'Drop Dead Diva': The best show on television you're probably not watching
Canceled last year and brought back from the dead, much like its model-reincarnated-as-a-plus-size-lawyer lead character Jane, Drop Dead Diva is hands down the best show on television for GLBT audiences that you're probably not watching. Bottom line: you should be watching it.
While the series does not feature any GLBT series regulars, in each of its last five seasons, Drop Dead Diva has focused on at least one GLBT topic. In 2012, Drop Dead Diva won a GLAAD media award for "Prom" in which Jane defends a same sex couple who want to attend their high school prom together.
"The show is about an underdog and it's a show about a woman who, you know, feels isolated for the first time in her life,"Executive Producer Josh Berman shared. "When Jane was Deb everyone loved her and she didn't give two thoughts about it. And now that she is different than the norm people look at her differently and her journey her trajectory in the story is one of self-acceptance. So I think it's still parallels what gay lesbian bi-sexual youth go through in their life and in their coming out process. "But although we don't necessarily consciously say we are going to explore gay and lesbian themes in every episode there's a natural parallel to do that. And I will say that throughout the season those are themes that are explored."
Still not convinced? Guest stars have included GLBT-faves Joan Rivers, Kathy Griffin, Lance Bass, Paula Abdul, Brandy, Wanda Sykes and Kathy Najimy.
Oh, and did we mention that Margaret Cho stars as Teri, the private-eye paralegal (and sometimes pop star).
O&AN had a chance to chat with Cho and Berman about the upcoming episode (July 21) "Secret Lives" in which Jane defends a closeted baseball star accused of murder.
Berman, who is openly gay, admitted to working on the episode prior to Jason Collins coming out. "I think the gays in sports is certainly a hot topic right now. We started working on this episode before it became such a prominent issue and getting such coverage in the news. So I'm thrilled that we are hitting this zeitgeist shed again with gay and lesbian issues. I do think that sports is one of the last frontiers where men and women feel they unfortunately need to be closeted. So it was important for me to address that issue."
While Collins came out in the NBA, baseball was a no-brainer for Berman when deciding what sport to choose. "Well to me baseball kind of represents an American pastime. I grew up collecting baseball cards ... and in writing this episode and attacking this issue, I thought it was the right sport to explore from the very beginning. Also we had a consultant in the writer's room while we were breaking this story a guy name Sid Ziegler who is the President of Outsports."
"I must note that there is a lot of sexism when it comes to this kind of stuff because Martina Navratilova came out as a lesbian over 25 years ago," Cho added. "Martina Navratilova came out when Reagan was in office. And so, you know, I really want to make sure that her contribution to sports, to the LGBT presence in sports is really noted. And I'm really, really proud of this episode because it goes into the story about how we look at men in sports and we have to sort of have an idea of who they are and what they're supposed to be."
While "Secret Lives" is a GLBT-centric episode, Drop Dead Diva consistently gives subtle nods to the GLBT community through its dialogue. Last weekend, Stacy, who plays Jane's best friend, was providing subterfuge to gain information for Jane's case and in doing so asked the principal of a private school about the school's diversity and students of same-sex parents.
STILL not convinced? Well Sandra Bernhard guest stars in the upcoming "Secret Lives" as a judge in one of the cases. Quite gay, indeed.
So whether you thought it was canceled or have never watched the show, tune into Lifetime (yes did we forget to mention it's on Lifetime?) Sundays at 8 p.m. CT. And if you need to catch up, Season 5 is currently On Demand and available on iTunes.