Is It Okay to Find Glee's Plus-Sized Character, Lauren Zizes, Gross?

Last night was Glee’s “Sexy” episode, marking the return of substitute teacher Holly Holliday (Gwyneth Paltrow), who, like a kinky Mary Poppins, floated into McKinley High to verse the cast on the ABCs of the birds and the bees. Along the way, we were given more sex-themed plot lines than there are diagrams in the Kama Sutra: Penis-phobic guidance counselor Emma was afraid of her husband’s “Hose Monster,” icy Santana wished she knew how to quit tonsil-hockey partner Brittany; Blaine enlisted Kurt’s dad to talk to him about the fundamentals of gay sex; Quinn and Finn had makeup sex; Rachel yammered on about something probably sex-related, I think; and Puck and Lauren Zizes attempted to make a sex tape.

Wait—what?

Yes, the hormonal Puck and his large-and-in-charge obsession spent the episode plotting to film their own sex tape, which Zizes thinks will rocket her to a Kardashian level of fame (a reality show and fragrance). Puck, who was hoping to finally “motorboat those twins,” reluctantly signed on. There was something really gross about this plot to me. And so I had to ask myself: Why? Was it any grosser than any of the other romantic entanglements between the more conventionally attractive couples of Glee? Or was some kind of deep-seated prejudice I harbor against fat people bubbling up? I mean, as far as I know, I have no issue with fat people, and there are plenty of skinny people out there who I would prefer not to see naked. So why does Puck and Lauren’s relationship always make me want to hurl?

Let’s examine the evidence.

Zizes has been hailed by feminists groups (well, by Bust Magazine) as a new kind of plus-sized heroine—an obese female role model who for once doesn’t hate herself. On the contrary, she thinks she’s the bee’s knees. When Puck serenaded her with Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls,” she rebuffed him, saying, “I look like America looks, and just like America, I need more than just a song to get my juices flowing.”

Right, well. I guess it would be hard to argue with that. But Zizes isn’t just a heavy, supremely confident girl. She’s also extremely violent. She’s on the wrestling team, speaks regularly of injuring Puck, and, in one hallway smackdown against the jealous Santana, proved she was a lot more than just bark. And you did catch that part about Zizes wanting to be famous for famous’ sake, right? That she was willing to give herself up to Puck purely in pursuit of a reality show and fragrance line? There’s a word for people who do things like that in the real world: It’s “assh*le.”

I think what’s going on here is that the writers of Glee see, in the hypersexualized and pugnacious dialogue between Lauren and Puck, a way of earning some of the shock-laughs that have become Glee’s calling card. But at the same time, they want their Zizes cake, too, with the preachy series turning the character into a role model for the overweight and downtrodden. Couldn’t they then be accused of both using, and hiding behind, Zizes’s size (or, more specifically, that of Ashley Fink, the capable actress who portrays her) to serve their own conflicting goals? I think they could.

So there you have it. I don’t think Zizes is gross because she’s fat. I think she’s gross because she’s an assh*le.


Do you like the character of Lauren Zizes? What did you think of Tuesday's safe-sex episode?

Comments (69)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
This makes me sick. What's the difference between Santana and Lauren? They're both equally violent and they both brag about it. They both speak their minds, their both bullies, and they're both FAR too sure of themselves. Yet, Santana seems to be one of the most beloved characters on the show. I love both Santana and Lauren, but I don't see a whole lot of difference in personality between the two.

To riley_cooperman,
Are you serious? She had an unhealthy obsession with Tator Tots (touching on the unhealthiness), she tried to use unhealthy weight loss drinks that made her vomit after meals for the Cheerios (eating disorders), both of which were resolved. Either way, being overweight doesn't always correlate with bad health. To greysncis2010- The way she's treating Puck? If you ask me, it's high time he got a piece of his own medicine!

