolph. That’s right. The gang is back together again in a new movie called Wine Country, out May 8 in select theaters and May 10 on Netflix. Wow, so rude that Netflix would make all my dreams come true by putting three of my favorite women together in one movie, and then crush all those aforementioned dreams by making me wait a whole month to see it. I feel scammed, hustled, hoodwinked, led astray!!
Wine Country is one of those comedies about longtime best friends—think Bridesmaids or Girls Trip. In it, Amy Poehler’s character, Abby, plans a 50th birthday Napa getaway for her friend Rebecca (played by hilarious SNL alum Rachel Dratch). Along for the ride are the rest of their crew: workaholic Catherine (Ana Gasteyer), post-op Val (Paula Pell), homebody Jenny (Emily Spivey), and weary mom Naomi (Maya Rudolph). As you can imagine from your own encounters with wine, once these ladies get a few glasses deep, things get out of control. I mean, the last time I went on a wine tasting, I went from zero to “so I don’t think I’m capable of love” real quick, so I can only imagine what’s going to happen in a comedy directed by Amy Poehler.
I’m not saying Wine Country is going to be the next best thing since Mean Girls, but I will say that with this cast, I’m probably going to watch it. (That’s saying a lot coming from me—I don’t tend to watch movies on Netflix because I have commitment issues picking one.) I just hope that with this star-studded cast, Netflix doesn’t bamboozle us and give us a bad movie. Only time will tell! Wine Country drops on Netflix May 10, so I’m going to stock up on my favorite sauvignon blanc just in time for the occasion.
Before I give you my thoughts on Shrill, here’s a little context. The first time I sat on a guy’s lap, he jerked back and pushed me off. “How much do you weigh?” he demanded, rubbing his legs in pain. I was 13 years old, standing in the aisle of a school bus filled with my 7th grade classmates. Over a decade later, I barely remember the guy—but his comment, I remember. The same way I remember, later that year, comments under pictures of me on my cousin’s Myspace: “Who’s your fat friend?” Or in 4th grade, when another girl and I broke our ankles at the same time and had to be carried down a flight of stairs. “Looks like I got the light one,” a teacher joked, picking up the other girl.
If you haven’t yet watched Shrill, the new Hulu show starring SNL’s Aidy Bryant, I highly recommend it. (I also recommend tuning out of this article, because duh—spoilers.) Shrill, in six too-short episodes, tells the story of Annie (Aidy Bryant), a fat woman who finds herself taking far too much sh*t from her mother, her boss, and her f*ck buddy-slash-boyfriend. While Annie’s struggles are not solely derived from her size, Shrill emphasizes the harmful assumptions made about fat people (namely, that their size is a result of being lazy, or lacking willpower), and how licensed people feel to treat Annie differently because of it. From well-meaning “concern” expressed by strangers to her boss telling her to her face that she doesn’t “take care of” herself, the sheer fact of walking around as a woman of Annie’s size translates to an onslaught of uninformed, unsolicited opinions about her character.
All this is to say: though I have not, in my adult life, been overweight, I expected to relate to Annie while watching this show. From my own memories of middle school fat-shaming, I was ready to raise a glass in solidarity and share in Annie’s triumph as she gained the courage to issue a massive f*ck you to her haters. But while I did find the show highly relatable, it wasn’t, ultimately, Annie’s struggle in which I saw myself. Instead, I felt my stomach sink every time a passive-aggressive barb was thrown out against her—and I heard it clearly in my own voice.
To fill you in on the decade between being cyber-bullied on Myspace and now: just before high school, I lost about 25 pounds and grew three inches. (Don’t hate me; it was the last time I lost weight effortlessly in my life, I promise.) From that moment on, likely because of how I’d been treated when I was bigger, I have been obsessed with getting, and staying, thin. From 8th grade on, no diet was off-limits—from South Beach in 2009 to keto about six months ago. (Am I crazy BTW, or are those diets basically the same?) All that dieting was successful, depending on how you define it. While I’m perpetually in a state of wanting to lose “the last” 5-10 pounds, I am by no means overweight. And importantly, my body allows me to suffer none of the public shaming and discrimination that Annie receives every day.
So, let’s take Annie being accosted in a coffee shop by a personal trainer, who grabs her (apparently, tiny) wrist and says earnestly: “There is a small person inside of you dying to get out.” Watching that scene, I had no idea what it was like to be Annie. I did, though, have years of memories of grabbing my own wrists and admiring their smallness, of looking in disgust at the rest of my arm and hating myself for the way it (in my mind) ballooned outward. When Annie’s mom tells her, “you always feel better when you exercise, I can tell,” I hear the same lie I tell people about going to the gym. Sure, it makes me feel better—but only, I’m pretty sure, because I know it’s helping me lose weight.
I came into Shrill thinking it would be a feel-good empowering romp, with twinges of painful memories from my past. I was mostly right (it felt great! and super empowering!), but the twinges of guilt I feel are from how I think about my body right now. I hope that my constant desire to be smaller doesn’t spill out in how I treat other people—but I can’t imagine that it doesn’t. If I hate myself for struggling to zip up a pair of size 27 jeans, how would I not judge someone who wears jeans that are two, four, or ten sizes larger? When I look around in envy at the tiny women NYC is riddled with, have I been kidding myself that I’m not, also, looking at fat people with pity? How many people, beyond myself, have I actually been harming with the constant internal monologue of self-directed fat-shaming?
