Jodie’s fat-reduction storyline in ‘Pivoting’ is careless and unsafe

A few minutes into Pivoting, Ginnifer Goodwin’s character, Jodie, announces she’s “finding back again in shape and looking at a coach.” Her mate just died, so she wishes to get started dwelling her “ideal lifestyle.” But she’s spending money for claimed trainer so her painfully boring husband, Dan (Robert Baker), does not uncover out.

It was my 1st time looking at Goodwin on monitor given that she starred in the 2011 rom-com Anything Borrowed (which I admit, I have seen quite a few moments since then), and I need to say, she seemed wonderful. So great that upon hearing her character say she preferred to get again in form I believed, “Justification ME?” and feared her terms might lay the groundwork for a larger sized excess weight-linked storyline. When Jodie’s pal Sarah (Maggie Q) supportively chimed in to say, “You know the only weight you have to lose is Dan?” I breathed a sigh of reduction. However, my aid was quick-lived.

The Fox solitary-digital camera comedy follows 3 longtime pals — Jodie, Sarah, and Amy (Eliza Coupe) — as they struggle to cope with the death of their best good friend, Coleen. Each individual mourning her reduction in different strategies, they all established out to come to be new versions of on their own. Sarah abandons her occupation in medication and commences doing the job at a nearby grocery retail outlet. Amy attempts to invest much more time at house with her children. And Jodie decides she wishes to shed weight and have an affair with her scorching coach, Matt (JT Neal).

I experienced significant hopes that Pivoting could assist fill the Fantastic Girls void in my existence, especially given that the forged — which include Amy’s spouse, Henry (Tommy Dewey), and Coleen’s husband, Brian (Colton Dunn) — are charming as hell. But its 1st season still left me conflicted. The bulk of Pivoting‘s antics are amusing, and its characters have a ton of possible. But the present is undermined by a careless and unsafe excess weight-reduction storyline. 

Jodie’s body weight-reduction storyline is principally used as a suggests to investigate her conflicted thoughts about her marriage, but writers could have attained their wished-for result — an affair — without setting up her harmful obsession with slimming down. If they felt the fat-loss storyline was important for Jodie’s arc, they really should have established out to greater realize and portray the complexities of diet program tradition and having disorders on display screen. Relatively than increase to the problem, writers crafted a storyline ripe with offensive, in excess of-the-top rated bodyweight jokes that perpetuate body fat-shaming.

The truth that excess weight reduction arrived up three minutes into the series wasn’t the only crimson flag in Pivoting‘s pilot. Afterwards in the episode, Incredibly hot Trainer Matt asks Jodie if she’s lose any lbs recently. She points out she’s down a couple and is undertaking the intermittent fasting he recommended, to which he replies, “You might be gonna be back in your skinny jeans right before you know it. You’re gonna search so freaking scorching!”

His remark rudely implies that Jodie isn’t really previously “so freaking hot” at her recent weight, which she is, and it encourages a ridiculous, tired correlation involving attractiveness and slim physiques.

Three episodes later, the flirty physical fitness classes amongst Jodie and Matt culminate with a spontaneous kiss in his vehicle. There is certainly a crystal clear spark in between the two, but before you can completely take pleasure in it, Jodie frantically asks, “Can I reduce 8 much more lbs 1st prior to we do far more?” The two go in for a different smooch, and Matt pulls absent to utter 1 of the most egregious strains of the collection: “Can we make it six pounds?”

Not only is this joke outrageously unfunny, it is also straight-up insulting and lowers a critical situation to a punchline. No issue how it can be packaged, commentary similar to taking in diseases can be triggering and harmful to men and women. It can also perpetuate unhealthy strategies about fat decline and unhealthy associations with food items. A June 2020 report cited by the ANAD (National Affiliation of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders) predicts that 28.8 million Us citizens, or 9 p.c of the U.S. inhabitants, will have an having dysfunction in their lifetime. It also notes that eating diseases are the cause of 10,200 fatalities per 12 months. If writers are going to craft people who have fitness ambitions or established out to convey to tales linked to body impression and disordered consuming, it really is important that they do so responsibly — especially on a display with as much achieve as Pivoting, which airs in a primetime slot on a significant cable community and streams episodes on Hulu the following working day.

It is clear that Pivoting‘s writers need to pay closer awareness to, and in some cases adjust, the way the persons in Jodie’s everyday living reply to her self-deprecating responses and obsession with bodyweight. Not just Matt, but also her friends.

