Emily Dunbar ’17 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer
Don’t let the title scare you. (Well, actually, you should be a little put off by the name My Mad Fat Diary, seeing as that’s what Rae would want if someone got a hold of her journal.) This show has got heart. It’s got wits. It takes risks and brings you along for the ride. My Mad Fat Diary is the (true) story of Rachael (Rae) Earl, a sixteen year-old-girl trying to navigate the usually-torturous path of teenagerdom in Lincolnshire, England, and here’s why you should be watching her do it:
1. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.
When is the last time you were watching a TV show that actually made you chuckle aloud? Be honest! There aren’t many shows on TV right now that can really bust your gut. My Mad Fat Diary has got a young, all-star cast who can deliver classic British one-liners like many late-and-greats before them. Sharon Rooney, the wildly hilarious and big-hearted Rae, is someone to watch out for. Her acting chops are only rivaled by her comedic timing, and when put together, they create a force to be reckoned with. Rooney’s a perfect casting to head this dramedy.
2. It’s got the coolest “gang.”
Pretty much every TV show has “the gang;” it’s not exactly a new concept that teenagers have friends. Even so, many of these groups seem like a lot of fun, and you wish you could be in them. But, here’s the thing about The Gang in My Mad Fat Diary: you don’t have to imagine being in it because you probably already are in real life. Rae’s gang is one of the most believable groups of TV friends to grace television screens in a long time. You’ve got Chloe (Jodie Comer), Rae’s best mate, the beautiful and rebellious girl with a point to prove. Izzy (Ciara Baxendale), the ditzy yet exceedingly kind girl you can always count on for a smile. You’ve got Finn (Nico Mirallegro), the stereotypical bad boy (leather jacket and all) with a not-so-secret heart, whose mystique turns out to be the least interesting thing about him, once you get to know him. There’s Archie (Dan Cohen), the group’s musician who also just happens to be the resident extraordinaire in all things nerdy. Finally, there’s Chop (Jordan Murphy), the well-meaning and oft-vulgar train wreck of a lovable puppy. These are the people that Rae collectively calls “The Gang,” but of course she’s got her other friends from the hospital, Tix, Danny, and Kester, who each play vital roles in her life in the outside world. Each of Rae’s friends has an important backstory that’s revealed in good time, and every time she finds something new out about her friends, she finds something new out about herself. She learns and grows with her friends, as their struggles become hers, and hers theirs. It’s a display of true friendship that only seems to happen in real life.
3. It’s set in the 90’s.
People are always joking around about what “only 90’s kids can remember,” yet nobody is actually indulging in the greatness that was the 90’s! Watching My Mad Fat Diary gives viewers who lived through it all a hilarious and heart-warming trip down memory lane, and those who wish they had been there, the opportunity to experience it vicariously through Rae and all her friends.
4. You’ve got a while ‘til the next season airs.
Because Diary is a British show, you can pretty much guarantee that it’ll be months upon months before you even hear any word about the next season. (Lookin’ at you Doctor Who and Sherlock.) (Mostly Sherlock.) As it stands right now, there’s no airdate for Series 3, so you’ve got ages to watch the two seasons that are out now! There are only thirteen episodes, which means you could technically finish in a single day. Get to streaming!
5. Most importantly: it’s revolutionary and good for the soul.
We are introduced to Rae at the cusp of an important milestone in her life. She’s moments away from being released from the hospital in which she’d been living for four months due to binge eating and a suicide attempt. It’s exciting that Rae is finally going home and trying to establish some sense of normalcy for herself, but she’s frightened of the prospect of being back home, back in the house and the town and around the people with which all her troubles started. (By the way, none of this counts as spoilers—Rae tells you all of this in the first five minutes of the first episode!) While the show is hilarious and doesn’t always focus directly on Rae’s struggles, these issues are not taken lightly. On the contrary, almost every character in the show has to deal with an illness, including various eating disorders, anger management troubles, self-harm, and self-esteem issues. Each character, however, is not defined by what struggles they may have. We learn about Rae’s past very quickly, yet we find out even more quickly that that’s not what defines her. She’s a music lover, a die-hard Oasis fan with a soft spot for the Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage;” she’s hilarious; she can drink any- and everyone you meet at the pub under the table. So even when she’s suffering with severe body image issues that are holding her back from something great (there’s a spoiler that I’ll keep to myself, for ya!), you find yourself yelling at the screen, trying to reach out to her, trying to tell her that she’s good enough. My Mad Fat Diary reminds you that you are not that with which you’re struggling; you are the parts of you that you’re proud of. Everybody needs to be reminded of that fact every once and a while.
Whether you are obsessed with the 90’s, are looking to sob ‘til you laugh and laugh ‘til you sob, or just want to find a new show that’s worth your time, My Mad Fat Diary should be next on your Watch List! Follow @MyMadFatDiary on Twitter or ‘like’ the Facebook page to get updates on series three. You definitely won’t regret making Rae’s story a little piece of your own!