I won’t say that Shrill cured me of these habits. Midway through writing this article, actually, I stopped to measure myself to decide which size pants to reference (every company is different, y’all know this). Then I measured myself again—and three times after that, with different tools, because I wasn’t happy about the number I was getting. This can’t be right, I thought, furiously switching out a charging cable for a piece of ribbon to wrap around my waist. Never mind that reading a different number off my tape measure has exactly zero effect on my actual body. My negative body image, clearly, is still in effect—but Shrill is the first show I’ve seen in a long time that made me want to do something about it.
If I can recognize how sh*tty people’s treatment of Annie is, I reason, I should be able to apply that same logic to myself. And hopefully, if we can all be a little kinder to ourselves in private, we can be kinder to others in public too. I’m grateful that Shrill brought my fat-shaming into clearer view, but the most pressing issue the show elucidates is our policing and shaming of fat people for simply living their lives near us. And whatever personal struggles you may or may not be dealing with, that kind of bullying on a societal level has got to stop.
Images: Hulu Press; @aidybryant, @dietstartstomorrow/Instagram
It’s been over four months since Pete Davidson and Ariana Grande’s whirlwind romance rocked our world, which means they’re now one of the longest lasting couples in Hollywood. But actually, it seems like things have been going well for them, even in the wake of Mac Miller’s tragic death. There have been endless paparazzi photos of them together, and we can never forget all of the iconic Instagram posts. But that doesn’t mean everything is perfect.
This week, Pete Davidson went on Howard Stern’s radio show, and of course, Howard asked lots of questions about Ariana. When talking about Pete’s decision to take a break from social media, Pete revealed that he’s received death threats due to his relationship with Ariana. Let me just use his exact words: “I got a death threat. Someone wanted to shoot me in the face because she’s so hot.”
Okay, so obviously this person is unstable, but also, it made me notice that Pete calls Ariana hot in literally every single interview. And it made me think: why? Is there anything else he likes about her? Like, of course, Ari is hot, but she’s also funny and talented and adorable and yes I’m a big fan if you couldn’t tell. Let’s take a look at some of the language Pete has used about Ariana because I for one think it’s questionable.
Let’s start back in June when Pete and Ariana were all over each other’s Instagrams. After doing their typical “I love u more” “no I love u most” “rawr that means ‘I love you’ in dinosaur” high school PDA fest, Seth Rogen commented, “Guys seriously.” Pete responded to Seth with the following comment:
“when ur getting married to the hottest girl in the world you tell me how you’d act.”
This was the first moment that caught my eye and made me wonder: if I blindfolded Pete Davidson and locked him in a room and asked him what he likes about Ariana Grande, could he come up with an answer other than “she’s hot”?
Now, here’s what Pete had to say when he did a Q&A at Auburn University when someone asked what it’s like being engaged to Ariana Grande:
“It’s like what you would think it was like but like a 100 times sicker. It’s f*cking lit. I’m a very, very lucky boy and very, very loved and I’m very lucky. My d*ck’s forever hard.”
Okay, so obviously the last part is meant to be crude and funny, and Pete is a comedian so I’m not even that mad. But I do find it weird that he doesn’t even say anything else of substance. Saying “sick” and “lit” over and over again doesn’t convince me that you know your fiancée on a deep spiritual level.
In the Howard Stern interview, Pete had lots to say about his relationship, and a lot of it is really TMI.
“I was jerking off to her before I met her.”
Um, ew? There’s nothing wrong with masturbating, and I’m not, like, surprised. But that’s just kind of a gross thing to say about the woman that you’re marrying. Can I get some brain bleach?
“Any time we’re intimate, I’m always apologizing and saying thank you. I swear to God. I’m like, you’re awesome for doing this, thank you so much.”
Okay, Pete, you are LITERALLY ENGAGED. Clearly, homeboy has some deep issues with his confidence and self-esteem. Or this is just like, a very weird joke? Like, you shouldn’t think this way about a random hookup, let alone someone you live with and who has already agreed to spend the rest of their life with you. I’m a fan of their relationship in general, but hearing him talk this way makes me so uncomfortable.
After scouring Pete’s interviews, I think I found the deepest thing he’s said publicly about Ariana. It comes from his August cover story for Variety:
“I can’t even put into words how great of a person she is. I could cry. She’s the f*cking coolest, hottest, nicest person I’ve ever met.”
Wow, not a dry eye in the house after that one. Yeah, he still says how hot she is, but did you know that she’s also cool AND nice?? I hope someday, someone talks about me like this. #goals!!!
So congrats to Pete Davidson on landing a woman who is decidedly hot. Maybe he should work on finding some more specific qualities he likes about her. Ariana deserves it! In other news, SNL premieres this weekend. And I’m eagerly waiting to see if they make any reference to Pete and Ariana’s relationship. I need it!