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Drop Dead Diva Pilot Episode
The Short Version
Deb Dobson (Brooke D'Orsay ) is a blonde bombshell on her way to audition for a prized modeling position the Price Is Right when her self-absorption gets her killed by a truck of grapefruit. At the same time, plus size lawyer extraordinaire, Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliot) unintentionally takes a bullet for her boss. While Jane ascends to heaven Deb's self importance allows her to highjack Jane's body and skills. And so the comedy and drama begins.
The Extended Version
The premiere episode opens with Deb, an aspiring model showing off her signature walk to her live love Grayson (Jackson Hurst). She's getting ready for an audition and he's getting ready for his second interview.
Across town a hard working attorney who has stayed up all night working on a pharmaceutical case for a man whose love died from the side effects of a medication. The man incidentally is the hunky Doctor Simon Tam from Firefly (yes I'm a nut, I mean brownie). Working as first chair, Jane has to constantly watch her back against her aggressively beautiful colleague, Kim Kaswell (Kate Levering) who works more against than with her.
On the way to her interview we learn what a terrible driver Deb is as she pays more attention to her phone and applying lipstick then what is in front of her. It isn't surprising she doesn't see the grapefruit truck pulling out and plows into it being buried to death.
Around the same time, Jane unwittingly walks in on a disgruntled employee who was fired and has returned with a gun to kill the boss (Josh Stamberg) who, as it happens, is standing behind her. She puts her hands up in a submissive pose and takes a step forward to get out of the way but trips forward causing the man to shoot her. Ending Jane up in surgery where she dies on the table.
As the doctors try to revive Jane... Deb is in the transition depo that leads to heaven. Her guide there is the adorable and slightly sarcastic Fred (Ben Feldman). While reviewing Deb's file he learns she is neither a good person or a bad person but is completely self-absorbed. Deb in her impatience to get back to her life clicks the "return" button on Fred's computer without waiting for a full explanation. Deb wakes up on Jane's operation table in Jane's body, a fate in her mind worse than death.
Despite the weight, Deb does manage to pull things together and find some perks in being in Jane's body -- mainly that Jane was really smart which makes Deb smart by default. The smarts help her win two cases which give her new self esteem a boost. Other perks, albeit painful at the moment, is that Grayson was hired on at the firm (thanks to the old Jane's recommendation). To make her transition easier, Fred was demoted to guardian angel and now works at the firm with her too. And she convinced her best friend Stacy (April Bowlby) that she was reincarnated into this size 16 body. Although she does cringe every time she looks at a reflection of herself she's adapting.
My Overall Impression
I really wasn't sure what to make of this show. It's been highly praised in the fat community because the main star is plus size and it also stars Margaret Cho as Jane's assistant, Teri. But I keep asking myself if it is still one big fat joke -- with the typical uncontrolled eating and body loathing. In one scene, a combination of Jane's eating and Deb's self absorptions leads her to stare at a plate of donuts instead of paying attention to the important conversation at hand. I had mixed emotions about it being funny. But it is amusing.
The show is not all laughs. It tugs at the tear strings as many characters in this first episode mourn the loss of different loved ones.
There seems to be a healthy balance and I am looking forward to the next episode.
Season One of Drop Dead Diva is available at Amazon.
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