Aidy Bryant's life has an uncomfortable way of mirroring her character in Hulu's "Shrill." And sometimes, it's the other way around.
As the "Saturday Night Live" comedian, who launched her own plus-sized clothing line in 2019, recently told The Washington Post, she based a season three scene on something that happened to her in real life when she visited a new doctor for the first time.
Apparently, during the examination — which she underwent as required to get insurance while preparing to shoot the 2016 film "The Big Sick" — the doctor extolled the virtues of gastric bypass surgery.
According to Bryant, the doctor said "people do it all the time."
She took that experience and used it almost to the letter in the new (and final) season of "Shrill," in which her character Annie ends up seeing a physician who is substituting for her regular doctor. The new doc mentions offhand that she should also consider gastric bypass surgery.
It's all too common a reaction to women of size, Bryant, 33, says.
"Their assumption is that I have (losing weight) as a goal, and just by looking at me, they assume that’s the reason I'm there at the doctor's office," Bryant added.
"Shrill" has made serious efforts at redefining how larger women are portrayed in TV shows, from not using the word "fat" to not making a sex scene laughable just because she's not thin.
"I can think of about a million examples, and I won't name names, where sex between a plus-sized woman and a man is represented by her jumping on him and then he falls over," she said. "That's a classic. And there's something so demeaning and devastating about that to me. It feels like trying to joke it away rather than sincerely finding an actual funny moment. In a normal sex scene between two normal-sized people, you could still find comedy in that. And I think our show does."
But overall, she noted, it's about trying to change people's stereotypes about plus-sized women (and men, too).
"There's an assumption that if you’re fat, you've given up on yourself," said Bryant. "And it's like, I exercise all the time. I don't eat doughnuts for breakfast, lunch and dinner."