Fast food fried chicken juggernaut KFC has cast a new actor to play Colonel Sanders: Reba McEntire.
Yeah, this Reba McEntire.
Only for this role, she looks a little more like this.
McEntire donned the signature white suit and string tie to perform a tongue in cheek song as everyone’s second ,favorite fried chicken purveyor. (I’m an Annie from Popeye’s stan, now and forever.)
“I’m Colonel Sanders, the same as always,” she sings. “I swear I’m not a famous woman!”
Several male actors have portrayed the Colonel, including Rob Lowe, Norm MacDonald, Ray Liotta, and Jim Gaffigan. But this is the first time the company’s founder has been portrayed by a woman or a musician. McEntire was chosen specifically for the role because of her Southern roots (she’s from Oklahoma) and legend status in country music. She’ll appear in television spots for the chain’s Smoky Mountain BBQ chicken through April.
So the internet had absolutely nothing to say about all of this and that’s the end of this charming and delightful story, right?
Hold on to your biscuits, folks.
Loyal Colonel Sanders supporters, confused followers, and former fans of KFC voiced their displeasure at the decision on social media.
Who knew people were invested in which actors are selected to portray this Southern icon? But apparently, they are.
Some were turned off by the idea of a woman playing a man.
Colonel sanders being played by a woman is the dumbest fucking thing I’ve ever heard. He was a man.
— Skinnyandsingle (@Skinnyandsingle) January 26, 2018
Others were skeptical, but open to change.
I’ve always liked Reba as an actress and singer. But as Colonel Sanders? No. Maybe…
— Levi (@LeviMira) January 26, 2018
But for the most part, people had some fun with it. After all, we’re talking about fast food chicken, here.
For instance: What might a woman playing Colonel Sanders have to put up with?
Reba McEntire is the first Colonel Sanders who has been told to smile more and only gets to use 7 of the secret herbs and spices.
— (((𝕺𝖍𝕹𝖔𝕾𝖍𝖊𝕿𝖜𝖎𝖙𝖓𝖙))) (@OhNoSheTwitnt) January 26, 2018
And then there’s this tweet, which is funny (and a little bit sad) because it’s true.
Others, particularly fans of McEntire, were pretty pleased with the decision. Who wouldn’t want to see one of their faves break the dredged and breaded ceiling?
While this a very small, silly thing to choose to complain or cheer about, it’s not completely insignificant.
In 2018, women are still breaking barriers, both large and important and small and crispy. This week alone, Rachel Morrison became the first woman to be nominated for an Academy Award in cinematography. Sen. Tammi Duckworth announced her pregnancy and will be the first senator to give birth in office. And on Sunday at the Grammy’s, we may see Cardi B become first woman ever to earn the award for Best Rap Song and Best Rap Performance.
And yeah, people like Hec have a point.
A female Colonel Sanders probably wasn’t the first thing people participating in the Women’s March had in mind. Women have made some serious moves, but when it comes to improving representation, earning equal wages, confronting gender based violence, or sexual misconduct, we have a long way to go.
Then again, every first, even a seemingly silly one, is a chicken-fried step in the right direction.