In most interviews I’ve seen of her, Melissa McCarthy comes across as being a nice person.
McCarthy played the character “Megan” in the 2011 film ‘Bridesmaids,’ which I didn’t see until 2015, when I saw it on TV.
Before I explain why I am a little upset with McCarthy, I wanted to say several things up front so you can see where I am coming from.
One of my favorite scenes from this film is when Megan gives a pep talk of sorts to the character Annie (who is played by Kristen Wiig).
At the time of filming this movie, I believe Wiig was 38 years old – which may be a somewhat pertinent fact for some of the things I say below.
A summary of things from the movie: The character of Annie has fallen on hard times, has no self esteem, and is very down on herself.
(I have a lot in common with the Annie character, which I’ll explain more below.)
Annie is broke, lost her job, her last boyfriend dumped her when her business, (a bakery), was a financial failure, and she feels as though she’s losing her best friend, Lillian, as Lillian is engaged and about to be married.
Annie doesn’t want to bake any more, after her dream of owning her own bakery didn’t work out.
Annie is dating (well ‘dating’ is not quite the word for it) a womanizing jerk named Ted, who is played by actor Jon Hamm.
Annie has been working for minimum wage as a sales clerk at a jewelry store – a job that her mother got for her.
Several other negative things happen to Annie during the course of the movie.
At one point, after getting fired from her minimum wage job, unable to afford her share of the rent, Annie’s room-mates kick her out. As a result, she has to move back in with her mother.
By this point in the movie, Annie is probably at her lowest.
She’s no longer answering calls from people, and she sits on the couch all day, every day, more depressed than before, watching TV.
It is at this stage that Megan (McCarthy) knocks on her door and comes in for a visit and gives her a word of encouragement, in a sort of ‘Tough Love’ kind of way.
Megan ends up conveying to Annie that it’s okay to make mistakes in life, but just get up and try again – don’t just sit on the couch all day, every day, depressed, watching TV.
Megan says something like the following to Annie: “You are your greatest problem. You are also your greatest solution.”
PARALLELS TO MY LIFE
My life situation is very similar to that of Annie from the movie. Annie’s misery appeared to have been going on for about a year or two, but mine has been going on for several years.
My mother, to whom I was very close, had cancer (and other health problems), I had to quit my full time professional job to help care for her, and she later died (this was a few years ago).
My mother’s death was devastating to me. She was my best friend. It took me a few years to work through a large amount of the grief.
My former fiance’ was a guy who was very self absorbed, and he kept taking financial advantage of me – he cleaned out the thousands of dollars I had in my savings. I ended up pretty much being broke because of that jerk.
My ex kept promising to repay me every time I gave him a check for a thousand or two, but he never would repay me.
Another reason I quit my full time job is that I was being harassed daily by one of a few supervisors I had. That fact, combined with my mother’s cancer diagnosis, and my ex fiance using me at that time, was too much stress all at once. I had to quit the job.
(I later broke up with the fiance. I tried so hard to make that relationship work, but I was so tired of being with a guy who was self absorbed, was using me, and didn’t care about my feelings.)
I’ve never been a self confident person. I know what it’s like to be deeply depressed, because I’ve been there.
While my mother was a sweet person, the rest of my family is very negative.
I have a bunch of complaining, negative, verbal abusers in the family. They don’t hesitate to tell me what a big loser they think I am, and so forth (this was true for me even when I was a kid).
My father brought myself and my siblings up to think there is something wrong with making mistakes and failing.
My father seems to believe that if you make a mistake, that makes YOU a mistake.
So, ‘Failing is shameful’ was one of the messages I got from my father while growing up. My Dad never gave me encouragement, never paid me compliments, or told me he was proud of me.
My mother was sweet, but she never encouraged me to go after my dreams, either.
I did not receive affirmation or validation from my family as a kid, or as an adult.
Growing up, I did not receive messages from my family that I am okay the way I am (or just that I’m okay), nor was I told or taught that it’s acceptable to make mistakes, but if you do fail at something, that is fine, just get up and try, try again.
I actually heard the opposite messages to those as I was growing up.
I also heard the opposite message even from a bunch of church people when I tried reaching out to Christians in local churches or from among my extended family, and at that, even after my mother passed away, and I sought some kind of support.
Even during that time of grief, I was still chided, or else judged, criticized, and shamed by a lot of people if I approached them for any kind of help on coping with the loss.
I had nobody to turn to after my mother died, and certainly nobody who spoke words of encouragement to me.
The idea of job hunting or being able to hold a job during that time was an impossibility. I was in deep grief for years after my mother passed and didn’t have any self esteem at all
And self esteem, at least a little, is necessary to go through job interviews, or to even picture yourself applying for a job.
About two or three years before I saw the movie ‘Bridesmaids’ in 2015, I began reading books by psychologists that helped me change how I think about some things, and that helped me a little bit.
I started job hunting some time ago for both full time professional positions and minimum wage sales associate jobs, but I haven’t had success at either.
I say all that to say this: I’m in a very similar situation in my personal life that Annie was in the movie.
When I first saw the movie, I found it very encouraging.
The movie was telling people like Annie that it’s okay to make mistakes, but don’t give up. Your business failing doesn’t make YOU a failure. Hang in there, even though it’s tough right now.
There is even a line in the movie where the nice cop, Rhodes (played by Chris O’Dowd), tells Annie, “You’re OK, you know.”
Rhodes also keeps encouraging her to take baking back up and don’t give up on it.
I was at least seeing this fictional movie character, who’s in pretty much the same situation I am, getting encouragement and validation, things which I was not getting from my family or from other people I know.
