But that’s not the world I live in

“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.”

Rae Earl being straight with you.

So my friend recently (and inadvertently) got me into a fantastic, amazeballs TV show called My Mad Fat DiaryIf 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).

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Upon talking to a bully who regularly teases her about her weight…

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.

Sharon Rooney

Sharon Rooney being sexy as.

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…
Fluffy Bastard Cloud Kittens

This scene made me choke on my tea.

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Hey look! It’s Professor Quirrell giving life advice! What’s not to love?

I'm devastated, Rae

I still tear up every time I see this scene. Superb acting.

What are Friends for?

And by Friends, I mean the TV show.

So, I know I’m a little late to this particular party (too late even to call it fashionable), but I have finally been convinced to watch the twenty-year-old show (how old do you feel now?) known as Friends — because that’s what it’s called, and that’s what it’s about. I put off watching it for so long because canned/studio laughter really grates on my nerves. But, putting that pet peeve aside, this is a really clever and funny show. (Just for the record, I still don’t know why there has to be audience laughter; if it does its job well enough, we should know when to laugh…shouldn’t we?)

I recently finished the first season (courtesy of a friend of mine — thank you!), but I’m now nearly finished the second season. And, seeing as I promised a review to several of my friends on the first episode, I think it’s high time to actually sit my bum down and write something about this crazy, witty, intelligent show.

The first episode begins when five friends become six: Rachel (Jennifer Anniston) leaves her fiancé at the altar, and finds Monica (Courteney Cox), her brother Ross (David Schwimmer), her friend Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) and neighbours Chandler (Matthew Perry) and Joey (Matt LeBlanc) at their hangout, the coffeehouse Central Perk. We follow these six friends as they explore the uncertain terrain that independence brings them: the ability to make their own decisions, the navigation of confusing relationships, and, of course, their own developing friendships with each other.

The six friends sippin' on two milkshakes: you do the maths.

Aw, look at these lovelies. I wish they were my friends as well.

Each episode is short — but the pithy kind of short. The kind of duration I like. Concise, but powerful. Like Ernest Hemingway and his short stories, I guess. But I digress. I just wanted to say I love love love this show, and I haven’t even finished the second season yet (so no spoilers, please!). Anyone out there have any fond Friends memories? Any other similar TV shows you think I might like?

[Also, because I know I’ll get into this somewhere, my favourite characters are Chandler (I love his sarcasm, amongst other things) and Phoebe (why she so whacky? I love it!). And who, may I ask, are yours?]