Just saw the new UPN series, Eve. It had a fat character (just for one episode) and some pros and cons, which is kinda the nature of any fat character on television these days.
The Cons: A few fat jokes were made at her expense. Not wildly malicious jokes, but annoying jokes all the same. Also, it opened with her not fitting in a wedding dress being designed for her by the show's lead character, which is a pretty loaded visual.
Middle-of-the-road: I'm reading a lot into this, but one of the jokes at her expense intimated that her husband to be was an FA as another character remarked that he had a pattern of dating larger women. I'd be reading way too much to find that to be a positive, but it was a background remark that wasn't wholly negative.
Positive: As you may have gathered from my prior remarks, she was a bride. You mean fat girls get married? I thought that only happened on the WB. Any time a fat character is presented as a real and happy person, its a good thing. Not to mention that she was marrying a perfectly attractive gentlemen. (with a Latino name, probably some subtext here) Not that I'm too big on weighing a fat woman's worth on her ability to get a conventionally attractive mate, but its still an important departure form the limited image we're currently allowed of the prospects for BBWs in the dating world. More importantly, one of the times a joke was made at her expense, she was allowed a nicely snarking response. While she took the crack on her with relative grace, the object of her swipe was enraged, with heavy context to assume she was actually jealous of the fat bride. Finally, and most covertly, the solution to a wedding dress which has proven too small was not a crash diet, as we'd often see in a sitcom. Instread of "fixing" herself, she had the dress fixed. I know, I'm reading a lot into this, too, but the subversion of expectations is a lot more plain here.
Now, in fairness, she wasn't really that fat. But, clearly her weight was meant to be a function of her character so I'm not going to complain too much. Its not like they were trying to make her out to be hugely fat, or anything. She was what she was.
Mixed messages, but what else is new. I'm not surprised with the negatives, but I am pleased with the good side of the portrayal.