Melissa McCarthy Responds to Rex Reed with Class and Goodness; We Are Reminded that Rex Reed is a Total Butt Chud
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Melissa McCarthy Responds to Rex Reed with Class and Goodness; We Are Reminded that Rex Reed is a Total Butt Chud

By Courtney Enlow | Celebrities Are Better than You | June 14, 2013 | Comments ()


You might recall, among the reviews for Identity Thief, was Rex Reed's diatribe, lambasting Melissa McCarthy for daring to appear on his screen and try to be funny while also being fleshier than his delicate eyes could tolerate. I mean, this seasoned professional has viewed countless films with countless performers traipsing across his screen, and his disdain for McCarthy clearly must mean that she is the worst thing he has ever witnessed.

Or, you know, that he's a total dickrag. One of those.

If you don't remember, I'll freshen your memory tea with some of his choicer word snuggles:

"cacophonous, tractor-sized Melissa McCarthy"
"a screeching, humongous creep"
"female hippo"
"a gimmick comedian who has devoted her short career to being obese and obnoxious with equal success"

Be still my beating heart, is he single?

In an interview with the New York Times, McCarthy, who'd previously remained relatively quiet on the incident, spoke up:

When Ms. McCarthy was asked about the review over lunch in April, her characteristically cheerful tone evaporated. In a softer voice, she said her initial reaction to reading it had been "Really?" and then, she said, "Why would someone O.K. that?"

Without mentioning the name of its author, Ms. McCarthy said: "I felt really bad for someone who is swimming in so much hate. I just thought, that's someone who's in a really bad spot, and I am in such a happy spot. I laugh my head off every day with my husband and my kids who are mooning me and singing me songs."

Had this occurred when she was 20, Ms. McCarthy said, "it may have crushed me." But now, as a mother raising two young daughters in "a strange epidemic of body image and body dysmorphia," she said articles like that "just add to all those younger girls, that are not in a place in their life where they can say, 'That doesn't reflect on me.' "

"That makes it more true," she said. "It means you don't actually look good enough."

There is an argument to be made that McCarthy has made a career of being "the fat funny one." And that argument is stupid (but common among the rare Reed defenders and McCarthy dissenters, who are also stupid). Focusing on the appearance of a performer, disregarding all other elements of performance, skill set or techniques, gimmick or otherwise, is an unfair, lazy method of critiquing a person. And to do it because someone is heavier than the waifs one is more accustomed to on the cinema screen is just hateful, dismissive and dangerous to the self-esteems of moviegoers the world over. McCarthy is right. Young girls, girls painfully aware of the appearances of their peers and tragically delusional regarding their own physical forms (ask any group of ten tween and teen girls weighing 90 to 120 pounds and at least eight of them will tell you they want to lose weight), cannot afford to see a woman, successful and talented, criticized, not for skill but for appearance. It has and can and will have dangerous consequences to their already fragile egos. It's sick.

This came up in last week's Lindy West post, but, for the love of assholery, can we bust out a dictionary and come up with a new brainless, go-to means of writing people off other than "she's fat"? Jesus.

So, because Identity Thief feels like a long time ago (I had to look at the article twice to recall its title), I'll just reiterate: Fuck you, Rex Reed.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • This is ridiculous, she looks fine, people need to stop with the outwardly criticism, there are plenty of male comedians that no one spoke of their weight, John Candy comes to mind, that Rex Reed just came off as completely hateful, have to commend her for taking the high road, this world is all about images, I personally maintain my weight , I barely exercise all I do is walk alot and body cleansing, keeps my skin clear and my body healthy, being a skinny minny is not cute, that is what I recommend to anyone trying to stay healthy in a normal way,

  • stryker1121

    "I just thought, that's someone in a really bad spot, and I'm in a really happy spot." That's the takeaway for me. McCarthy's career is taking off and she's happy. The best revenge is living well.

  • TheReinaG

    .... Isn't she on that show where the entire joke is 'OMG, it's two fat people, and they're in love?' ...That Melissa McCarthy right?

  • wes bryant

    i hate to break up the righteous indignation, but has anyone ever read biographies on John Candy, Chris Farley or John Belushi ? These guys sense of self worth were absolutely devastated by critics calling them the funny "fat" guy. It is not and never has been okay to judge someone by the easiest laziest terms, but don't turn this into sexism it isn't, its prejudice pure and simple.

  • TK

    I would posit that there's a marked difference between being called "the funny fat guy" (which is still awful and unacceptable) and being called:

    "cacophonous, tractor-sized"... “a screeching, humongous creep” and “female hippo.”

