Fat, Media

Adipositivity (and Doctor Who Spoilers)

So, unlike seemingly every other fat feminist alive, I’m not much of a sci fi geek. For whatever reason, I’ve just never been especially attracted to the genre. I’ve gotten hooked on shows like The X-Files and Buffy, because they were so character-driven, but I don’t read sci fi, I don’t get excited about new sci fi series (or retreads of old ones), and the phrase “world-building” makes me shudder with the memory of some really bad writing workshops.

All of which means I went 31 years without ever watching an episode of Doctor Who, and I never felt like I was missing a damn thing. Then Al moved in, with his hundreds of mass market sci fi paperbacks and his bone-deep internet geekery, and one night he says, “Can we watch Doctor Who?”

Sure, fine, whatever.

Naturally, I got hooked–and eventually hooked on Torchwood, too, which means my claims not to be remotely into sci fi are becoming increasingly questionable. (I maintain that I’m much more into well-written characters and hot guys with British accents, but the line is blurring.) It took me a few episodes to appreciate it, though, because Doctor Who and I seriously got off on the wrong foot, since the villain in the first episode I ever watched was this guy:

Dubbed “The Abzorbaloff,” he was a grotesque blob of alien fat who sucked human beings into his own body in order to live. Pretty much the embodiment of MeMe Roth and Monica Grenfell‘s worst nightmares. And the conflation of fat with evil in this episode was, shall we say, not subtle. (More disturbingly still, the character was conceived by a 9-year-old boy for a “Design a Doctor Who Villain” contest, and that kid originally envisioned him as the size of a double-decker bus. Obesity panic trickling down to the kids, ya think? BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA.)

I hung in there after that episode, though, and after watching this season’s opener last night, I’m really glad I did. Spoilers after the jump, since it hasn’t aired in the U.S. yet. (I just, um… left the country for the weekend.) And those who don’t give a rat’s ass about Doctor Who should totally read the rest of this post anyway, ’cause you’re gonna love it.

Time-Machine mentioned in comments the other day that the villain in this episode was called “The Adipose,” which had us both nervous, to say the least. I’d actually forgotten about that until I sat down to watch the episode and saw The Doctor walking into a building with an “Adipose Industries” sign, at which point the following conversation occurred.

Me: Aw, shit. I forgot about the “adipose” villain thing.

Al: I don’t know what that means.

Me: Fat.

Al: Oh. [By which he meant, “Honey, I love you and support what you do, but if you think you’re gonna get all offended and loud about this, please LEAVE THE ROOM RIGHT NOW, ’cause I just want to enjoy the fucking show.”]

Me: Well, we’ll see how they handle it, I guess. [By which I meant, “This is gonna be another fucking Abzorbaloff, which is gonna make me officially hate this show, and you’re goddamned right I’m gonna get loud about it.”]

But then things started unfolding, and it wasn’t so bad. The villain was actually the diet industry, which got the eppie some Awesome Points right there. Adipose Industries is a big, evil corporation flogging a diet pill with a 100% success rate. As the show opens, we learn they’ve already moved 1 million units in London alone (a city with a population of about 7.5 million), and they’re just about to launch in the rest of Britain. And I bestow a couple more Awesome Points on the episode for that commentary on the public’s insane hunger (HAW!) for weight loss products.

So, the Adipose slogan is “The fat just walks away,” and because this is Doctor Who, that turns out to be literally true. The pill turns human fat into alien creatures that will eventually leave the host bodies and return to their home planet, which has been having some population issues. If all goes according to plan, it’s supposed to be a win-win–the human beings get thin, and a new generation of alien fat creatures gets to be born and go home. But in an emergency, the alien fat creatures will take not just fat but all human tissue, bones, and hair, literally wasting the hosts away to nothing. And because TV would be boring if things went according to plan, there’s an emergency.

We first see how all this works when Stacy, a fat woman who also happens to be gorgeous, confident (in part because she’s already lost some weight, but we’ll let that slide), and perfectly normal–thus earning the show a few more Awesome Points–begins to feel rumbly in the tumbly. She runs into her bathroom, and things take a turn for the icky, as they tend to do on shows about alien monsters. There’s a creature inside her trying to get out, in the usual freakish-nasty-moving-stomach way. And here is where I start to gird myself for disappointment and anger, ’cause you just KNOW an alien fat creature is going to be a greasy, oozing yellow blob designed for maximum repulsion.

