Monday night’s episode of "Louie" showcased an extremely rare television archetype: the overweight cool girl. Funny, spunky, kind, aggressive, and brutally honest, Vanessa (Sarah Baker) arrived to give Louie— and us— a new perspective. Overweight characters are so infrequently showcased on television— or really in any popular media—that to hear Vanessa lay it all out, telling Louie exactly what it’s like to be a fat girl, initially felt to me like a kind of revelation. When someone has so much to say that we haven’t heard before, does it really matter if she’s a kind of fantasy or an object lesson more than she is a real person?
Last week, we watched Louie hit on every (thin) waitress at the Comedy Cellar so shamelessly that one of them chastised him for it. You can’t hit on everyone, the waitress warned, “You think people like saying no?” This week, Louie is the one saying no, as he continuously rejects the totally charming (not thin) waitress Vanessa, presumably for the very same reasons that all the other waitresses reject Louie: He doesn’t think she’s cute.