There's an unspoken rule that says certain body types are not worthy of being celebrated and Shrill, Hulu's delightful new comedy starring Saturday Night Live's Aidy Bryant, flies in the face of that.
Shrill follows Annie, a soft-spoken journalist who sets out to make some changes in her life while also dealing with the typical struggles of a millennial woman. Adapted from writer Lindy West's memoir Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman, the series is a refreshing journey of self-acceptance as Annie grapples with letting go of the internalized shame she'd been carrying since childhood. It's a rare and honest portrayal of a fat woman learning to love herself where the focus isn't on her body, but rather the complicated relationship she has with herself.
In one of the show's most empowering moments, Annie attends a Fat Babe Pool Party where carefree women of different shapes and sizes clad in colorful, scant bathing suits are seen eating, drinking and dancing to Ariana Grande's "One Last Time." At first, Annie is uncomfortable with the idea of showing off her body and chills on the sidelines with her margarita. It's the first time she's been exposed to a community of confident, plus-sized women who aren't fidgeting with their outfits or worrying about what others think. They're just existing, and having so much fun. Inspired by this, Annie eventually lets loose and joins in on the fun, stripping down to her swimsuit. It's a simple but effective moment of body positivity that, according to Bryant, was as fun to film as it looked on screen.
"It was really overwhelming," Bryant told TV Guide. "All those ladies were there, and they looked amazing and so glamorous. People were actually swimming and dancing and partying in between takes, which was a pure joy."
Lolly Adefope, who plays Annie's queer black bestie, Fran, on the show, added, "It was very empowering. It was very cool to see all of the extras who were at the pool party, just having an amazing time. When the cameras weren't rolling, they were just loving it. It was very rewarding to give them that opportunity to feel very confident and to wear these cool clothes and to feel beautiful and feel part of this very moving scene."
The scene also resonated with West, who attended the real-life event that inspired the scene. "It was incredible to shoot because we got to actually have that party, and there were hundreds of fat women in bikinis hugging and dancing and eating snacks and getting their hair and makeup done and swimming! It was so magical," she said. "I spent years not going swimming because you're told that you're supposed to hide your body. You're not supposed to show it to people because they're gonna be disgusted. To get to actually get to go to that party and walk into the tent with all the extras and just see everyone having this moment together, it was incredibly powerful. And it was also really fun."
Shrill is now streaming on Hulu.