And then this pops out of Stacy’s stomach and into her sink:


And then he makes adorable squeaky noises, and I’m laughing my ass off, and then Stacy dies, which sucks, but then one of the other little “adipose” stands on the windowsill and WAVES like this

and I am officially ded of kewt. (There’s an even better picture of a whole army of little fat dudes here.)

Y’all, the alien fat creatures were adorable. I want ten of them for pets. And with that, this episode gets a million billion Awesome Points for completely subverting my expectations and not taking the obvious eww, fat path–which pretty much any other show would have taken.

In that comments thread where we discussed this episode a little, wiscck said,

See, people? Fat can be cute! And a popular TV show is telling us this!

Okay, I might be reading a bit too much into that…

and I allowed as how I really don’t think she is. It is fucking amazing that given the opportunity to create alien creatures made of human fat, a bunch of people making a TV show decided those creatures should be cute. Does it mean they’re saying fat is cute? Well, not necessarily. But the important thing is that they did not take the obvious opportunity to reinforce the idea that fat is intrinsically disgusting. Furthermore, this episode used several fat actors without treating them as buffoons or mocking the characters for falling for a sketchy weight loss scheme. The villain was the woman running the diet pill business–and, a little less blatantly, the corporation itself–not fat. Not even the advancing army of little fat alien dudes, who were essentially just a bunch of innocent babies. The blame was placed exactly where it fucking belonged, and there was not a cheap fat joke in sight. (The villain did snark about obesity in England, but since it was the villain saying it, I wasn’t bugged by that at all.)

Give yourself a minute to take that in. Popular TV show satirizes the diet industry, with exactly zero fat jokes, zero dehumanized fat characters, and zero ass-covering lines about how the industry is indeed out of control, but we all need to remember that fat is still UNHEALTHEEEEEE!

I mean, sure, lots of things in this episode can and will be interpreted differently by people who don’t like teh fatz. The scenes where the little dudes broke out of people’s bodies weren’t exactly a stunning display of dignity for the fat actors–but the important thing is, they weren’t any different from a zillion other monster-escapes-from-human-body scenes in shows and movies like this. (Well, in fact, they were different, because the escaping monsters were adorable. But the mechanics of it were no different than they would have been with thin actors.) There were no extra “check out the hilarious fatty!” signals in the way those scenes were shot; only a true asshat would see people who were meant to be ridiculed because of their fat there. And lord knows there are plenty of true asshats out there, but at least this show did nothing to actively affirm their asshattitude.

Similarly, I’m sure there are people who will read the advancing army of little fat dudes as a metaphor for THE OBESITY EPIDEMIC BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA. But the way I read it–and the way I actually believe it was meant to be read–was as a metaphor for the culture’s bugfuck craziness about weight loss. Each little fat dude represented someone who spent money on a diet pill–and there were so damn many of them, you couldn’t help but think there’s no way there are as many Actually Fat Londoners as there were people taking the pills. (Well, I couldn’t help but think that, anyway.) And that interpretation is reinforced by what might have been the most brilliant stroke in the whole thing: one of the characters on the diet pill is already thin. Granted, he says he’s lost 14 kilos, so he would have started out as a bit of a chub (and only a bit), but when we meet him, he is manifestly not fat and yet still taking the pill. Nobody ever remarks on that, but it’s right there, and the only thing that could have made me love that touch more is if the character had been a woman.

So. Have I just given entirely too much thought to a friggin’ TV show? Of course. One episode of Doctor Who is hardly going to be seen as a watershed moment for fat rights. But it was a watershed moment for me as a consumer of pop culture, because it was literally the first time in my life I’d seen a TV show handle the topic of fat without once making me feel like I’d been slapped in the face.

Hip fuckin’ hooray for that.

85 thoughts on “Adipositivity (and Doctor Who Spoilers)”

  1. When I first heard that the series 4 premiere would have little critters called “Adipose,” I cringed. Not *another* fat villian! These were significantly less villainous than the Slitheen or the guy from “Love and Monsters.”

  2. I was slightly dreading the first episode of Doctor Who when I read what the plot was. I thought it was going to be a “fatties are evil” at worst and a “lets take the piss out of fat people” at best. But it was brilliant! Those little adipose babies were utterly adorable! I want one! And they avoided the cliche of the fat woman trying to lose weight so she can get a date, which was completely radical by todays television standards! And to go off the fat politics topic for a moment, the last two minutes of the episode were just amazing!

