Culture Clips: Do Chubby People Ever Find Love Onscreen?

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violent video games culture clips

I identify as average. Here’s what I mean: I’m not beautiful, not hideous. Not tall, not short. I’m not the kind of person who stands out in a crowd—at least, appearance-wise. And like most average Americans, I could stand to lose a little weight.  (Which is why I’m munching on little cheesy crackers as I type this sentence.)

But if I somehow magically, mystically found myself on the big screen, I probably wouldn’t find love there. Why? Because love in Hollywood stories is generally reserved for the beautiful people. You know, the kind of folks who’ve never been seen as merely “normal.” Or, heaven forbid, overweight.

Is this too confessional? Maybe. But I’m actually just summarizing what late-night host James Corden said about the way non-beautiful people are usually represented onscreen. While being interviewed on David Tennant’s podcast, the Late Late Show funnyman observed,

If an alien came back and they had to take a reading on planet Earth by just watching films or TV, they would imagine that if you are chubby or fat or big, you never really fall in love, you never have sex. …. Certainly no one really ever finds you attractive.

Corden went on to say that when he was trying to break into the entertainment business, “it felt like if the world of entertainment was a big banquet table, that people are like, ‘No, no there isn’t a seat for you here.'”

But the big screen isn’t the only place where average folks might suffer by comparison. It’s true on our smartphone screens as well, especially for teens who might be negatively comparing themselves to others via social media. And San Diego State University psychology professor and screen-time expert Jean Twenge continues to connect the corollary dots between too much smartphone use and negative mental-health outcomes among teens. Writing for Time, she summarizes research on the subject this way:

Four large studies of teens from the U.S. and U.K. all show the same thing: happiness and mental health are highest at a half-hour to two hours of extracurricular digital media use a day; well-being then steadily decreases, with those who spend the most time online being the worst off. Twice as many heavy users of electronic devices are unhappy, depressed or distressed as light users.

Twenge recommends powering down screened devices an hour before bedtime. But parents of young gamers know this can be a challenge. In her Wall Street JournalWhy Videogames Trigger the Nightly Meltdown—and How to Help Your Child Cope,” author Julie Jargon explains why kids have such a hard time disengaging. It’s more than just stubbornness, lack of discipline or the possibility of addiction: “Children and adolescents don’t yet have the capability to stop doing a rewarding activity and move on to something less fun, neurologists say.”

Meanwhile, other experts continue to raise the alarm over the possibility of videogame addiction. Massachusetts psychologist Kate Roberts says of children becoming engrossed in games such as Fortnite,

What happens is they start to crave it. If they play it for more than a couple hours, they get into this addictive mode. The dopamine in their brain starts to react to it, and then when they come off of it, they have a crash from the decrease in dopamine. Basically, that makes them angry, irritable, withdrawn.

But don’t expect cell phone companies to cater to these growing concerns. Instead, they’re catering to the fact that kids are getting their first phones younger and younger, so much so that Verizon has just announced its new “Just Kids” plan, which comes with limits on contacts, data and other smartphone features built into the phone you select.

Elsewhere this week, NPR continued its ongoing “Civility Wars” series by pondering the role that social media plays in further polarizing people. And YouTube star PewDiePie (real name: Felix Arvid Ulf Kjellberg) has retaken the lead over the Indian music label T-Series as the video platform’s most popular channel, with 92,764,740 subscribers (as of 12:12 MDT on April 3, that is).

Well, Avengers fans, the wait is almost over. Actually, wait … there might still be more waiting. The online release of tickets for Avengers: Endgame (which lands in theaters April 25) not only resulted in record pre-sale numbers, but crashed websites and, gulp, digital lines at Fandango and AMC Theaters, too. And you thought the days of waiting in line for tickets were a relic of the 1980s …

Finally this week, Justin Bieber and Miley Cyrus both found themselves in hot water again … albeit not for the kind of antics that have sometimes landed them in said toasty liquid. Justin angered fans by announcing that his wife, Hailey, was pregnant, complete with an ultrasound image. Turns out it was an April Fool’s Day joke … and people weren’t amused.

