[Beauty Overheard] Seth Rogen Wants to Be Fat Again

Seth Rogan FatSeth Rogan ThinSeth Rogen communes with his Comic-Con fan base, in 2007 and post-weight-loss in 2010.

After losing 30 pounds to play “The Green Hornet,” Seth Rogen has this to say:

I think for chubby guys, I was their guy so they were like, ‘I can be chubby. Seth Rogen’s chubby, so who cares.’ But now I’m not so chubby anymore. So now they’re like, ‘I have to lose weight.’ I’ve let them down. I’ve blatantly sold out. It’s only for money.

Now y’all know that I am all about people being happy with their bodies and think you can be healthy at any size. And sure, it’s great how Seth was out there as a role model for schlubby guys everywhere, in a “hey, it’s okay, have another buffalo wing, you can totally still find love” kind of way.

But I am super irritated about this.

Let’s consider the leading ladies who Fat Seth Rogen got to hook up with: Elizabeth Banks in “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Zack and Miri Make a Porno,” and Katherine Heigl in “Knocked Up.” Schlubby guy gets the hot blonde? That’s not body acceptance. That’s every awkward 9th grade boy’s fantasy in movie form.

And I’m really trying, but I cannot come up with an equivalent schlubby-fat actress who manages to headline multiple box office hits by asking audiences to suspend disbelief and pair her with Ashton Kutcher, Josh Lucas, or insert-your-favorite-rom-com-heartthrob-here. It just wouldn’t happen. And sure, actresses lose weight all the time (for a role or because they claim to have suddenly gotten into “yoga”), but I can’t recall anyone admitting that they’ve “blatantly sold out” and gotten smaller for a bigger paycheck. Women don’t get to be that honest about it. About the closest we get is Kim Cattrall admitting she’s been on a diet her whole life — and she quickly backpedals to the “it’s about taking of yourself” position.

It’s not even just about weight. Fat Seth Rogen does about a thousand and twelve things that women (of pretty much any size) generally can’t get away with doing on film — smoking pot, eating tons of junk food, eschewing exercise and personal hygiene, being unemployed and yet somehow charming all at the same time. Women in Hollywood aren’t just supposed to be thin. They’re also supposed to be paragons of virtuous lifestyle choices.

The fact is, Seth Rogen has always been a comic book character. The Green Hornet just takes it to the next level, with weight loss to help justify his new super powers. Because apparently, we’ll buy that he can get girls (like his new hot blond co-star Cameron Diaz) but a fat guy who is also a masked crime fighter with electric shock weaponry? Come now.

(Via About-Face.)

[Photos: Seth Rogen at Comic Con 2007 by cplbasilisk and  Comic Con 2010-Seth Rogen by popculturegeek.com, both used per Flickr/Creative Commons License 2.0]

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6 Comments

5 Comments

  1. Posted January 31, 2011 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

    I guess I’m a little confused about what’s irritating you here. Are you annoyed with Seth Rogen, or just with the double standard in Hollywood in general? I agree with you about the latter, but when you write, “I can’t recall anyone [female] admitting that they’ve blatantly sold out and gotten smaller for a bigger paycheck. Women don’t get to be that honest about it,” what I think is sad is those actresses’ dishonesty about their motives and methods for weight loss — and the media that encourages them to perpetuate those myths — not Seth Rogen’s straight talk.

  2. Posted January 31, 2011 at 3:25 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, good call. That could use some clarification.

    So, I’m definitely mad about the double standard — and it works on a couple of levels. Seth Rogen gets to play the gross fat guy and then he also gets to change his mind and say, “hey, I sold out for the paycheck!” But female actresses can’t get away with either approach. If they’re heavy, they get cast as the sidekick who doesn’t get the boy, if they’re thin, they have to claim they “just have a really high metabolism,” and if they recently weight, that it’s just because they love hiking with their dogs or thanks to breastfeeding or whatever — never because their agent screamed “you’ll never work again as a size 10!”

    So actresses get screwed no matter what, and Seth Rogen gets to be whatever size he wants and be totally straight-up about what he’s doing. I’m not mad at him personally (how can you be mad at that lovable fat/not so fat guy?!) but I don’t think he should necessarily be held up as a shining example of body positivity in Hollywood, because he’s a guy — he’s never had to play by the same rules as his female co-stars.

    • Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

      Yeah, I can understand that. I also think it’s bizarre that there aren’t more films about non-aspirational women getting what they want out of life. I think the success of something like Bridget Jones Diary — which supposedly got the ball rolling on the whole chick lit genre by showing about an ordinary, non-glamorous woman who’s always gaining weight, smoking, and drinking to excess, and who winds up with Colin Firth anyway — should have shown American publishers and movie studios that female audiences were ready for some Seth Rogens of their own. Instead, we got Sex in the City.

  3. Elizabeth
    Posted January 31, 2011 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    Janeane Garafalo was honest about it, back in the mid-1990s. She’d had a fairly successful career as a stand-up comic and was beginning to get roles in romantic comedies. She lost 20 pounds to play a character that was the “ugly bitch” in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. She talked openly about it in her stand-up, saying “I lost 20 pounds and whaddya know — they were right. It made me more talented, because I started getting calls for films.” She also talked about maintaining the weight loss by consuming nothing but vodka and cigarettes after 5 pm.

    She has continued to work in various media, but I don’t think she’s had the lead in a rom-com since then. (I’m doing this from memory – haven’t checked imdb or wikipedia.)

  4. Posted January 31, 2011 at 6:39 pm | Permalink

    I’d be fine with Seth Rogen getting fat again, and I’m glad he’s talking about it. I’m even more glad that you are talking about how women don’t get the luxury of being inspirationally chubby on film. Well said.

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  1. [...] yes, male actors and models face similar pressures — but I think it’s pretty clear (ahem, Seth Rogen) that a double standard exists. And where it doesn’t, we’ve closed the gap by making [...]

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