Since I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately about television I thought I’d profile a show I like- a show that portrays a confident beautiful woman, who just happens to be plus size. The show is called Drop Dead Diva and it is just wrapping up its second season on the Lifetime Network. I admit that the premise for the show is silly, but once you get beyond that hurdle the acting, writing and stories are thoroughly charming. The set up for the show is that a silly, selfish model named Deb dies in an accident. At the same time an unhappy, overweight, intelligent lawyer named Jane is shot. After riding the escalator in the sky Deb decides she’s not ready to die, hits the return button and ends up in Jane’s body. This leaves a model-diva type in a plus size body with the brains of a top-notch lawyer.
Basically the show is kind of like Legally Blonde: Plus Size Edition. In fact, Elle Woods and the new Jane Bingham are cut from the same cloth- weaving knowledge from fashion and modeling into the courtroom in funny, if completely ridiculous ways. The realism in the court doesn’t matter in this type of show because it is all about the writing and the characters. The dialogue is funny but also tender and engaging (although there may be one to many episodes using Jane’s weight as a point of conflict- would it really come into play that often in court!). Just as Elle Woods managed to underplay all the silliness with a real heart, the Drop Dead Diva plots always bring the flirty playfulness back to real and touching human emotion. It is not just a fluffy show. It deals with death, after-life, self-esteem issues, body issues, dieting, family drama and more.
The acting is also great with Brooke Elliott doing a marvelous job as Jane. She manages to play both Deb and Jane in the same performance. Even when she is suppose to be the serious lawyer you can see the twinkle in her eyes from Deb. I relate to Jane in so many ways. Like her, I am a workaholic who loves intellectually stimulating conversation, but I also have a side of me that loves painting my nails and throwing parties for my friends. I like to think I have the same twinkle in my eye that Jane has! 🙂
Brooke is also kind of a role model for me. She’s a Broadway star, has an amazing voice and is now a lead in a great television show. She hasn’t let her weight stop her. I actually think she is beautiful- in a way more beautiful and unique then the actress playing Deb in flashback. She makes the show.
Anyway, the other actors are all great including Margaret Cho (definitely doing her most tame role in years) who is very funny as Jane’s tough talking assistant. Also, need I mention the terrific cameos throughout the first season? (They must have gone through their rolodex because season 2 has not had as many). In season 1 they had Tim Gunn, Liza Minnelli, Delta Burke, Rosie O’Donnell, Paul Abdul, Faith Prince (another Broadway veteran- her and Brooke sing an amazing version of Love is a Battlefield!) and more.
There isn’t much more to say, but if I had a teenage daughter, Drop Dead Diva is the kind of show I would want her to watch- and not only because it has a plus size woman in the lead. Its more than that- it shows a woman like Jane who is spunky, loves to laugh, and is learning to love her body. It promotes the right type of image for women of any size- an image that life should be exciting no matter our weight.
The first season is available on DVD so I encourage all the girls out there to check Drop Dead Diva out. (It is a pretty girly show. I’d be surprised if any guys found it tolerable but you never know). I have the first season if anyone wants to borrow.