She’s also fat, and has just come out of a psychiatric ward. Or left the ‘Mentals’ as she’d put it.
‘My Mad Fat Diary‘ which started on E4 on Monday 14th January is based on the real life diaries of Rae Earl, a sixteen year old, sixteen stone oddball from Lincolnshire who is absolutely desperate to fit in, get a boyfriend and just ‘Be Normal.’ She’s just spent four months in treatment – but her awful mother told everyone she’d gone to France “Well, we had to tell them something.”
We don’t really know why she was in treatment, but she’s covered in self-harm scars and is often seen binge eating, telling herself that it’s not a binge, she’s just eating. She’s fat, of course, and one of the things I really loved was that she’s neither a token jolly fatty or a miserable, self pitying buffoon. She’s just a girl. Who happens to be a bit fat.
At one point, after being coerced into trying on a bikini in a clothes shop, Rae is forced out onto the pavement with just an inflatable crocodile to cover her modesty when a fire alarm goes off. The resulting cacophany of “Minger” and other insults from passers by sends Rae spiralling off towards the psychiatric unit again, crying “I don’t think I’m ready for this” – I was impressed that despite the comedy, the writers showed just how freaking painful it is to feel that exposed, and to be ridiculed in public for being overweight. It absolutely does HURT. Fat people have feelings, you know?
I love the soundtrack…it’s set in 1996, one of my favourite music years. Critics love it because it’s a non-patronising portrayal of a teenager with mental illness. I love Rae’s sarcasm, I love her honesty and I really like the fact she isn’t a caricature. Definitely one to watch…