    The standard is and has always been different for women. Yes, there is prejudice against heavier people, but it's exacerbated when it's a woman.

  • wes bryant

    duly noted and I completely agree, its just a shame that we always categorize the world around us by only surface detail and not by the greatness of the whole

  • trixie

    See what happens when I don't read the comments first?

  • trixie

    Weight is not often mentioned as being a negative for male actors either, comic or otherwise.

  • go_nelly

    bravo! also, who the hell is Rex Reed? i had to google his name to find out.

  • Slash

    I'm sincerely surprised to hear that Rex Reed is still alive. I thought he died several years ago. Isn't he, like, 80?

  • sanity fair

    I will see your surprise and add "disappointed."

  • Uriah_Creep

    As she mentioned in that interview, Melissa McCarthy is married to a handsome actor, they have 2 beautiful children, and they seem to be very happy. She wins everything.

  • minxy

    Melissa McCarthy is so beautiful.

  • opiejuankenopie

    I know we all know this, but Rex Reed is the guy who wrote this:

    That was before his attack on Melissa McCarthy. How in the seven hells does this guy still have a job? Does he still have a job? Newspapers are laying off their entire photo staffs, if this guy still has a job... This guy better not still have a job.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    And just like John Malkovich and that kid who sang the national anthem at the NBA finals in San Antonio, Melissa McCarthy is better than you.

  • JR

    His criticism is even more stupid because it is flat-out untrue that she has based her career on being a one-woman fat joke. Actors and comedians of all shapes and sizes use their appearance in their material. Short comedians make jokes about not being able to reach things, Middle Eastern-looking comedians make jokes about being mistaken for terrorists, blonde comedians make jokes about their ditziest moments, and the thin comedians talk about their weird diets or their plastic surgeries. So sometimes her material is based on her weight, sure - but it's a lie to claim that it's her shtick, as if all her jokes are fat jokes. In seven seasons of Gilmore Girls', her weight was barely even mentioned, much less used as the premise of a joke at her expense.

  • JR

    Also, I'd like to take a moment to stoop to his level and point out that he looks like a bloated wax replica of a real person.

  • Bodhi

    She will always be my favorite Sookie

  • Maguita NYC

    “Why would someone O.K. that?”

    Ms. McCarthy hit the nail on the head. Who at the New York Observer OKAYED Rex Reed's distasteful review, and what looked like a very personal attack on one of the actors?

    We all know assholes exist, heck, at times they abound. No matter their gender, skin color, sexual orientation, ethnicity, education or religious affiliation, none matters: Assholes are from all walks of life, and Rex Reed is nothing but your common asshole.

    However, Rex Reed's employer, an American employer that is bound by standards, integrity, and is shackled by its responsibility towards their clients, in this case the reader, allowed such filth to be printed/posted. The NY Observer authorized personal attacks that have nothing to do with a movie review be printed/posted.

    The NY Observer is very much at fault here. They should be taken to task for letting this through. For allowing Rex Reed's personal views obscure his job description, and letting down readers' expectations for a movie review.

  • ZombieMrsSmith

    I find it fascinating that so many critics accuse McCarthy of always being the "funny, fat girl" because even with my limited exposure to her roles I'm amazed at the variety of characters she plays. The differences between Megan in Bridesmaids and Molly in "Mike & Molly" are miles apart, even if both characters are overweight.

    Honestly, John Candy and Chris Farley always played pretty much the same character, and to be honest Jonah Hill still plays the same type in everything he does, he's just thinner now. Totally cool, but McCarthy has range and demonstrates pretty clearly that "fat" is not an exclusive basis for establishing a character. She at least deserves a lot of credit for being able to play lots of different types of fat women very well.

  • Jim

    Smart, funny AND classy.

    Also, someone wanna remind me the last time Reed was, well, relevant?

  • Mrs. Julien

    When he wrote Myra Breckenridge? That was him right?

  • minxy

    He was in Myra Breckenridge, but he didn't write it. In fact, he wanted to disown the film after it came out.

  • e jerry powell

    Don't fuck Rex Reed. Why should he get to have any fun?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Actually, I need to add something else. Beautiful women who make goofy faces, or wear prosthetics, or put on weight or get an ugly haircut know they get to go back to being beautiful. It's a safe exposure. It's dressing down instead of up. But women who are not "beautiful" take a real chance in going all out. I recently read an article that discussed how "nude" today in theater is barely "naked" because everyone is so buff and toned. Naked is vulnerability; nudity is something else. It's the same thing with comedy - to expose yourself warts and all is a risk precisely because there are jackasses out there who will rag on you a la Rex Reed. Try to humiliate you. Kudos to McCarthy for not being humiliated, and kudos to all those who lashed back at a bully.