  3. Give yourself a minute to take that in. Popular TV show satirizes the diet industry, with exactly zero fat jokes, zero dehumanized fat characters, and zero ass-covering lines about how the industry is indeed out of control, but we all need to remember that fat is still UNHEALTHEEEEEE!

    *closes gaping jaw*

    Yay! And someone better come up with an Adipose baby amigurumi pattern stat.

    Also, I submit the following: David Tennant is hot. Pinstripes + Chuck Taylors = win.

  4. sweetmachine, you have issued a challenge I cannot refuse. I shall begin working on that pattern this very evening.

    Now, how to contour that adorable little nose-like thing on it’s face…

  5. Not sure if it makes it any “better”, but the character design for the Absorbaloff (outside of the name and basic powers, which was won in the contest by the kid) was a slam on a former Doctor Who writer that pissed off the writer of that episode.

    Kate – have you tried Battlestar Galactica? I think it’s the most feminist show on TV since Buffy.

  6. I was really pleased with the episode overall, but the only thing that soured me on it just a bit was the Doctor’s “as a diet plan it sort of works” line. The idea of dropping pounds by spawning alien babies is… not so appealing to me. Even if they are insanely cute alien babies.

    This also brings up the idea that somewhere in the galaxy is an entire race of people made entirely of fat. Interesting concept, albeit also one that the anti-fat camp could interpret differently.

  7. Can we send MeMe and Monica to the planet of fat people? They wouldn’t last long being surrounded by an entire universe made up of teh gross ebil fattie aliens.

    This episode will air in the US on the Sci-Fi Channel April 18th. Which is total coolness, because they usually wait until July to start airing the new season.

    Speaking of more positive fat stuff on British TV, if anyone saw last night’s Torchwood ep on BBC America, I was pleasantly surprised that the show cast a fat actress, Ruth Jones, to play the mom and she was written as very sympathetic. She also wore some tops that I wouldn’t mind be sporting around in either.

  8. Incidentally, I’m taking a class right now on gender and sci-fi films, so I’ve been thinking a lot about sci fi in general (which I generally like as a genre but have never been into — it’s amazing how having a geeky partner influences what appeals to you). I’ll report back if I learn anything body-image-related!

  9. Ok, this Entity IS a geeky, SiFi, nerd. I just never could get into Dr Who. Mind you, it’s not the UK flavor the show brings, though. British TV has ALWAYS been smarter, funnier and, let’s face it, BETTER than the US variant. Maybe it’s just the American knuckle dragger in me that’s finds this particular martini a little too dry (Read: not enough explosions/machines that go *PING*). Non-the-less I DO have a deep appreciation for good story and characters that are more than just cardboard cut outs.

    Thinking I may want to give the new Who a second look. At the, very, least I think I NEED to check out this Ep.

  10. (I’ve been lurking for a while – hello! First time posting, so I hope I’m not going to go and stick my foot in my mouth.)

    Yeah, I was impressed by the fact that the writers absolutely could’ve made the “FAT IS TEH EVOL!” issue in this episode, and they didn’t. I was cringing, waiting for it to show up, and then, it didn’t. Instead we get little Tamagotchi-like baby things. :D The thing is that they could’ve made an issue of the “fat people – ewwws” and probably no one (other than us, of course) would’ve cared, but they didn’t. It’s nice to see more neutral ground than everything being all “anti-this” and “anti-that”.

    And completely unrelated to the topic at hand but I loved that scene with the Doctor and Donna having an entire conversation in mouthed words and hand gestures. Could not stop laughing. XD

  11. I only caught the very, very end of it – we were round the mother-in-law’s, and brother-in-law was playing with the TV trying to get Internet access on it – but I saw the villain coming to a nice hard gravity-driven end. I would so love to think she was actually based on someone in the industry. Anyway, I’ll have to watch this properly sometime.

    On fat in SF generally, I remember a few years back, when I was regularly submitting stories to magazines, I had a US market guide in which one minor SF zine begged hopeful writers to send ‘No more stories about obese characters who eat people.’ Evidently they’d had so many that at least for that editor, it was a cliché. Yuk. (I must get back to sending stories out, though. I had some really nice rejection letters.)

  12. I love DW but I was a little afraid of this particular episode. But hey it sounds great!! Looks like I might have to “leave the country for a few days” as well.

  13. I’m not into sci fi on television and I frankly don’t “get” it at all. ( I do love to read good hard sci-fi.) But that episode sounds pretty awesome.
    If only I can tear myself away from the NHL playoffs to check it out. :)

  14. *huggles the Adipose*

    Here’s how cute the Adipose were to me – when the car drove up into the middle of the little army of them, and we get a couple of squish noises, indicating that a couple of them had been hit?

