Frothy, fabulous sitcomic genius at its best

I don’t have a TV. It’s actually the first time since, well, ever that I’ve never had a TV. I didn’t watch it in college, but I had the option. And then my parents got super-duper-extended-cable, so I’ve been spoiled. And I kind of miss it.

Thank God for Hulu!

Anyway, a few weeks ago, I was talking to my mom on the phone, and she started telling me about this new show she was watching on–hold it–Lifetime, and how I should watch it, and how I’d like it. “Drop Dead Diva” she said, and I could even watch it online.

After much hesitation–mostly coming from the fact that I adamantly avoid everything Lifetime–I decided to watch the show. Aside from the ridiculous amount of ANNOYING Aquafresh commercial breaks, the show at first had me at “meh.”

Really, I have to say, the pilot episode had me rolling my eyes. The premise of the show is this: Skinny and vapid blonde model Deb (Brooke D’Orsay) and plus-sized curmudgeon lawyer Jane (Brooke Elliot) die simultaneously. Deb, meeting the pearly gates, presses the “return” button, and comes back to earth, as Jane. Literally thin girl in fat girl’s body. Commence eye rolls and stereotypes.

I had my reservations, and I was quick to point out to my mom that the only reason she thought I’d like it was because I was fat. Did it get any better, I asked her, or was it just going to be a feast of fat jokes?

I watched more. And I sort of got addicted.

Not only is our heroine fat (not obese, but definitely large compared to the size-zero castmates), but her character is complex and hilarious. Too often, characters that are portrayed as slovenly are played by petite, conventionally pretty actresses. Elliot gives a really great performance as the dual ditzy Deb inside the brainy lawyer Jane. I was really floored that something like this could even come out of Lifetime.

Yes, there is the ocassional box of doughnuts, cupcakes, and non-Splenda’d mojito, but Jane ultimately shows us that a person’s beauty isn’t only what you look like, but the good deeds that mark one’s life. And by being a good person, inner beauty–no matter how corny that sounds–shines through.

Not to mention the stellar lineup of guest stars. The utterly fabulous Margaret Cho has a recurring role as Jane’s assistant, and thus far into the season, we’ve also seen Rosie O’Donnell and BIG DADDY TIMM GUNN(!!!!). Rumor has it, Paula Abdul will also make an appearance.

One more point for consideration…when model wannabe Deb died, she also left behind hunky boyfriend Grayson, who, as fate happened to have it, now works at Jane’s office. It’s pretty obvious by now where the storyline is going, but the question is, can Jane become confident enough in herself that she can nab Grayson? Or will thin and vapid beauty prevail?

This show is a delight to watch, and I’m not embarrassed to say it anymore. It’s sitcomic genius, and I hope it’s on for a few more seasons.

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Exuberant photographer, artist, writer, designer, wannabe chef, and Crossfitter.

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