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August 30, 2015

Drop Dead Diva -- An early look

by Allison Waldman, posted Jul 9th 2009 10:16AM
brooke_elliott_margaret_cho_drop_dead_divaCertain shows seem to be perfect for certain television networks. That's the point of programming, no doubt, and Lifetime has done a good job filling their female-centric niche with TV movies and series like Army Wives. That said, I think there will soon be a new favorite on Lifetime and it's called Drop Dead Diva. It's chick-flick, rom-com for weekly TV viewers, and while men might enjoy the whimsical plot and attractive characters, this is a show that ladies will adore.

If you were talking high concept like a Hollywood pitchman, you could describe Drop Dead Diva as Ally McBeal for the Lane Bryant set. Or maybe it's Sara Lee meets Heaven Can Wait. However, you put it, Drop Dead Diva is a switcheroo story about a vapid, but lovable, gorgeous size 2 model who dies at the exact same time as a brilliant, generous size 16 workaholic attorney, and in one of those wonderful Hollywood comedy devices, shallow Deb's spirit winds up in good Jane's body.

Holy vice-versa! How can Deb handle the weight of such a transformation and will Jane's innate wisdom and wit finds a voice with Deb in control?

To say that all this is quirky and cutesy is a given. But it's also quite good and a winner all around. The premise is a Hollywood staple, but when it's done right -- as it is here -- you don't care. It helps that Drop Dead Diva is smart enough not to make either Deb or Jane caricatures. Deb could easily be paper thin, especially since she's introduced as a superficial airhead. But as the pilot progresses, Deb blossoms. The same is true of Jane, the sympathetic full-figure lead. Both women are given room to grow and in the episodes to come, I expect they will.

Brooke Elliott as Jane will be the show's break out star. She gets the lion's share of the screen time and the Broadway vet has charm to spare. Brooke D'Orsay as Deb and Margaret Cho as Teri, Jane's assistant, also add a lot to the show's buoyancy. Sadly, the men are just eye candy and not much more than that. In the shows to come, there will be major guest stars of note, including Liza Minnelli, Delta Burke, Elliott Gould, Rosie O'Donnell, Sharon Lawrence, Tim Gunn et al.

In the void left on television since the demise of a classy, quirky fable like Pushing Daisies -- a show that was almost too good for TV -- Drop Dead Diva may be just what viewers are looking for, especially in these long summer months. And like Pushing Daisies, there's a feel-good quality to Drop Dead Diva that's a good change of pace from the reruns of procedurals and sitcoms, bizarre reality and summer action fare. There's even a certain Susan Boyle, root for the underdog element to the show. All good reasons to tune in.

Drop Dead Diva premieres on July 12, at 9 p.m., right before Army Wives. The double dose of estrogen will thrive on Lifetime's Sunday nights. Based on the pilot, Drop Dead Diva has me hooked and others will follow.

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I am a size 14/16 and I think I look about the same size as Brooke Elliott. May be she is truly size 16 and not 22 as you have mentioned. Probably just personal perspective of how you see yourself.

August 25 2009 at 5:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I too agree. By using an actress who is closer to a size 22/24 and claiming that she is a size 16 gives the audience the wrong perception of women who truly are a size 16. The difference between a size 16 and 22 would be a minimum of 60 lbs depending of frame size and height.

July 29 2009 at 12:38 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Umm, if she's a size 16, I'm the queen of Sheba.... I'm a size 22 and we look to be about the same...... What's wrong with saying a size 22???

July 09 2009 at 10:38 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to bridgemo's comment

Agreed, I think she wears a larger size than a 16 -- not that it matters, of course, except that it would have been nice to have the writers be more accurate. This sort of reminds me of Camryn Manheim's story about going to a casting call asking for an actress who weighed 250 pounds, which was just what she weighed at the time. When she got there, the interviewers were dismayed -- "No, we wanted someone 'grossly fat' and 'barely able to move,' like, 250 pounds!"

July 09 2009 at 2:16 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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