    I gasped and went “No!”

    Not the little squishy aliens! I love them so!

    Also? (I just, um… left the country for the weekend.)

    …me, too.

  15. I was SO hoping one of the fat blogs would pick up on this episode. I was thrilled to see the diet industry as the villian, and the fat as adorable. Not ONE fat joke, people! Not even from Donna, who is meant to be a neurotic, insecure kind of every(whitesinglestraight)woman, and so, one would assume, would be portrayed as neurotic about her body and wanting to lose a few pounds. Not a peep. I was so impressed.

    “Love and Monsters” is my single least favorite DW episode for a whole host of reasons — only one of which is the fat villian. It’s just… not a very good episode.

    Also, I second that Battlestar Galactica is incredibly character-driven, feminist, and quite possibly the best series currently on television.

  16. Isn’t Doctor Who fantastic!? No pun intended….:)

    I agree with one of the former commenters: pinstripes and Chuck Taylor’s totally tickle my pickle…..

  17. In fairness, if I were designing an Absorbaloff I’d make it big as a bus, too, because where would the mass of the absorbed people go if the thing is small? Kids sometimes seem more scientific about that sort of thing than adult scifi authors. ;-) (Even so, that whole episode was just sleazy and gross, from the Absorbaloff acting to the paving-stone sex innuendo. Eew.)

  18. Now what we need is that the Doctor’s next partner is a hot fat lady. And that there IS sexual tension among them, just like with all the other partners. Not another Billie Piper.
    What about Liza Tarbuck (a.k.a. Linda Green, a fat lady with LOADS of very hot boyfriends and was portrayed with them in *gasp* sexual situations)? They can’t say she’s LOL TOO OLD when Catherine Tate was already a partner. Or, heck, even the new Miss Surrey. Who cares if she’s 16? In the series, Billie Piper was meant to be 19. No excuses. No no no.

    I’m not really into sci fi myself, since I’m more of an arthouse/ironic comedy kind of person. Teh boyfriend is quite a sci fi wasabi, but the most sci fi thing we’ve seen together is Red Dwarf because it’s sci fi AND British comedy. We’re British comedy groupies like woah. British TV in general is way smarter and has more quality than American, unless it’s trying to copy American TV (e.g. Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, etc.). Then it’s just plain boring.

  19. I’m a longstanding Doctor Who fan i.e. more than 20 years as a fan, and one episode – especially THAT episode, arguably the worst of the new series, is definitely not the whole story when it comes to the cultural message of Doctor Who.

    First, you should know that that particular villain was designed by an 8 year old who won a contest hosted by the BBC. This was basically a fan service episode, complete with Scooby Doo takes and other in-jokes that you don’t normally see in the series.

    Second, there is a very consistent message over the 40+ season arc of the series that all beings are to be taken on a case-by-case basis and not to be evaluated wholly by their appearance. For instance, in the 2007 Christmas special, the Doctor is sympathetic to and befriends a “fat American” couple because people were being jerks to them over their appearance. Throughout the series you see people of all shapes and sizes. Some are caricatures. Most, even among the monsters, are not.

    Notably, the only monster in the series with an overt binging disorder, “The Wire,” was completely non-corporeal and was envisioned as a six 6 1950s housewife.

  20. First, you should know that that particular villain was designed by an 8 year old who won a contest hosted by the BBC

    Yeah, he was actually 9, as I said in the post, and uh, maybe you missed the rest of it? Where I talked about how terrific the most recent episode is?

  21. yeah, I loved those little Fat Babies! And I squeeked, too, when some were squashed by the taxi.
    About Stacy, the fat lady who sadly bites the dust … the one thing that annoyed me was, that she said she wasn’t going on a date, she was going to dump him. Cause now that she lost weight she said, she “can do much better than him”. Yeah. Cause fat people have to make do with the partners they can get. Once they lose weight, they can get a real catch! (who, on the other hand, are so superficial that they wouldn’t look at a fat lady). Hmpf.
    Thanks for those pictures. I googled for more, and as a delightful by-product, I found this illustration, called “learn to love fat”. I don’t know if you guys know it yet, I am sorry if you do already:

  22. Now what we need is that the Doctor’s next partner is a hot fat lady. And that there IS sexual tension among them, just like with all the other partners. Not another Billie Piper.

