Since the airing of its first episode, NdaniTV’s Skinny Girl in Transit has been mildly obsessed about weight. It’s encoded in the show’s DNA, unaltered and unchanging and with the purpose to ostensibly engage in a larger cultural conversation about body positivity. Skinny Girl in Transit’s fourth episode, “Retribution,” feels viscerally rooted in that purpose, as we see in the opening few minutes where Tiwa, Didi, and other weight-minded women participate in a fitness class and discuss about their bodies. A surprising appearance from Omotunde Adebowale David (Jenifa’s Diary’s Adaku), shares an anecdotal account of a friend of hers who visibly lost weight as a result of solely consuming a “carrot and cucumber” diet. As expected, she suffuses the scene with her signature meta humour, expanding the issues about weight to involve marriageability.
In the world of Skinny Girl in Transit, weight and marriage are inextricably linked. Or, at least, weight and the perceived difficulties in finding a boyfriend. When an offbeat, skinny character rudely joins their chat and singles out Tiwa for humiliation and prioritizes her own skinniness as desirable, we are offered a cultural close-up of how weight colours into casual female relationships and how it can be weaponized as a divisive tool. Since their relationship began proper this season, Tiwa and Mide have appeared almost nearly together in scenes. But on “Retribution,” Didi as a character gets the chance to be romantically nuanced as she reunites with the much-talked-about Obinna. Obinna’s introduction into the show isn’t as grand and spirited as I was expecting, and that’s because we only got to discover him by accident in a couples’ indoor hangout orchestrated by Tiwa and Mide. Shalewa and her boyfriend Mohammed are there, the fun games are underway, Tiwa suspiciously follows Didi into a corner of the house and, shortly, finds her kissing this stranger. Much of Obinna’s good looks comes from his beard and when we learn that this stranger is the Obinna, Tiwa is just as surprised as we are. Even YouTube vlogger and film/TV critic Adenike Adebayo in her review of the episode on The Screening Room doesn’t hide how she’s profoundly reeled by it all.
Characteristically, Tiwa’s radio show The Gist obliquely uses Mide’s insecurities about their relationship as radio fodder. “Are we aware of our insecurities?” she asks her listeners. Later, in a restaurant, Mide asks her if she really thinks he’s insecure. Mide practically follows her everywhere, so the answer is already obvious, but in that same space Tiwa also brings up her weight issues in a mildly frivolous way. It’s very clear that Mide loves her, he would still have her in whatever form or size and that’s such a sweet thing. On the final minutes of the last episode, Tiwa’s one-night stand with Fabrice seemed like a potential plot complication. It still is, with the incidental appearance of Fabrice in the restaurant and his smoothly cultivated air. Tiwa still has that tight, small window of time to tell Mide about Fabrice. And given Mide’s untempered insecurities, things are bound to go awry, and it will only undoubtedly make for good television.