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My Mad Fat Diary

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Rae starts to contemplate the effect her illness has had on those around her.

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Rae takes drastic action putting her own future in jeopardy.

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Who is Stan Ford?
When Rae gets a surprise offer from Bristol, her life is thrown into turmoil.

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My Mad Fat Diary is a coming-of-age British comedy-drama television series that aired on E4 from 2013 to 2015. Adapted from the real-life diary entries of Rae Earl, whose youthful records inspired the show, it provides a captivating journey through the life of a teenager battling with mental health issues while navigating the turbulent years of adolescence.

The central character, Rae, who is excellently portrayed by Sharon Rooney, is a 16-year-old teenager trying to cope with everyday high school life in 1990s Lincolnshire, England. Rae has just left a mental health facility where she was treated for self-harm and depression expanding the narrative into somewhat underrepresented and often stigmatized talks about mental illness. Yet, it combines it with typical issues a teenager may face: the constant struggle to fit in, establishing a love life, body image concerns, and maintaining friendships.

One of the primary aspects of the series that sets it apart from other teen dramas is the ruthlessly raw and honest representation of these issues. The authenticity exhibited in the storylines and characters substantially contributes to its significance, turning it into more than just a teen series. It successfully intertwines stark reality with harsh emotion, offering a powerful depiction of adolescence that resonates with viewers across various age groups.

Rae's character is brilliantly written and developed throughout the series. She is funny, smart, charming, full of life, yet she bears apparent insecurities about her appearance and struggles with her mental health. Each episode allows viewers to join Rae on her journey, revealing her inherent strength and resilience despite the obstacles she encounters. Rae’s sardonic wit and her collection of pop-culture references, especially music—which she uses as a mechanism to express her feelings and differentiate the periods of her life—endears her to the audience.

The show does not shy away from addressing the stigma attached to mental health. It explores therapy sessions with "Kester," portrayed by Ian Hart, who is Rae's therapist and whose sessions provide a pivotal narrative device to the storytelling. These sessions offer audiences a glance into Rae's mental struggles, permitting a deeper understanding of her character and her journey of self-discovery and acceptance.

Moreover, the series delves into the dynamics of relationships in various aspects—the uneasy relationship with her mother, the thrilling friendship with Chloe, and the exciting yet complicated romance with Finn. Each relationship adds another layer of complexity to the narrative and Rae's character growth.

Set in the mid-90s, the series perfectly captures the era's aura, infusing it into the storyline subtly but effectively. The hauntingly evocative soundtrack featuring the era's Britpop hits further enhances the representation of the 90s, cementing the viewer's experience in the era.

Being a comedy-drama, My Mad Fat Diary skillfully incorporates humor into its narrative without undermining the seriousness of the thematic content. Rae's voice-over commentary, loaded with self-deprecating humor and wit, assists the shift between the dramatic and comedic tonality of the series.

The show stands on an ensemble cast, including Nico Mirallegro, Jodie Comer, and Dan Cohen, who deliver stellar performances and compliment Sharon Rooney's portrayal of Rae. The characters they portray are well-crafted, each having a well-defined personality that adds to the richness of the narrative.

Overall, My Mad Fat Diary is a heartfelt narrative about acceptance, friendship, love, and the road to mental recovery. Its frank and realistic approach to the subject matter of mental health, the meticulous character developments, exceptional performances, a whip-smart script, and a sense of the 90s nostalgia rendered it a conclusive hit among the teens and adults alike, creating a lasting impression on its viewers. It's a unique blend of humor and drama that grapples with serious issues, treating them delicacy and understanding. Without sugarcoating the truth, it showcases the reality of a teenager's life journeying through the 'madness' of growing up.

My Mad Fat Diary is a series categorized as a ended. Spanning 3 seasons with a total of 16 episodes, the show debuted on 2013. The series has earned a mostly positive reviews from both critics and viewers. The IMDb score stands at 8.4.

Ciara Baxendale, Dan Cohen, Jodie Comer
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