In the pilot, Jodie forces her legs into a pair of skinny denims to impress Matt. When she are unable to get them off, she calls Amy and Sarah for backup, and they wind up using her to the ER just after accidentally puncturing her leg with a pair of scissors. It can be intended to be a comical reduced place, but it truly is also a great chance for Jodie’s close friends to intervene and remind her that she does not require to reduce bodyweight or fit into a sure pair of pants for any person — that her worth, in actuality, is just not associated to what she weighs at all. They will not.

The absence of problem about Jodie’s nicely-staying — especially from Sarah, who’s focused her lifetime to medicine — is disappointing to say the the very least, nevertheless it can be value noting that Matt, Amy, and Sarah never often fortify Jodie’s destructive physique picture responses. Many episodes clearly show them responding with constructive, supportive affirmations, these as, “You happen to be not cumbersome, you happen to be attractive” and “I imagine your entire body is incredible as is,” but their support is inconsistent and their messages are mixed.

Amy, say a little something!
Credit score: Michael Becker / FOX

The way Pivoting‘s writers craft Jodie’s actions and frame of mind as it relates to pounds decline is also of concern. In Episode 6, Jodie tries to speed-lose a pound to meet her objective fat so she can sense self-assured plenty of in her system to snooze with Matt. Soon after her spouse reveals her a modicum of kindness, she feels guilty and miracles if dishonest on him would be a blunder. Alternatively than have a mature conversation with her trainer (or anybody!) about people feelings, the writers selected to give her an exaggerated response. Jodie dumps a bunch of bread and chocolate into a large bowl and begins ravenously shoveling carbs into her mouth in hopes of quickly getting excess weight back, so she will never have to snooze with her coach just but. We later on see her having a pizza by herself, and telling Amy, “I’m binging. Will not judge me.” Amy ignores the comment and commences conversing about herself.

In the chilly open of the subsequent episode, Jodie reveals she’s obtained four lbs in a week. Amy tells Jodie she’s lovely, and Jodie replies, “Ugh, I was so near to my aim body weight, I experienced a thigh gap and all the things. And now my affair with Matt is place off till TBD. I won’t be able to even in shape into the leggings I want him to rip off of me and toss throughout the room in reckless abandon.”

Just when you believed the scene couldn’t get any even worse, Jodie states, “Ugh! I have gotta go. I wrote ‘thigh gap’ on my calendar.”

A screenshot of Jodie's calendar, which shows she wrote the words "thigh gap."

Jodie, nooooooo!
Credit score: SCREENSHOT: PIVOTING / FOX

Probably the writers are trying to be edgy by placing a particular type of humor that provides off majorly fed-up Lousy Moms vibes, but it arrives across as additional lazy than funny in regard to Jodie’s storyline. The tone will not sit proper with the conversations we are at the moment possessing about diet plan society, which have moved much outside of what we see in this demonstrate. There’s been this sort of a promising drive for system positivity and illustration over the previous several decades — on line, onscreen, and in the media — and it’s troubling to see an otherwise delightful show be dragged down by a reliance on offensive, out-of-date fat-associated plot details.

It’s understandable to respond in uncharacteristic approaches after a decline. But making use of a subject matter as delicate as eating plan culture and repeatedly implementing the view that a slim girl desires to shed bodyweight — or, frankly, that any female requires to eliminate bodyweight! — to get that concept across is just wrong. If Jodie’s want to “get back again in shape” does exist to emphasize a greater wrestle with self-like or disordered eating, I hope writers stop brushing her struggles off with humor and make certain she gets the aid and assist she wants. If this storyline is actually very little additional than a byproduct of misguided writing, even so, I’d urge the group to start giving Jodie far more substantial storylines that focus on her crumbling marriage, her affair, motherhood, her wish for independence, or her unfulfilled occupation ambitions, rather than her body weight.

Viewers received a glimpse of Jodie’s storyline probable in the refreshing, genuinely enjoyable Season 1 finale. The episode confirmed Jodie and her husband ultimately possessing an genuine discussion about their marital difficulties, and her and Matt hanging out without having inserting concentration on her body weight. I hope writers proceed to try for that kind of depth should really Pivoting be renewed for a second season.

Jodie warrants greater, and so do viewers.

The 1st time of Pivoting is currently streaming on Hulu.

If you sense like you would like to converse to an individual about your feeding on habits, simply call the Countrywide Consuming Condition Association’s helpline at 800-931-2237. You can also textual content “NEDA” to 741-741 to be linked with a trained volunteer at the Crisis Text Line or go to the nonprofit’s site for a lot more data.