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This may not come as a shock to all This Is Us fans, but actor Chris Sullivan (Toby) wears a fat suit. The actor, who is not obese in real life, stars along actress Chrissy Metz. She recently went on Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen, and when asked about her thoughts on her co-star's prosthetic gear, Metz responded with the following:
We tested a lot of gentlemen who were bigger, and I get it. People think the authenticity is kind of ruined by that. But Chris has been heavier, so I think he understands the plight of being overweight. Also, he was just the best man for the job. And people wear prosthetics all the time. It's just weight as opposed to, like, a nose or a chin. It's just kind of the name of the game.
Chrissy Metz followed that up during her appearance on Watch Watch Happens Live with Andy Cohen by saying that she herself wore a prosthetic to appear larger than she was on American Horror Story: Freak Show. Metz described the prosthetic as a "couch" that was meant to make her appear bigger. Chris Sullivan's fat suit is so convincing you wouldn't even know it isn't how he always looks. I was unaware before today and was shocked when I saw some red carpet pictures of him!
As Chrissy Metz states, Chris Sullivan was the man for the job, and as such, had to be the size to fit the storyline. Metz' character in This Is Us, Kate Pearson, lives a life centered around her struggles with weight. Each episode we see her working out, eating strange foods, and busting her hump to try and drop a couple pounds. We even see flashbacks to Kate's childhood and the roots behind her eating issues and how things got to where they are in the present.
Toby's obesity is central to the plot in This Is Us. If Toby was fit, Kate would have never had the courage to talk to him at their group therapy sessions. In fact, if Toby was not obese, he wouldn't have even been there to begin with! Eating healthy gross food with Kate and shaming slim people for saying they have weight issues don't work unless both people involved are big. Without the weight, Toby is just some douche boyfriend griping at his overweight girlfriend for trying to better herself.
It's also important to note that this prosthetic use is meant to further a relevant plot device. They aren't just shoving Chris Sullivan in a Tyra Banks fat suit and making him do some goofy Heavyweights stuff; there are some real struggles being discussed here. Behind the hundreds of moments that make me borderline cry every episode, there's some real talk delved out in This Is Us that can serve as food for thought in our own lives.
Chris Sullivan absolutely knocks it out of the park not only by being a guy with health problems battling obesity, but also dealing with divorce and depression. He's a perfect companion to Chrissy Metz's Kate, and I hope he's with the series for a long time. Check him out, fat suit and all, on This Is Us on Tuesdays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC. You should also check out our midseason premiere guide to see what else you can get into.