If there was a television show that should be placed in the school curriculum, it’s Channel 4’s “My Mad Fat Diary.” I might be a twenty-one year old woman who’s trying to do adult-related things like pay bills and look for a full-time job, but I still find myself emotionally invested in this teen television series to the extent that I’m 4OD-ing the next episode. I can’t help it—I’m addicted—and not only because Nico Mirallegro plays the love interest.
We’re near the end of season two right now, but to those who haven’t watched the show, let me inform you of the basics. Meet Rae (played by the wonderful Sharon Rooney), a sixteen year old girl who has come out of a four month stay at a psychiatric hospital after an attempted suicide—a fact that she needs to keep concealed from her friend Chloe and her new group of mates. The synopsis might seem a little heavy, but it’s a show that explores everyday teen problems, and with the voice of reason, Kester (her councillor/AKA Professor Quirrel), these problems are (sometimes) solved. Oh, and did I mention that it’s set in 1996?
Yeah, it’s set in 1996, which means a great soundtrack and music metaphors (like you being the only Oasis fan in a world full of Blur worshippers–Oh, the pain!). Each show, I fall in love with a new song that I’ve either forgotten/never heard of (hey, I was pretty young in 1996). So, if the teen flick isn’t exactly your style, at least watch for all the nostalgic references, because I tell you—there are plenty!
One thing that will make you fall in love with MMFD is the humour. It’s a show filled to the brim with one-liners that come so fast it takes me a moment to think and laugh. Plus, Rae’s inner-monologues are the filthiest thoughts that you would never have imagined coming from a sixteen year old. And I love her for it. In series one, she wants to shag one male character until, and I quote, ‘there is nothing left but a pair of glasses and a wet patch.’
The fact that Rae is an honest depiction of a teenager experiencing the ups-and-downs of adolescence is the reason why the show is must-watch television. Well, Rae’s anxieties and insecurities are more acute than your average teen, but watching her body hang-ups was something I understood. As a viewer, it brought back memories of my time at school and the shame I felt about my body image—I’m sure I’m not alone on this. The show bravely tackles the issues that young women face, such as the media and its pressure on its spectator to excel the “perfect” kind of beauty. By exploring these topics, “My Mad Fat Diary” brings comfort to its young viewers; a message that says, ‘hey, it’s rough being a teen out there, but you’re not alone.’
Its multi-dimensional characterisation doesn’t just start and end with the protagonist, but I assure you if you haven’t already, go and find out for yourself, because we’re deep into the second series and the characters are still as strong as ever. My only wish was that “My Mad Fat Diary” was made earlier to replace the endless amount of American rich kids programmes such as “The OC” and “One Tree Hill,” because, finally, there’s a programme where I can actually relate to the main character. Well, I say “finally”, there was ITV’s “Girl’s in Love”, but even then the show skimmed over some of the more serious issues (but with phrases like ‘yuck sandwich’ it’ll always have a place in my heart). So, Channel 4, I can only hope—no, I pray—that you commission series three, because if it doesn’t happen, as Rae would say, ‘it would make me wanna punch myself in my tit.’
Images via http://mymadfatdiarygifs.tumblr.com/