Drop Dead Diva
By Melissa Camacho,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Beauty vs. brains dramedy is fun, despite some stereotyping.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this TV show.
The show's underlying message is that getting by on superficial qualities alone isn't a good thing, but there are some conflicting points about the role that physical attractiveness plays in a woman's success. Some of the women engage in catty behavior at work, and other characters reflect sexist stereotypes about women.
Positive Role Models
While neither woman is/was perfect, Deb is trying to change her shallow ways while balancing out Jane’s workaholic lifestyle. Stacy is a bit shallow but is a loyal friend. Teri is a loyal assistant. Not a particularly diverse cast.
Violence & Scariness
Deb dies in a car accident; Jane dies from a gunshot wound (gun is visible, but not very graphic). Some of the court cases deal with violent circumstances, but the intensity of these moments is often deflected with humor.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some mild sexual innuendo; frequent flirting; female plaintiffs are convinced to look "sexier" in order to win a cas; etc.
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Audible language includes “hell," “bitch," “damn,” and “bulls--t."
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Products & Purchases
Clothing labels like Lane Bryant and Hermes are frequently discussed. Jane owns a Porsche; Heaven uses Apple computers to process newcomers.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Wine, martinis, and mixed drinks are visible (and consumed by adults) at bars and social gatherings.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dramedy is a little too mature for tweens and some young teens, but older teens should be able to handle most of the issues it raises, from death and grief to divorce, loss, and body image. There's a bit of sexist stereotyping of women, as well as a good bit of flirting and social drinking among adults. Also expect some salty language ("bitch," "bulls--t"), references to violence, and mentions of name brands like Lane Bryant, Hermes, Porsche, and Apple.
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Drop Dead Diva
Based on 5 parent reviews
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What's the Story?
After a fatal car accident, the spirit of aspiring model Deb Dobson (Brooke D'Orsay) ends up trapped inside the body of recently deceased plus-sized attorney Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliott). Now shallow Deb must rely on workaholic Jane's brains instead of her (former) looks to get by. With the help of Jane's assistant Teri (Margaret Cho) and best friend Stacy (April Bowlby) -- not to mention guardian angel Fred (Ben Feldmen) -- Deb begins to use her second chance to become a better person. But it isn't easy, especially when her former boyfriend Grayson Kent (Jackson Hurst) starts working at Jane's law firm, attracting the attention of catty co-worker Kim Kaswell (Kate Levering).
Is It Any Good?
DROP DEAD DIVA relies too much on stereotypical characterizations of women -- the dumb blonde, the homely intellectual, the vampy temptress, etc. -- to be wholly fresh and original. While the show ultimately sends the message that being superficial or relying solely on looks isn't a good thing, it also makes conflicting points about the role that being physically attractive plays in a successful woman's life.
Still, Deb/Jane's journey of self-awareness creates lots of funny and poignant moments while the two women negotiate their extreme personalities. Meanwhile, the various legal cases that Jane's firm handles add to the drama. It's a little bit much for tweens (and even some young teens), but older kids and adults who can look past the easy-out characterizations could find the series both smart and entertaining.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about whether women should ever have to choose between being beautiful or being smart. Is this really a choice that women are forced to make today? Do you think the show dispels or reinforces stereotypes about women?
Families can also discuss how the show addresses body image. Does it make you consider the issue any differently? Why or why not?
- Premiere date: July 12, 2009
- Cast: Brooke D'Orsay, Brooke Elliott, Margaret Cho
- Network: Lifetime Television
- Genre: Drama
- TV rating: TV-PG
- Last updated: March 31, 2022
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Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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