Unless you live in Great Britain or pride yourself on keeping up on foreign teen dramas like I do, chances are you've been sadly unaware of My Mad Fat Diary, the heartwarming and dark U.K. television series that's about to enter its second season on February 17. But there's good news! While it might be the case that you've been unwittingly depriving yourself of what will ultimately end up becoming your favorite TV show, this is a mistake that can easily be corrected. You have 10 whole days to catch up on My Mad Fat Diary (and there are only six episodes so it shouldn't be that hard). Let me try and convince you why it's worth your while.
My Mad Fat Diary is the television adaptation of the epistolary memoir "My Mad Fat Teenage Diary" by Rae Earl. The show — set in 1996 — follows Rae, a 16-year-old girl who has just been released from the psychiatric hospital where she's spent the past four months after having a mental breakdown. Returning to her old "normal" life, she discovers many things have changed — her ill-equipped mother is harboring a new, illegal immigrant boyfriend and her best friend Chloe has moved on to a higher-status friendship circle that she's both eager and reluctant to include Rae in. For support, Rae is limited to her friends at the psych hospital and her new compassionate therapist Kester.
Many of Rae's insecurities stem from body image issues. She is 231 pounds and feels like she's constantly being compared with the thinner, more traditionally beautiful Chloe. Chloe doesn't help things — she is selfish and constantly undermining Rae by putting her in situations with potentially humiliating outcomes so that she can feel better about herself. (To the writers' credit, Chloe is not presented as a villain, but as a flawed human being who is working out her own issues with a very imperfect methodology.)
Rae, however, isn't some stereotypical meek fat girl who is content to play the subjugated best friend role all her life. She's funny, smart and beautiful. She stands up for herself. She gets crushes and goes after boys and falls in love. She impresses the cool kids and forms touching bonds with the people around her. Not to say she's perfect — Rae doesn't always make the right decision and, like any 16-year-old, she sometimes hurts hurts her friends and family with her words and actions. But all in all, she — and practically everyone else in the series — has an amazing depth which will draw you in and keep you there for the whole first six episode run.
Here in the U.S., we unfortunately don't get to watch My Mad Fat Diary on TV (it airs on E4 in the U.K.), but luckily a lot of sneaky uploaders have put the show on YouTube and several streaming sites. I won't link them because it's ILLEGAL, but trust me, they're definitely out there.
Here's a clip from the pilot to entice you further:
And if you happen to be caught up already, here's a very exciting clip from season 2. I won't explain it because there's tons of spoilers, but trust, baby girl. The scene is CUUUUUTE.