Episode 7059 – Amy Farrell

Colbert Report Episode Guide 150pxEPISODE NUMBER: 7059 (May 4, 2011)
GUESTS: Amy Farrell
SEGMENTS: Terrorists: They’re Just Like Us!, Stephen Searches for Shared Bathroom Key, Movies That Are Destroying America – Saving America Edition
VIDEOS: Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Has anyone else noticed the new titles in the opening sequence? Monday it was “Win Laden”. It’s changed again to “Word Hurdler”.

So glad juicy gossip lover Stephen can bring us “all the 411 on Mr. 911.” Glam on the Lam? Maybe the worst product placement ever for Nestlé, Coca-cola, and Pepsi. And poor Princes Beatrice – well, I guess she’s not that poor if she can spend that much money on a hat like that. film Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets 2017 online streaming

And thank you, Stephen, for reminding us that Mississippi and Alabama should get a little media attention. US Zoners can text “REDCROSS” to 90999 to make a $10 donatino; everyone can go to redcross.org to make a donation and find out how you can help.

Now… I’ll admit I saw the “I have to pee” coming with the flood description, but the whole Late Show / TCR shared bathroom sequence was truly from left field – just how I like it. Was that really shown on Letterman? Adding Ms Couric brushing her teeth was inspired. Yea… and text “REDCROSS” to 90999 already.

I was happy to see a “Movies That Are Destroying America” segment – it’s been too long and I always enjoy “Stephen’s” take on the latest from Hollywood. I’ll admit, every time I see or here about the upcoming Captain America movie, I think of Stephen inheriting the shield. And the All-American message? “If you’re a skinny kid who wants to serve his county, get jacked-up on steroids!” And we all know that Stephen is an Ayn Rand fan… the revisionist viewings of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life” and “Star Wars’ were brilliant. And really, John Aglialoro can follow his own philosophy and stop whining already. Does this mean a lower budget for the sequel?

As an “Extra-American” (I actually prefer Rubenesque American), I was looking forward to interview with Amy Farrell. I liked her previous appearance on the show and thought she did a great job of sticking to her point, no matter how Stephen twisted around everything she said. He really did get on a roll there, culminating in “Grover Cleveland is gay?!?”

I wish Prof. Farrell had talked a bit more about why people feel so strongly about others being overweight. If you have never been overweight, you’d be surprised at what perfect strangers are compelled to say to someone who carries a few extra pounds. For example, I once had someone at a bus stop come up and give me personal advice on exercise and nutrition. I returned the favour by giving him the business card of a psychologist friend of mine.

What’s your take on ‘Fat Shame’? Be sure to vote for your favorite segment and tell us in the comments what tickled your funny bone.

Movies Destroying America - Saving America Edition


  1. colbaby says:

    What a creative way to get people to donate. My family lives in TN right along the Mississippi River, and they’ve had a lot of flooding. But nothing like what AL and MS have experienced. Glad to see Stephen and his weak bladder doing their part.

    While not an “extra-American,” I appreciate Amy Ferrell’s take on the issue. Our obsession with weight has been out of control for some time. It’s not even enough to be average sized anymore; images of unnaturally thin women are plastered all over tv and magazines as the ideal body type. Calm down, people! Have a cookie.

    And I have to commend Jon on his 40 minute long interview with David Barton. That had to have been exhausting, but was a great reminder of what a smarty pants he is.

  2. I thought the Letterman/Couric thing was completely out of left field, too! I kept wondering how it was all going to end up tying in, but there was never really any explanation. I switched over to Letterman in the middle of it, for a moment, to see if the broadcasts synced. . .they did not. . .but when Stephen went to commercial, I flipped back. Sure enough, they showed Jeter’s mansion, which led directly to Stephen’s showing up, looking for the bathroom key. They ACTUALLY showed it! After he left, Letterman had this moment of “. . .what?!” and then he launched right back into his joke about the bin Laden compound. As far as I know, there was no explanation. I changed back in time to watch Stephen come back from commercial.

    Crazy times.

  3. luvtcr says:

    Fun cross-over on Letterman! It aired just as we saw it. The Late Show twitterfeed had a teaser and I switched over to CBS during the TCR commercial and out walked Stephen. Love seeing the hosts get along- though, I’m sure if desperate Stephen could have used his BFFSM’s potty at NBC. Unexpected and fun.

