Comedian Louis C.K. has become famous for heaving brutally honest truths at his audience, wrapped in some wry, philosophical life observations that usually wind up in hilarity. But at the end Monday night’s episode of his FX comedy, “Louie,” things got pretty intense in a very long scene, as guest star Sarah Baker delivered a mesmerizing speech about life as “a fat girl.” (Video below.)
In the episode, (titled “So Did the Fat Lady,” written by C.K.) Baker played Vanessa, a totally charming (and yes, overweight) waitress who asked Louie out. Initially he said no, until she finally won him over by offering him expensive hockey tickets. Later, the two genuinely hit it off, and while riffing about how difficult it is to date, Vanessa remarks, “Try dating in New York in your early 30’s as a fat girl.” Louie immediately looks uncomfortable and responds, “Well, you’re not” — at which point Vanessa’s face falls.
“UGH!” she says. “You know what the meanest thing you can say to a fat girl? ‘You’re not fat.'” Vanessa continues: “And the worst part is I’m not even supposed to do this. ”
“Do what?” asks Louie, looking vaguely terrified.
At this point, Vanessa unleashes an unexpectedly lengthy, powerful monologue:
Tell anyone how bad it sucks because it’s too much for people. I mean, you? You can talk into the microphone and say you can’t get a date, you’re overweight. And it’s adorable. But if I say it, they call the suicide hotline on me. I mean, can I just say it? I’m fat. It sucks to be a fat girl. Can people just let me say it? It sucks. It really sucks. And I’m going to go ahead and say it. It’s your fault. Look – I really like you. You’re truly a good guy, I think — so, sorry. I’m picking you. On behalf of all the fat girls, I’m making you represent all the guys. Why do you hate us so much? What is it about the basics of human happiness – you know, feeling attractive, feeling loved, having guys chase after us – that’s just not in the cards for us? Nope, not for us. How is that fair? And why am I supposed to just accept it?
Louie eventually interjects, looking wildly uncomfortable. “You know, Vanessa, you’re a very really beautiful…” but she cuts in.
Come on. If I was a “very really beautiful” then you would have said yes when I asked you out. I mean, come on, Louie, be honest here. You know what’s funny? I flirt with guys all the time. And I mean, the great looking ones, like the really high caliber studs? They flirt right back. No problem. Because they know their status will never be questioned. But guys like you never flirt with me because you get scared that maybe you should be with a girl like me. And why not?!
This goes on for awhile longer, as Vanessa pushes him further and further. Finally, she wraps it up: “You know what the sad thing is?…I don’t even need a boyfriend or a husband. All I want is to hold hands with a nice guy, and walk and talk.”
With that, Louie takes her hand — and they walk away, hand in hand, as Louie starts telling her a “fat lady” joke. She starts laughing. End of scene.
The whole thing lasted about seven minutes, a long amount of time for any scene during a half-hour comedy; and it appeared to make a big impact on people of the Internet. Not only did the scene directly hit at some very uncomfortable subjects that are generally ignored across any facet of pop culture, but it directly addressed the kind of double standard: That it’s totally fine and expected if a less attractive guy dates a beautiful woman, though never the other way around.
In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, when asked about the ever-present stigma of an episode all about weight, Baker reminded everyone that again, Louis C.K. wrote the script.
“Because I look the way I look, there are going to be people who are like, ‘That’s that girl. Poor Sarah Baker.’ But hopefully people are intelligent and know that this is a character I’m playing…That’s not my experience. They’re Louis C.K.’s words,” she explained. “But it’s obviously an episode that’s resonating with people. ‘Louie’ is a beautiful show. I think it’s art on television. And for me, this was so worth it.”