In 1996, Janeane Garofalo played Uma Thurman‘s “chubbier, uglier” friend in The Truth About Cats and Dogs. While her character, Abby, was an intelligent, funny, successful and attractive woman, she had image issues. She didn’t think she was beautiful enough and couldn’t believe a man would be attracted to her, especially with women like Uma Thurman in existence.
And while Garofalo herself was the short brunette who wasn’t a size zero, she always seemed OK with that, and we loved her for it.
We loved her for her humor, of course, but also for her unapologetic take on body image, her “this is me, take it or leave it” attitude. It was sexy. She was different. And then she started to shrink, and even went blonde for a while.
Now, I’m all for women getting into shape, don’t get me wrong. But only if it’s for themselves, and not to fit into a mold, especially a mold they’ve long been publicly against.
Then recently there have been rumors speculating about her involvement with some new Weight Watchers commercials. “Is it her voice telling me not to eat when hunger calls?” “No, it couldn’t be.” Maybe it’s the woman who voiced Daria? After all, there was a persistent rumor that Garofalo was behind the most popular morose cartoon teenager of the ’90s.
This Weight Watchers commercial with the fuzzy orange creature (the hunger monster; it’s supposed to be cute?) just didn’t seem like Garofalo’s can of Red Bull. But neither did playing Special Agent Janis Gold on 24, and she’s doing that well.
But, to her credit, work is work, right? As she told Gothamist in October, “I’m just sort of grateful anytime someone wants to hire me. And TV seems to be one of the only places where older women can seek employment.”
Understood. Perhaps we shouldn’t be so surprised, then, that Janeane confirmed it’s her voice on Air America’s Breakroom Live with Maron and Seder.
“I do it for the money,” she told them. “I don’t do it for the love of dieting.”
For someone who’s always been so unabashedly outspoken, I can see how it seems strange that she’d lend herself to something like this anonymously (at least in the beginning). Why not show her face and tell people, “Hey, don’t just eat because you’re bored. That’s what worked for me,” or whatever. Of course, the job was probably just for voice over work and she didn’t have a choice not to show herself, or maybe, she remembered saying, “I absolutely realize that a celebrity spokesperson is not ideal.”
What do you think about Janeane Garofalo doing voiceover ads for Weight Watchers? Does it bother you?