A BETTER ALTERNATIVE TO ’13 REASONS WHY’: ‘MY MAD FAT DIARY’
This show is very gentle on the subject of suicide.
Right now, it’s very common to hear conversations about mental health and depression and yet often it feels as though there aren’t enough TV shows and entertainment that reflect stories about depression brought on by social anxiety and hatred of oneself. We have 13 Reasons Why but if you are looking for another alternative (some would argue a better option) you need to be watching My Mad Fat Diary. The show serves to be the perfect series for helping to uplift people who are in a melancholy mood.
The British comedy which was released January 2013 is filled with honest tales about depression and anxiety, sparing no subject, even moments of pessimism. Sharon Rooney stars as Rachel ‘Rae’ Earl, the protagonist and hilarious central character of the show.
Unlike 13 Reasons Why which has recently been revealed to actually inspire suicidal thoughts and depression amongst youths who are at risk of suicide, My Mad Fat Diary doesn’t sensationalize depression. It delivers an unmasked tale of the hellish experience from suffering from depression and anxiety. Audiences are able to empathize with Rae and her troubles in great depth without feeling overwhelmed by their troubles.
Depression is controversial, it’s messy and it’s often confusing. Rae provides the inside look from what it may feel like to suffer from the disease in all its wretchedness. Because of this, audiences are able to see Rae at her lowest and at her highest to really feel the impact of those moments with her.
When Rae is high, she is really high. She is hilarious and so funny she causes other characters to laugh along with her and for just a moment, forget their own crises. This part of her personality, her ability to be a ray of sunshine during a storm, is what makes her charismatic and it’s what helps her to draw in a gang of great friends who care so deeply for her.
When we first meet Rae, she is desperately miserable after leaving a mental institution from a failed suicide attempt. She’s so scared of the outside world after four months of being in a monotonous, safe , and routine environment that she suffers from panic attacks. Luckily for her, she meets the perfect psychiatrist, Dr. Kester Will (Ian Hart) who is willing and able to provide the care that is best suited for her. She also bumps into her old friend Chloe Gemell (Jodie Comer), a pretty and popular girl with an air of confidence, who is quick to invite Rae along on her adventures. None of the characters are what they seem from their first impression and neither is Rae.
Her progress isn’t quick or even a complete revolution but its significant because it’s true to life.
Rae isn’t easy to be around. As lovable as she can be, she is also quite self-centered because she is typically suffering from an internal battle with herself over her issues. As a result, she often makes mistakes and fails at being a good friend, partner and is often a bad daughter.
Still, the show does well in explaining that a person’s failings do not mark them as a whole. You are not a bad person because you did a bad thing. People can change and get better even after repeatedly making mistakes, and boy does Rae make them.
She messed up her a relationship, cut off her only support system (her mom) and at one point she’s so secluded and alone, she feels her only option is to die.
It’s important to note that these lows, though rampant, are packaged in such a way, that every episode feels like a lesson both to Rae and the viewer. We get to sit in with Rae as she goes through her therapy sessions and as such hopefully viewers are also rewarded listening in to the coping methods and exercises given by Dr. Kester. Still, it’s not the perfect alternative to actually seeking help when required, but it can definitely bring up the spirits of anyone who is suffering from a depressive mood.
With each episode you can expect raunchy humor and a thoughtful lesson presented in an easily understandable way. A perfect example is the body positive message throughout the show. Even though Rae is self-hating, she was developed as a full person:; she has sexual thoughts, natural teenage urges and anxieties that remind viewers that plus-sized individuals are beautiful and sexual beings. You know, just regular people.
The series it short but fantastic. Watch it and share it so that it can gain the recognition it deserves, then maybe it can be pickup for a remake. You never know, we are in the age where no show is truly over as long as the audience wants more.