    Want to see something sick? Go to the Doctor Who Forums (doctorwhoforum.com), head over to the series one section, and right at the top, see this thread-

    “Is Rose/Billie Overweight?”

    *HEAD. DESK*

    By the way, I know I said go over there. But actually, don’t. Don’t. Ever. Huge trigger warnings.

    And in the threads for the new series, there’s this whole thread discussing whether she’s too skinny now.

    Oh, and you say you don’t want the thin girls? Well apparently the fans do, seeing as one of the major criticisms of Tate’s new companion is that she’s not “eye-candy” enough. This is, apparently, because she isn’t as thin as previous companions.

    Oh, and did I mention that Billie Piper has struggled with anorexia?

    Gee? Really? I can’t imagine why.

  23. Those are so cute!! I want one as a pet, too.

    I’m a SF geek, but not necessarily SF tv. Although DAMN is/was Christopher Eccleston hot.

    (Note: my boyfriend is also tall and skinny with an aquiline nose.)

  24. To steal a great quote I read on here yesterday, I’m dying of the cute! I think I may have to check out Doctor Who. I’ve heard of the show and I have friends who are fans, but I’ve never seen it.

  25. OMG! The little Adipose babies were so cute!

    I was just as impressed with the ep as you were, Kate. I was cheering that they made the diet industry be the bad guy. I thought to myself “Well, see, another reason not to take diet pills!”

    I think Russell T. Davies (they guy who is doing the new Who) is really good at bringing up things (queerness, fat issues, etc) in a good story with interesting characters.

    (Oh and I totally agree about Battlestar Galactica. OMG! The new episode *geekfaint*)

  26. I LOOOOOVE “Dr. Who!!!!!” I watched it as a kid, and never miss it now. (I also love “Torchwood.”) Those little guys are ADORABLE!
    Last season they did an episode where an old man built a machine to restore his youth. It worked, at first, but then he ended up turning into a hideous monster. A little comment on our obsession with youth?

  27. Yeah, I kinda figured Catherine Tate would not be liked by superficial male fans who got a hard on for Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman. But frankly, I’m glad we’ve got a new female companion who is not really there for men to gawk at. And Catherine is not ugly. She looked pretty good in her wedding dress in the Runaway Bride ep.

    But DW, despite its history of good-looking female companions showing skin, it was always about the story and the special effects, not if the people on the show were “hot.” I’m not going to lie and say it doesn’t hurt having nice faces and bodies to look at *coughDavidTennant cough* but there’s more to the show than sex appeal.

  28. I just watched the Dr Who eppie tonight. Personally I’d take the pills, if only to have an army of cute lil’ squidgers running round my flat making adorable meeping sounds. Seriously, could they have been any cuter??

    And, yeah, Russell T Davies fucking rocks for this.

  29. And Catherine is not ugly. She looked pretty good in her wedding dress in the Runaway Bride ep.

    Oh, I think she’s gorgeous–and I love that her dress size appears to be an actual number (though still well in the single digits, I’d assume–“hefty”?!? the fuck?).

    And I would agree that there’s more to the show than sex appeal–though I have only watched this later series, and I’ll admit I’m in no rush to watch Doctors who aren’t as cute as Tennant. Straight men can still suck it, though, since they get young, nubile eye candy EVERYWHERE ELSE.

  30. HA! I didn’t mean to post that link. I meant to quote buffpuff. That link is not for youuuuu!

  31. I like your take on it Kate.

    I’ve watched the ep twice so far and still find myself waving back at those gorgeous hunks of adipose.

    Catherine Tate and the Doctor are going to be great “mates” (there’ll be no funny business sunshine!!) so hopefully the focus will continue to be on the adventures and storyline rather than underlying angst.

    The Slytheen don’t ‘have’ to be fat humans anymore because they got a system upgrade. I think that was in The Sarah Jane Adventures end of season.

  32. Russell T. Davies got a lot of flak last season for having yet another companion fall for The Doctor and he admitted it. I think with Donna we’ll get a non-romantic relationship and hopefully more focus on adventure instead of goopy romance.

    Those adiposies remind me of Furbys without hair. I wouldn’t be surprised if they get made into toys. They could be FA’s official mascot!

  33. OOOOOH I love Doctor Who :-O.
    can’t wait till S4 comes out in the US. But since I have the Sci-Fi channel it’ll just be on the 25th! :-D

  34. I, being lucky enough to live in the UK DIDNT leave the country temporarily to watch Dr Who, so ner on you :P (its only fair, so many tv programmes from the US get shown far too late on our tv, sometimes MONTHS after.)

