Hulu recently made the announcement their popular series “Shrill” would return for a second season. To celebrate the good news, we are listing ten of the best moments from season one. “Shrill,” which stars Aidy Bryant and is based on the book “Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman” by Lindy West, centers on Annie (Aidy Bryant), a calendar editor at a local alt-weekly in Portland. It’s a remarkable and endlessly entertaining show about a woman gaining self-agency and body confidence.
Her First Assignment
Annie goes up to her boss while he’s talking to a co-worker and confidently asks to pitch an article about how the morning after pill fails plus-size women. After he turns down her pitch, she keeps persisting, and persisting, and making her voice known. Eventually, when a coworker mentions another coworker wouldn’t be available to write an upcoming food cover, she gets her chance. It’s a terrific moment of Annie standing up for herself in the workplace.
The Strip Club
When Annie gets an assignment to review the buffet at a local strip club, she’s just happy to be out in the field. But as she begins talking with the dancers, she is pleasantly surprised – and filled with gratitude. They are empowered and confident and proud of their bodies. They encourage Annie to gain more confidence and agency over her body. It is this conversation which inspires Annie’s writing and viral article.
Going After the Troll
As Annie’s articles go viral, a troll who goes by the username The Awesome (Beck Bennett) begins writing awful comments on her posts. To try and stop him, she enlists the help of her magazine’s IT support. Maureen (Jo Firestone) is a hilarious and underused character in the show, who finds the troll’s house. In her office, in the back of the magazine’s headquarters, viewers get the sense she quietly runs the show. Beck Bennett, Bryant’s fellow cast member on “SNL” delivers a brief but important performance here as well.
Overcoming An Obstacle
In the first episode, Annie finds out she is pregnant and decides to have an abortion. One interesting quality about “Shrill” is the episode doesn’t focus on Annie making the decision. Rather, the show includes it as just one component of a larger episode. After she has the procedure, she lies down with Fran on a couch by the window, with plants outside swaying in the wind. There is a feeling of calm, and later she begins to dance because she feels, as she says, “powerful.”
Bonkers is Annie’s small, fluffy dog with a whole lot of heart. Bonkers survives ingesting shrooms, and generally is a star throughout the episode. The promos for the show give us a good idea of who Bonkers is. In one promo, Bryant feeds Bonkers carrots because she enjoys “the open-mouthed joy” that dogs exhibit when they eat the vegetable. Another shows Bonkers barking at Bryant because she doesn’t initially introduce him as her co-star. There are many reasons to watch “Shrill” and Bonkers is certainly one of them
Ruthie, The Cool Secretary
Until Annie wrote her first viral article, Ruthie (Patti Harrison) didn’t give her the time of day. But once Ruthie tells Annie just how much she liked her article, they become fast friends. Seeing their friendship develop is a high point of the show. Harrison crafts Ruthie into a gloriously deadpan and witty character, self-possessed with an off-kilter charm. As the show develops, so too does Ruthie and the viewers are better for it.
After crossing the street trepidatiously, Annie looks on and sees a plus-size woman absolutely owning the pavement. The woman walks with the confidence that Annie has always aspired to. Annie feels entranced and validated. And that swagger seems to imbue Annie with a confidence boost as well.
Honing Her Voice Through Writing
At a coffee shop, a trainer comes up to Annie once and tells her there is a thin person inside of her waiting to get out. As season one progresses, Annie realizes that there isn’t a smaller woman trapped inside. But rather, the realizes how to make her voice known. One of the joys of the show is watching Annie hone her voice through her craft. Writing, for her, becomes a way of articulating everything that she didn’t know how to say before. The words flow out of her. She doesn’t painstakingly edit so much as bring forth what rings true to her. Seeing her type ravenously at her keyboard feels like witnessing a natural come into her own.
Fran (Lolly Adefope) is one of the most engaging characters to watch in the series. She’s Annie’s roommate and best friend, at once Annie’s biggest supporter, but also a vocal critic when Annie begins to display some bad behavior. As Annie becomes more self-confident and more prolific as a writer, she also becomes more selfish. She ditches meetings with friends. Fran calls her out on this and helps keep her grounded. In that way, the show illustrates what feels like a very real friendship between women–and that is sometimes hard to find on television.
The Pool Party
There’s a good reason this particular scene has inspired the most think pieces. When Annie gets invited to a pool party celebrating fat women, she jumps at the chance. She arrives with Fran, initially covered up from head to toe. But as she looks around the party, seeing fabulous fuller-figured women being proud of their bodies, she decides to get into her bathing suit and take a swim. In a move not unlike a rebirth of sorts, Annie dives in, energized by the bodies around her. Annie says that it’s one of the best days of her life.