Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Posts Tagged ‘Drop Dead Diva

A Friday Free-For-All

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Folks, it’s Friday. So I figured I’d write a quick blog and let you all know what I’m doing, plus give you some quick updates regarding recent blog subjects.

First, the main reason I’ve been so quiet this week is that I’m in the process of working on two stories (for submission on June 30) and also finishing up a major editing project. When I’m close to a deadline for either my editing or writing, I tend not to say much until the project is completed or the story/stories are written.

But there are a number of very odd things going on at the moment, so I figured I’d do my best to catch up.

Ready?

  • What is going on with MH 370? No one has any idea where this plane is, what happened to it, where the crew are, and whether or not any of them will ever be found. It is the strangest story in aviation history because in this day and age, we do have air traffic controllers in nearly every developed country (and most undeveloped countries, too), we have pilots galore and flight simulators and computers and all different sorts of technological advances to help us out . . . yet no one has any idea where this plane is.
  • The young twelve-year-old girl who was nearly killed by the two other girls in the “Slenderman” case has recovered. She recently posted a “thank you” message (with her face carefully not being shown), which was widely covered . . . I’m glad she’s been able to recover, but I still don’t know what’ll happen to the two girls who tried to kill her. Their mental state must be evaluated; if they are mentally ill, they must get treatment. (And if they are sociopathic, my goodness — will treatment help? But I’d still try to treat them, even so, just to see if redemption is possible.)
  • The Milwaukee Brewers, 2014 edition, continue to look like a playoff team. (That is all.)
  • The ending to the TV show DROP DEAD DIVA underwhelmed, I’m sorry to say. The idea that Jane’s Guardian Angel, Paul, would just take over for Grayson (now in Ian’s body) did not work for me. That Grayson/Ian would be content to be a “paralegal” or legal assistant for Jane also didn’t work, though at least it kept him nearby. And while I fully agree that the substance of love matters far more than any outward form (that is, the soul itself matters far more than the body) — it was one of the main themes of DROP DEAD DIVA from the beginning — I would’ve rather seen Grayson and Jane be together as high-powered lawyers. (I still don’t understand why Grayson was killed off and brought back in a different actor’s body as Ian. Though I approved of the second actor’s approach, mind you — he at least made it plausible this unlikely scenario could happen.)
  • Sticking with DROP DEAD DIVA, I still don’t buy that Fred the Angel would somehow lose his status for helping Grayson and Jane. Fred didn’t lose any status when the old Jane (now Brittany) came back, after all . . . that smacked to me of very sloppy writing.
  • And finally, again on the subject of DROP DEAD DIVA, why did Stacey have to give birth and miss her own wedding to Owen? Why not let the poor girl get married, then have her twins?

Anyway, that’s most of what has been going through my mind this week, but because I haven’t had enough time to turn around, I wasn’t able to get to blogging until now. (And to do this, I’m taking time out of my sleep-cycle.)

Figure I’ll try to review a book or two on Saturday over at Shiny Book Review — author Aaron Paul Lazar’s mysteries are next up in the queue — but with everything going on, it may not happen.

And I do owe you all a better Milwaukee Brewers post, plus my thoughts on the Milwaukee Bucks’ draft choices (I was expecting them to trade Ersan Ilyasova, but what do I know?), and goodness knows what else . . . but it’ll have to wait until the stories are done and in on Monday.

“Drop Dead Diva,” Season Six — What is Grayson’s Afterlife?

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Folks, a few years ago I wrote a blog about the TV show DROP DEAD DIVA. It was the end of season three, and I found the ending flatly unbelievable…and said so.

Ever since, I’ve had multiple hits on that post daily. It may be the most popular single blog post I’ve ever had. And I’ve had many people ask me over the years, “Barb, when will you talk about DROP DEAD DIVA again, hm?”

Well, today’s the day. But first, a brief explanation as to why I didn’t say anything for a while.

You see, I didn’t watch season four because I was taking a full year away from TV, in the hopes it would rejuvenate my creative impulses. (It did.) But I have watched seasons five and six.

Until now, while there have been some good episodes and some “what the Hell?” episodes, I hadn’t felt moved to blog.

What changed?

Well, a few weeks ago on DROP DEAD DIVA, Jane Bingum’s long-term love-interest, Grayson Kent, died. It was not an expected death by any means, though he had been shot…anyway, Grayson died, and last week’s episode showed him in Heaven, talking to Fred the Guardian Angel from seasons 1-3 (and a few guest appearances since), who of course Grayson doesn’t really remember.