    I liked the episode too, and the slant they took. The fat babies were ADORABLE (as has already been said, or squeed perhaps) and I was distressed when the car ran some over too. I was half expecting the little things to die and become horrible gelatinous blobs of human fat that had to be swept off the street or something, which would have ruined it ALL, but its ok, they were safe.

    Although, i have to say, i think that if an alien came to earth and said ‘hello, can we take your fat away and turn it into cute alien babies?’, many people would be falling over themselves to accept. Better than the shits for a side effect off a diet pill…

    I suspect some people would think the nanny was only a villain because she did something illegally, and was willing to kill to cover her tracks. A comment at the end of the programme was something along the lines of ‘not a bad deal, really’ which spoilt a lot of the neutralness/positivity towards fat people for me.

  35. It would be a deeply refreshing change if we could finally have a companion who is not lovestruck with the Doctor. But we’ve already seen that Donna is deeply in love with him from the season 4 trailer where she waxes lyrical on the magical man from space she once met.

    Martha was such a step up from Rose (who really grated in season two) and a brief return to a ‘classic series’ companion who has useful skills, etc. Then she inexplicably fell in love with the Doctor who longed for Rose every episode.

    I really think Davies has some abandonment issues with a delinquent father or something. It’s the only thing that makes sense to me. The synergy between Piper and Eccleston was fantastic. You could really see a John Steed/Emma Peel thing going on there. But Piper and Tennant? Not so much.

    I’m not against the idea of a romance in Dr Who, I just think that the program is doing a very poor job of portraying it. The will they/won’t they angle worked in season one. It has grated ever since. It seems that Davies sees the companion as a romantic interest first… which in my opinion is very limiting.

  36. Doctor Who on Shapely Prose! I’m in fat nerd heaven!

    I want a plush Adipose toy so badly I can’t stand it. Or maybe a soft plastic one that eeeees when you squeeze it.
    I did love this episode, and I love Catherine Tate. I think she’s beautiful and I adore that she stands up to the Doctor – it’s about time he had someone knock him around for awhile. Too much adoration and worship isn’t good for a Time Lord. The only thing that could have been better is if instead of the “kind of works” at the end it had been a statement that people were better off the way they were. Did like Stacey’s rebuttal – “Going out on a date now?” “No, dumping him!”

  37. It would be a deeply refreshing change if we could finally have a companion who is not lovestruck with the Doctor. But we’ve already seen that Donna is deeply in love with him from the season 4 trailer where she waxes lyrical on the magical man from space she once met.

    That was in the episode, and it was made quite apparent she wasn’t talking about being in love with him. When she says “the right man” her grandfather starts to go “Oh hoho!” and she very quickly squashes that.

    Davies and the entire production staff have been quite adamant that Donna’s story is not a love story. If you get a chance to watch the Doctor Who Confidential of the episode, they very strongly reinforce that yet again. Not A Couple.

    So if that’s your worry, good news! Just mates! And by mates – friends. Nothing lovey. YAY!

  38. Oh, when she puts up the pattern will you link it, TM? I can crochet. I might even have some white yarn I can use, depending on how big it is.

  39. Oh, when she puts up the pattern will you link it, TM? I can crochet. I might even have some white yarn I can use, depending on how big it is.

    Sure thing. <3

  40. There was an ep where Doc (DT) gives up his Timelord powers while they are in Victorian era England and he falls in love with a sumptuous local teacher…only to have to go back to being a Timelord to defeat the evil aliens seeking to steal his powers. Unless that’s been mentioned in some other way already??

    Kate, if you are indeed a fan did you ever see X Files season 3, episode 2 “Too Shy”? Ironically, it was an episode with an alien man who contacts fat women via the net so he can feed on their adipose, leaving them as a slimy pile of digested goop. He does eat a man in there as well, but just the one. Not one I recommend unless you want your head to asplode. None of the larger women preyed on are portrayed as hot or strong women They are all simpering, low esteem homely types, with a random tragic hooker thrown in.

    p.s. Any episode of DW without CE = win. Such an aberration!

  41. Those aliens are freaking cuuuttteee. They should sell plushies of them. Then when someone complains about fat, you could show them the alien and say, “You think this is ugly?!”

