Sunday, May 19, 2013

My Mad, Fat Diary

Leslie Kinzel, of XOJane and Two Whole Cakes fame, first turned me onto the British show when she wrote about it on XOJane. 

Leslie has been one of my fativist heroes.  In fact, she's probably the person I first found who not only said fat people are OK, but that they're real and whole people.  Maybe just the first one who said in no uncertain terms.  Me, just looking through fat fashion (FATSHION) sites, her powering away at size prejudice.  Anyway, diverging.

Being that I totally respect her opinions, I tried to find it.  Her article said it wasn't available in the US, but I went on YouTube hoping maybe there was a trailer.

A trailer?  Try the whole damn series!

My Mad, Fat Diary is based on a book by a similar name - My Mad, Fat, Teenage Diary - by Rae Earl.  The main character is coincidentally also named Rae Earl.  And the book is actually the author's teenage diary. 

Unfortunately iTunes doesn't want non-Brits to have the book, just like normal TV doesn't want us to have the show.

The show is led first by the performances.  The actress who plays Rae Earl, Sharon Rooney, totally captured the raw intensity of feelings you have as a teenager (a fat one, at that!) without being over the top or melodramatic.  Of course, being a big girl herself, she did some walking in those shoes.

The soundtrack beckoned me back to high school and the beginning of the second (third?) British invasion.  The clothes, the hair, the lack of cell phones and technology... 

The show starts with the Rae being released from a mental institute and continues through her adventures in therapy and reconnecting with society.  See her jealousy over skinny friends, desiring boys, and trying to find SOMETHING to wear - which was even harder in the 90's for fat girls than it is today.

People talk about things being triggering, and this show probably qualifies.  It deals with self-harm, feeling less-than and unwantable - because that's the stuff that fat teenage girls deal with and feel.  It also deals with abortion, drug use, and teenage drinking.  Cause that stuff happens, too.

I powered through the entire series in a night.  I didn't want it to be over, but British TV is smart and ends at the right time instead of limping along far after it should have died.  It's a 13 episode, complete story.

Watch it.  Cry.  Love it.  Remember your own worst teenage year.