This Is Us is arguably one of the best television programs on the air today, and is thought to be incredibly inspiring for people of all body types. But, is the show still inspiring when one of the actors wears a fat suit?
Toby, played by Chris Sullivan wears a fat suit and fake skin to play his character, who is on the heavier side. This news comes as a shock to all viewers, who believed that Chris was facing the same struggles as Toby in real life. The decision to cast a smaller man in a larger man’s role also hurt fans of the show because the decision goes against the show’s attempt to prove that beauty is at every size. Casting a smaller man to play in a fat suit doesn’t promote body inclusion on television at all.
Even though Toby isn’t so heavy in real life, Chrissy Metz, who plays Toby’s girlfriend Kate, is. Chrissy Metz revealed to the press in December that even though the show is not pressuring her to lose weight, she is contractually obligated to slim down her figure because of the upcoming weight loss of her character. This proves that the character of Kate has to lose weight in upcoming episodes, even though Toby doesn’t.
Though there might not be so much backlash to the news of Chris wearing a fat suit, it does play up some very large stereotypes.
The issue with Chris having to be as large as Kate is the idea that people with similar body types attract one another. Many argue that even though the character of Kate on the show is plus size, her love interest shouldn’t have to be a particular body shape. Pairing two larger people together gives off the message that Kate’s love interest could only be someone who has a similar body type. This idea doesn’t scream inclusion, which the show is supposedly trying to promote.
Recently, Chrissy Metz told the press her honest and true opinions about the fat suit. Like her character Kate, Chrissy came to help Toby.
Metz stated, “You know, I appreciate your opinion. And I get it, the authenticity is kind of ruined by that, but Chris has been heavier, and I think he does understand the plight of being overweight. Also, he was the best man for the job, and people wear prosthetics all the time. This just happened to be weight as opposed to, like, a nose or a chin.”
Even though Metz stated, “he was the right man for the job,” the fat suit proves that Hollywood would rather change someone’s appearance than cast a larger man. Men’s bodies in Hollywood are usually reflected as having amazing biceps and chiseled abs. But, the show should have been more open to casting someone, who wasn’t in need of a fat suit.
This Is Us continually changes up its plot line and is loved by viewers of all ages. But, this fat suit proves that not even the most inspiring of all shows is immune to Hollywood’s representation of men’s beauty.