What is My Mad Fat Diary you ask? Oh, only the BEST. BOOK. TURNED. TELEVISION SHOW. EVER. Well, at least it is to me.
Rae Earl, the author and wicked genius behind the amazing book series My Fat, Mad Teenage Diary chronicles her teenage life in the ’80s as she deals with returning to society after a bout in a mental hospital. Her book series was adapted by UK network e4 in 2012, properly titled My Mad Fat Diary (MMFD for short).
Season three, the show’s last ever (sobs), just wrapped up production and is set to air in the UK June 22. Sadly, My Mad Fat Diary is not airing in the United States (yet!), however, several episodes are available on YouTube.
I am here tell you three reasons why this show should make its way to the U.S. and into your hearts.
1. Realistic casting!
Body image is a point of controversy within Hollywood, and as our YA heroines are now jumping from page to screen more regularly, keeping their physical appearance true to character is crucial.
My Mad Fat Diary has the beautifully full-figured Sharon Rooney playing Rae Earl. This show accurately casts and represents characters according to their given body image in the books. Even better, the larger characters aren’t troped as comedic relief. They’re not funny just because they’re considered fat.
Not all YA page-to-screen adaptations are as accurate. For example, Cassandra Clare’s Shadowhunters series has cast the thin Katherine MacNamara as Clary, a character written in the books with curves.
Similarly consider Mae Whitman, cast as “The Designated Ugly Fat Friend” in Kody Keplinger’s page-to-screen adaptation of The Duff. (By the way the book is amaze and makes me squeal at loud decibels and you should absolutely read it this summer!) Mae Whitman is neither fat, nor ugly, however by Hollywood’s standards she apparently is DUFF worthy.
Which makes me wonder, if characters are being written as curvy and full figured, then why on earth would you cast someone who is the aesthetic opposite for a film or television show?
2. Female sexuality is celebrated!
Both MMFD the show and the book rejoice in the exploration of female sexuality. Rae is a boy-crazy 16 year old — I’m talking Tina Belcher levels on Bob’s Burgers. It’s a rarity on U.S. television that Tina is able to write Erotic Friend Fiction or ogle butts, and my theory is that Tina is only permitted to be the way she is because she’s a cartoon.
While some might call it “crude” that MMFD’s Rae drones on about being a horny teenage girl (which, seriously, who isn’t), addressing these behaviors normalizes them. It is totally cool to be vocal about lusting after delicious shirtless man candy all day. Hormones and sexual desires are a natural part of life and shouldn’t be negatively stigmatized for females. Which reminds me, I haven’t introduced you to Rae’s boyfriend, Finn, have I?
Say hello to Finn Nelson, my forever crush:
*heart eyes emoji x a million*
3. It’s okay to be “crazy.”
In addition to reversing censorship on female sexuality, My Mad Fat Diary raises awareness for those who struggle with mental health issues. While the content can be trigger heavy, the show thoughtfully deals such issues as self-harm, manic depression and anxiety. The show details Rae’s personal therapy sessions through many beautifully written scenes, allowing the audience to grow and learn alongside Rae. MMFD doesn’t ostracize those dealing with such mental health issues, but instead creates a space for community and understanding.
And it’s certainly not all sunshine and rainbows for Rae Earl — and that’s not the point of My Mad Fat Diary. Because the show is so frank in dealing with these heavy issues, when there are happy endings it feels like a tiny victory not just for the characters, but for you as an audience member, having navigated through life with these beautiful characters the best way they can.
This show needs to get to the U.S. stat because it feels like real life. It has characters who talk, act and look like real people, and who you’ll love all the more for it. Trust me on this one, entire world, because it will CHANGE. YOUR. LIFE.
Have you watched episode one yet? Tell me what you think in the comments!