Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Second Season Review

All any woman wants is to be told she’s beautiful just the way she is. This is the message Drop Dead Diva strives to convey, and does a great job of developing in its second season.            

Season 2 picks up right where Season 1 left off, bringing us back into the new life of Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliott), a smart, loveable lawyer who’s a little overweight. For those who didn’t watch Season 1, Jane’s body gave once-aspiring supermodel Deb a second chance at life. After being killed in car crash, superficial Deb wakes up in a new body, the body of chubby Jane. In Season 2, Jane is still adjusting to her new life, but nearly all traces of the once-vapid Deb are gone. Sure, she’s still a little vain, boy crazy and fashion-forward, but now her mind and heart are in the right place.

Drop Dead Diva is centered around the law office Jane works in, and through the cases she takes on Jane learns one lesson after another, thus improving her new life. She gets by with a little help from her friends, of course. Her best friend and roommate, Stacy (April Bowlby), is a ditzy yet big-hearted model. Jane’s assistant Teri, played by comedienne Margaret Cho, is the stubborn voice of reason in Jane’s life. Unfortunately Cho, hilarious on stage, doesn’t translate well to the screen. Her acting skills are lacking, and the show’s writers don’t give her time to play out her comedic moments. And then there’s Fred, Jane’s guardian angel, played by Ben Feldman. Fred’s character makes perfect sense from the perspective of the stay-at-home mom who loves her Lifetime, but from the viewpoint of a newcomer to the show, his presence isn’t strong enough. He appears from time to time, getting a job as an assistant to Jane’s nemesis Kim in order to keep an eye on his pupil at work. Though he was sent back from vacation to watch over Jane in Episode 1, Jane doesn’t really seem to need a guardian angel. She’s got things pretty much under control on her own.

Brooke Elliott brings Jane Bingum to life, and the semi-inexperienced actress is adorable on the show. She’s not an incredibly strong actor and some of her lines fall flat, but she’s got a nice presence on screen that draws you in, whether you like it or not. You may not always have time for Lifetime, but the network’s writers know how to catch their viewers. Law may be on the surface of the show, but what female audiences want to see is lust, and there’s plenty of that to go around in Season 2.

The men in the show certainly pull female viewers in. The male characters are all tall, dark and handsome, with just a slight hint of bad boy to them. In Season 2, Jane’s new beau, Tony, is a nice addition, after Jane spent most of Season 1 pining for Deb’s ex, the handsome lawyer Grayson. None of the actors in the show are particularly strong, but they all hold their own well enough to move the plot along. Whether or not they’ll be able to ride the series to a fourth season remains to be seen.

One of the joys of watching Lifetime is seeing a cast of faces you haven’t seen in years pop in and out of a program. Drop Dead Diva is chock full of cameos. Episode 1 starts off with a song and dance number courtesy of Paula Abdul. (The spontaneous dance numbers are a bit jarring when they occur throughout the season.) In Episode 3, Vivica A. Fox plays a wife who discovers her husband has a secret second wife. In Season 2, Episode 5, Lifetime pulls out the big guns, featuring Rosie O’Donnell as a judge.

Drop Dead Diva does a great job of mixing lighthearted fun with drama, and teaching life lessons every step of the way. Lifetime has set out to inspire women, and creating a series about a young woman discovering her strengths and rising up despite adversity is perfect for female audiences. In spite of its stigma as a cheesy daytime movie channel, Lifetime has a formula to succeed, and it’s done so again with Drop Dead Diva.

DVD Bonus Features

There are quite a few bonus features in this 3-disc DVD set. Get the inside scoop with three featurettes, “Drop Dead Dishing: The Cast and Crew on Season 2,” “A Look Ahead to Season 2” and “There's a Little Diva in all of Us!” Watch the Music Video for “Begin Again” by Confetti, and of course, enjoy some deleted scenes from the show.

"Drop Dead Diva: The Complete Second Season" is on sale May 3, 2011 and is not rated. Comedy, Drama. Written and directed by Josh Berman. Starring Ben Feldman, Brooke Elliott, Margaret Cho.

Melissa Kovner • Staff Writer

After graduating from Boston University with a degree in Film & Television, Melissa moved to New York City to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. Melissa currently works as an Associate Producer and Production Coordinator for Brooklyn-based video production company Dig For Fire, where she helps create live music entertainment.


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