★★★★/★★★★★ My Mad Fat Diary based on My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary by Rae Earl.
This series follows Rae Earl, a 16-year-old who recently left a psychiatric hospital after attempting suicide. After returning home she encounters her old best friend, and tries to live the normal teen life of the nineties. This series follows her as she tries to reconnect with her best friend, Chloe, while trying to make friends with Chloe’s friends Finn, Archie, Izzy and Chop; it follows her as she tries to deal with her body image ( Rae has issues with her body); it follows her and her suffering with depression and her other mental health issues. But Rae is not the only one with issues, and so the series explores everyone else’s problems, how they overcome them, if they do, and how this affects their relationships.
“You would be surprised what lengths people will go to not face what’s real and painful inside them.” — Kester
Oh this show! This show gives me life and then tears it down, brings me up again and then plummets me to the ground.
Rae has spent her life hating her body, hating how she looks. She therefore must go to a psychiatrist, and the two strike a friendship. Kester tries to make her understand that outside beauty is not all, that there is more to people than their aspects. She is told to accept how she looks, because she is special, and she is loved despite her appearance. My Mad Fat Diary received critical acclaim for its portrayal of mental illness, and I agree wholeheartedly, this series managed to achieve what barely others have, it presents the darkest bouts of her depression, as well as her skeptical attitude with amazing results. (when things go right she sees it as an anomaly and ends up ruining it, however when things go bad she assumes it is her life). Most of this is due to the brilliant performance by Sharon Rooney. This show is comprised mostly of witty and funny lines, delivered by the main character to almost perfection, her self-deprecating is ridiculous, and adds much needed comedic relief after a very stressful bout of emotions.
Yes, the series is crude, deal with it.
Something else that was done quite well was Archie’s sexuality. He is gay, or so he thinks, sexuality is a complex spectrum. I personally enjoyed that he was shown as having his doubts, but then confirmed, and how he was supported by Rae. It is also shown how he was afraid of how his friends would treat him, but once his sexual orientation is revealed, his best mate has a very good reaction, while another friend is put to the test after he becomes distant and allows for Archie to be mocked by others. This showed why he was so adamant to reveal his identity after he discovered himself, and it explains how some teenagers choose to act certain ways in order to fit in.
This is Archie discovering himself, sort of:
A favourite of mine was Earl’s mother Claire, and her boyfriend/husband Karim. Claire is the mother and father figure, even if Rae denies so. She is more witty than Rae, and with complex emotions. She spends her life trying to be there for her daughter the best possible way that she can, even pretending she is her father so that Rae would not hate him. Then we have Karim, the immigrant that barely speaks English. He soon becomes more than comedic relief, but the support system of Claire and in perspective, also Rae.
Rae disagrees with me, but I do not care.
But the series is not without its faults, although most are due to character’s inability to move on, and the way they act and how it affects my perspective on them.
Chloe, her “best-friend” is dis-likable to say the least. She was self-absorbed and egotistical, and although she had some resemblance of reasons as to why she would be and act the way she did, I felt nothing but hatred.
There was also the issue of Finn and Rae’s relationship. Although portrayed in a very realistic form, their ups and downs with their emotional/sexual relationship left much to be desired, and bored me to death nearly a few times. Their relationship once it started was a jump between being in love and breaking up, staying friends and then getting back together. It was a loop that I wish ended.
I must also mention that Rae was not without fault. She harbors a lot of disrespect for her mother. Maybe it is because of my culture, but if I said anything to my mum the way Rae does, I would no longer have any teeth.
And now we must remember this show is based in the nineties, and there was a lot of cool music being released back then, this show takes advantage of that. It contains everything from Oasis, The Smiths, Radiohead, and even some Bob Marley to Mr. Boombastic. So if you do not like the show, at least the soundtrack should satisfy you.