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July 12, 2009

"Drop Dead Diva" is Drop Dead Delightful

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DDDiva-2 When I first heard about Lifetime's new show, "Drop Dead Diva," I avoided it because thought it was another lame reality show.

Well, I was wrong.  It's not a reality show, it's a comedy/drama and after having seen the pilot, I'm happy to tell you it's a pretty good one.

Before watching the pilot I also hadn't read anything about it so imagine my surprise when I see that the two main characters ending up dying within the first fifteen minutes of the show.

One is Jane Bingum (Brooke Elliott) a studious lawyer who's overweight and seems to have nothing much else in her life but her job.  The other is Deb Dobson (Brooke D'Orsay), a shallow, self-centered bimbette whose dreams of auditioning as a prize presenter on "The Price Is Right" are about to be realized.

But fate changes both their lives.  On the way to her audition, Deb cracks up her car, while Jane takes a bullet for her cheating boss.

Deb ends up at the very high tech Pearly Gates and in frustration pushes an off limits celestial computer button that sends her back to earth in Jane's flatlining body.

Needless to say, Deb is appalled by this turn of events, but her guardian angel Fred (Ben Feldman) promptly informs her that the switch is permanent and she'll just have to deal.

DDDiva-4 The rest of the pilot has the newly embodied Jane, complete with Deb's memories, learning  first to embrace and then use her newly acquired legal smarts.  She gets help from her assistant Teri Lee (Margaret Cho).

Oh and to top of the plot complications, Deb's grieving boyfriend Grayson Kent (Jackson Hurst) gets a job at Jane's law firm.

The show uses a light touch and Brooke Elliott does a wonderful job of showing us the struggle of Deb living as the new Jane while still being likable.  Think a dumb Elle Woods in Kathy Bates' body.   Margaret Cho is her usual dry, amusing self and the rest of the cast are very solid.

The stuff that was supposed to be funny, was funny and the stuff that was supposed to be touching, was touching.  All in all a very promising start to a fun concept.

"Drop Dead Diva" premieres tonight on Lifetime at 9PM ET/PT.

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