Shrill: Season 1, Episode 4 “Pool” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Annie's article about being fat.
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Annie finds herself taking on her insecurities, even Gabe, after going to an inclusive pool party.

Director(s) Shaka King
Writer(s) Samantha Irby
Air Date 3/15/2019

Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: Lamar, Fran, Annie, Ryan

After a rather pleasurable night with Lamar, Annie is a bit chipper, and while Fran likes the idea of them becoming closer to being sisters, naturally, she doesn’t want the details. If anything, she is just hoping this means Annie had moved in but with Ryan showing up at her job, and that being a catalyst to talk about him, she lays down the law. No speaking of him, definitely don’t bring him to the house, and Annie tries to hold to that – though it is difficult.

Paradise: Annie

Annie smiling in a photo, while in a bathing suit, with Fran and the woman who organized the pool party.

While Annie dresses girly, in dresses which show her arms and legs, that doesn’t mean she is comfortable in her body. However, a pool party featuring women who look like her, to varying degrees, it creates a sense of comfort. Particularly since they are, like the woman Annie saw in the previous episode, on the next level. They are in bikinis, one-pieces, lounging, dancing, and carefree in ways Annie has long not had it in her to be. Yet, here these ladies are and not only do they make her comfortable but remind her there is no difference between them and her besides who are dancing and who is using a table like a safety blanket.

Do You Hear Yourself Right Now?: Vera, Gabe, Annie

But, with going to that party means missing Gabe’s Forced Fun company event. Well, not missing it but showing up two hours later and Gabe making subtle comments about Annie’s body, work ethic, and just triggering Annie to remember things Vera has said over the years. Not just said, when I think about it, but did. Take note that Vera gave her daughter Special K for dinner, instead of what the other people were eating for dinner, so her daughter could slim down. Mind you, Annie was in the 4th grade at the time, so she was around 10.

So, how does Annie deal, cope, process, and release this rage? She writes an article. Annie writes an article and, without Gabe’s permission, posts it to the website. Meaning, if it isn’t a hit, she is in for a serious tongue lashing.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. What did Annie’s dad say and do while Vera was making all these comments and doing what she did?


Annie Finding Her Bliss

I cried. When Annie, after being tugged at repeatedly, finally let go of her inhibitions and danced, you felt that sense of freedom. It wasn’t just words on a script, directions spoken to Bryant, but a whole vibe. The kind which easily could become personal if you ever had some form of body dysmorphia or insecurity. What Annie got is the freedom you see in others, question sometimes, yet don’t see yourself having. And yet, Annie pushes the idea that if she can find it, so can you. Maybe it is just you need to find your people.

Finding Fashion As A Big Girl

Annie talking about how horrible fashion is for women her size.

In one of the previous recaps, I noted how fashionable Annie seemed and lo and behold it is noted how terrible finding something cute, but not nurse scrubs cute, can be. Now, unfortunately, Annie doesn’t get more than the designer’s first name, but this could and should be followed up on. Though, for now, kudos for mentioning the struggle.


Gabe, like Vera, I think don’t realize their comments are more harmful than helpful. Yet, I bet you, if Annie made a big stink, publicly, in a realistic environment, not everyone would call them out. If anything, they’d ask why Annie was overreacting or tell her to calm down. Yet, as Annie said, you know what you are, what people think, but to hear it – repeatedly – with this fake sense of caring, it gets to be a lot. Especially if you’re trying but what you are doing isn’t working.

On The Fence

Do We Need To Talk About Fran?

Um, between the drugs and seemingly not liking to be single, is there more to Fran than being the sassy Black best friend? Is she trying to break out of a trope but is being held back? What’s going on here?

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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 1, Episode 4 “Pool”Annie finds herself taking on her insecurities, even Gabe, after going to an inclusive pool party.
Director(s) Shaka King
Writer(s) Samantha Irby
Air Date 3/15/2019
  • Two Wrongs Don’t Make A Right: Lamar, Fran, Annie, Ryan
  • Paradise: Annie
  • Do You Hear Yourself Right Now?: Vera, Gabe, Annie
Season 1, Episode 5 “Article”Annie hits another post out of the park, but the fallout from her article may unravel many relationships she has built.
Director(s) Gillian Robespierre
Writer(s) Sudi Green
Air Date 3/15/2019
  • Who Works For Who?: Gabe, Annie, Amadi
  • Bullies & Trolls: Annie, Vera, Bill
  • One Step Forward & Two Steps Back: Annie, Fran, Ryan
Season 1, Episode 6 “Troll” [Season Finale]In the season finale, Annie meets her troll, Vera has a bit of a breakdown, Fran and Annie have a fight and so much more.
Director(s) Shaka King
Writer(s) Craig DiGregorio
Air Date 3/15/2019
  • You And Him Aren’t That Different: Annie, Fran, Ryan
  • Burning Bridges With Minimal Ability To Swim: Gabe, Annie, Amadi, Vera
  • Awesome: Annie
Season 1, Episode 3 “Pencil”Ryan is given a chance to really step up, show he is boyfriend material, as Fran’s brother Lamar shows up and brings up something done in the past.
Director(s) Andy DeYoung
Writer(s) Dave King
Air Date 3/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Bill Daniel Stern
Lamar Akemnji Ndifornyen
Cindy Leslie Grossman
Kayla Esther Povitsky
Amadi Ian Owens
  • Things Were Going Good: Vera, Bill, Gabe, Annie, Fran, Lamar, Ryan
  • You Aren’t The Only One: Kayla, Cindy, Amadi, Ryan, Annie
  • The Best Way To Get Over Someone: Lamar, Annie
Season 1, Episode 2 “Date”While Annie gets to celebrate her first published article, things get kind of weird with Ryan. Actually, very weird as he attempts to do a 180 on their relationship.
Director(s) Carrie Brownstein
Writer(s) Aidy Bryant, Alexandra Rushfield, Lindy West
Air Date 3/15/2019
Introduced This Episode
Janelle Gretchen Corbett
  • The Bigger, The Better: Annie, Gabe
  • New Attitude: Annie, Vera
  • Second Chances: Annie, Fran, Gabe, Ryan, Janelle
Season 1, Episode 1 “Annie”While diversity has come in the form of different skin tones, ethnicities and sexualities coming to the forefront, Shrill breaks ground.
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

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