  • Sara_Tonin00

    Skilled physical comedians use their bodies, tall or short, skinny or fat. You can only use the tools you have. And when you use them well, you should be applauded for it.

    (at first I thought this was another phantom Pajiba post from months ago)

  • Mrs. Julien

    I adore Melissa McCarthy's magnificent shamelessness. That goes a long way for a Comedian.

  • Bea Pants

    It's really a double standard for women in comedy isn't it? If they're a Tina Fey or a Maya Rudolph the critics go on about how AMAZING it is that they're both easy on the eyes and funny. But if they're a Rachel Dratch or a Melissa McCarthy they've "built a career on being the ugly/fat funny girl." We as a society, are kind of gross.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Rachel Dratch is the perfect example.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You know what I love? I love it that even in the admittedly profoundly shallow world of entertainment, in the end, talent will out. People may not look like they are "supposed to", but their abilities trump everything; for example,

    Patton Oswalt? ✓

    Melissa McCarthy? ✓


  • Mrs. Beasley

    Steve Buscemi and Francis Mcdormand as well. It seems for females, not fitting into the standard of beauty is tolerable in Hollywood, to a degree. Being fat? Not so much. With men, no one bats an eye. Like with Jonah Hill. The only mention I've seen of his weight is when he lost it.

  • Mrs. Julien

    John Goodman

  • Mrs. Beasley

    There are plenty of heavy males that have done well. Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Nick Frost, Ricky Gervais, Kevin Smith, Jackie Gleason, etc etc. When you talk about these guys, their weight is not the focus. Yet we live in a society where you look on any comment section of any gossip site, and Christina Hendricks is a cow. To the point some of these people actually seem angry about it. Christina Hendricks! If a woman that looks like that gets body shamed, the rest of us are screwed.

  • bleujayone

    Nah, I draw the line at Sean Cullen. I really wish he'd shut his yap and go away. To me he is every loud, obnoxious, bombastic and aggravating relative you always regret inviting to a family gathering- always thinking they are the life of the party and always getting ever louder as the night rolls on. Whenever I see him "perform" I feel like the rest of the world must have collectively smoked a bowl about 20 minutes before because I have yet to hear anything funny escape his face that other people seem to have. He's clearly his best fan constantly giggling at his own schtick, and I always have a near irresistible urge to break something when his attempts to"sing" in his act just so the sound of destruction counters his voice in my ears. About the only talent I'll give him is that he's always without fail been able to make my teeth hurt, and I've forcibly suffered through some other pretty uncomfortable things. At this point I'd rather get a prostate exam from Captain Hook.

    Mind you not one of the things about him that I find so annoying has a thing to do with his personal percentage of body fat. I could not care less about that. He could lock himself up inside of a gym for a year with a drill sergeant personal trainer and my opinion of his ability to perform would not change. So he can take comfort that my judgement comes from how he conducts himself on stage rather than what waistline he sports.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You, sir, are dead to me.

  • bleujayone

    Sorry you feel that way, Mrs. Cullen. I still face death with a clear conscience if not aching teeth.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Honestly, you're just insane. Or contrary. Or different people like different things. Whatever. I defy you and all your works.

    I have seen him live twice and both times I laughed until I could not breathe. I wept. Mr. Julien wept. He's the funniest person on the planet.

  • bleujayone

    Y'know, most people elect to lie in bed heavily sedated with over-the-counter medications when they're completely delirious with a high fever. I've never knew the alternative treatment was to invest in live show by this hack. I'd have thought this method would only be used in a last resort of Kevorkian proportions when one is already diagnosed as terminal anyway. And if I paid money to see this damn fool live, I too would have wept. That's because usually when I get screwed, someone is nice enough to kiss me first so I know what's coming.

    I've always thought that in a maneuver to improve diplomatic and neighborly ties that the US and Canada should each force Cullen and Dane Cook into a Thunderdome cage match. No matter who wins that fight, the world's comedic gene pool would be improved by a factor of at least one.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Which brings us right back to "dead to me".

  • Amy Love

    I'm not a fan of Ms. McCarthy's brand of humor more recently, but I loved her in Gilmore Girls. I wish she had wittier roles like Sookie.

  • Rochelle

    My brain just exploded thinking about how much better True Blood would be if Melissa McCarthy played that Sookie, too

  • Bodhi


  • sourbob

    So his theory is she's only funny because she's fat?

