Sunday, August 1, 2010

Drop Dead (from Frustration), TeeVee

What a brilliant piece of crap.

First of all, the stated premise stinks. Deb -- a sweet, pretty and vapid young model -- dies in a car crash, is accidentally reincarnated, to her horror, as Jane -- a morbidly obese but intelligent lawyer, thanks to a snafu at the gateless intake office of the pearly gates, and from that point on deals with her brainless best friend (who knows the incredible truth), her newly human guardian angel (who got fired for the snafu), her previous incarnation's fiance, who coincidentally works at her law office, and a host of unlikely and potentially embarrassing encounters with her past (her mother, a previously unknown half-sister, a surprise husband), not to mention the challenges of the job itself, which include but are not limited to a boss whose vapidity rivals her own former condition without being tempered by a sweet nature, a bitchy competitor and a cheeky (but supportive) personal assistant, not to mention the actual clients and cases.

Yes, Virginia, that was all one sentence. Get over it.

That was the stinky stated premise. Based on that, we have your basic "oh no, what if someone finds OUT, can she HANDLE it?" on a regular basis. Will Jane make a fool of herself and confess who she is to the plethora of folks who knew Deb and keep popping up? Which will win at any given moment in any given situation: Deb the ditz or Jane the brain? Booooooring. However, there is also the unstated premise, which is that an overweight woman can actually be a cherished human being and effective citizen of the world. To many, in real life, the unstated premise is less realistic than the stated one. It is easier to believe in reincarnation, even in the hazy context of an unspecified religion, than it is to buy that a fat chick can be cool. Sure, once in a while weight becomes a legal issue instead of just a running gag, but it generally takes a back seat to the stupid stuff.

If the creator Josh Berman and his writers had had any guts (pun intended) they'd have just written a show about Jane, and to hell (pun intended) with Deb. Jane without Deb's simper/giggle might not be as much of a challenge to Brooke Elliott, who does the best she can with what they give her, but it would actually be worth watching.