My Mad Fat Diary: Review


My Mad Fat Diary

14 January 2013, E4, 10pm

Ahh the Nineties, my kind of town. The birthing place of my teenage years, where I discovered the heady narcotic aromas of literature and music, the intoxicating stench of female hormones and the fact if I just kept my mouth shut, my fellow teens thought I was cool.

It is also the era in which E4’s new comedy My ‘Mad Fat Diary’ is set, I guess this is because the Nineties it’s coming back into vogue.

Which is weird, partly because now I am 30 plus and understand the veracity of my elders most common utterances… “Where did all the time go?â€? and “I can’t believe that was twenty years agoâ€? but also because I thought they came back in about five years ago when those London hipsters were churning out Smashing Pumpkins and the Beastie Boys as they swanned through the moth ball scented aisles of Beyond Retro.

Mainstream media is usually the last to catch onto such things…or maybe time is moving even quicker than I thought and the Nineties is coming round a third time!

Anyway, back to my ‘Mad Fat Diary’. Rae is a 16 year old girl who following a stint in a mental hospital for issues with self-esteem and self-harm is let back into the real world under the care of her blousy, sex mad mum.

Despite being overweight and suffering from day light hallucinations a lá Ally McBeal; she is bright, funny and soon hooks up with a bunch of sexy, cool kids who may or may not have been in Holly Oaks at some point.

Having seen the ads for the show and now having watched the first episode it is hard to work out which way the show is going to go. Moments of drama are built up nicely but then they seem to evaporate, and seem to have no significant fall out as Rae copes extremely admirably with challenges thrown at her.

There is some foreshadowing of more significant conflict down the line, but from the atmosphere that permeates the show I can’t imagine it will have the emotional impact of anything much above the level of Peppa Pig.

There are some nice performances notably Claire Rushbrook and Ian Hart as the token adults and new comer Sharon Rooney leads the production with humour and personal charm. However, like much ‘comedy drama’, I feel that ‘My ‘Mad Fat Diary’’ lacks that the emotional punch to be a drama or the gags or wit to be a comedy; and we will end up with little more than another soap opera for adolescents.

Which is fine as it’s on E4, the home of teenage television, and I am pretty sure the pubescent population will get a kick out of it. It’s not quite Degrassi Junior High but what can you do? Kids don’t know anything these days.