    Is he under the opinion that America has a shortage of fat people? Or that all of them are funny?

  • annie

    Right? A thoughtful, lovable, hilarious character, and I don't think there was one mention of her weight in all seven(?) seasons.

  • Mrs. Julien

    I'm fat. I'm funny. Not funny/haha, but funny/strange counts, right? Maybe Rex Reed is onto something...

  • Guest

    You may want to downvote me for this, but I really need to say it:

    I hate it when you put yourself down by calling yourself fat.

    From everything you have written so far on Pajiba, I can tell you are gorgeous, witty and very-very intellectually driven. Also, I quite remember you stating that you had that foxy Belinda Carlisle dark redhead look going on. So stop putting yourself down. You're not fat. You are everything beautiful and who fucking cares about a scale number that does not define you in any way.


  • Hazel Dean

    Why does "fat" have to be an insult? Why does it have to automatically be assumed to be a negative thing? If I called myself fat, why couldn't that just be another quality about myself, like having blue eyes or brown hair? Why can't it just be the opposite of "thin" instead of something to feel bad about?

  • Guest

    Because so far the physical characterization of FAT has never been a positive one, and cannot be compared to simple description of hair color, eye color, height, skin tone, or whatever else physical attribute you might wish to relay.

    Fat in fact is negative. The positive description of beautiful fat, as it is known today in general, is voluptuous. Not fat. At this very moment in our contemporary north American history, saying someone is fat is generally perceived as not only negative, but also downright derogatory. As if being fat is sub or shameful.

    When fat becomes the new voluptuous, when someone means all the goodwill in the world when calling a woman, or a man, fat, than I wouldn't mind someone I most admire as Mrs. Julien calling herself fat.

    But then again, it is her prerogative to call herself whatever she feels right to.

    I know nothing Hazel Dean.

  • Mrs. Julien

    Well, I certainly don't say it as just a physical attribute. There is censure in my intent.

  • Mrs. Julien

    You are a lovely angel, but I am in fact quite substantially overweight. Generically pretty, reasonably bright and articulate, but, you know, avoirdupois.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I'm starting a band called The Butt Chudding Dick Rags. Rex Reed is the horn section. He plays rusty trombone.

  • PDamian

    I thought he played sad bassoon -- you know, a pathetic wind instrument.

  • Viking

    Yes I bet he does.

  • TK

    What makes the criticism of McCarthy particularly egregious and sickening is that no one - NOT ONE PERSON, Reed included - would ever have made such statements or "jokes" about Chris Farley. Or Kevin James. Or John Candy. Or any other heavier male actor, regardless of how shitty a movie they may have been in, and they have all been in some stinkers.

    But god help any woman who dares besmirch our precious movie screen who is any heavier than a bag of tacos. So fuck you, Rex Reed, and congratulations on part of the problem.

  • Viking

    I was just about to say the same thing and use some of the same examples. I can't remember anyone ever saying hateful, weight related things about the performances of heavy-set male dramatic actors either and lord knows there are way more heavy men in entertainment than women. But let Camryn Manheim win an Emmy or a Golden Globe and she can't be congratulated with a mention of her weight. And while I'm thinking of it, porn: Ron Jeremy is not a slender dude at all, nor is he young anymore, are there female equivalents in porn? I'm betting not. So, yeah, Rex Reed should go eat a bag of dicks.

  • Fredo

    You picked out who I was thinking of when I was reading this article: John Candy.

    No one ever gave Candy shit about his weight, his size or his appearance. If anything,they were integral to his portrayal of the various characters he played during the 70s and 80s.

    Or if we're going outside of comedy, let's throw John Goodman in there. That's a guy who's done it all as a big, fat guy. Whether drama or comedy, he's a great actor and no one even thinks twice of bringing up his weight.

    I guess my point, if any, is that people like Rex Reed point to the physical image of a performer when they have nothing else to criticize them on.

  • TheReinaG

    Hey! He maintains a consistent panda bear shape.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    I like BIG tacos so that would have to be one hell of a large woman.

  • Michelle

    Is a career with steady work over the last 13 years really considered "short"? Does not compute.

  • AudioSuede

    I hated Rex Reed for being a garden-variety asshole and a terrible movie critic, but then he got weird and sexist and discriminatory towards Melissa McCarthy, and I had a whole new reason to hate him. He should get into a bomb shelter with the racist chick who screamed at the employee from Dunkin Donuts and then we can fill said bomb shelter with napalm and call that a good Friday.

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