What The Hell Am I Watching? ‘Drop Dead Diva’

Tuesday, September 6 by

One could almost imagine a creative-type at Lifetime standing up before the producers, and declaring “These are the things that we decided the show to be about for episode 9.” Episode 9 is also enigmatically titled “You Bet Your Life,” despite the fact that no one’s life is wagered, risked, or even changed over the course of the episode. But it is an idiom, so they went ahead and named the episode that anyway.

The amazing thing about this show isn’t that it exists. But rather it’s so formulaic and easy that we should thank our lucky stars that there aren’t more shows like it. It reads exactly like a legal, adult Saved by the Bell. They make throwaway references to predictive text, Paris Hilton’s acting ability, Burning Man and toss around phrases like “We’ll see you in court” and “I’d love to take you to my favorite restaurant.”

The plotlines run to such conventional moral conflicts as “the priest who gets sued because he encourages his poor congregation to steal from an evil corporation,” and “the powerful judge that Jane likes might be too nice for his own good.”

Aside from a heavy-handed reference when Fred, the guardian angel, says “I’m your guardian angel,” there is no acknowledgment of the reincarnation aspect of the show. The fact that Jane’s been dead and reincarnated doesn’t once enter into the equation, which makes one wonder why it is a tenet of the show. Perhaps it’s addressed in other episodes. Perhaps they wanted to back into the delightfully fun title Drop Dead Diva. Maybe it just sounded more interesting in the pitch meeting.

The show manages to forgo even an ounce of nuance in order keep the references rolling, coming across as so mired in convention that I might find that the show was written by 8th grade drama students if I was willing to go to the show’s IMDB page, which I’m totally not.

Some shows work better when you’re hungover and just willing to stare, mouth agape. This show so violently rips off your thinking cap that you would need to be hungover, stoned, and possibly nursing an open head wound in order to be mesmerized by the actions and dialogue onscreen.

In case you were wondering how the plotlines turned out: the priest realizes that stealing is wrong, Brandi settles her lawsuit during the second casual meeting (“We’d like our check by the end of the day, gentleman.” The wheels of justice turn quickly on Drop Dead Diva.), Brandi’s ex offers her a job at the firm (because he’s secretly a really nice guy, you see), and the judge that blew off Jane during their date, rented out a whole restaurant to show her that, yes, he really does care.

Well, that wraps up every issue that arose this week. See you next week, Drop Dead Diva!

No. I won’t.

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