Brooke Elliott’s performance as Jane/Deb is almost as amazing as Steve Martin’s in “All of Me” when his body was “possessed” by Lily Tomlin. Combined, these two souls get an edge on a cutthroat, self-centered world.
No. My estrogen level hasn’t spiked, nor has my IQ level dropped (that I know of). I have now watched the pilot of the Drop Dead Diva TV series four times. Once by myself. Once with my daughter-in-law. Once with my sister. And now, taadaaa, with my husband. All of them got so into the characters that I had to push pause every once in a while to let them vent. Don’t ya just love it when they do that?
Drop Dead Diva premiered in 2009 on Lifetime and lasted four seasons. It wasn’t supposed to come back from the dead, but it did. A fifth season is in the works for June. So what is it about this show that so captured my/our interest?
The title doesn’t sound promising for anyone over the age of fifteen with two brain cells to rub together. The basic plot line is like “Legally Blonde” meets “Heaven Can Wait” (Warren Beatty’s version). Those were not originally on my Must See list, either, but now I love them. But a TV show? Come on.
To cook up such a show, you take one drop-dead gorgeous but shallow blonde bimbo called Deb (Brooke D’Orsay), put her soul into the body of a plus-size female lawyer, Jane, (Brooke Elliott) with a plus-size brain and heart. Stir. And it’s ready for the table. What spices up the show is that the actors MAKE you believe it and the dialogue is great. The actors are all good. But the main character, Jane, is beyond good. At least in this series.
The show begins when they take the shallow blonde, put her into a sports car where she pays no attention at all to her driving, and they throw a truck loaded with grapefruit in front of her. As you will see, this in itself is a bit of irony. Which also proves that the writers of this show are smart enough to actually know what the word “irony” means. Probably can even spell it.
Meanwhile, back at the law firm, Jane steps out of her office into a nightmare scenario where a gunman is after her boss. Completely by accident, she takes the bullet.
Now we get a visit to Hollywood’s version of Heaven and the gatekeeper Fred, (Ben Feldman) who tells Deb she is the first 0/0 he’s ever seen. Not good, and not bad. Zero/Zero. But believe it or not, even these guys hold your attention and you want to know what’s going to happen next.
Next is that Deb’s size-two soul winds up in Jane’s clunky, size-16 body, retaining all Deb’s savvy memories of beauty treatments and fashion, where they reside alongside Jane’s plus-size IQ.
Now it gets really interesting because Jane still looks the same, and is still super smart, but has the confidence, savvy, and mannerisms of Deb. Brooke Elliott’s performance is almost as amazing as Steve Martin’s in “All of Me” when his body was “possessed” by Lily Tomlin.
Jane/Deb, who wakes up asking, “Why do I feel bloated?”, now walks and talks like a debutante as well as a brilliant lawyer, tries little flirty, feminine wiles on men without a second thought, flips her hair provocatively, and wonders why people depend on her brain and dedication, but still think she’s pathetic. Combined, these two souls get an edge on a cutthroat, self-centered world where people who don’t measure up don’t matter.
This series is not about shallow, hackneyed plots. It’s about society couched in humor and very human emotions and scenarios. It made me laugh, cry, scream and cheer. It made my husband say not nice things to a couple of the characters. Out loud. And he’s too sane to talk to characters on the TV screen. I’m not and I do. My sister does. And she was even more vocal.
I’ve watched about three more episodes, and they have all held up to the standards of the pilot. I have no idea how it holds up from there, but the pilot and at least the first few episodes are very worth watching.