If you've already binged the new season of "Queer Eye" on Netflix and are looking for a new show to watch, you need to get yourself a Hulu account (or login if you already have one) and watch the new TV show "Shrill," based on the book of essays by Lindy West.
The show stars "Saturday Night Live's" Aidy Bryant as Annie, a calendar editor at Portland's alt-weekly newspaper -- where her editor doesn't take her feminist-leaning and body positive articles seriously -- all the while, dating a guy who doesn't give Annie the time of day she deserves.
The six episodes of "Shrill" tell a beautiful and warm story about a young woman who was programmed to take up as little space as possible, learn how to take up all of the space, and become unapologetic about it. Here are five reasons why you need to be watching this TV show.
1. The show is body positive.
One thing that "Shrill" does not hide from is the fact that Annie is, well, fat.
In the opening sequence in the first episode, Annie is given unwanted advice about her weight from a personal trainer in a coffee shop: "There is a small person inside of you dying to get out," the trainer whispers to Annie as she grabs her wrist. Annie just smiles and shakes her head, not telling the woman how she really feels, and instead lets the trainer get away with it. Annie is constantly getting stepped on by the people in her life (besides her amazing roommate -- more on her later), and it's incredible to watch Annie begin to love herself.
West and Bryant have both said that the show isn't entirely about being fat, which is incredibly true. Regardless of anyone's weight, it's hard not to relate to the other things that are going on in Annie's life -- like parents not fully understanding her, or having a boss who doesn't believe in her.
2. Aidy Bryant shines as the main character.
Bryant embodies the character of Annie, and it's no surprise, since Bryant was involved with the creation of the show. Bryant co-wrote every episode, along with West and the showrunner, Ali Rushfield, so many of the things that Annie goes through on the show were real-life experiences from both Bryant and West.
Besides being brilliant at writing the show, Bryant is just a joy to watch on screen. The veteran "SNL" cast member has no problem going from sketch comedy to a dramedy that's filled with such high highs and low lows. You can't help but giggle and smile when anything good happens to Annie because Bryant is so fun to watch, and when Annie is dealt a devastating blow, you believe Bryant has felt that same sadness. If this is an indication of what we can expect from Bryant's post-"SNL" career, then sign us up.
3. The supporting cast is wonderful.
Annie's best friend and roommate, Fran, is the wonderful shining light in her life. Played brilliantly by Lolly Adefope, Fran is the only person in Annie's life who she can confide in. In return, Fran is brutally honest to Annie, but still allows her to make her own mistakes.
Annie's parents are also a joy, especially her mom, who is played by another "SNL" alum, Julia Sweeney. Annie's mom is filled with all the best intentions, but some of the things she does for Annie, like buying her nasty diet foods, are more damaging to Annie than good.
Annie's personal journey is at the heart of this show, but her relationship to her friends, family and potential boyfriends give this show the legs that it needs to get viewers even more invested. Will Annie finally break up with Ryan, the guy she's dating who constantly hurts her feelings? We'll have to wait and see.
4. Annie's editor is sort of based off Dan Savage.
If you're familiar with the show's source material, West's "Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman," reveal West had a complicated relationship with her editor when she worked at Seattle's alt-weekly, "The Stranger." That editor was writer and activist Dan Savage. According to West, there is currently no beef between the two, but West was not shy in her memoir about how Savage shamed overweight people in many of his articles.
“Dan and I patched it up immediately and so there’s no conflict, but it’s funny that I’m answering questions about it,” West told Page Six.
In "Shrill," Annie is fat-shamed by her editor, who is played by the incredible John Cameron Mitchell, and West even admitted she was nervous that people would think the character was based on Savage. West has said in interviews that the character in "Shrill" is not based on Savage, but you can be the judge when you watch.
5. Annie battles internet trolls and it's an important conversation to have.
When Annie finally gets to write her first article at the fictional alt-weekly, she is immediately bombarded with the comments section at the bottom of her piece, which is mostly filled with compliments on her article. Unfortunately, there are also internet trolls who write incredibly hurtful and offensive things to Annie, and the comments begin to take a toll on her.
Annie's boss isn't open to deleting the comments on her article because he sees it as censorship and Annie sees it as harassment. This is the same conversation that surrounds cyberbullying today, and it's something that West wrote about extensively in her memoir. Bryant and West have both quit Twitter due to trolls attacking them, and it's an important conversation to see in a new TV show.
All six of "Shrill's" episodes are available for streaming on Hulu now. You can watch the trailer below.