To vitalygalubo or WHATEVER your name is, (I'm not going back because you're comment will piss me off all over again)- Every single person has the right to feel amazing in their own body. Not only that, but it doesn't matter what you think, because you are no higher than anybody who is overweight. I just, I can't with you. The only thing I can use to describe your entire comment is "ignorant". You obviously know very little about being overweight, health, addictions, and having any self pride in personality instead of looks. It's sickening.
More+
Reply
Flag
Just found this article. While I like Ashley the person. I absolutely HATE Lauren. She is a bully. Do I find her character gross yes! But it has more to do with her wardrobe and actions than her size. Mercedes is the role model for big girl. She is class not crass. She also had chemistry with Puck which Lauren doesnt.
Reply
Flag
I think show is saying it is ok to be unhealthy and unfit and obese. I think even the song last night from Mercedes was saying, I don't care what you think, I am going to look the way I want but they are ignoring the problem.
How about a plot where they are trying to lose weight over the course of the season?
1
Reply
Flag
I agree with you. I also don't like the character. I think her character's obnoxious. People can find their confidence without putting other people down, her treatment of Puck is not ok.
Reply
Flag
I agree, she is an assh*le. In fact, apart from a few, all the girls are assh*les, Especially Rachel.
1
Reply
Flag
Britney, Tina and Mercedes are not assholes, britney does act mean but she is also very innocent. I fucking hate Rachel she is a spcheating slag. And so annoying she steals everyone else's solos. She isn't the best singer out of that group but she acts like she is.
2
Reply
Flag
I guess i'm not seeing what you do because I really enjoy the Lauren/Puck storyline and I think the characters are fabulous in themselves. I can't take anything too seriously on this show, its a send up of every character type. You say you have nothing against 'fat people' yet just about every character on that show has glaring flaws but you only single Lauren out....hmmm Me thinks you should look a little more honestly about what you wrote.
Reply
Flag
It's a show whose sole purpose is to play up stereotypes and work with extreme examples of certain "characters". I actually like Lauren. All of the characters have a over the top negative side just like all of them have some vulnerability. They've taken bullies like Santana and Dave Karofsky (who are no better or worst then Lauren is as far as bullying goes) and made the vulnerable and humanized to make them redeemable. That's just the way it works. Her character wanting to be famous for famous sake? That's pretty much half the club. I mean they all want to be famous on some level or another. Rachel is obsessed with it. Sure she has a better voice and is talented but still equally if not more obsessed to an unhealthy degree.



Even Lauren with Puck is amusing. Why? Because they're similar! Both mostly arrogant individuals with a violent streak. Both of them talk down to other people to make themselves feel better...shall I continue? I don't feel bad for Puck in this relationship that they have because he's done the same thing to other people, he's pretty much the exact same way and wouldn't take it personally himself, and honestly that's the only way you get a guy like Puck to actually respect you. She's beating him at his own game. I think that's part of what makes her praised as representing feminism. She knows how to get down and dirty like the guys, she has "guy" like qualities, and the responses she gets are sort of sexist. She's an overweight, female version of Puck and yet she gets a negative response. It's something to think about.
More+
1
Reply
Flag
Mercedes is better than that slam Rachel, I hate glee now it is a piece of crap
Reply
Flag
Why is it okay for us to simply label a character such as Santana "icy", yet call Lauren an assh*le? For me, Santana hasn't had a redeeming character development scenario UNTIL her almost sudden revelation about her sexuality, so yes, +1 to Santana, but did we forget Lauren overcoming her nerves to sing in front of the club? Sure, it wasn't an extremely serious scene nor did it last long, but it was her human moment. She sticks up for herself, something we're not used to seeing a fat girl do. She's supposed to slink back in her box and not get in anybody's way, right? God forbid she has a personality, let alone an abrasive one.

How could she 'give herself up' to Puck? Have we even established that she's a virgin? She's openly very sexual, we've known that since the whole seven minutes in heaven thing. Saying she's violent is both correct and incorrect I think - on one hand, she's a competitive wrestler, took part in a smackdown with Santana (who was very adamant about fighting back if you recall, not much of a victim). Puck however, has thrown around violent comments since day dot, thrown numerous kids into dumpsters, locked them in portapotties, and probably a lot more. He's also the token man slut, you know, the pool cleaning business, his numerous conquests of MILFs? Why does that not ruffle any feathers? The point in Lauren and Puck becoming an item is that they're almost completely the same. The only difference is that Lauren is fat.
More+
Reply
Flag
i agree with you seth i dont like her at all :(

her character is so over the top like even im not that full of my self and confident and like im a average weight or whatever

when she goes on about how amazing and sexy she is it just makes you pay attention to her flaws because its just so annoyingly fake !!
Reply
Flag
No. Justify it all you want but you are simply anti-fat, like most of the internet. You can try and try to find rationalizations, but it's always gonna come back to the word "gross". You don't say that about attractive but assholish people. You say that because "omg she has fat rolls!" and you know it. Your denial only makes the truth stronger.
1
Reply
Flag
Have to confess that the show is a Glee-uilty Pleasure, but the characters are all cartoons. When they talk (and squabble and plot) walking down that same school hallway, I'm reminded of the repetitive backgrounds of those cheaply-animated Hanna-Barbera afternoon programs I watched as a kid. Regressed and nicely dumbed down, I escape from reality for the duration of an episode.... but then, pot does that for me too.
Reply
Flag
Obviously everyone hates Zizes. It's obvious that she's fake, (acting like her body's sexy, haha right...) There are guys like puck who wouldn't mind being with a girl like that, because they're horny.

