RIP Kirstie Alley

I think I’ve always enjoyed Kirstie’s sarcastic approach to humor. It was very much presentational, with a broad “here I am” and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. Of course, her struggles with weight would be revealed later on in life, but that part of her career was never a problem for me. i don’t know why we don’t expect actresses to change over the course of time. Having this unrealistic expectation that they will weigh the same 85 pounds they wore when they were a barely legal ingenue in their first film is always a bit of a stretch. I think especially some of these young girls who get discovered at these paper thin weights have this odd stress on them to maintain an impossible weight until the day they die. I hope Keira Knightly and Natalie Portman get to enjoy a good meal from time to time. I would still enjoy their acting even if they resembled normal human beings.

That’s what I remember about Kirstie. She came about when i was a little kid, so I think my first interactions with her officially was the Look Who’s Talking franchise. When you’re a kid, it’s all about the talking baby anyway, and the adult stuff just flies over your head. I remember loving Look Who’s Talking Now simply because it featured two talking animals by that point. I have no idea, nor can I remember, what the hell the adults were doing. I think it was a holiday themed vacation, but if you asked me Thanksgiving or Christmas, I’d have a hard time.

I do remember Kirstie from Cheers. Again, when you are a kid, frequently you do not control the remote, and my mom was a fan of Cheers. Based on my age, and when I started watching Cheers, my version always had Kirstie Alley and Woody Harrelson. It would only come to me later that these characters weren’t original, and that Troop Beverly Hills lady used to be on Cheers. But when the TV was on, it was Rebecca tending bar with Sam, and Woody feeling no longer like the new guy. A rhythm that seemed to work. Even for a little kid, Cheers wasn’t the worst sitcom to be watching.

Honestly, it seems like Kirstie was the kind of actress Hollywood was willing to call it quits on pretty quick. It’s tough to pinpoint an exact reason why, as the height of her career was obviously Cheers and Look Who’s Talking, and the people mourning her death likely remember her from one of those two series. For me, my Alley fandom doesn’t run much deeper. I’m actually a huge fan of the Mark Harmon Summer School film, as that became a cable TV staple of mine that I’ve seen more times than I’d like to admit, so that’s another notch in my Kirstie Alley belt. I also did watch Alley star opposite Steve Gutenberg and the Olsen Twins in It Takes Two. And, while the film isn’t very good, I was happy to see Hollywood give Alley another starring shot opposite Tim Allen in for Richer Or poorer.

Otherwise, the last thing I truly remember coherently of hers was the NBC sitcom Veronica’s Closet. I know i checked out an episode of Fat Actress at one point. She’s listed as a guest star on Dharma and Greg, so there’s a chance I saw that. She was apparently on Scream queens, and I’ve totally forgotten that. I can’t even remember her being in Drop dead Gorgeous.

So my last real memory of her is Veronica’s Closet?

no. My last memory was having her on as a panelist on Alec Baldwin’s revival of Match Game. Not exactly the way i think she wanted to go out, but I also think Kirstie always unapologetically did things the way she wanted to do them.She may have been frustrated by the way Hollywood reacted to her strong personality, and unwillingness to be a size zero, and that’s not her fault. It’s just the industry’s fault at holding her to these unreasonable and outdated expectations.

It’s been a minute since I’ve done a RIP on here. But Kirstie Alley felt like an actress who never got the second half of her career as promised. She showed up, and she did her part early on. She was in one of the biggest sitcoms of all time. She starred in a hit comedy that’s still considered untouchable today, with no remakes made, that itself spawned two sequels. She played opposite leading men who werne’t John Travolta, and even made a Star Trek film. And when NBC needed a “Must See” addition to their Thursday lineup, she was right there, with Veronica’s Closet. So where did she go? That question should really haunt casting directors more than anyone else, because it’s not like Kirstie stopped being funny, she just started to get a little bigger. And the idea that the only way she could appear on TV was to star in a show called Fat Actress says a lot about how we really value our female talent in this world. They’re great, until they decide to stop skipping meals to get roles.

Rest in Peace, Kirstie. It might have seemed like Hollywood forgot you, but your audience never did. Just looking at the iTunes chart, and a bunch of her old movies are climbing the Top 200. look Who’s Talking, It Takes Two, For Richer Or Poorer, and Look Who’s Talking Now are all charting on the Top 200 right now. The highest position is 63rd for Look Who’s Talking. Fans are still wanting to check out their favorite Kirstie Alley films.

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