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Sandra Burke and Tracey Tunstall, the Fat Slags.
The Fat Slags is a comic strip appearing in the "alternative" Britishmarker comic Viz. The eponymous slag are Sandra Burke and Tracey Tunstall, known to other characters as San and Tray. They are depicted as overweight, eating large amounts of food, mainly chips, while also having a lot of casual sex. As with other Viz strips, the strip's authors use a brash writing style, avoiding political correctness. "Slag" is a Britishism for "slut", or loose woman.

Activities

The Slags' eating frequently follows a night of binge drinking, and the circumstances of the sex or the partner in question are rarely an issue - they have been known to leap on delivery men or workmen for gratification, with the targeted man rarely given an opportunity to resist or escape. Both slags regularly enjoy carnal relations with Baz, a local jobless dropout who divides his time between drinking, committing crime, and having sex with San and Tray. Baz's good-natured wife, Thelma, often finds out that Baz is cheating on her, but invariably forgives him. The other major character in the strip is Baz's slightly more successful friend, Dave, who works as a refuse collector, but earns most of his income through benefit fraud.

Whilst most Viz characters are recognisably from North East England, with the comic largely written in Geordie dialect, the Fat Slags and their friends converse with a Nottinghammarker accent. This originates with the character's creator Graham Dury who, unlike the Geordie founder of Viz, is originally from that area.

Both characters are noticeably warm-hearted and easy-going, and their friendship is never undermined by their conquests. Although both of the Slags are somewhat stupid - albeit good-natured - nymphomaniacs, Tray is marginally more intelligent and literate than San, who is marginally more nymphomaniacal than Tray. These factors, combined with Tray's more dominant personality, make Tray the leader and San the follower in their adventures. One strip parodying the Batman films featured Tray as Batslag and San as Nobbin. In another strip, San got pregnant and brought the baby to term, tearfully vowing that she was prepared to make any sacrifice for her daughter's happiness. In the very next panel, realising that motherhood would conflict with her pub-crawling, she gave up the baby for adoption.

Tray normally wears tight-fitting Capri pants whilst San normally wears a too-small skirt; since the latter garment has more potential for jokes, San tends to get involved in more slapstick than Tray does. Although neither Slag has ever refused alcoholic refreshment in any setting, their favourite place to tipple is the "Dog and Hammer" pub, somewhere in Fulchester. Their run-down home - with its floor-level collection of alcohol cans, takeaway containers and cigarette butts - is at 10, Shit Street, Fulchester.

Social context

Their excessive lifestyle is a parody of British ladette culture. Viz creator Chris Donald refers to this in his book, where he also mentions that the portrayal of the Slags was criticised by feminists writing in the Guardian newspaper. At the time of these criticisms the Fat Slags had not appeared in the magazine for more than a year, but as a direct response to the criticism they were immediately resurrected for the next issue, in which they had a humorous run-in with the feminist Millie Tant. Donald later questioned why the Guardian had slated the portrayals of the Slags, but hadn't mentioned that the two male characters were portrayed as a cheating layabout and a fraudster, and that the strip's only "well-behaved" character, Thelma, was a woman.

Merchandise

In 1992, a Fat Slags single was released, a cover of the 1963 Cliff Richard hit Summer Holiday. The b-side was a track called Dance of the Handbags (Oh Lordy! It's The Fat Slags). Both tracks were produced by Mike Stock and Pete Watermen, two of the producers Stock Aitken Waterman. The single failed to enter the music charts.

The characters once appeared in a UK television advert for energy drink Lucozade, saying "Get it out of our fridge!" in unison.

Animated version

In 1992 stop motion animated shorts were produced for Channel4 with Jo Unwin voicing Tracey, Kathy Burke as Sandra, and Simon Day as Baz. The episodes; "Slags at Large", "Working Girls", and "Dirty Weekend", were compiled on DVD in 2004 as Oh Lordy! It's The The Fat Slags. 1994 saw the release of Return of the Fat Slags in Blue Honeymoon this time with Jenny Eclair voicing Tracey.

Fat Slags: The Film

In 2004, a feature film version titled Fat Slags was released. It was reported that the strip's artist, Graham Dury was so demoralised by the treatment of his creations that he announced that he was dropping them from the comic altogether. This was actually a misquote by an over-enthusiastic press officer and there was no intention of dropping the characters.

Reviews of the film were so poor that it remains on the IMDb's Bottom 100 as one of the worst movies ever..

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