Drop Dead Diva – Good Grief (S02E11) – Episode review

It’s my first look at Drop Dead Diva, a show which I’ve been meaning to watch, but have managed to uniformly miss every week. And now it’s coming up on the season finale. Damn.

What’s it about? Well, it’s about a ditzy blonde girl who dies in a car accident and manages to inhabit the body of a chubby brunette lawyer. I’m sure fans of the show can fill in the details there, but that’s how I understand it. So, she lives the life of Jane, working as a lawyer, and only her best friend and guardian angel know her secret.

First impressions: Surprisingly warm and touchingly optimistic. It reminded me of my wife’s predilection for Private Practice and its weekly medical/ethical issues, but swapping the medical context for a legal one. And throwing in a touch of the supernatural, obviously. And a sprinkle of comedy.

This week, Jane starts to be bothered in her dreams by her deceased counterpart. “Old Jane” is miffed that no-one ever mourned her because her life carried on, but with someone else in the driving seat. This ties into one of the primary cases – a man who’s been fired from work because he’s dressed as a clown since his wife died.

In case you missed the episode title, Good Grief, the theme of part of the show is grief and coming to terms with loss. In the case of the clown, Jane and her colleague Grayson try to explain that wearing the costume helps him to get through his day. In the courtroom, there’s a very good debate about what’s acceptable behaviour in taking your personal issues to the workplace and how that can turn into inflicting your problems on your colleagues.

After an embarrassing scene in the courtroom, Jane speaks to Grayson about how he dealt with the loss of his girlfriend. When he tells her that it helped to see himself through her eyes, the healing process could begin. She takes this approach with the clown, and he begins to wipe his makeup off. Yes, it’s painting with big, emotional brush strokes, but you get the point. She was able to help him beyond the courtroom.

Reality TV and Swimming with Sharks

Elsewhere, Kim and Parker begin representing a reality TV producer accused of humiliating a former contestant by constantly running promos branding her “Weeping Wendy”. The reality show is a kind of Bachelor concept.

Oh, so many parallels with the real world on this one. My default position is that if you’re desperate enough for fame to appear on these shows, then you accept the risks of being edited badly, etc. Kind of the same attitude Parker took. The show opts for a more emotionally satisfying approach, and as unrealistic as it might be in real life, it’s easy to ignore the flaws in the plot and run with the unbridled optimism.

It turns out – after much court time – that the producer actually set it up so that the girl would lose because he was in love with her. Cute! He knew that the guy on the show was looking to raise his profile, and he wanted to protect her. Have you ever heard of a reality TV producer who wanted to protect his subjects? Nevertheless, Drop Dead Diva delivers another happy ending that somehow avoids the full process of the law. I wonder how that firm makes any money at all.

I had though, before I’d seen this episode, that a lot of the show would have hinged on the hot girl, now with chubby girl body. In all honesty, the show doesn’t seem so hung up on that, and I place it slightly closer to [[Being Erica (TV Series)|Being Erica]] in the ‘quirky morality tales about life’ than to [[Samantha Who (TV Series)|Samantha Who]] which seems to be at the less watchable end of this genre. And despite that premise, I find Brooke Elliott quite hot.

Great show. I really do consider Drop Dead Diva a hidden gem. Spread the word and tune in to next week’s finale!

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