Fox picks up “Drop Dead Diva”


It’s not likely that Fox’s Network Responsibility Index will get any better with the arrival of Josh Berman‘s new pilot, Drop Dead Diva. Granted, the show hasn’t even been cast yet, much less put on film. But the bare-bones descriptions I’ve been able to find don’t exactly have me twittering in anticipation. Instead, they have me dreading the show’s arrival. The plot revolves around a model whose soul comes back after her untimely death to inhabit the body of an unattractive female attorney. The show, as described by Berman himself, seeks to “deconstruct the beauty myth.”

I can understand the desire to jump on the Ugly Betty bandwagon. After all, Salma Hayek‘s show is a hit and has made America Ferrera a bona fide star. Plus, Hollywood is nothing if not a land of copycats. So the description of Berman’s new show is likely meant to draw comparisons to Ugly Betty, at least in some small way. But here’s the kicker: Ferrera’s character is “ugly” because the makeup artists and costume designers work hard to make a very attractive actress look nothing like herself.

So exactly what myth is Berman seeking to deconstruct that has me so riled? Wait for it. Wait for it. Guess what makes this unattractive attorney so unattractive? C’mon, guess. According to the press releases, she’s fat. Yup, that’s it. Berman isn’t deconstructing anything. He’s perpetuating the myth that women larger than a size 4 are only capable of inner beauty. His poor dead model’s soul has to inhabit the body of an overweight attorney. Heaven forbid. The sky must be falling. Whatever will the self-respecting model do?

Right now, many of you may be asking yourselves why this upsets me so. To be honest, the reasons are too numerous to count. However, because I’ve already started this rant, I’ll throw a couple of them at you. First, why does the word model automatically mean thin? There are many, many beautiful plus-size models. Take these ladies, for example:

Wouldn’t the show be more fun if it were about a plus-size model’s soul inhabiting the body of an unattractive skinny lawyer? Second, why does the word fat automatically mean unattractive? Now, before you start throwing “healthy living” rants back in my direction, I’d like to say that I agree. Being overweight is not the most healthy way to live. However, that does not mean that people who are technically overweight are not beautiful. Particularly since fat in Hollywood means something entirely different than fat anywhere else.

Now, one could hope that Hollywood would be doing a better job of embracing its plus-size stars, particularly after the success of Hairspray. But as the divine Ms. Snarker so aptly pointed out, women who are not afraid to eat dessert now and then and still manage to become Hollywood big-timers are the exception to the rule. So I have a challenge for Mr. Berman, who happens to be one of the men behind the CSI juggernaut. I dare you to tell me that any of these women are anything other than beautiful.

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