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Alley’s 'Fat Actress’ Serves A Laugh Buffet

3/06/2005 7:00 PM Eastern

In her new original comedy series, Kirstie Alley bares the humiliating moments she goes through as an overweight, out of work and — dare she say — undersexed actress.

The not-so-statuesque star pokes fun at herself in Fat Actress, bravely telling us what’s been eating her, which is pretty much everything that she hasn’t eaten first. Kudos to Showtime for running with the pitch for this hybrid comedic reality show from this talented, voluptuous comedienne — even though she had to put down the donuts and the fries, at least briefly, to take the reins.

With wanna-be/actor assistant Eddie Falcon (Bryan Callen, MAD TV) and stylist Kevyn Shecket (Rachael Harris, Sister, Sister; The Daily Show with John Stewart) on hand, Alley sets out to land a TV gig — and get lucky — in the first episode.

To sate her latter need, the pair suggests the not so tiny thespian find a big black man who likes a woman with an ample rump. This cheap humor is only saved by the hilarity of the help’s glaring ignorance when making a list of all the black men they know, including O.J. Simpson and Colin Powell.

But in a moment that was better left in the editing room, a stereotypical black woman rants at Alley for flirting with an attractive brother. Unfortunately for her lustful designs, Alley’s fame loses to her fat and he turns down the offer.

Foolishness aside, a host of celebrity guests nail the Hollywood stars-are-everywhere-you-look experience, but the loose, semi-scripted format keeps it from feeling like a prepackaged, bar-coded sitcom. John Travolta gives his former Look Who’s Talking co-star advice on how to pick up her career by losing some of the baggage that’s holding her down. NBC honcho Jeff Zucker is worth a few hearty chuckles as a near-caricature of the head of a certain television network.

The core of the series is Alley’s offbeat, honest humor coupled with her fearless exposure of her inner demons, all of whom she invites to the dinner table. Failure or feat, pat Alley on her big, beautiful back for making lemonade out of lemons.

In an industry where 'now’ and 'thin’ are what’s in, she’s reshaping the idea that an actress can be a hot number regardless of what the tag inside her clothing says. With hands in the creative and honey pots, Alley presents and executes a bittersweet story, leaving sticky fingerprints on Showtime for at least this seven-episode season.

Fat Actress premieres tonight (March 7) on Showtime at 10 p.m. (ET).

 

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