Overall I enjoyed the premiere of the new Lifetime Television series, Drop Dead Diva, which aired on Sunday evening. In case you’re unfamiliar with the show, here’s its premise:
The show tells the story of a “beautiful-but-vapid model wannabe,” size 2, named Deb who dies and is reincarnated in the body of a “brilliant, thoughtful and plus-size attorney,” size 16, named Jane. Lifetime elaborates: “Jane has always lived in the shadow of her more comely colleagues, whereas Deb has always relied on her external beauty. Now . . . Deb must come to terms with inhabiting Jane’s plus-size frame in the ultimate showdown between brains and beauty.”
[Brooke Elliott as Jane and Margaret Cho as her colleague Kim. Jane wears the maligned cat brooch; Kim’s necklace is of an awkward length that doesn’t work with her blouse.]
Hopefully the reincarnated Deb-as-Jane (played by the lovely Brooke Elliott) will be brainy enough to realize that being a size 16 does not preclude her from viewing herself as, and having others recognize that she is indeed, a beautiful woman. In the plot line of the show, this remains to be seen, of course.
The script must have been sitting on a shelf for a good ten years, however, as one of the plot points, stated not once but twice at different points during the premier episode for emphasis(!), is that no one under age 50 wears a brooch.
I can only assume that the writers have been living under a rock when it comes to fashion. What a preposterous point, and what a wasted opportunity. When Oscar-winning young actresses such as Scarlett Johansson, Salma Hayek, Cate Blanchett, Julia Roberts, Emma Watson (& shall I go on?) wear brooches pinned in their hair or attached to the shoulder, waist, back or décolletage of their premiere dresses or red carpet gowns and First Lady Michelle Obama regularly features large brooches prominently pinned onto her sheath dresses and cardigans, it is laughable that a fashion pronouncement like that could be made by the lead character on a television show that has the potential to reach millions of viewers. Have these writers never seen a Chanel camellia pin, not noticed the fashion stylings of cutting edge designers like Dolce & Gabbana?
What triggers the brooch pronouncement is a large silver-colored figural brooch in the shape of what looks to be a somewhat cartoonish rendering of a cat. Deb-as-Jane finds the brooch among her unfamiliar new lawyering duds and is appalled, but her identification of the problem is misplaced. Brooches are good, but brooch motifs inappropriate for anyone over the age of 15 are problematic for a professional woman.
Sadly, looking at the snippets from future episodes, what we will see the lead character
Deb-as-Jane wearing, now that she has discarded all the potential style-making panache of brooches, is a collection of uninteresting, modestly sized necklaces to accompany what look to be some very plain and boring skirt suits.
Deb-as-Jane also makes a remark that she doesn’t wear the Lane Bryant label, but then is relegated to wearing the dark skirt suits and white blouses from Jane’s closet. Good luck, I say, as the show’s stylists try to find attractive professional apparel in a size 16. When you find it, please share your resources. Full-figured professional women around the country will be most appreciative.
And when your stylists start begging for the opportunity to make Deb-as-Jane a bit more stylish, at least in her accessories (come on, she’s a savvy professional woman, after all), don’t overlook the style potential of the maligned brooch. Just leave the kitty cat motifs at home.