Saturday, June 7, 2014

Drop Dead Diva: Therapy for Pessimism and Finals Week Blues

This week finds me on the cusp of finals week. As you might have noticed, I took a break from the blog this quarter to work on my thesis project, in which I wrote and rewrote, and finally pushed out a memoir of about 50 or so pages. The process transformed me into a pure night owl, sleeping during the afternoon if possible, typing like a demon into the night, and going to bed after the sky becomes blue and gray. If that's not enough to convince you of that I have become a creature of the night, the sunrise has become a cue for my brain to go to sleep. I'll let you know when I start sparkling.

Overworked student, or vampire?
(Photo Credit: UCSD Snaps)

A show I've been watching on Netflix during my study breaks is Drop Dead Diva, which is about a skinny, charismatic hot girl named Deb who dies and is "reincarnated" as a "size 16" lawyer named Jane. Since Deb was not necessarily good nor bad during her life (she was just shallow), she is ultimately given a second chance as Jane. The show starts out by presenting her as Deb trapped in Jane's body, so we get Deb's "soul" (which contains her confident and optimistic personality), and Jane's brain (ooh, it rhymes!). 

I wasn't sure if I would like this show at first because I thought that using a "size 16" character, the show was going to fixate on her weight for the whole time. But after the first three episodes the show seemed to move away from the "f-f..." issue into wider dilemmas, allowing us to see past Jane and into her other concerns about finding her place among her new friends as well as reconciling with her past. 

Photo Credit: Hollywood Reporter

With Deb's charisma, the new Jane shows that she can think outside the box and solve problems for her clients--just not in the way she's expected to. She possesses and shows a high degree of emotional intelligence and confidence, which was something that "Old Jane" had struggled with when she was alive. Now the new Jane is a charismatic hybrid of both types of intelligence--the emotional/social kind, and the "book smarts" kind that allows her to absorb and remember a lot of technical information. However, she doesn't have Old Jane's memories, which probably would have burdened her fresh start.

Like my husband noted, Deb-in-Jane is like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde, who goes to Harvard as a law student despite people's perceptions of her as incompetent and incapable of thinking in that area. She proves them wrong, and this is what Jane does in every episode. She takes a challenge and proves the nay-sayers wrong. Brooke Elliot does a fantastic job of portraying Jane's charm and expressive personality.

Photo Credit: LazyGirls

I know this might irk some of you due to differing preferences, but one of my favorite aspects of this show is the fact that it's cheesy. Jane injects so much emotion into her cases that would probably have her thrown out of a real court, and a lot of these probably wouldn't play out the same in real life, but I DON'T CARE, it satisfies my need for closure, justice, and the "feels." This is probably one of the times where I'm totally in support of corny mush fests, even when they don't make complete sense. 

Each of the characters has a softer side, even the ones who come off as assholes at first. The opportunity of redemption allows for characters to change and improve themselves--a big theme in this show. Despite all the feels, this show also has a strong dose of light humor, which keeps the tissue box away. 

Photo Source: TV Guide

After being on air since 2009, Drop Dead Diva was canceled after Season 4, but it was brought back in March for one final season. Judging from the decent ratings of the show on IMDB (7.3 as of 6/7/14), a lot of people have enjoyed this show too. I personally haven't gone that far but I'm glad that the show won't be ending at a cliffhanger, where Season 4 had left the story.

I'm so thankful to have a show to go to when I'm feeling down or stressed out, especially after finishing Nikita. New Girl also has that sort of cheerful mood, although for comedic purposes, Jess is wayyy clueless about a lot of things, and the series does realistically portray the job uncertainty that a lot of new adults have in this era. Drop Dead Diva offers me a stronger dose of escapism, and I also admire Jane's sweet combo of charm, intelligence, and faith in her clients.

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