Shrill Season 1 Recap 

By Carri Bugbee

In season one of Shrill, we meet Annie Easton, a 30-ish calendar editor at The Weekly Thorn. Played by Aidy Bryant of SNL fame, Annie seems to be stuck in place. She wants to be a writer but hasn’t had a chance to cover any real stories in the two years she’s been at The Thorn. Her boss, Gabe, is a narcissist who is condescending to everyone and thinks nothing of upbraiding employees who can’t accommodate his whims or salve his ego.

The one bright spot at the office is the relationship Annie has with her “work husband,” Amadi. He’s smart, kind and supportive. He also has a wife and two kids. He and Annie are BFFs — their relationship is totally platonic.

Annie is hooking up semi-frequently with an always disheveled and barely employed guy named Ryan. He still relies on his mother for laundry, a car, and occasional meals. He’s oblivious to other people’s feelings and treats Annie like just another woman in his “rotation.” Still, he’s earnest and childlike, so it’s hard to hate him.

Vera and Bill, Annie’s parents, are well-meaning and mostly supportive. Bill is being treated for cancer, which causes Annie no small amount of anxiety and gives her reason to check in with them frequently. They haven’t quite come to grips with Annie’s independence, and Vera often reminds Annie how much better her life would be if she could stick to a diet and exercise regime.

Luckily there’s Fran, Annie’s bold, bodacious roommate. She adores Annie and celebrates her wins. She also has a flourishing and varied sex life. Fran has had liaisons with so many women in town, Annie calls her (during a minor spat) the female Ryan of Portland.

Annie has put up with people shaming, ignoring or criticizing her for her entire life because of her size. In the first episode alone, Gabe, Ryan, her parents and even strangers in a coffee shop put her down in various ways.

She reveals to Fran that she has tolerated this “because of what I look like, because there’s a certain way that your body is supposed to be and I’m not that…it’s humiliating to say out loud, but it’s also the kind of stuff that’s [bleeping] going through my head all the time.”

When Annie finds out she’s pregnant, she’s shocked because she has taken the morning after pill on numerous occasions. She’s dismayed to learn that the dosage is meant for women 175 pounds and under. Even the drugs she relies on are meant for someone else.

After Annie gets an abortion (with Fran by her side), she seems energized by the idea that she can take control and make decisions to propel her life forward. She immediately starts pushing back against Vera’s smothering “help.” She tells off her boss, who likes this new attitude and agrees to give her some writing assignments.

She also tries to ditch Ryan. But he’s not that easy to shake, and Annie’s not immune to his pleading when he promises to shape up. They eventually try to have a traditional relationship, but Annie continues to put up with Ryan’s flaky behavior.

The highlight of the season is when Annie attends a “Fat Babe Pool Party.” Annie has never been around a group of fat women wearing sexy bathing suits, dancing, swimming and partying — just like thin people. It’s a revelation she later describes as “maybe the best day of my life.”

With her new status as a “real writer,” Annie also encounters a couple of big challenges. The first is of her own making. After Gabe demeans her with the comment, “lazy bodies, lazy minds,” she turns her anger into a post and uploads it to The Thorn’s website without telling anyone. It’s titled, “Hello, I’m fat.” Gabe is furious. He doesn’t delete her post because it has already gone viral, but he writes a scathing rebuttal.

Gabe and Annie get into a shouting match about it and she accuses him of being scared of the fact that readers like her article better. She quits her job on the spot and tells Amadi, “I’m going troll hunting right now!”

With the help of Maureen in IT, Annie tracks down the location of the troll who has been posting disgusting and threatening comments — along with horrible photos — since her first article was published. Annie shows up on his doorstep and unfurls several expletive-loaded rants.  The season ends with Annie hurling a planter through his car window as she runs away laughing — finally victorious.

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