After a painful 364-day wait, the second season of E4’s My Mad Fat Diary has finally begun! Now that it’s back, we’ve been reminded of just how fantastic it is. My Mad Fat Diary is so good that anyone who watches the first episode is instantly hooked (trust me, we have multiple people who can testify to this). However, if you haven’t given it a shot just yet, here are a few reasons why you definitely should.
For those who didn’t grow up in the '90s, the soundtrack won't have the same nostalgic zest. However, anyone who knows anything about music from the decade can appreciate the music in My Mad Fat Diary. From Oasis to Radiohead to the Spice Girls, there’s something for everyone, and it adds a layer of realism to the series.
At the center of My Mad Fat Diary is Rae Earl (Sharon Rooney) who totally holds the whole series together. Rae is equal parts hilarious, vulnerable, honest, and real. Because the show is told through Rae’s diary, she doesn’t hold anything back, which means the audience gets to experience every aspect of Rae’s, life whether it’s her first bikini wax or the anxiety caused by going back to school.
Accurate Portrayal of Mental Illness
Although Rae’s experiences on My Mad Fat Diary are not exactly like everyone’s experience in high school, they’re realistic enough that anyone can relate. So, even though many people do not suffer from a mental illness, the series goes into such detail about Rae’s life that anyone watching will be able to understand. What My Mad Fat Diary does especially well is balance Rae’s mental illness with the rest of her life. It doesn’t define who she is, and the show reflects that.
Plus-Sized Leading Lady
Too often, plus-sized women on television will fall into two categories: the self-deprecating comedian or the self-conscious wallflower. Both representations tend to be stock characters who are not fully developed and who don’t portray all aspects of being a plus-sized woman. However, Rae is both at once. She is the comedian who is able to joke about her weight, but then becomes self-conscious when talking about being seen with her thinner friends. It’s refreshing to see a plus-sized character who isn’t a stock character.
Fans of My Mad Fat Diary are patiently waiting for the second season of E4’s teenaged drama to premiere sometime in February. Little by little, E4 is releasing promotional goodies for the show: first there were short scenes in E4’s ad about the new year, then we got a slew of promo photos featuring the whole cast as well as individual shots, and finally (finally!) My Mad Fat Diary revealed the official trailer for season two. But why do fans love this series so much? Isn’t it just another teen drama?
Aside from the mega cool music featured on the show — which is a playlist that any ‘90s lover could approve — My Mad Fat Diary is one of the most realistic portrayals on television of what it’s like to be a teenager. Sure, many teens or twenty-somethings can’t relate to exactly what Rae went through in the first season (fighting an eating disorder and dealing with suicidal thoughts), but there are other aspects of her life that everyone has had to deal with. For example: finding a group of friends that you fit in with.
Then of course, there are Rae’s friends: Tix, Danny, Chloe, Chop, Archie, Finn, and Izzy. As much as fans want to be friends with Rae (and they do because Rae is mega, mega cool), they also want to hang out with all of her friends. If you’re still in high school, they’re type of people you wish you hung out with (or do hang out with already), and if you’ve graduated high school, they’re the gang you wish you had hung out with.
However it’s Rae’s unique experiences that make the audience fall in love with her. Maybe they didn’t go through what she dealt with, but the way the show is written, the audience feels like they know Rae (probably because Rae Earl is based on a real human person whose diary was published and used as the source material for this show.) Besides, how many other teen dramas deal with mental illness in as realistic and unflinchingly honest way as My Mad Fat Diary?
It’s been almost a year since E4’s My Mad Fat Diary first premiered and we fell in love with the series. The show follows teenager Rae Earl, in 1990s England after she’s released from a mental hospital and tries to remember how to act normal. However, we’ve still got at least another month before the second season begins. It may not be quite as long as fans of BBC’s Sherlock have had to wait for another season, but there’s only so much sitting around you can do before you need something to pass the time. For fans of My Mad Fat Diary, we’ve got some tips.
My Mad Fat Diary is based on the autobiographical book by the actual Rae Earl (she’s a real person!) called My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary. There’s even a sequel: My Madder Fatter Diary. A few things were changed for the TV — like it’s set in the '90s rather than the '80s and Rae’s friends are a little different — but if you want to know more about the real Rae Earl, what better way than to read her diary?