    Oh wouldn’t it be so adorable if they did something like, “Whenever you think fat is horrible, you make a little alien cry” and they show the cute aliens crying. Cause seriously, who’s going to want to make one of them cry. I think it’d be a very persuasive statement against size discrimination.

  42. I found a great clip of the episode, with alot of footage of the Adipose aliens:

    They really are super mega cute. I like the part where one of them jumps off the woman, and is like “Hiiiii! *waves*” Then everyone is afraid of them it’s like, how can you fear such cute?

  43. I would so love to think she was actually based on someone in the industry.
    Well, she did look quite a bit like MeMe Roth.

  44. I was cringing at the start of this episode, but by the end I was as thrilled as you were. Maybe someone took RTD to task about his treatment of fat people after the Christmas Special with Kylie? That was horrendous.

  45. Yay British TV! I love how well-written and thoughtful most recent DW episodes are.

    Early on, I was turned off by the Slitheens as farting fatsos, but their characters gained depth as they kept returning. The fat actress who recurred as a Slitheen, Annette Badland, is awesome!

    I’m an old-school Who fan, so bear with me while I get a little extra-nerdy here. The romantic tensions with companions is a pretty new thing- back in the day, it was primarily a kids’ show and the companions were usually sidekicks who would ask lots of questions, complain, and twist their ankles at key moments.

    But speaking of lithe female companions showing skin, there was a companion in the Tom Baker years, Leela, who was a sort of cave-woman who usually wore just a few skins. In a director’s commentary on one of her eps, someone said ‘Leela was for the dads in the audience!’ Ha.

    And, just as more evidence that Brits are awesome, here’s a link to a reasonable, thoughtful article on fat acceptance and the fatosphere in the independent ! I found it via Too Fat For Fashion blog.

  46. You know, maybe we should change the band name from Piggy Moo to Adipose Aliens. I like the sound of that!

  47. Ha! I read through, just waiting to see how you were going to link Dr. Who and Adipositivity!

    Me too!

    (And I’ll second the notion that these wee animated Tic Tacs will be mass produced and battery operated by Christmas. They’re like slippery tribbles.)

    Kissyface hiyuzz to Kate, Rotund, et al!

  48. Just throwing my 2 cents in: after watching the trailer with Donna and her granddad, I got the feeling that she was more interested in his way of life than in being in a romantic relationship with him. After all, she went from being a temp to traveling in the TARDIS and fighting evil alien spiders.
    Definitely more interesting then collating!
    And Katherine Tate rules!

    ( And I love
    Doc: “I need a mate!”
    Donna: “Well, you’re not mating with me, sunshine!”)

  49. Slightly OT, but if you haven’t seen this sketch with Tennant and Tate, go to it post-haste. Comic Relief. Some parts are a bit corny, but some lines are priceless.

    After all of Torchwood, I really needed the funny of the new Doctor episode.

  50. Teeth. Did you notice that the little cuties each had a little tooth? I too am ded of kute. Next time I feel bad about the extra I have ’round the middle, I’m gonna remember that it is adorable and has a cute little toothy.

    I believe that the Shapelings official saving the world, spreading the fat positive message, and just being darn comfy footwear should be Chuck Taylors. Pinstripe suit is optional.

  51. I have about 90% of my Adipose pattern done. If anyone’s interested in it, I’ll post it as a free pattern on Ravelry. You can see the work in progress by going there and looking at my projects. I should have my Ravelry page linked to my name up there if I did it right.

    There’s a rough draft of the pattern there, too, or most of it, if you want to work along with me. (I expect to have the rest of it posted by tomorrow night) It will be published as a free Creative Commons pattern, so feel free to use it, just link back to me if you blog it or post a pic somewhere. Enjoy!

  52. “You know, maybe we should change the band name from Piggy Moo to Adipose Aliens. I like the sound of that!”

    Why not “Piggy Moo and the Adipose Aliens?” I’d love to be a backup singer in that band.

  53. emmy, the TWOP Doctor Who threads mentioned that there was already a knitting pattern out on it – I don’t know the best way to search, but it might give you a couple of ideas if it’s easily findable.

  54. The Adipose remind me of L. B. O’Fat, a purportedly inspirational weight loss product that Marilyn Wann put to a better use.

    L. B. O’Fat was a jiggly brick of fake fat with “1 lb fat” written on it. It was supposed to make you as grossed out with the inside of your body as the outside. Wann suggested that it actually represents not the pound of fat inside you, but the pound you lose. She did a photo essay to show what happens when you lose a pound of fat: it travels the world, makes lots of friends, and brings them all home to your body.

