Many 1990s kids grew up watching Eddie Murphy play the entire Klumps clan in The Nutty Professor franchise. Each film elicited laughs with a hint of sweetness and silliness. Oftentimes, the laughs were at the expense of the intelligent and doubt-filled Sherman Klump. While some laughed at the character, Grammy winner Lizzo couldn’t help but connect with the overweight college professor. The “Rumors” singer recently explained the emotional reaction she had to the 1996 comedy.
The pop star understood the plight of Eddie Murphy’s character as a young girl dealing with food issues growing up. Of course, now Lizzo has become the face of body positivity despite facing hurtful rumors such as her killing someone stage diving, which was clarified through a TikTok video. But growing up, she saw only stereotypes of overweight characters in film and television. Watching The Nutty Professor symbolized that for her. While many viewers laughed at the Klump family’s antics, the rapper-singer opened up to Variety about what led her to empathize with Sherman Klump rather than dislike him:
Seeing Professor Sherman Klump through Lizzo’s eyes painted a different picture of an otherwise funny character. Hiding food in his desk was a sign of shame for Professor Klump, as he was always quick to close the drawer. She found a kindred spirit in the overweight professor as he reflected on her struggles with food. So understanding the plight of food anxiety and secret eating hit different for the Grammy winner.
Despite building around more stereotypes, The Nutty Professor franchise brought joy and laughs to millions of moviegoers. The first film was a critical and commercial hit, grossing over $274 million and Professor Kumlp being regarded as one of Eddie Murphy’s funniest movie characters. Its success led to the sequel Nutty Professor II: The Klumps in 2000. Both films are available to watch if you subscribe to Peacock.
Now Lizzo is doing her part to combat fatphobia by showcasing plus-sized dancers in her new reality series Lizzo: Watch Out for the Big Grrrls. The series will be one of many TV premieres set for this spring. If you want to watch the new series, you can subscribe to Amazon Prime. While you’re watching Lizzo’s competition series, check out some of the best TV shows on Amazon Prime.
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