Tuesday, June 5, 2012

TV Tuesday: Drop Dead Diva Descends

Lifetime's "Drop Dead Diva" is the quintessential guilty pleasure summer soap.  As frothily frivolous as the season itself, the courtroom dramedy about the reincarnation of aspiring model Deb Dobkins as overweight lawyer-with-a-heart Jane Bingham (Brooke Elliot) demands a certain suspension of disbelief.  Jane just happens to work for the same law firm as Deb's fiance, the kind and handsome Grayson (Jackson Hurst).  But is he kind enough to look past Jane's less-than-model appearance to find the soulmate within?  That's what Deb must determine.  In the meantime, she revs up Jane's life and wardrobe, bringing - and yes, I must say this - style to trial.  Sassy secretary Teri (Margaret Cho) and cutthroat counselor Kim (Kate Levering) are along for the ride, furnishing corporate stereotypes that lend normalcy to an otherwise cosmic conundrum.

Now that the show is in its fourth season, Grayson is finally starting to put the pieces of Jane's identity together.  Meanwhile, Jane's guardian angel, Fred (Ben Feldman), reveals his identity to his girlfriend (and Jane's BFF) Stacy (April Bowlby), a no-no so huge that it sends him hurtling back to heaven.  I couldn't help but be struck by how easily Grayson and Stacy accept the otherworldly nature of their (in Grayson's case, would-be) significant others.  I know it's a TV show, but a little healthy fear would have been convincing!

Sunday's surprises weren't limited to the supernatural.  Kim Kardashian appeared in the nominal role of barista-slash-relationship guru, ostensibly for the sole purpose of dispensing initially questionable but ultimately sage advice to Stacy.  None of Diva's signature Ally McBeal-meets-Scrubs-style dream sequences debuted this time, but then there was already a lot going on, and you can't show all your cards too early.  Overall, this was a fun and satisfying season premiere, reminding us, as ever, that the universe has a sense of humor.

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