  4. Mr. Arkadin says:

    “….I returned the favour by giving him the business card of a psychologist friend of mine.”

    You are awesome Jennie! :D

  5. I nearly fell out of my seat completely stupefied during the Stephen-Looks-For-Shared-Bathroom-Key segment. TOTALLY did not see any of that coming! First Stephen does a great job bringing attention to areas in need (much like what he did for Haiti and Japan), then he goes on a flood-themed rant which culminates in him realizing he needs to go to the bathroom, THEN he walks away and WALKS ONTO Dave’s set, gets the key, walks back, and opens the bathroom door only to find Katie Couric brushing her teeth (I honestly did not know who it was until I saw the tags on CN.com. I’m also surprised that Stephen didn’t say “I beg your toilet”), then walks back to Letterman Studios to give the key back to Dave. Only in TCR can all kinds of crazy cross-over/surreal situations happen, which makes me happy. :) And I’m sorry, but whenever I re-listen to “Stephen” saying “It’s just been Bin Laden, Bin Laden, this stupid hat, Bin Laden”, I start laughing really hard because that phrase sounds funny out loud and it really is such a bizarre choice of a hat. My apologies to Princess Beatrice.

    I liked Amy Farrell and felt that she made some very important points about our obsession with weight, especially in public image. I dealt with weight issues from middle school to college and only recently have come to (almost) peace with my body, which is a comfortable curvy median between Martha Plimpton and Christina Hendricks, but it’s sad how much media and industries like high fashion and such still place lots of emphasis on thin/skinny bodies as being the “ideal body shape” and plastering these photo-shopped images all over the place. I agree with colbaby that we should all relax and have a cookie…maybe two of them that are stuffed with Americone Dream so that it’s a delicious patriotic ice cream sandwich (as long as we keep our indulgences in check)! What she had to say about different body types and parts representing different areas of our personality was really interesting, and of course Stephen’s comebacks at her remarks were wonderfully witty at lightning-fast speed.

  6. Mmm. As an academic (I know, I know, shocking revelation, right?), I can understand the desire to pursue topical and interesting questions – especially since shame and stigma does feature pretty heavily in one of my areas of interest. (Job’s story. Religion really does a number on us.)

    And, of course, Farrell is a really nice example of the other kind of academic, opposite Grayling – able to think quickly on her feet, and clearly used of dealing with 101-level students (as those were the kinds of questions Stephen was lobbing at her).

    That said, I thought that her equation of “fats rights” with African American civil rights, and that as a justification for how a skinny gal like her can and should be writing about fat stigma and fats rights, disturbing. Yes, we have unattainable beauty ideals (we always do; we humans have some issues there), and these beauty ideals are unfairly focused on women, largely as a means towards control – and there is clearly a very large segment of the male population that wants to control women’s bodies.

    It’s not the same thing as slavery or civil rights, though, and I think equating the two does a disservice for both, and ends up alienating people on both sides.

    I realize that she wanted to focus on her message of stigma and shame to control the body, but in doing so, she managed to convey the idea that health is not an issue. The problem is, we know that weight and health are issues that are linked together – not fat and health, but weight and health. As she correctly pointed out, it’s actually often more dangerous to be underweight than overweight. But that difference in health outcomes balances out when you go into severely underweight/anorexic and severely overweight/morbidly obese – then health tanks on both sides of the curve. Just like it’s a bad idea to push the idea that being excessively skinny means being healthy, it’s a bad idea to enforce an idea that being excessively overweight is *not* unhealthy.

    What we need to do is decouple the notions of health and weight, and this is where stigma really comes in to play – the American psyche has been heavily influenced by the Puritan ideal of good/godliness, which includes a reaction against fat because it’s at-that-time symbolism of excess, which Puritans frowned on (as they did everything else of interest or fun). And there I think Farrell is completely right – we have a lot of socially accepted stereotypes about what it means to be overweight, fat, morbidly obese, and those stereotypes of slovenly, lazy, immoral idiots do need to be addressed and debunked. But I get uncomfortable when any researcher focuses so strongly on one message that another gets lost, or is even incorrectly promoted.

    And wow did I get soap-boxy. Sorry about that. :-)

    TL;DR version: I get uncomfortable when people make it possible to use their words to reinforce unhealthy attitudes, and as a person living with a disability, and on the fat side of things as well, I get irritated with the non-disabled, non-fat “playing ally.”