The Megan character, played by McCarthy, also told Annie that it’s okay to fall down. Megan didn’t fault or shame Annie for failing, for being broke, and so on, but she did tell her to try again – get up and go out and live life.
In light of that, I was very disheartened to see McCarthy, who played Megan in ‘Bridesmaids,’ in a spring 2016 interview (which I viewed online) where she was promoting her new role in the ‘Ghostbusters: 2016’ movie, mocking people who are like the Annie character in real life.
When this movie (the new Ghostbusters movie) was about to be released, there was a huge amount of men online complaining about it, some of whom did not want to see women playing Ghostbusters.
To respond to that apparent sexism, McCarthy said something in a promotional interview like the men complaining about women having the lead parts are
“probably 45 year old losers who are living at home in Mom’s basement, and Mom is yelling at them to carry the trash out.”
My mouth fell open when she made those comments.
You can view / listen to that interview on You Tube here, if you like:
People Are Really Mad There Are Female Ghostbusters via Jimmy Kimmel Live, June 2016
Maybe McCarthy didn’t mean anything by it, and in her mind was only jokingly defending her new film from sexist attacks, but it bothered me she chose to go about it that way.
What McCarthy was doing was putting down people based on the same situation that the Annie character faced in ‘Bridesmaids,’ and I’ve found myself in a similar situation for awhile now.
My ex took all my money, I had to quit a job with an abusive boss, my mother died, the rest of my family is unsupportive, etc.
I am having a hard time grasping how it is McCarthy played a character, Megan, who, in a movie, was responsible for being positive, affirming, and basically telling another character who’s fallen on difficult times,
“Hey, it’s okay you’re broke, it’s okay that you lost your job, that your car is a piece of junk, and you lost your apartment and had to move back home with your Mom – just don’t stop. Don’t quit. Get off the couch and try again. Apply for another job. Try to make new friends…”
But then turn around about five or six years later in an interview for another movie and basically say to people like Annie (or myself),
“It’s NOT okay if you’re over 35, broke, lost your job, your car is a piece of junk, you’re having to live with your family – you are a loser.”
(I just noticed, upon viewing that You Tube clip for a second time, that Kristen Wiig, who played Annie Walker in ‘Bridesmaids,’ and who was also in ‘Ghostbusters: 2016’ with McCarthy, sort of seemed to be nodding her head in agreement, and smiling, at McCarthy’s comments – which is also disappointing; Wiig played the down- on- her- luck Annie in the movie, the middle-aged woman who was broke and who lost her job.)
How awful. Some of us actually are in this position of being unemployed and broke and so on and are already down on ourselves and discouraged.
I’ve gotten beaten up (emotionally and verbally) by my family enough as it is, ever since I was a kid, and straight into adulthood. I don’t need other people ridiculing me over the status of my life.
The state of the economy being what it is a lot of younger people cannot get jobs, they are broke and many of them cannot afford to move out of Mom and Dad’s house and get their own apartment.
I just saw a news show about two years ago that even older Americans are having this issue.
I saw a married couple interviewed for the show who were in their 50s. Both were laid off from their jobs and could not afford their rent or mortgage payments and had to move back in with the man’s parents, and live in a guest bedroom.
Here are some links about it:
Share living with spouse or partner continues to fall
For the first time in more than 130 years, Americans ages 18-34 are more likely to live with their parents than in any other living situation, according to a new analysis by the Pew Research Center.
….Pew notes that this is not a record high percentage for the number of young people living at home — in 1940, for instance, approximately 35 percent of people in that age range lived at home.
But back then, living with a spouse or partner was even more popular than that. Today not so: More people choose an alternative living situation, and out of the crowded field of choices, life with Mom and/or Dad has become the top pick for millennials. Well — some millennials. Men, for starters.
I saw about a million more web pages about this topic, but you get the idea.
My life doesn’t fit the measure of success as some define it, but all I can do is pick myself up and try to start over again, which is very hard, because I don’t have anyone.
I certainly can’t count on my family – they are critical types who are more likely to mock and judge me than offer an encouraging word.
I initially found the ‘Bridesmaids’ movie uplifting.
The first time I saw it, which was around spring or summer 2015, it spurred me on to re-double my efforts at job hunting. I experience a lot of anxiety in general, but it goes up even more so applying for jobs or going on interviews. (I’ve been diagnosed with anxiety by psychiatrists, but medication for it did not help.)
But that movie cheered me up enough at the time to get out there and try some more, so I applied for even more jobs and got a few job interviews (though I was not hired).
Sadly, I no longer find the ‘Bridesmaids’ movie as encouraging as I once did, in part due to this 2016 comment by McCarthy, where she ridiculed people who are like the Annie Walker character (hey, I am similar to Annie, so every time you bad mouth her for her troubles, you are in effect doing the same thing to me), and due to some of the actions or comments by the actor who played Rhodes, Chris O’Dowd, which I’ll discuss in another post or two (such as this one and this one, and maybe another one in the future).
I don’t hate Melissa McCarthy and don’t really have anything against her, but I was rather hurt and disappointed by her comments during the 2016 interview – and it’s also disappointing to see Wiig nodding her head in agreement with McCarthy’s comments.
For anyone who thinks it’s strange for me to get upset by comments that actors from some movie make, understand that this particular movie was more than “just a movie” for me at one time.
This particular movie was a small ray of light that gave me a tiny bit of hope during a very rough time in my life when nobody else – not my family or people at church or where ever – would.
I’m actually still going through a rough time, and I’ve been trying to put my life back together.
Anyway, that one of the few sources of hope or comfort I got would turn around and disappoint me on multiple levels is a let down.
I guess I no longer get as much solace from this movie, knowing what some of the actors from the film have said and done afterwards. And that’s a shame.
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