Big Middle

Episode Report Card
Sobell: C | Grade It Now!
A sensitive look at weight in America

We then flash to Brenda passing out on top of Maurice, who promptly dies. And while I suppose it's a big step forward for a man to be murdered for his callous sex-having ways, how about the message that fat chicks are lethal lays? It's a huge pity that the one fat woman on the show who was deeply unhappy about being fat and who didn't respect herself is the one who gets treated like a sexual freak. It kind of cancels out the force of nature that was Regina.

Anyway, cut to Sara explaining to us what happened: Brenda's got type-II diabetes, and she's got hypertension. She says, "The night that Maurice Hudson was killed, you'd been drinking. There was enough sweat on the sheets to run a tox panel...well, it doesn't take a lot [of alcohol] for someone to pass out who's on Propanolol and glucophage." This is where Brenda breaks down, and Sara confirms, "It was an accident, wasn't it?"

Brenda begins weeping, "I just couldn't bear the jokes...[to] be some comedian's punch line," and it would all be very poignant if it weren't for the fact that she is, in fact, playing the marginalized-outsider punch line of the week on this show. This episode didn't really flog the sexual conservatism that underlies nearly every fetish-related plotline, but it did underscore another one of CSI's nascent trends: highlighting the self-hating member of a visible, non-mainstream societal segment. The conceit of the poisoned insider is fairly insulting, because it puts forth the argument that a gathering of non-mainstream people in which they are the norm is inherently unsafe precisely because it's composed of people who will always be outsiders and freaks, no matter who they surround themselves with. I am not a huge fan of identity politics, but I can see the benefit of connecting with people who have a commonality of experience, and in creating your own safe space. And on this show, that's apparently not allowed.

Anyway, this plotline ends with Brenda saying she'd rather admit to murder and go to jail than to be turned into the latest Jay Leno/Jimmy Kimmel/Drooling Frat Boy Late Night Show Host joke.

As Gil wanders into the break room, his Adopted Son Number Three whines that he's finally regained feeling in his spine, thanks for asking, and Gil's all, "Did you take my silence to mean I was psychically communicating with you?" Anyway, Grasshopper, Gil's Adopted Son Number Three is leafing through a plus-sized women's magazine. Gil asks, "A little technical reading?" and Grasshopper, Gil's Adopted Son Number Three says he wants to see what the big deal is. Gil turns around and assumes his saintly, I'm-so-tolerant expression as he says, "Attraction is subjective --" and that's about the time the husband erupts, "And we're all snails! With symmetry! And they're little people, Nicky! And...aaaaigh. Forget it, Jake -- it's Chinatown."

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