Hulu's Shrill is — hands down — the boldest, newest comedy to hit streaming services and it absolutely demands your attention. Based on Lindy West's sensational memoir Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, the show stars SNL's Aidy Bryant and is more than just another series promoting body positivity. In a world obsessed with Kardashian curves, kale and Kombucha diets, and Instagram models, Shrill doesn't waste time trying to incite laughter through typical body comparison jabs. Instead, the comedy goes further, reminding us how difficult it is to fit in a world that constantly tells us our physical existence is unfit for it.
Annie's self-improvement begins after she realizes she's let her negative body image ripple outward, affecting not only the way she feels about herself but also how others treat her. However, Annie's "strut" towards living her best life now isn't wrapped up in a sudden decision to change her physical appearance — or portrayed in some brief, unrealistic montage. Annie's growth, rather, is more realistic; it isn't a straight shot toward amazingness. It comes through in the subtle ways when Annie stands up for herself and when she falls back, indulging in old habits she's grown accustomed to. But, hey, that's the reality of self-improvement. It comes with regressions and failed attempts at trying to do better once we know better.
While we root for Annie and want her to understand she's worth everything she desires —including common human decency — Shrill forces us to take note: We, too, deserve the same. Shrill invites us to pause, reflect, and hold up a mirror to ourselves. In honor of this must-see series, here are five moments that inspire us to reclaim our time, speak up for ourselves no matter what, and tell ourselves we absolutely deserve better than what we're getting.
1. We Deserve The Front Door
A walk of shame shouldn't be shameful.
Ryan (Luka Jones) forces Annie to exit through the back door after hooking up, and we nearly lost our minds. What's worse? This isn't the first time it's happened to her! Unfortunately, watching Annie climb over a wire fence — surrounded by tall grass and weeds — is just one example of the treatment she readily accepts that gets our blood boiling.
Later, Annie learns she's pregnant because the morning after pill only works on women who weigh less than 175 lbs. Despite Annie's best efforts, Ryan is impossible to reach. Fortunately for everyone involved — including us — this is the straw that breaks Annie's back. She finally musters up enough courage to confront Ryan and uses the front door! Is Ryan shocked to see Annie at his door? You bet, especially because she shows up after he's ignored all of her texts. What makes this moment extra delicious is that Annie doesn't ask for permission. She walks in, demands to be seen and, more importantly, heard.
2. Try And Try Again
If you want to do something, do it.
Annie wants to write articles for The Weekly Thorn, the news company she works for, but her boss Gabe (John Cameron Mitchell) doesn't believe she's qualified. In fact, Gabe believes Annie's millennial status is the root of all evil, causing her to feel entitled to things without having to work for them. But, when a spot opens for a food review at a strip club, Annie steps up and asks to write it. Gabe denies Annie's request, but ultimately her persistence wins him over.
Though Annie's piece isn't the salacious strip club review Gabe wanted, it turns out to be a thoughtful human interest story and a hit for The Weekly Thorn. The success of Annie's first article proves to Annie that her opinions are valid and worthy of someone's attention.
3. Get Uncomfortable
It's okay to start off as a wallflower, just don't end that way.
With Annie's first article under her belt, she finds herself wanting to do something big. When she discovers there's a Fat Babe Pool Party going on to celebrate plus-size women, she wants in! Annie wants to make this her next story for The Weekly Thorn. The only problem is, once there, Annie closes up.
Surrounded by women who are comfortable in their own skin intimidates Annie. Though this space invites her to wear the two piece she's always wanted to wear, Annie stays covered up. Slowly but surely, she embraces the pool party and all the women around her. She learns confidence isn't something that comes to you all at once. With every new face Annie meets, she gathers enough courage to join the party and have the time of her life.
4. Find Your Tribe
Family is one thing, but your tribe is something else.
Annie and her best friend Fran (Lolly Adefope) prove their friendship is one for the ages! As Annie embraces the person she's becoming, she realizes she's always had a support system in her BFF. Fran is Annie's tribe. Not only do they share the same passion for cupcakes, they give each other the space they need to learn from their mistakes. After Annie finds out she's pregnant, Fran helps her get back on track without judgement. Fran even throws Annie a party to celebrate her first article.
Their friendship reminds us just how important it is to seek out people who will love, support, and celebrate you for all you're worth. People who will show up for you not out of obligation, but because your connection is rooted in something so deep the bond is unshakable. When you can't see the good in yourself, your tribe is there to reignite your spark and remind you just how special you are.
5. Trolls Will Be Trolls
As the old proverb goes: haters gonna hate.
Annie commits the ultimate sin by doing what every writer knows not to do: read the comments section. There, she finds a user who has made it his mission to burst her bubble. Rather than focusing on the content of Annie's article, the internet troll focuses on Annie's weight. As Annie's newfound confidence begins to wane, the comments left by her troll get increasingly worse. It gets so bad, Annie enlists a tech-savvy person at The Weekly Thorn to hunt them down.
Is Annie going to kill her troll? Not necessarily. Does Annie's troll know how hard it was for her to gain a modicum of confidence? Of course not. That's because nobody ever stops to think just how hard the person right next to them is also working to try to make their life better. But, in the end, Annie learns the ultimate lesson: What others think about you is none of your damn business! And, after breaking a car window, Annie's finally able to slip on her metaphorical boots and start walking.
You can catch Shrill on Hulu now.