Feature Play: My Mad Fat Diary
My Mad Fat Diary is a charming show that takes place between the tender years of 1996 and 1998. It follows the story of Rae and her struggles to fit into mainstream society again after spending a summer in a psychiatric ward, because she tried to commit suicide.
Rai hasn’t told anybody about her stay in a psych ward, not even her best friend, Chloe, and because of this, tension is created in Rae’s ability (and inability) to try to pass herself off as “normal.”
Rai is called Jabba at school by her bullies, and because of this she is made very aware of her size. This is part of the focal point, as the narrative hones in on this being one of her biggest insecurities and will prove to be one of the biggest personal obstacles she’ll have to endure.
The title, of course, also hints at this. One of the earlier gut wrenching moments in Rae’s life is when she is invited to Chloe’s pool party and Rae gets stuck on the slide.
Everyone stares at her and she’s left trying to hide her scars from “cutting” on her legs. But what’s awesome about this show is the way it subverts the drama. Instead of running away and crying, which we’d expect, Rae laughs it off and literally plunges back into the party.
And thus opens the show that will subvert the fat shaming stereotypes of so many television shows. Instead, we have Rae, who refuses to let herself be shamed. Instead, her insecurities are communicated to us through her diary, which takes on wondrous illusions as they decorate the screen, giving us a feeling as if we are living inside Rae’s head.
But what’s also nice is that Rae isn’t the only one who is given depth. She finds out that her friends who she considered to be perfect really aren’t perfect themselves. They too have their own struggles.
The diary is nice tool and the producers avoid making it into something too stereotypical, which is easy to do. Instead there is a true form of honesty revealed through it. Rae is not afraid of her sexuality, as she will openly talk about oral sex and her vagina in an unashamed, open way.
She tackles the themes of mental illness and body image with such honesty. And this is one of the biggest draws, and one of the reasons why we think this show would be a great fit for many geeks out there.
We can all relate to feeling like an outcast for one reason or another and this show not only puts it out there, but also reinforces empowering ideals.
Rae is the starting point for the series however, the series itself delves into other controversial topics. So we recommend you give it a watch. It’s currently available on Hulu