Ex"am*pla*ry\, a. [From Example, cf. Exemplary.] Serving forexample or pattern; exemplary."
Ricky Gervais is a British comedian known in America mainly as the creator of the British "The Office" series which has been adapted for American audiences in a version starring Steve Carell. He has also made a few movies, but they have not performed particularly well. For fans of British comedy, he is also known for a fairly brilliant, but esoteric comedy about actors and acting called, "Extras".
It was through "Extras" that I came to know Ricky Gervais's work, and the fact that he was capable as someone who was seen as "fat" of mocking his own physicality. In particular, there is an episode of that show guest starring David Bowie in which the iconic singer composes a song on the fly about Gervais's character being a "little fat man". As Bowie improvises a song, Gervais's character sits uncomfortably trying to take it with good humor but his face registers a range of conflicting emotions. The scene is not funny in a conventional way. It's more of a painful situation which people identify with and sympathize with the character's dilemma. It's exposing something real and extracting dark humor from it.
A lot of Gervais's writing and humor comes from exploring pain, failure, and the human side of characters. His characters expose bald character flaws and weaknesses and generally lack self-awareness. It is not easy humor to watch or enjoy at times, but it is intricate and subtle in a way that some may appreciate, and others may find boring or uncomfortable.
I think there has been a place for Gervais's craft and that it has been interesting to explore. That being said, his work as of late has taken another turn. Gervais lost quite a bit of weight and started to buff up some, supposedly in fear of dying from a heart attack. After he lost weight, he started to attack fat people at every turn. People argue whether or not he truly feels what he is saying or if this is a comedic persona that he has concocted like his other comedy characters as a next step in his "evolution" as a comedian.
To me, it is irrelevant whether this is real or fake, because the underlying reasons for his assault against overweight people would be the same regardless. The truth is that Gervais, like many fat people who have managed to become thin, has lost the weight, but not the self-hate. When he castigates and blames fat people, he's using them as representatives of his former physical self because mentally he remains full of fat person self-loathing. He may also feel the need to keep beating up fat people as a way of beating himself up so that he keeps enough disgust for his former self in place to stop him from regaining weight. If so, his capacity to control himself is being held in place by the weakest of resolve, and he deserves our pity rather than our anger that he abuses us so roundly.
Like many formerly fat people, he has found that losing weight hasn't resulted in self-love, but in continued self-loathing. Since the body in the mirror doesn't match that internal feeling, he has no option but look outside of himself for targets and to use other fat people as representative punching bags. The very sad reality is that when David Bowie sings about the "pathetic little fat man", it was really Gervais saying that to himself, and even though he's no longer fat, nothing has really changed for Gervais in terms of his attitude toward himself. He still hates himself and that is a state which he has grown so accustomed to that the anger has to go somewhere else. His inner voices must be raging critical demons, and they're attacking us in lieu of him.
I talk about Ricky Gervais not because he is famous, but because his life is a public one by choice. It is easy for others to follow my links and see who he is and what he says. I am talking about him because he is an example of something that happens to some fat people when they lose weight when they don't deal with the underlying emotions that they have had for years as abused and tormented people. These people are still around, and they tend to be the sharpest critics of fat people. They're the first to dish out "tough love", talk about "willpower", and point out how you are unwilling to "sacrifice" enough. They need to beat you up because inside they need to keep beating themselves up. They also need to elevate themselves at your expense because inside they still feel inadequate despite their trimmer physiques. Inside, they still are full of anger and self-hate, just like Ricky Gervais.
With incredibly hard work and difficulty, you can eventually whittle your way free of your fat exterior, but it's even harder to lose the fat person mentality. No one exemplifies that better than Ricky Gervais.