The Reel Review

B+

Saturday Night Live‘s Aidy Bryant stars in this Hulu original comedy about Annie, an overweight journalist who transforms her life when, instead of shedding pounds, she gradually sheds a lifetime of internalized shame and body issues. Bryant executive produced and co-wrote the series based on Lindy West’s popular 2016 memoir, “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman.”

Much of Shrill‘s set-up is reminiscent of Netflix’s Special – just with a plus-sized online media writer in the place of its gay online media writer with cerebral palsy. And while Annie’s metamorphosis over the six episodes seems a bit rushed, the remarkable transformation is inspirational for women of all sizes – as she goes from an apologetic, timid mouse of a woman, quietly accepting life’s scraps both at work and in her personal relationships, to an increasingly confident warrior gaining the courage to do battle for what she wants in both arenas. Episode 5, in particular, is a pivotal moment in the show’s fight against fat shaming. And through Annie’s relationships, whether it be with her goofy numbskull of a boyfriend (Luka Jones), her overbearing mom (Julia Sweeney), or her best friend/roommate Fran (the charming Lolly Adefope), Shrill is not afraid to show us characters that are flawed and realistic – which makes it pretty awesome. Here’s to season two in 2020.

REEL FACTS

• Aidy Bryant, who earned her first Emmy nomination in 2018 for her work on Saturday Night Live, says hearing from fans that Shrill has told their story for the first time is “the most overwhelming, magical thing in the world.”

• Julia Sweeney, who plays Aidy Bryant’s mom, was a Saturday Night Live cast member from 1990 through 1994.

• Bryant says a lot of the awkward experiences in the series are taken from her own real life experiences. Annie’s showdown with her boss, however, is based on an actual 2011 online battle  between Shrill author Lindy West and editor Dan Savage.

 

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