(It’s a tenet of the show that when a Guardian Angel is replaced on Earth, no one remembers him or her except for the person the Guardian Angel was looking after in the first place. In this case, that would be Jane.)

The very end of the episode showed Grayson waking up on Earth in someone else’s body, just as Jane did at the beginning of season one, episode one. But unlike Jane (formerly Deb Dobkins, a vapid blonde model; waking up in the body of a plus-sized lawyer was mostly a big step up for her), Grayson woke up in the body of a convict.

When Jane still thought of herself as Deb Dobkins, she was prevented from telling Grayson who she was by Fred. But Grayson doesn’t seem to have a Guardian Angel at all from the previews…he just woke up, and called Jane, and told her he’s back and in the body of this convict in cell block D — presumably in Los Angeles, California as that’s the official setting for DROP DEAD DIVA, last I checked.

I know from watching season five that every dead person who returns to Earth, whether in an expected fashion or not, has a Guardian Angel. (Britney, who before her death was the real Jane Bingum, came back and definitely had a Guardian Angel.) Yet Grayson does not seem to have one, and doesn’t realize the lack of one, either, even though Fred admitted he was Jane’s Guardian Angel years ago.

(Granted, I’m not sure how time passes in Heaven. But I digress.)

Fred told Grayson that Jane went back by “hitting the return button” on Fred’s computer. And that now, Heaven has removed all the return buttons, so no one can do it any longer. And Fred said at first that Grayson had to pick an afterlife.

But later, Fred said that he’d found a keyboard with a return button, and that Grayson should press it. Fred seemed both resigned and rueful over this, mind you. But unlike with our Jane (née Deb) or Britney (née Jane), who pressed those keys on their own without knowing what they’d do, Fred actually encouraged Grayson to press that return button, but of course warned Grayson that Grayson could wind up anywhere.

The oddest part was when Fred told Grayson that Fred will gladly suffer the consequences — because Fred suffered none when the real Jane went back to Earth a year ago and became Britney.

Anyway, Grayson presses the return button. And winds up inside that convict.

All of this is what I’ve seen on the last few episodes of DDD during season six. The remainder is pure speculation.

But hear me out anyway.

Sunday evening, Lifetime will be airing the latest DDD episode, “Afterlife.” That title seems quite wrong if Grayson really is alive again, albeit in the body of a convict.

So that got me to thinking . . . what if what we’re seeing happens to be Grayson’s afterlife?

Because really, Grayson wants to be with Jane. He is deeply in love with her, and was going to propose. (He was also in love with Deb, mind you, and it was real, too. But he loves Jane/Deb for other reasons; she’s much more of a mental equal.) His afterlife, if he had a choice, was to be with Jane forever — he told Fred that.

So what better way could there be for Grayson in the afterlife to be with Jane in this way?

I’m sure that the convict version of Grayson is in jail unnecessarily. Jane, as an exceptionally good lawyer, will find a way to get him out. And then, he and Jane will live happily ever after…seemingly in the real world.

But as DDD still has two or three episodes remaining, that does not feel right to me. It would wrap up the Jane/Grayson storyline too soon.

And considering that Fred the Angel had a relationship way back when with Stacey (Jane’s best friend), and Grayson told Fred that Stacey was getting married, could it be possible that Fred will show back up on Earth in order to court Stacey?

This would be an incredibly popular move, if so. Because Fred was well-loved among DDD fans, and was a major reason that DDD worked so well. (Brooke Elliot as Jane/Deb is wonderful. But without Fred, viewers might not have believed as much in Jane’s transformation.)

Anyway, I will be most interested to see what DDD actually does during the “Afterlife” episode. How about you?

Written by Barb Caffrey

June 8, 2014 at 3:43 am

“Drop Dead Diva” Season Three Finale: Fun, but Unbelievable

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I’ve watched Lifetime’s original TV show Drop Dead Diva since its inception; it’s about a shallow blonde model, Deb, who dies and ends up in the body of a plus-sized lawyer, Jane (Brooke Elliot).   This is a fun fantasy premise that has enchanted me for three years now; that Jane works with her former fiancé, Grayson (Jackson Hurst), only adds to the fun.  Because as the beginning of “Drop Dead Diva” states, “The only people who know me are my girlfriend Stacey, and my Guardian Angel, Fred.”   (Stacey is played by April Bowlby, and Fred by Ben Feldman.)