I have 2 fat siblings. And yes, being fat is NOT normal. It shows that you are weak, just like a drug addiction, they can't stop eating food. Some people's metabolism is screwed up, so yes, a little bit over weight isn't a big deal. but when people let themselves go like that, it is. "I look like america" As an american, I resent that. I do not think that it should be normal to be fat. Not only is it unhealthy but it is disgusting to look at. Plus, she does over compensate,, she's rude, violent, and she's in fantasy land acting like everyone wants her. When she told puck that she doesn't want a one night stand, that sounds like every fat and ugly girl I know.. She wants to take advantage of the one guy that likes her and turn it into a relationship because she doesn't have any options. She's acting like her body's all that when everyone else in the show and audience clearly doesn't agree. Let's be realistic people. I heard someone say something about it being natural, no it is not. Bad hygeine is natural then, since we all sweat, etc. And yes, it is gross and so is she. Half of it is because she's fat.
More+
Reply
Flag
Yikes. All this gratuitous sexuality is why I stopped watching Glee back in season one. This show makes me so mad I can't even listen to the music anymore.
Reply
Flag
Sounds like I lost a Glee episode worth watching(or hating)...

And yeah, most characters are just plain unrealistic, it's like they are background for the shock value laughter and don't even get me started on drama queen Kurt, (s)he is the reason I stopped watching the show, what a cry baby.
Reply
Flag
All the characters in Glee are over-the-top and larger then life. They're also not that realistic. Of course its okay, to hate on her character, they're all a bunch of jerks. I think the sex tape issue was to show how teens process sex. Lauren and Puck don't know how to be intimate, so they're doing what they think they should, getting famous, by having a sex tape. The show isn't that good for over-analysis, because its got a lot of holes, but in the end, Lauren Zizes isn't a "token" she's a full character, and like all the other kids at this school they're bad habits lay the foundations for Glees preachy platform. Love it or hate it
Reply
Flag
As a larger adult woman who enjoys the show glee, I can tell you that the fact that Lauren is overweight isnt what turns me off about her. What turns me off is that she is a bully, plain and simple. She boosts her self esteem by making others feel less of themselves. I wouldnt care if she was size 6 or size 26, the fact of the matter is she is NOT a role model I would want for my kids. I have3 kids who watch glee with me, and we talk about issues like self esteem, and healthy body care, and bullying and they dont like her either. I think the most important thing though is to take a show like this, that exaggerates (to some extent) the stereotypes in society, and use it as a tool to talk to our kids/parents about the issues... THAT is what will make the characters of this show good role models whether their particular impact is positive or negative. Because talking about why what they do is OK or not OK will help our kids make better choices for themselves.
Reply
Flag
I get that she's not a likeable character, but you obviously wouldn't find any of this "gross" or "hurl"-worthy if it weren't for her appearance.
Reply
Flag
umm.... what other show has an ACTUAL plus sized actor(not someone who's a size 12; size 12 is NOT fat) or an openly gay character? really? she's a role model!
Reply
Flag
I tottaly agree with the opinion expressed in the article. It's a classic example of the opposite racism: instead of portraying the typical chubby-goodhearted girl which everybody loves but she has issues with her looks, Glee writers portray a big girl with horrible character. So, tagging is what they do...they say a fat-overweight person can either be sweet or horrible. A horrible person is horrible no matter what. I dislke her not only for being stupid and mean but also because she promotes violence as means towards self-eteem. And just to set things straight..It bothers me her being overweight but not because she is overweight but because being overweight is being considered good in this show..well it's not, it's unhealthy people..natural but unhealthy..
Reply
Flag
