March 4, 2007

This One's For the Fat Guys

(Props to Camryn Mannheim for the initial catchphrase)

You know, I never thought I would write this, but Bouncing Boy is my new favorite bad ass.

No, I'm not being ironic or aspiring towards ISB-dom - as I watched this weekend's episode of Legion of Super Heroes, I realized that not only is Chuck Taine a supremely cool character, but he is being written in an almost shockingly original way.

I have to admit, I'm projecting a lot of myself into him. Growing up, I had a weight problem, and body image issues - not something men normally talk about. Oh, sure, I would make jokes about it - "Between me and Matter Eater Lad, no all-you-can-eat buffet will be safe" - but ultimately, I never saw myself as anything but comic relief. Gradually, however, I became much more confident, and found myself taking on leadership roles in a variety of settings. Much of that involved letting go of my doubt and "making people listen", moving past the comfortable "fat guy as jolly clown" and being assertive. Showing that, yes, I could be taken seriously, and that I was more than the sum of others' expectations.

Nice to be reminded of that.

Another reason why I like Chuck is the way the writers are handling the Bouncing Boy/Triplicate Girl "romance". Normally, the cliche is for the fat guy to want the unobtainable woman, but she's oblivious, and several cliches are utilized:
  1. After being rejected/hurt/traumatized, the heroine decides that the fat guy is worthy of her affection, and so decides to "honor" him with her affection.
  2. Some variation of Cyrano De Bergerac, leading to wacky hilarity; and
  3. The hero being put in the "friend zone".
  4. After proving himself, our heroine decides that the hero is worthy of her affection, and so acts accordingly.
What's refreshing? Triplicate Girl - long before we see Chuck assert himself - begins expressing an interest. Gosh, a fat guy loveable simply because...he is? I know I'm reading a lot into this, but quite frankly, it's refreshing, especially during a time when much children's television - much television in general - is geared towards the shove-it-down-your-throat-easy-moral.

So, DC, here's an offer - I'll write a Bouncing Boy mini-series. Free. Because I think you have an unsung hero in your ranks.

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