In any 21st Century ensemble comedy involving four or five characters, there’s always somebody with a weight problem or worse. I haven’t invested hours of research, but can you imagine the shock waves rippling through Hollywood and the moviegoing culture if a Melissa McCarthy-type character wasn’t cast in an ensemble comedy? Fat chance given that 40% of American woman are now obese, and so filmmakers are naturally looking to appeal to all persuasions and sizes. Plus they’re afraid of being accused of diminishing or under-appreciating the calorically challenged by appearing to exclude them. That would set off a firestorm.
Obviously American comedies have used overweight talent for decades, but it’s only this century (and more particularly during this decade) when it became de rigeur. I don’t recall the one-out-of-four-or-five rule being in effect back in the ’90s, much less the ’80s. This is a 21st Century thing. A year ago Time‘s Alexandra Sifferlin, passing along data from a JAMA Network survey, wrote that “when looking at trends over time, [JAMA] researchers found that from the year 2005 to 2014 there were significant and steady increases in the number of American women who were very obese.”