“Dear Diary, it’s easy to be brave and it’s easy to be confident…if you look good, if you feel sexy, and if you fit in. But that’s not the world I live in.”
So my friend recently (and inadvertently) got me into a fantastic, amazeballs TV show called My Mad Fat Diary. If you haven’t seen it or heard of it, it’s basically an English YA drama about a fat girl who has recently had a spell in a mental hospital for self-harming. Her name is Rae Earl, and the series is based off the published diary of a real Rae Earl (try saying that ten times fast!). Over the course of the show, you sympathise, empathise and fall in love with her. Her struggles are real and raw, and the character development (not just hers) is astounding. I have fallen in love with so many of the characters, and wonder if a TV show will ever hit me in the same way again (knowing me, yes, I’m sure there will be plenty more, but I’m in a bit of a fan-craze haze at the moment).
It deals with issues of emotional vulnerability, teenage sexuality, and a host of other cliché themes…but in a way I’ve not encountered before (or, if I have, in a way I’ve not encountered very often before). We see the effects of Rae’s crippling self-esteem issues as she struggles to deal with her largeness and own self-identity in the world of Lincolnshire, 1996.
I want to take this opportunity to applaud the acting ability of Sharon Rooney, a relative newcomer. She practically bares all to showcase Rae’s vulnerabilities and struggles, and does so magnificently.
There are so many aspects of this show that I venerate (and could indeed go on about for quite a while), but I wanted to give a brief list of some of my favourite:
- The female sexual experience is the focus, and not the male’s (in one scene in particular, Rae’s boyfriend is pleasuring her—instead of using her to pleasure himself, as is usually the case in most film and television)
- The fat girl, normally depicted as the outcast, the comic relief, or simply a minor character, is the protagonist: she is the main focus, and we find ourselves not laughing at her, if we laugh at all, but with her
- I’ve heard it said from several females on the larger side, that this show is very realistic and captures certain experiences accurately—indeed, painfully so
- The entire cast is stellar, and the acting is just breathtaking
- It’s set in 1996, and has a wicked 90s-themed soundtrack (I’m in love with most of the songs they play already, but there are a few new—to me—ones that I’ve added to my iTunes)
- I don’t really know what else to say except that you should really watch it. Like seriously. What are you even still doing here? Okay fine, I’ll show you a couple more images…