When I posted here about women in TV drama, I managed to completely forget one of the best shows on TV. Lifetime channel has almost redeemed itself, after the end of all its wonderful 1990s show. “Drop Dead Diva” began in 2009 and went into its fourth season summer 2012. The show starts on a supernatural premise, but once it moved past its first few episode, the show was solidly settled in this world. The premise is that two women who are strangers are killed at the same time: Deb is a gorgeous, vapid blonde model in her early 20s; Jane a pretty but quite fat genius lawyer in her 30s. Due to a heavenly mix-up, the real Jane dies and the real Deb survives, but Deb ends up in Jane’s body. Since the brain is part of the body, Deb discovers that she had acquired Jane’s intellect and her knowledge, and finds herself a star lawyer in a successful law firm. She also discovers that fat women are treated far differently than thin young models. Brooke Eliot is amazing as this hybrid Deb/Jane. The thought of being fat horrifies Deb more than her escape fro death pleases her.
It’s a show with a message, presented with palatable humor and charge. Deb’s grieving fiancé, who works at Jane’s firm, befriends Jane, but never sees through her hefty body to the soul of the woman he loves at least until 2011’s cliffhanger. Deb, used to being a constant sexpot, still quite literally walks the walk, and Eliot sashays though the room with Deb’s sexy sway, smiling provocatively at any man she passes. (A secondary advantage is the casting of Asian-American comedian Margaret Cho as Jane’s caring, cynical assistant.) And the new season has begun!