Meanwhile, Miley Cyrus climbed a tree and took a picture of herself. And, yes, she had clothes on. So what was the problem? The tree in question was a Joshua tree in California’s Joshua Tree National Park. That earned her a mild rebuke form a park spokesman, due to the plants’ fragile nature. (Turns out they’re not technically trees at all.)

Guess they didn’t realize she was just being Miley.

Who wrote this?

Adam R. Holz is a senior associate editor for Plugged In. He also writes for Focus on the Family’s Clubhouse magazine and has been a Boundless contributor. In his free time (which there is sometimes precious little of) Adam enjoys playing guitar and constructing LEGO kits with his son. Adam and his wife, Jennifer, are the proud parents, in fact, of three children, one boy and two girls.

Have something to say? Leave a comment.

Anonymous 14 days ago
Unpopular opinion time:

I am completely and utterly sick of the "Sub 2 PewDiePie" thing. It's gone way past the point of being funny, to just straight up begin irritating.

Also, I think PewDiePie and his fan base also need to take a bit more responsibility in regards to their edgy humor and what it means for having such a large sphere of influence. Especially when a lot of those people who watch him are younger. (And this is coming from a guy who loves his dark comedy.)

-Evan
Anonymous 14 days ago
I will never watch PewDiePie. GMM is the best YouTube channel out there, with cinema sins close behind.

Posted BY A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 14 days ago
That's a weird way to spell Defunctland and Super Bunnyhop! ;)

-Evan
Anonymous 14 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I don’t watch PewDiePie that often, but I do greatly enjoy him watching Dr. Phil episodes and hearing him speak common sense.
Anonymous 14 days ago
I could really never get into his videos myself, found his more "sugar-high" style to be honestly kinda grating to me. His Logan Paul video about the Japanese forest incident was good, though.

-Evan
Karl The Klown 14 days ago
Although I have never watched PewtiePie, I don't necessarily agree with the idea of content creators being responsible for their work, in terms of what audience it reaches. I think that it is a parent(s) job to determine what their children see and can't see. 
Anonymous 15 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I solved the mystery!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=t1OMrZdRhwI
Anonymous 14 days ago
Good job! How long were you on YouTube searching for that?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 14 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Like, 13 seconds. All it took was a quick Google search. (I guess Google solved the mystery in that case then)
Anonymous 14 days ago
Haha! Yay for Google!

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
charitysplace 15 days ago
Jack Black gets the girl in The Holiday, and Jacob gets the girl in Fantastic Beasts, but yeah, in general that isn't a trend in Hollywood. Though, frankly, I've been shocked how many celebrities have put on a lot of weight recently. I guess Tinseltown doesn't require their actors to stay fit anymore unless they're under 30.
Karl The Klown 16 days ago
I had some fairly uncivil discussions on NPR's Disqus comment page about the linked article. Pretty ironic actually......
 
Anyone else see the new Joker trailer?
Anonymous 15 days ago
Lol.

I did! Heath Ledger is better, but this dude is the second best.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 15 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

Actually, Mark Hamill is the second best. But come October, that might change.
Anonymous 15 days ago
Oh right. I was just talking about live action. Mark Hammil is the best period. If we're including the animated series.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 16 days ago
Going off the title and first three paragraphs: 

What about Jacob in Fantastic Beasts?

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

See A-Non Mouse? THIS is when it’s appropriate to talk about Avengers.
Anonymous 16 days ago
Lol.

Of course, Miley is being Miley.

(Insert Ryan Reynolds gif where he is putting his face into hand) 

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 16 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

I noticed you're concerned about Spider-Man surviving in Endgame.

...You do realize Spider-Man: Far From Home comes out this July right?
Anonymous 15 days ago
Yes. But on what timeline? It hasn't been revealed if it's before or after.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse
Anonymous 15 days ago
Posted by First Comment Guy

There's no way Marvel and Sony will kill Spider-Man off permanently. If they were, we would have heard about plans for Miles Morales already.
Anonymous 15 days ago
This is true. But if you see my other post. You would understand I'm not super concerned for the reasons you just listed.

Really hoping in Phase five we will get Kamala Khan (Miss Marvel) and Miles Morales in the MCU.

Posted By A-Non-Mouse