    • Ms. Singing News says:

      I Really Enjoyed Last Night’s Episode Of TCR I thought it was so funny Stephen going back and forth from CBS Studio and then searching for a bathroom key and just when he’s ready to open the bathroom door Katy Couric was in the bathroom brushing her teeth! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      I also liked it when he said quotation marks were little bunnies that was cute

      BTW. Does Stephen Colbert read people’s replies on the NO FACT Zone or is it just on COLBERTNATION.com?

    • That was an interesting read, Kelly. I too had an interest in Farrell’s interview, as a “Rubenesque American” (thanks Jennie, I’m totally stealing that). She hit on some good points about the stigma attached to being fat, but she seemed to do it at the expense of making any point at all about the link between weight and health. It’s certainly wrong to make stereotypical assumptions about someone because of what size clothing they wear, but it’s just as wrong to ignore the fact that a fat person often isn’t a healthy person.

      Aside from the serious, yet entertaining interview (“Grover Cleveland is gay?!?” LOL), that totally ridiculous crossover segment was hilarious. I don’t think that baffled look on Dave’s face was completely an act. And I laughed pretty hard when Stephen said that Craig Ferguson had to fly out to NY to use the bathroom. I love all these late night crossovers, they’re fun!

  7. jbirdNZ says:

    OMG, is that fellow Kiwi Grant Bowler in that screencap with Stephen? Must banish family to watch episode!

  8. lockhart43 says:

    I love gossipy Stephen; I always crack up when he goes all “OMG! Did you hear the news?!” mode about certain news topics. And the Letterman/Couric bit was a nice, completely surprising way to show the Red Cross info and still make me laugh.

    Has it been so long since a “Movies Are Destroying America” segment that they finally had to update the graphic? Either way, I love that they continually have graphics end with an explosion. I would have an opinion about Ayn Rand, but I really don’t know anything about her, and have never read Atlas Shrugged. But I do know enough about it to know that those jokes Stephen made were absolutely hilarious.

    I was doing sit-ups when Stephen introduced Amy Farrell, and that is not a joke, but it is ironically funny. I really enjoyed the interview, too. But, to agree with Kelly and Ann, the only thing I wish Farrell had touched on, when they began talking about Americans becoming more and more overweight, was the fact that there is a difference between being overweight and being unhealthy. I am overweight, but I am a perfectly healthy person who eats right (and who has lost 35 lbs over the past year…but that’s neither here nor there :P) and takes care of herself. The problem I have with Americans being overweight is that there is a vast majority of them who are not healthy, and who develop health issues because of it, and a growing number of them are children who don’t know any better. But with that said, I do appreciate that Farrell focuses on the stigmas surrounding overweight women. I’m not saying the stigmas don’t apply to men – they absolutely do. Actually more so than a lot of people talk about. But I’ve been in Wal-Mart looking for clothes on more than one occasion. And it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to find flattering clothes in larger sizes. Because apparently I’m supposed to give up on dressing sexy when I decide to eat that extra donut, and it’s frustrating that that has become an accepted opinion in society.

    • I agree on the Amy Farrell interview. No one should be stigmatized, including the overweight, male or female, but by the same token we need to figure out why there has been such an extreme weight gain in the US in the past 30 years and what we need to do to address it; because it is unhealthy after all. I really felt Stephen was dropping character toward the end to try to address that a little.

      Personally I have a feeling that part of it is due to fast-food availability, along with TV, DVDs, computers…yes, I know I sound really old, but we just have so many temptations to stay at home now and not be active…and to sleep less which is also said now to lead to weight gain…things have changed and I think it’s a part of it.

      Oh and needless to say the Letterman/Katie Couric crossover for charity was priceless!

      • Actually, and sadly, one of the largest indicators of whether or not someone will become overweight or morbidly obese and experience health problems from it is income. Food politics is very much a class issue; the poorer the area, the less likely it is to have a source of produce (let alone inexpensive produce). It’s cheaper and more accessible to eat pre-packaged foods that contain empty and unhealthy calories than it is to eat from (as Michael Pollan describes) from the edges of the store. Especially since the advice to eat from the edges of a store assumes that those edges are full of fresh produce, milks, cheeses, healthy meats, and so on.

        It’s another aspect of Farrell’s interview and her correlation with fats rights to African American rights that I found disturbing, because these food deserts disproportionally affect African American families.

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