The Telefile
<i>Episodes</i>: This Week’s Truest Hollywood Story

Last night's Episodes tackled that age-old question: When is it okay to be fat in Hollywood? (Answer: almost never.)

It's no secret that acting is one of the most body-conscious professions around, particularly when said body is being photographed by a camera and beamed out to millions of viewers around the world via the ol' boob tube. But obviously, the major networks like to maintain the fa├žade that they are equal opportunity employers that will hire only the best, most qualified performer no matter of race, creed or -- in the case of this particular episode -- weight. And they are... provided that your weight is already part of your screen persona. Merc and Carol lay out the complicated rules of being fat in Hollywood for Sean and Bev in this all-too-real exchange.

Merc: "I have no problem with fat. Fat people are funny!"
Carol: "John Candy, Chris Farley..."
Merc: "That fat guy in Laurel & Hardy."
Carol: "It's just that all those people started off fat."
Merc: "Yeah, you can't start out sexy and then get fat."
Carol: "Not on TV."

You gotta hand it to these two; they may be terrible human beings, but they are almost unfailingly honest. (Apart from carrying on a love affair behind everyone's back, although even that is an open secret.) Besides the two comics they namechecked (both of whom passed away some time ago), the careers of John Goodman, Kevin James, Cedric the Entertainer and, most recently, Melissa McCarthy confirm their take on their industry's general attitude towards heft: start off plus-sized and you can stay plus-sized, particularly if you make your bosses money. But starting off slender and going up a few pants sizes -- as Matt is doing thanks to all the junk food he's knocking back between takes -- is a cardinal sin. Which is why the execs are calling on the show's creators to stage a food intervention before the formerly svelte star starts looking like a beached whale.

To his credit, the real LeBlanc throws himself into this storyline with a commendable lack of vanity. The scene where Matt is caught hoarding fistfuls of candy in his pockets during a scene and a later moment where he watches footage of his thin younger self while pounding down some cheesecake represents some of the best comic and dramatic acting he's done on Episodes to date. (It was quite a week for stars reflecting on their younger selves; last Thursday's Louie also had that great sequence where Louis C.K. stumbled upon clips of himself, Sarah Silverman and Marc Maron circa the early '90s when he had a lot less angst and a lot more hair.) It's just a shame that his bout of binge eating culminated in him calling up his stalker, Labia -- by far this season's worst new character -- and inviting her over simply so that he'll be in the company of someone that'll find him attractive no matter what. It's a contrived solution to an honest issue. On the other hand, maybe sleeping with your stalker (again) is just the kind of thing that will kill your appetite.

Truest Hollywood Lines:
"We'd never cancel you in person." -- Carol, schooling Sean and Bev in standard operating procedure for network cancellations.
"There's not a lot of us. It's basically me, two gardeners and a plumber... although the plumbers working on a screenplay, so..." -- Morning's brother Rob, filling her in on the four people in L.A. not in show biz.
"You think I'm a good actor?" -- Matt, unaccustomed to being complimented on his acting ability.
"I've got Keanu waiting in the car." -- Sean and Bev's old PA-turned-writer/director Andrew humblebragging his way out of an awkward situation.

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