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Old 5th July 2011   #1
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 352
Default ''Hey, Arnold'' episode with plus-size model

I've thought about posting this video for a while, but wasn't sure whether to do so or not.

It's an episode of the long-running 1990s animated TV series titled Hey, Arnold.

I was never a fan of the show myself, as the animation is somewhat crude, but I'd always heard that one episode featured a plus-size model, and I finally tracked it down.

The episode is called "Ernie in Love." The eponymous Ernie has a crush on a plus-size model named Lola (voiced by Jennifer Tilly - which was a good casting choice, given that Jennifer is at least a curvier-than-average Hollywood actress).

You can tell that the episode was shot with a 1990s conception of plus-size modelling in mind, as the model works for a catalogue called Large and Lovely (the kind of name that, fortunately, companies don't use anymore).

On the down side, the Ernie of the show's title, who has a crush on Lola, is made to be a painfully unattractive specimen of humanity. This is always problematic, as the natural association of plus-size models should be with GQ types, to emphasize the idea that full-figured goddesses represent the ideal of female beauty.

On the other hand, the episode clearly indicates that Lola is out of Ernie's league. Ernie himself certainly feels that way. In fact, it's the basis of the show's underlying theme. So there's no false equivalency between the two. Lola is clearly presented as an unattainable object of desire.

There are also many sweet scenes indicating Ernie's old-fashioned love-from-afar for Lola, from writing poetry about her to trying to depict her image artistically.

At any rate, it's a rare example of a plus-size model starring as the female ingénue, the romantic lead, in a TV show - albeit in animated form. And that counts for something.

The ideal is still for plus-size goddesses to be paired off, in cinema and television, with GQ-standard types, to reinforce the idea that full-figured girls are the ideal of womanhood. But still, this is kind of a sweet tale, and probably gives young viewers (of both genders) watching it some genuinely worthwhile moral lessons, but in a subtle rather than overt way. It's funny and entertaining too.
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