Everybody who has been on Tumblr knows how quickly the site can take over your life. Not just because of the site itself, but because of what it leads to. No, not drugs (drugs are bad) I’m talking about un-pause-able TV. Shows I had never heard of or bothered to watch, but whose vortex I was sucked into so deeply, there is no way out now: I am stuck.
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to stumble on the My Mad Fat Diary (MMFD) fandom on Tumblr. This show is everything I’ve ever wanted in a TV series. MMFD is about a charming, mentally unstable, overweight, music obsessed teen named Rae Earl. Rae struggles with making friends, fitting in, boy troubles and her own (sometimes very dark) emotional issues.
It may sound like run of the mill (except for the main character being overweight which is not common at all) but it’s anything but that. MMFD explores how a girl’s physical appearance can completely dictate her feelings about herself, even if she is funny, smart, kind and interesting, none of those things can trump the F word: FAT. It also is not a show about how she suddenly loses all this weight and is happy. MMFD paints a very realistic picture of what it’s like to struggle with your weight, with self harm and with just hating yourself in general.
Rae is so likeable, and at the same time so vulnerable and real that you can’t help but root for her (and also yell at her sometimes because she’s being an idiot). The story is based on the real life Rae Earl’s diaries, and the tone is both hysterically funny and deeply moving. Rae’s mother Linda has some of the best lines of any TV show I’ve ever heard. (For example, when Rae complains about her mother buying cheap tampons, Linda tells her next time she’ll buy her a pack of swan’s necks). She’s also a fantastic actress (as is Sharon Rooney who plays Rae) and makes you really identify with her own struggle for happiness.Rae’s friends are a dynamic cast of characters, with personalities that resonate for any circle of friends, teenagers or not. Plus have you seen Nico Mirallegro? HAVE YOU?!
The show also explores sexuality from the perspective of a teen girl in an honest (and really funny) way. So many times we see teen coming of age stories depicted in a really slapstick way ala American Pie, but rarely do we get a tender, real look at this part of growing up, and even rarer still from a girl’s POV.
The music from the show is another one of the reasons I fell in love with it. Set in the 1990’s, there’s everything from Oasis to The Backstreet Boys, and the songs chosen to accompany each scene are nothing short of perfect. If you’re on Spotify, you can listen to the entire series soundtrack here.
I’ve met a lot of fans of the show and we’ve all spoken about the impact the show has had on us, and how much more of an impact it could have if seen by more people. There was an American version of the show being written for MTV, and though I’ve heard rumors this was axed, I don’t know if that’s true or not. I don’t think we need a new cast or show for American audiences…at all. I can’t see anyone else playing the characters I’ve become so attached to and frankly it makes no sense. It’s like if they decided, off the massive success of Sherlock, to rewrite the show for American audiences and deprive us of Benedict Cumberbatch & Martin Freeman. What’s the point? I think we should just bring the already brilliant two seasons over here and maybe that will nudge those behind the show into making season three. If you’re looking for a new show to watch, go ahead and give it a shot. You’ll only be sorry there isn’t more of it to see.
Link to watch episodes here.
* Just wanted to also warn you guys, for anyone who does struggle with eating disorders or self-harm, this show can be extremely triggering so please be safe and make sure you are not alone or don’t watch if you feel you can’t handle it.