Drop Dead Diva

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Just got finished watching the first episode of Lifetime’s summer series Drop Dead Diva. I didn’t hate it, although there are certainly some things about it that grate a little.

The premise is basically that smart, kind, fat humanitarian lawyer Jane and shallow model Deb both die on the same day and Deb sneakily sends herself back to earth, only HORRORS she’s in Jane’s body! She also has access to Jane’s smarts, so it’s not an excruciating look at how models are dumb as posts. Annoyingly, Jane’s eating habits are overemphasized to the point of ridiculousness. She gazes so longingly at a plate of donuts that a partner brings them over to her mid meeting, and she has her assistant (Margaret Cho!!!!) spray EZ Cheese directly into her mouth, declaring it “like xanax.” Honey, I’ve had xanax, and I have to doubt that.

My favorite moment was when Deb in Jane’s body looks up her old best friend and tells her the truth, which she confirms with a list of secrets, and the friend accepts pretty easily. He friend goes… “I know you’re Jane… but do you still drink like Deb?”

AWESOME. I had just explained that Jane was the awesome one to a friend, but that made me reconsider.

My main concern is that we are all going to learn an Important Lesson here about how it’s better to be smart and ugly (which by the way Jane isn’t, she’s just fat, but like, totally gorgeous) than pretty and vapid. As if these are the only two choices.

And as if, by itself, intelligence is morally superior to beauty. To my mind, it seems like both are traits you’re born with, mostly, that can be nudged in one direction or another by your choices and behavior. But believe me, there are PLENTY of crappy smart people in the world. I think this division between women– smart or pretty– is just another misogynist myth that ultimately pits us against each other. And I hope that by blending the characters of Jane and Deb the show will reveal this to be the false choice it is.

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