Monday, July 8, 2013

031 : Review : Drop Dead Diva

So, mom and I watch most of our tv on Netflix. Sometimes, we try a few episodes of shows and move on (Sliders, Jericho, X-Files). Sometimes, we fall in love and hope the show never ends (Eureka, Supernatural, Dexter). Often, we "watch" tv shows while we're working on crafty things, because there's nothing else on, and we do a few seasons, do a few seasons of something else, and continue because...because we don't listen to the radio (Fringe, The Dead Zone). Recently, we started watching Drop Dead Diva, a Lifetime series.

Admittedly, when Drop Dead Diva premiered, I was excited. Finally, a beautiful and FAT leading lady! But the pilot had too many fat jokes for my taste, so I never followed up. Watching on Netflix speeds up the tv-watching experience, and I find I can tolerate a show I don't love for a few episodes, to see how it'll go. This was the case with Drop Dead Diva.

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As I said, the pilot of Drop Dead Diva had too many fat jokes for my taste, so did the second and third shows and many of the shows for the first season. However, in between the fat jokes was a pretty funny ensemble cast. So, the premise of the show is that a model is killed in a car accident, arrives in heaven, refuses to stay, pushes a button, and ends up in the body of a lawyer. She has the lawyer's brains but not her memory. She retains her own memory and sense of self but has a new job...oh and her fiance doesn't know who she is, though they work in the same law firm. It's very convenient, obviously.

The first season is really all about the model getting used to being the lawyer...who happens to be fat. There are many shows centering around different fat issues, a young girl on a dangerous diet, the lawyer feeling like someone dates her only because she's fat, her model friend (who is the only person, aside from her guardian angel, who knows the truth) trying to help her diet. But there's also underlying identity issues, like running into her old mom and meeting her new mom, realizing she's dating someone that she no longer finds attractive, finding out about her secret husband. Her cases are largely lost causes and she find some magic way to WIN THE CASE!

It's fluffy.

Watching the first season, I was annoyed that the show had to be about the lead character BEING FAT. I wanted a show that was done like every other show, but the lead character just happened to be fat. It annoys me that fat women (and VERY FAT men) are always stuck playing characters who are FAT. Like, why does the size of the actress have to be central to the plot? But then I also realized that no one else is telling the stories of the fat people...other shows don't address the way skinny girls look at fat girls, the cutting remarks fat people have to hear, the worries about finding love or clothes that fit...so maybe this is a good thing.

I'm still torn on that.

Toward the end of season one, FAT became less of an issue and LOVE and its complications became the issues, because the lawyer is in love with her fiance who thinks that she's a lawyer and doesn't know that she's really his fiance trapped in someone else's body. I'm sure you can imagine all the complications of this plot line. Also toward the end of season one, the lead started to have elaborate dream sequences involving song and dance numbers...adding more comedy to the show.

Like I said, it's fluffy. The model-inside-the-fat-girl gave the fat girl a makeover and new wardrobe, she giggles, she's happy, she's surprised when she knows stuff, she forgets that she's fat and doesn't understand when she's treated badly, she loves her singing voice (because the model had a bad singing voice), she struggles with playing off the amnesia she has and trying to figure out what she's supposed to remember. The cases are all lost causes with complications and then there's an A-HA! moment with that one weird law that will SOLVE THE CASE! The model best friend is saccharine sweet and comes through, even though she's a ditzy blonde. But beneath it all is some really good writing and some solidly funny cast members.

I'm halfway through the second season and very much enjoying it. It's becoming more about the characters and less about FAT, but still with some model-in-the-lawyer's body story lines. Basically, if you like happy, pretty, somewhat absurdist comedy, fluffy t.v., you'll like this show. It's a solid recommendation from me.

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