Seriously, watch ‘Darby Forever’

| Creative Director

As soon as I finished “Darby Forever,” I immediately restarted it. The short film, which runs for less time than it takes to make an omelet, pulled me into a fantastical world of technicolor delight from which I did not want to emerge. In one scene, the imaginative Darby fantasizes about being the lead singer in a band of cigarette-smoking, leather-clad bad girls, where she is the queen of bad.

“No one, not no one, has ever thrown an egg at me,” she croons like an old jazz cat. “Not on my birthday last year or on Halloween every year.”

Later, she raps the extent of her bad girl merits: “You know, I divorced my parents, you know how people do that. I don’t love to hang out with my mom. She’s respected me and encouraged me in like, everything I’ve done, but I don’t care.”

“Darby Forever” is the first venture in Vimeo’s Share the Screen campaign, which aims to close the entertainment industry’s daunting gender gap. The initiative includes a large investment in female-led programming as well as an increased emphasis on empowering female creators in Vimeo’s artistic community. The video-sharing site kicked off this campaign by announcing that Aidy Bryant would be writing, producing and starring in “Darby Forever,” which would stream exclusively online.

Bryant is delightful as Darby, a bored fabric girl at Bobbins & Notions, a craft store. Darby fills her dreary days with pastel and sequined daydreams, in which she is the “full-blown hero” of a world ten times more colorful than her place of employment.

In real life, Darby stumbles over her words and isn’t allowed to use the cash register, but in her headspace, she is celebrated for her neuroses. A rude customer becomes her best friend who envies her life; a girl band that laughs at her worships how cool she is.

Darby’s fantasies uplift not only herself, but others. Her crush, Nick, a water cooler maintenance man, appears in her daydreams as her “equal partner, best friend and husband” who owns all the water in the world.

Darby’s imagination could easily concoct revenge plots against the cool girl who didn’t sign her yearbook or the teenagers who throw eggs at her. Instead, she thinks through rose-colored glasses. While many films feature characters that are sunny to a fault, Darby’s optimism is fresh, sometimes heartbreaking, and all-around gratifying.

Bryant’s work with “Saturday Night Live” is often critiqued for relying on the “fat woman falls down” trope—a woman of size is knocked over for laughs, simply because a body that is widely rejected by Western beauty standards should never be empowered by popular culture. Critics claim that in many sketches, Bryant’s sexuality is used as a comedic device, as if the idea of a larger woman displaying sexual desire is outlandish and hilarious. In “Darby Forever,” Darby’s body is portrayed as neither a problem nor a point of humor. Darby is a wonderful, complex character that does not need to be defined by her size, but she never rejects it.

In her girl band fantasy, the drummer remarks that “Guys just keep saying that [Darby is] hot, like, out of nowhere” simply because she is “authentic.” Darby is beautiful because she is completely herself, not in spite of anything. Darby loves being Darby, and she just wants everyone to feel the same.

The short film is full of great bursts of confetti—both literally and figuratively—that will definitely make the viewer believe in Darby, too.

“Darby Forever” is available for purchase and rental at

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