Jane is a great character to watch, partly because she’s had to come to terms with being a larger-sized person, and partly because actress Elliot definitely knows what she’s doing.   Jane is smart, something Deb-turned-Jane appreciates as Deb wasn’t; Jane also is compassionate, something Deb tried to be but didn’t always accomplish in her former life as a bubbly blonde model.

At any rate, trying to summarize three seasons worth of episodes is probably too difficult, so let’s just say that Jane still loves her former fiancé but has an active social and sex life.  She’s now dating a plus-sized man named Owen, a judge (played by Lex Medlin).  Jane is a fashion plate who enjoys life and food and has an unusually good head for the law, so overall, it seems like Deb has come out ahead on the deal.

Note this is a fantasy premise that has often been used in romance novels but only rarely on TV; I point this out because in a fantasy/romance with anything close to a premise like this, the one thing that has to be inviolate is that Grayson (Deb’s fiancé, whom Deb-turned-Jane still loves) can never find out that Jane is really Deb.  This has been pointed out several times in the past; for example, in season two’s cliffhanger, Jane tried to tell Grayson after Grayson had been hit by a car that she was really Deb.

And what happened?  Well, Grayson didn’t remember anything Jane said.  More to the point, he had partial memory loss of anything around the actual incident . . . so it’s been established that Grayson should not know that Jane is Deb, because God (or the Higher Power, or whoever Fred the Guardian Angel answers to) seems to want it that way.

However, Stacey actually tells Grayson after an ill-advised kiss (Grayson starts it and apologizes for it) that while she is not Deb, Jane actually is Deb.  Which prompts Grayson to go to the airport to try to stop Jane from leaving for Italy (Jane saw Grayson and Stacey kiss, but didn’t see Stacey more or less pushing Grayson away, and told Fred that Stacey had cheated on him as Fred and Stacey have a relationship going that’s leading toward marriage; this prompted Jane to take the “vacation of a lifetime” and go to Italy), but of course he can’t manage it.

So who does get on the plane to go with Jane?  Her current judge boyfriend, Owen, who’d been about to go to New Zealand for a year instead, but passed on that opportunity to be with Jane.

Look.  I am very much in favor of love.  I also am very much in favor of marriage, true romance, and all the ins and outs that come along with the deal.   But I’m also a writer and editor.  And because of that, I can tell you right now that Stacey telling Grayson that Jane was Deb shouldn’t have happened.  Because if it did, Grayson shouldn’t have remembered it because up until now, Grayson hasn’t known and Jane hasn’t been able to tell him because every time she tried, something awful happened to Grayson.

For example, Fred said at the end of season 2’s finale that Grayson “needed to fall in love with Jane” as she was now, not merely to see Jane as an extension of Deb, which is what would’ve happened if God (or whatever the Deity/Higher Power is conceived of as being in this show) would’ve allowed Jane to tell Grayson who she was.  When Jane tried anyway, Grayson promptly forgot and lost some other memories along the way.

That’s why Stacey absolutely cannot tell Grayson this and be believed; that Grayson did believe it is obvious because he went to the airport to try to stop Jane from leaving for Italy.

So what happened in last night’s episode turned the actual premise of Jane doing her best to get on with her life with or without Grayson as a romantic partner (as Grayson has been a very solid friend to Jane, and vice versa) into a farce.  I don’t respect that, because the way the narrative has been framed up until this point made far more sense from a fantasy/paranormal perspective than it is making right now with this latest plot-wrinkle.

Further, Fred’s role as guardian angel is now in doubt because Jane admittedly shut him out (she told him to leave Stacey, too, but one would hope that Fred will instead confront Stacey and Grayson and find out quickly that both realized the kiss was a mistake and will never happen again under any circumstances whatsoever).  And Fred’s character is what keeps this show as real as it is; Fred is honest, funny, down-to-Earth, in love with Stacey because he sees her goodness as well as her beauty and wants to have a life with Stacey and has given up a great deal in order to do so.  (You’d have to go back to season one to see why I say this, but it’s the truth.)  He’s a character that you can’t help but root for, because Fred cares about Deb-turned-Jane and wants her to be happy.

Every character on “Drop Dead Diva” has depth and I have really enjoyed watching them, and the show, evolve over time.  But I don’t like it when a show’s premise has been compromised, and that’s exactly what’s happened here.

So the upshot of my critique is that “Drop Dead Diva’s” season three finale was fun, but completely unbelievable.  And while I’ll still watch and enjoy season four, and wonder what Grayson is going to do with his newfound knowledge (if he really does remember it, long-term, as he still may not), I believe “Drop Dead Diva” has blown its original premise to high heaven.  And that’s not good.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm