When I was scrolling through Facebook the other day looking for content to write about at work, I stumbled across a post about a new comedy show on Hulu called "Shrill." I didn't know much about it other than that it stars Aidy Bryant, who I love, and immediately put it on my radar.
As a quick premise, if you don't know who Aidy is, she stars on Saturday Night Live and is one of the most nonchalantly hilarious women in comedy. She's known for her effortless way in sliding in jokes under her breath and for being a downright awesome advocate for women. Tie that all together, and I knew the show would be iconic.
The start of the pilot episode gives you a warm feeling, almost a sense of familiarity. It has that same "this premise is going to be about women who live their lives for themselves," much to how I felt watching "Broad City" and "Girls." With the latter already ended and the former coming to its close, I was hoping a new show would come out, and "Shrill" seems to already be hitting more nails on the head.
Spoiler alerts ahead.
In the first episode, we see Aidy take on topics that are heavy, controversial and very transparent in nature.
First and foremost, she talks about her body image issues and how it plays a role in her relationships. Because of her plus-sized figure, she explained how she always used it to scrutinize every aspect of her life. How because she was always bigger, she felt the need to prove herself in other ways, like being constantly kind, giving and nice to everyone around her. Don't get me wrong, these are great attributes to have, but she realized that by constantly making sure everyone around her was happy, she lost herself in the process.
She stopped standing up for herself out of fear of creating a wake for other people. She stopped demanding more for her worth and settled for what could be good. And she stopped seeing herself as a person worthy of anything real outside of her weight. Her body constantly played a role in her choices and became shackles holding her down from making true actions throughout her life.
We see her ask for a job promotion and get humiliated in the process. It's not till the end of the episode when she realizes her worth that she begins to fight for herself, her goals and her future.
In the midst of it all is a man who she sleeps with and clearly wants more from him. She felt that because she had a man want her, she needed to do everything in her power to keep him around, which included allowing him to have sex with her without protection. In the process, she didn't realize that Plan B pills aren't applicable to anyone over 175 lbs and got pregnant as a result of it.
What a brave woman that Aidy Bryant is. Because also in this first episode, her character has an abortion as a way of claiming her truth and womanhood. She made a decision to terminate her pregnancy, and in this day and age of politics, that will absolutely come with its fair share of backlash.
But instead of the abortion being clueless, haste or uneducated, she shares the experience from an authentic perspective. She talks about claiming back her life and how she didn't have the procedure for anyone other than herself.
I can already hear pro-life advocates screaming at their TVs calling her selfish and inconsiderate of the baby, but what's impressive to me is that Aidy didn't care to go into more detail. In the show, she didn't feel the need to plead her case. She simply said it was for herself, and left it at that. With an understanding friend and supportive family, she knew it was all she needed to get through. I'm sure women everywhere felt the depth of this answer or lack thereof.
Without spoiling too much, we see her come to terms with tormentors in her life: her weight, the lack of respect from the man she sleeps with and the absurdity of the woman/trainer who pushes the narrative that in order to be a respectable human Aidy must lose weight.
It was a standard pilot episode in the archetypical timeline of it all: Woman has issues; woman has major life lesson; woman changes her perspective and the show kicks off to really begin in episode two. Although I've seen this plotline before, the actual content this one carries has me drawn in and eager to watch more. I'm curious to know what other hard-hitting topics the show will introduce in its 6 episodes, and I plan on writing a season recap/reaction to it all in the end.