I dont know if its because she\'s fat or what, but she\'s absolutely gross to me, I cant stand the character and I fail to understand why is she getting so much on-screen time. Its so ANNOYING!
Reply
Flag
I agree. I don't mind that she's a big girl, but everything she does is annoying and offensive; and no one can say so or they'll be called out for being prejudice. Remember when she actually bit someone due to a Robert Pattinson obsession? Oh, and how she's always ripping on Puck for no reason, even though he actually treats her like a human being? Mercedes is also a big girl but she manages not to be an annoying skank and an actual enjoyable character. Lauren is just awful. She's annoying and rude and I truly think the show would be better without her.
Reply
Flag
*Zizes
Reply
Flag
I really dislike Lauren Zizez. She's so offputting, offensive and annoying. I don't understan Puck's obsession with her. I want her gone...
Reply
Flag
It\'s unbelievable how Glee is being so badly reviewed on this forum. I can\'t stand your review. It\'s so shallow. Do you get the variety of messages that Glee passed on each episode? No, instead you come here and start making idiotic comments about how Lauren is gross because she's and assh*le to Puck. Seriously? If you call Lauren gross for being an **** then I guess you should have to call Sue, Santana gross too. I can\'t stand this stupid and shallow reviews. Does anyone not see the message of this episode? Of all the episodes? What is the most special thing in Glee for you? I would really like to know. Don\'t pretend to be a fan of Glee. You clearly are not. You know what? I would appreciate if you wrote and article about the things you like on Glee. But it\'s more fun to say the bad things right?
Reply
Flag
@ lovey: how, in any way, does Seth imply that he likes all the other characters? This article makes no mention of them, which does NOT implicitly mean that he likes them--this simply points out an interesting problem with a particular character. Your assumption that he's prejudiced toward other characters simply because he didn't point out their character flaws is illogical.
Reply
Flag
Of course you can think she's gross. It may not be right but thats human nature.
1
Reply
Flag
I understand that you don\'t hate her for being fat but I have to call you a hypocrate for not only writing this article about how much you don\'t like her but yet you like all the other skinner, and just as mean people on the show. Santana is a **** she is hot as hell but still a **** She uses both Brittney and Puck for make-out sessions, She slept with Finn just to make Rachal jealous and stir up trouble in Glee club and she also throw that back in her face. What about Sue who just wants to destroy a club full of low self esteem singers because they too a small portion (i talking about season one) of her over-sized cheerios budget. Both Santana and Sue have been extremely violent to other students for violence sake (Sue\'s hallway outburst, Santana fighting Quinn in the hallway 2x01). I feel like you make a great point, I think Lauren is just ugly and the show could have hired a pretty plus size girl to portray her (espcially since they are doing nothing with Mercedes this season) We all know Glee uses people to throw mean jabbs at other character but then have them have their sympathy moments (like Santana last night). Also, throw Puck in their too, he slept with Quinn and he was Finn\'s best friend. Then he even try to get her to leave Finn, what type of likeable character move it that. Sorry I wrote so much but I think you are being unfair to her character because she is fat. I think it is some deep rooted prejudice as you said.
More+
Reply
Flag
i also find lauren annoying just because she tries so hard to be different. and @modybuns i think it's because we all expect sue to be gross and awful because that's her role in the show. and lauren showing up and acting the same way or close to it just seems odd. and gwyneth can sing!!! and the talk between kurt and his dad was really cute, kurt and blaine are pretty much the only reason i still watch glee
Reply
Flag
Finally, someone actually said what everyone is thinking: Lauren Zizes is just totally gross in actions, verbage, attitude and, if looks are telling, lack of hygiene-yuk! This story line is beyond lame, and is, in a word, disgusting. Gag!!!!!!!!!!!