One of the best parts of My Mad Fat Diary is the music. Whoever chooses the soundtrack for the show should win an award — it’s that good. There are '90s classics like Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” and Beastie Boys’ “Sabotage.” Plus, Rae is obsessed with Oasis but then who didn’t love Oasis in the '90s? (No one, that’s who.) If you listen to all the songs played in the first season, it’s about eight hours worth of music — so that’ll take some time.
Because it’s been so long (well, not that long) since the first season of My Mad Fat Diary ended, you’re going to need a re-watch before the next season premieres. It’s only six episodes, which is barely a full day of binge watching if you think about it.
The first and most important thing you should know about Paramount Pictures’ Thor is that it’s not a laughably corny comic book adaptation. Though you might find it hokey to hear a bunch of muscled heroes talk like British royalty while walking around the American Southwest in LARP garb director Kenneth Branagh has condensed vast Marvel mythology to make an accessible straightforward fantasy epic. Like most films of its ilk I’ve got some issues with its internal logic aesthetic and dialogue but the flaws didn’t keep me from having fun with this extra dimensional adventure.
Taking notes from fellow Avenger Iron Man the story begins with an enthralling event that takes place in a remote desert but quickly jumps back in time to tell the prologue which introduces the audience to the shining kingdom of Asgard and its various champions. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) son of Odin is heir to the throne but is an arrogant overeager and ill-tempered rogue whose aggressive antics threaten a shaky truce between his people and the frost giants of Jotunheim one of the universe’s many realms. Odin (played with aristocratic boldness by Anthony Hopkins) enraged by his son’s blatant disregard of his orders to forgo an assault on their enemies after they attempt to reclaim a powerful artifact banishes the boy to a life among the mortals of Earth leaving Asgard defenseless against the treachery of Loki his mischievous “other son” who’s always felt inferior to Thor. Powerless and confused the disgraced Prince finds unlikely allies in a trio of scientists (Natalie Portman Stellan Skarsgard and Kat Dennings) who help him reclaim his former glory and defend our world from total destruction.
Individually the make-up visual effects CGI production design and art direction are all wondrous to behold but when fused together to create larger-than-life set pieces and action sequences the collaborative result is often unharmonious. I’m not knocking the 3D presentation; unlike 2010’s genre counterpart Clash of the Titans the filmmakers had plenty of time to perfect the third dimension and there are only a few moments that make the decision to convert look like it was a bad one. It’s the unavoidable overload of visual trickery that’s to blame for the frost giants’ icy weaponized constructs and other hybrids of the production looking noticeably artificial. Though there’s some imagery to nitpick the same can’t be said of Thor’s thunderous sound design which is amped with enough wattage to power The Avengers’ headquarters for a century.
Chock full of nods to the comics the screenplay is both a strength and weakness for the film. The story is well sequenced giving the audience enough time between action scenes to grasp the characters motivations and the plot but there are tangential narrative threads that disrupt the focus of the film. Chief amongst them is the frost giants’ fore mentioned relic which is given lots of attention in the first act but has little effect on the outcome. In addition I felt that S.H.I.E.L.D. was nearly irrelevant this time around; other than introducing Jeremy Renner’s Hawkeye the secret security faction just gets in the way of the movie’s momentum.
While most of the comedy crashes and burns there are a few laughs to be found in the film. Most come from star Hemsworth’s charismatic portrayal of the God of Thunder. He plays up the stranger-in-a-strange-land aspect of the story with his cavalier but charming attitude and by breaking all rules of diner etiquette in a particularly funny scene with the scientists whose respective roles as love interest (Portman) friendly father figure (Skarsgaard) and POV character (Dennings) are ripped right out of a screenwriters handbook.
Though he handles the humorous moments without a problem Hemsworth struggles with some of the more dramatic scenes in the movie; the result of over-acting and too much time spent on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. Luckily he’s surrounded by a stellar supporting cast that fills the void. Most impressive is Tom Hiddleston who gives a truly humanistic performance as the jealous Loki. His arc steeped in Shakespearean tragedy (like Thor’s) drums up genuine sympathy that one rarely has for a comic book movie villain.
My grievances with the technical aspects of the production aside Branagh has succeeded in further exploring the Marvel Universe with a film that works both as a standalone superhero flick and as the next chapter in the story of The Avengers. Thor is very much a comic book film and doesn’t hide from the reputation that its predecessors have given the sub-genre or the tropes that define it. Balanced pretty evenly between “serious” and “silly ” its scope is large enough to please fans well versed in the source material but its tone is light enough to make it a mainstream hit.