Shrill: Season 1, Episode 1 “Annie” [Series Premiere] – Recap, Review (With Spoilers)

Shrill Season 1, Episode 1 Annie [Series Premiere] - Title Card
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While diversity has come in the form of different skin tones, ethnicities and sexualities coming to the forefront, Shrill breaks ground.


Network
Hulu
Creator Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
Director(s) Jesse Peretz
Writer(s) Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
Air Date 3/15/2019
Genre(s) Comedy, Drama
Good If You Like Stories About Growth

Perspectives Rarely Focused On

Isn’t For You If You Fatphobic
Introduced This Episode
Annie Aidy Bryant
Gabe John Cameron Mitchell
Ryan Luka Jones
Fran Lolly Adefope
Vera Julia Sweeney

The Introduction

Annie is a 20 or early 30 something young woman who makes herself small to find her place in the world. At work she lets her boss Gabe be rude to her, in her sex life she lets a man-child named Ryan diminish her into a 6-month booty call that she’ll leave work to make happy, and then there is her mom Vera. You know the type, she is only looking out for your best interest but does so in a condescending way. But after a bit of a wakeup call, and thanks to her roommate Fran, Annie decides enough is enough. She is sick of adapting to other people to make them happy and comfortable while she suffers, it’s time to speak up for herself, advocate for herself, and not give a f*** if she is called a b**** in the process.

Highlights

Aidy Bryant & The Rare TV Perspective

Annie (Aidy Bryant) explaining why she put up with Ryan and his BS.
Annie (Aidy Bryant): It’s just, he liked me, and I didn’t want him to stop liking me.

While there is My Mad Fat Diary, a rather wonderful UK series you probably know through .gifs and memes, there hasn’t been much stateside which focuses on women of a certain size. And I only say certain size since between big boned, thick, fat, and what have you, I’m not 100% sure what is the term that is appropriate anymore. Partly because with the way women are made to feel about their bodies, euphemisms have become abundant and thus the honesty that Annie has with Fran, in the flea market scene, are usually rare. Yet, that is the benefit of television, it gives you the ability to peer past the walls people put up. Be it in a smile, a laugh, or being aggressive all the time.

Focusing specifically on Bryant though, for those who watch SNL, the transition to Annie seems natural for her. The young lady is vibrant, loving, wanting to change the world and is treated as if the glass ceiling exists because she is a woman and closed doors are there because she isn’t thin. And while you recognize the pattern, whether you have meat on your bones or not, as the aforementioned scene between Annie and Fran hits, you may find yourself in tears.

Why? Well, consider that when it comes to women who look like Annie, they think they have to find ways to compensate for their size. Hell, by taking note of Melissa McCarthy’s filmography, you see the different ways this is done from becoming demure and sweet as possible, a ruthless boss, or just plain giving up since making others comfortable is too much damn work. But I digress for the point is, what Bryant gives Annie is a beating pulse so she is more than a sob story but presenting a multitude of people who feel like they are not enough no matter how they try.

It’s Comical

Fran (Lolly Adefope) having a hearty laugh.
Fran (Lolly Adefope)

Don’t get me wrong though, this show can be funny too. It does get a bit heavy as you become emotionally invested in Annie, but this isn’t a straight-up downer. For if it isn’t Annie getting her confidence and flipping out on people, it is how awkward some social situations are. Some of which, admittedly, could be considered making Annie the butt of a joke. However, it makes her comeuppance, when she becomes “Shrill” all the more satisfying towards the end. Especially when she curses at this overly aggressive fitness trainer.

First Impression: Positive (Watch This)

Annie (Aidy Bryant) introducing herself to Ryan's friends.
Annie (Aidy Bryant): Hi, I’m Annie.

I truly think, alongside Handmaid’s Tale, this will be another series for Hulu which attracts accolades. It’s funny, sweet, a bit of a tear jerker, but also empowering. Also, Aidy Bryant has this star quality to her that doesn’t make you feel she is anywhere but where she is supposed to be. That is, the face of a show which allows her to tap into everything that makes her who she is and in love with what that means.

Hence the positive first impression. While definitely a show which will get written up for being empowering, part of a new era of TV and more, what Shrill boils down to is quality entertainment. The kind which makes you laugh, feel, and even educates you a bit. Like, who knew the morning after pill had a weight limit to it?


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