It feels nice to revisit an era where Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist, where the actual diaries would be made of pen and paper instead of Tweets or a Facebook post. Every day it seems like everyone needs to keep their thoughts public, rarely you will see someone writing on an actual diary with pen and paper, instead today’s society focuses on documenting your every thought, raising some type of validation only if they are online.
My Mad Fat Diary is a British TV series based on the book, My Fat Mad Teenage Diary, a story set in Lincolnshire in 1996 with main character Rae Earl (Sharon Rooney), a 16 year old overweight girl, who just spent four months at a psychiatric hospital. Once Rae is back home, she meets up with her best friend Chloe (Jodi Comer), who has no idea about her mental condition or self-esteem issues, she proceeds to introduce Rae to her friends: Archie (Dan Cohen), Izzy (Ciara Baxendale), Chop (Jordan Murphy) and Finn (Nico Mirallegro).
As the show progressed, I got to know Rae, and in more than one occasion, I identified with her because when we are 16 (or even now to be honest), there were a lot of moments where we felt insecure, where we felt like no matter what we do we won’t fit in. Sharon Rooney seamlessly portrays Rae in a way that felt natural and genuine, being able to convey the emotions of a girl that has grown up always being “the fat one,” never having people give her a second chance just because of the way she looks. This time around however, with Chloe and her friends, otherwise known as the gang, she has a second chance to be sociable, meet boys and hang out. Besides her body image issues, Rae is a character that had trouble with self-harm and suicide thoughts, subjects that most TV shows won’t even bother to explore, or if they do, they do it in a way that portrays it as too far-fetched from reality. Rae’s mom (Claire Rushbrook) knows what her daughter has been through but at the moment is concentrated on her relationship with her new undocumented boyfriend Karim, who keeps hiding inside the house. Of course, Rae has a lot of issues with her mother, and they rarely get along, on top of the fact that her mother got new boyfriend that Rae barely communicates with. Here is when the character of Kester (Ian Heart) comes in the picture as Rae’s therapist. Kester is one of my favorite characters from the show because he blindly believes in Rae and in the fact that she can get better, throughout the series he provides her with advice, and it shows teenagers who are going through the same situations as Rae, that it’s always a good idea to seek help.
The best part of the show is the gang, the group of friends who accepted Rae for who she is, not how she looked. Each member of the gang is dealing with their own issues and finding their way around it, and more than one person can identify with them or Rae. Moreover, Rae also made friends at her psychiatric hospital, the lovely Tix (Sophie Wright) who is one of her best friends, currently dealing with an eating disorder, and Danny Two Hats (Darren Evans) another resident of the hospital.
Most of the show features Rae’s voice-over as if all of the events are happening as Rae writes them on her diary, I found it hilarious that some of the doodles she would write would end up on the screen making it even more funny to watch. On the other hand, the music featured on the show is completely amazing, I mean, at the end of the day, this show is set in the 90s! As a 90s enthusiast, expect music from Oasis, The Stone Roses, The Prodigy, Underworld, Radiohead, just to name a few. There you go again British TV choosing flawless music for your shows…
I love My Mad Fat Diary because it shows the reality behind teenage issues and doesn’t sugar coat them but still makes it funny and relatable to watch, while educating viewers on teenage subjects. The performances feel genuine. I recommend this show to EVERYONE because chances are that you’ll love it as much as I did, and you’ll feel nostalgic about the 90s more than ever after watching the show.
E4 announced the release of MMFD’s Series 2 for next year, can’t wait!