Glee is now off my viewing list FOREVER. Enough is enough...
Reply
Flag
Someone that I find gross: Will Shue. Has anyone caught his facial expressions when glee girls are shaking their booty on stage? Yuck
Reply
Flag
@modybuns....nono don't worry, I think Sue is gross too. Anyways this episode was god awfull. Gwyneth can't sing (unless you autotune her). And although Naya Rivera rocked her lines in the ep, there is really no need for a second gay storyline. It seems like the writers just don't know what to do with her...? Puck and Lauren are not a believable couple at ALL. I know the writers are trying to be witty and funny with some of these plotlines, and honestly that is what attracted me to glee in the first place, but it seems nowadays they are running out of ideas and it really shows. Its too bad because Glee used to be a great show
Reply
Flag
I am fine with her being confident. I actually loved the fight with Santana and the howl thing of her making Puck work in the relationship. But the whole thing with the sex tape and the wanting to be famous was a bit far into the realm of bad taste. She can be confident as a person without being like that. Sue on the other hand is supposed to be this way. She is supposed to be the extreme nutball in the show. Like I said, the rest of the episode, especially the parts with Kurt and Will were well done and are steps in the right direction.
Reply
Flag
What you should really be saying is you find her nasty. Why is she gross just because she's unpleasant.
Reply
Flag
I love this hypocrisy. How come Sue doesn't get this kind of crap from anybody? She is also rude, violent, tried to take down Glee countless times, threw a man down the stairs, ruined Christmas. I suppose she shouldn't be called gross since she is in fact, THIN?
Reply
Flag
I don't like the character of Zizes at all. I thought Kurt's father's sex talk was very well written.
And Gwyneth Paltrow CAN sing!
Reply
Flag
This article seems to imply there is something wrong with finding people gross because they are fat. There's nothing wrong with that at all. Obesity IS gross, it's extremely unhealthy. It's funny that some people don't see any problem with judging annorexic models for being too thin, or junkies for screwing themselves up with drugs, but feel the need to defend and empower fat people. fat people on tv are always glorified as 'real' representations of people in america, like that's a good thing. all that says is that america is an extremely unhealthy nation. that's not something that should be celebrated. bottom line, obesity is gross. i don't watch this show by the way.
Reply
Flag
She's a fun character, but even in the farcical/not-quite-real world of Glee, her and Puck together is preposterous. Anyone who's been to high school knows there's no way a guy like Puck would ever give a girl like Lauren the time of day.
Reply
Flag
i dont like her and puck cuz i want him with quinn but otherwise i enjoy her character, i think she's badass.
and i think the episode had many more stuff going out worthy of a talk, like naya riveras preformance and story. maybe you should focous more on the good stuff. just saying
Reply
Flag
not liking at all
Reply
Flag
I really dislike Lauren Zizes' character but I don't think her size is the issue. There are many over-sized actors on TV whom I find very appealing. Melissa McCarthy is a case in point. She is a delight to watch. Zizes on the other had has absolutely no on screen spark. For me she is missing the 'it' factor. Not only that, she doesn't act, dance or sing that well and she is a nasty character. What is to like?
Reply
Flag
DygitalNinja: That's exactly what I thought when Zizes became a member of the Glee club! All of the Glee club members are supposed to be misfits in one way or another (why all of them look stunning is of course a mystery). They all have a "role" in the club. Mercedes is supposed to be the fat girl. So what is her role now when that part has been taken away from her?
Reply
Flag
I just hate this show (I am very sorry if I offend the fans), just, all the plots, just like desperate housewife, seems like done by a bunch of guys over a coffee break
Reply
Flag
Yeah, she kinda bugs me too but I haven't exactly been loving the show recently either.
Reply
Flag
I love the character! Each and every one of the glee characters are assh*ole's in some was or another. There's Sue...enough said. Mr. Shooster who freaked out and made out with someone else when he heard his girlfriend was a virgin. Fin who thinks it's perfectly fine to bounce back and forth between two girls. Rachel - who's pretty much insane. Puck/Santana/Britney who want to "do" everyone they see. Mercedes - who basically said black people are the only ones who could sing soul music (racism goes both ways people) And Artie who dumped his girlfriend because she didn't have a speech impediment??? Yeah - Lauren is crazy - but no more than the rest of them. That's what makes Glee...Glee. I think it's hilarious that Puck wants her and she's the only one he can't get. Plus, as crazy as it is to want to get famous from making a sex tape - no one can come close to Rachel Barry's craziness for fame. So, in close: love the show and love Lauren.
Reply
Flag
Doesn't the Glee Club already have a confident plus sized member that isn't morbidly fat and a complete jerk? This Puck storyline has been getting on my nerves. There is no way this guy would be working so hard to screw this shrewish walrus of a woman.
Reply
Flag
I feel like this is an excessive treatment for a joke typical of glee
Reply
Flag
All of those who seem not to like the role the actress is playing wants her to be nice, jolly, willing to do what others demand. Rather than being a teenager finding herself, as a wrestler she is able to face boys as equals, making how she treats Puck work. NO no, writers you have it all wrong. Slam her to the mat make sure she understands that there is nothing in her life she should feel good about. Just in case she should forget for one second, how many reasons we will come up with, to explain why it is right to hurt her.
Reply
Flag
While i like the fact that she is confident, I sometimes think she goes too far. As for the rest of the episode, I actually thought it was one of the better ones in terms of character with few exceptions. For once Will was an actual teacher. Granted, his methods were a bit off, but he was still trying to teach the kids what they needed to know. I also liked that he was moving on from Emma which is a big step up from the Rocky Horror episode. Santana's revelation was interesting and I really think they played it well. I like Britney with Artie but I could see there being some problems down the line. I do think that they are going a bit backwards with Quinn as a Character.
Reply
Flag
I get what you're saying about the Zizes character being an a-hole. As for the rest of the episode, I'm a little disappointed they went that route with Santana. Although, it provided the biggest laugh of the night for me: when Sam said to Artie, "I wish we were that close." LOL
Reply
Flag
Sure, Zizes has got some flaws, but honestly, I quite enjoy seeing her and Puck. I agree with the violence side, but I think that if she wasn't fat, people wouldn't talk so much about it.
Reply
Flag
Load More Comments

Like TV.com on Facebook