Pacey 2.0 you say? Those are fighting words in some circles.
Remember that time Pacey defended Joey’s honour when her mural was ruined? I sure do!
Yet watch My Mad Fat Diary series one along with me (it’s only six episodes long) and you’ll discover that this along with a multitude of other reasons make MMFD one of the best TV shows EVER. It filled the hole that Friday Night Lights left in me.
It is as rewatchable a show as I’ve ever come across. Regular readers of my blog know that I love to slice, dice and just generally dissect and overanalyze relationships from TV shows I adore. It’s the nature of fandom bases like WordPress, Tumblr and Livejournal to pick apart every little thing about a show, rewatching things again and again for new meanings and making speculation for future plotlines.
The monumental attention to detail in MMFD shows some tender loving care in everything from writing and acting to set design and soundtrack, and I’ll be spending the next few weeks recapping this show and breaking down all of those elements.
So why should you watch along with me? Check out my reasons below if you’re a newbie. And come along for the ride if you’re not so that you can fall in love with the show all over again!
A kickass heroine
Rae is an incredible main character, a mix of strength and vulnerability that will draw you in again and again. A music mad teen, she suffers from body image issues and is recovering from depression, but has a huge lust for life that makes her a magnet for the people around her.
As StainOfMyLove put better than I ever could:
MMFD just puts you in Rae’s shoes like nothing I’ve ever seen in my life. The storytelling for her is just so so so insanely good. Like, we all live in our own prisons of self, and I feel like the series deals with that A LOT. Because what we feel about Rae from her POV (a fragile, broken bird sloshing around in a bottle where almost every second is awful and a total battle) as opposed to what everyone else sees when they look at her from the outside (a tough cookie, the core of her group, the fucking BEST, basically) plays with that a lot. The prison and poison of self and a body you just cannot fucking escape (the showrunner/writer fought cancer as a teenager and has said that he uses the feelings he used to have about his body being the enemy when he writes for Rae and it is just PERFECT and HEARTBREAKING).
Rae is a protagonist you will root for and cheer for and see yourself in because we all have those days when it gets too much and you have to keep going anyway.
Oh yeah. And she always has a mean one liner ready.
My Mad Fat Diary is an unreliable narration, told through the perspective of Rae’s diary. As Kester her therapist says, you can leave things out of a diary and rip out whole pages and pretend they don’t exist. Part of the beauty of the show is realising how our viewpoint can skew our ability to see ourselves as others see us.
Finn Nelson’s little moments
The show is ultimately about Rae. She has countless little moments and great lines, and because of Sharon Rooney’s amazing performance you can understand Rae’s thoughts and motivations most of the time. Because she speaks directly to the audience there is less to dissect with her.
In contrast, you have Finn Nelson, a character who admits he is “not good with words” and people think is a grumpy sod but is really a sweet English muffin.
I think Finn might be the most Tumblr-friendly character ever. He’s an introvert and he is just quietly in the background clocking reactions, doing subtle things and sneaking glances at people. You don’t even realises how much he is doing until you go onto Tumblr where fangirls have broken down every micromoment that he is on screen.
So it’ll be a lot of fun picking apart all of the reactions of a character who loves observing everyone, keeps things close to his chest, and is best at non-verbal communication.
One of the best things about this show is that it’s not afraid to be subtle. It doesn’t have to hit you over the head with each character, but all the details are there just ready to piece together.
Seriously, trigger warning for asthma sufferers who plan to watch the show, your air supply may suddenly become very limited.
Deals with body image in revolutionary ways for mainstream media
As much as I love appreciating eye candy, it is nice to see representations of people who aren’t conventionally pretty.
MMFD features an overweight teenage woman as the main character and portrays her as unapologetically sexual, with her growing sexuality one of the main themes of the show and treated with sweetness and respect rather than as comic relief or a joke.
The show forces us to consider our own prejudices about realism in relationships when it come to physical appearance. Our obsession with human-vampire relationships in the recent decade proves it is easy for audiences to accept two entirely different species getting together so long as both members of the partnership are conventionally attractive.
Part of what I love about My Mad Fat Diary is that it has gotten people talking about what happens when two partners in a romantic relationships are different physical types yet soul mates. What then? This issue is hardly every considered in mainstream media.
One of the most complicated female friendships ever put on TV
There is genuine love and affection mixed in with what almost feels like sibling rivalry between Rae and her best mate from childhood Chloe, who is her polar opposite in looks and personality.
Imagine what it would be like to do everything “right” – be hot, skinny and popular like Chloe – and then have the best friend you thought would be your fat sidekick come in and grow closer to your best friends than you are and score a hot love interest to boot. If you’re doing everything you’re supposed to be doing to look desirable and it still isn’t “enough”, you must feel like you wanna bang your head against brick wall.
Some people aren’t great at being one of the lads like Rae, ready with a quick quip or a cool response to everything. What if you think you can’t compete in the arena of personality?
MMFD isn’t afraid to tackle body image issues from the other end of the scope and results in one of the most interesting friendships every captured on TV.
Chloe is a controversial character in fandom, but we all have our Chloe moments regardless of our dress size, and her relationship with Rae is complex and multilayered and well worth dissecting.
Rockin’ 90s soundtrack
The show is set in Britain at the height of 90s Brit Pop, so you’ll be able to put on your old Spice Girl pumps and strut around and remember a time when things were simple and your biggest decision was what Spice Girl you were. Music snobs Rae and Finn will totally judge you, but don’t lie, I know you all love 90s music whether hipster friendly or in all its cheesy glory. This show is OC-like in that it selects songs that are perfect for enhancing a character or relationship moment.
So get ready for a rockin’ nostalgia kick.
The rest of the gang
Just try not to fall in love with Izzy, Chop and Archie. Just try it.
So will you be watching me? I’m like Tinkerbell, I need comments to live 😀