  55. I’m totally making one as soon as I can get some fat-colored yarn.

    I am falling over laughing thinking about going into the yarn store and asking what they have this week in shades of fat.

  56. I also absolutely adored that episode (I have loved dr who since I was a kid mind), I think as a Brit I think I got extra pleasure from the fact the villain was clearly based on the plastic-surgery peddling Nicky Hambleton-Jones of how to look 10 years younger (thin, blonde, square glasses, the same was of talking). It comes as no surprise to me that N HJ is from another planet.

  57. I was so glad I didn’t read the spoilers before watching (thanks for the warning!). I LOVED this episode! When the thinner man sees his fat “walk away” after waving at him I just couldn’t stop giggling. How well this episode played to all of our hopes that would fat (innocent as babies as it might be) WOULD just up and leave us! ^^ I loved how they covered the topic and made a “cute” alien of fatty tissue. Well done Dr. Who. :D

  58. brilliant review! Isn’t is amazing that fandom can take a great episode about how diet crazy the MEDC are and make it into a slur towards fat people with so much evidence to the contrary.

    Simply astounding!

  59. What an episode! There seem to be plans to make official Adipose toys but not sure of size, materials etc.

  60. Oh, werd. I’m a non sci fi geek who never knew she was mising out on dr. who until a boyfriend introduced me, and now i’m hooked. i’ve seen the abzoraloft episode and i didn’t think to be insulted by it at the time, but i do find it rather interesting that you never see fat people on TV unless they are victims (can’t fight back with all that fat, y’see!) or being made fun of.

    the first episode of the new season features and evil diet pill (and cute fat creatures!) but i thought of it as more of a comment on the absurdity of the diet craze than anything demonizing fat people. the villain of the episode was a skinny woman, after all.

  61. Squee! The cute little aliens made the episode.

    Strangely enough, the only episode of Doctor Who in the new series that hasn’t made me squeal with joy was Love & Monsters. The icky paving stone thing was just a tad tasteless.

  62. I enjoyed this episode and I agree that the fat characters were very well-written on the whole.

    Car: Thanks for the link to the Comic Relief sketch! That was great! I’m sure a lot of you guys know that but the character Catherine Tate was playing in that particular sketch was her most popular character from her show from a few years back.

    Overall I think British television is a lot more accepting of various face and body types than American TV. When I first moved to the UK from Chicago I was amazed at the variety of people who were “allowed” to play leads in TV shows here. Personally I think it makes programs a lot more interesting.

  63. Love and Monsters is one of the worst of the new Dr. Who episodes. Take out the absorbaloff and it’s still dreadful. Just forget it ever happened. Anything that badly written doesn’t count.

    I loved the Adipose episode. Is it wrong that if someone offered me a pill that would turn my fat into a cute alien critter and not harm my health, I might actually consider it? I mean, it’s disgusting when you think about it, but they’re just so cute. Oh, but then I’d probably just regain the weight, so even the magic alien diet pills with 100% success rate don’t work.

    Well, maybe I’d take just one so I could have a little cutie Adipose. I’ll have to get knitting.

  64. Yeah, I kinda figured Catherine Tate would not be liked by superficial male fans who got a hard on for Billie Piper and Freema Agyeman.

    The sad thing is, from my experience, a lot of the anti-Tate people aren’t “superficial males” but the squeeing fangirls who ‘ship and Donna is just too “old and fat”.

    Also, I agree that Doctor Who has a much wider range of shapes, ages, etc. One of my favorite characters was in Rise of the Cybermen/Age of Steel was Mrs. Moore the older, female techygeek. In an American series she would have been an impossible gorgeous 20 year old “geek”

  65. Hi Kate, I was directed to your blog by someone else – it’s interesting that you see this episode as anti diet industry. I wrote about it on my blog here


    I must stress I haven’t watched the whole thing at all, but the clips I watched on you tube seemed a bit anti fat/misogynist (perhaps because it was taken out of context to be fair)- and one of my commenters who had watched the whole thing said she thought it was a bit misogynist, as most of those worried about their weight were women.

  66. (Playing catch up.)

    I’m afraid I haven’t had time to read or write much on the Fatosphere lately due to a need to do more paying work (I have this terrible condition, you see, where I can’t stop eating no matter what I do, and paying for meals every day… it adds up), but I did take the time to throw together something slightly relevant the other day:


  67. The only reason I can foresee for me to take a diet pill is now so I can have a cute alien pet.

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