Friday, June 15, 2018

Pilot Review: Dietland

Dietland (AMC)
Premiered June 4 at 10pm

Many shows exist as a way to parody something that is accepted as mainstream and normative in society, and often those shows are deliberately over-the-top so that they can expose the ridiculousness of what it is they’re targeting. There are shows that deal with being overweight and efforts to lose weight, and others that present the beauty industry both in a straightforward manner in a mocking one. This show is a bit all over the place, finding its heroine in a woman who has accepted the nickname Plum due to the size and shape of her figure, and rallying in support of the many women who write letters to fashionista Kitty thinking that it’s her and not Plum answering and helping them. This show is comparable in some ways to “Ugly Betty,” though it’s far less entertaining and possibly even more outrageous, without the important characteristic of it being a telenovela. There’s this mysterious murdered soldiers plotline happening with an unknown woman named Jennifer, which by the end of the second hour seems pretty clear as a revenge operation against those who have mistreated women. I haven’t seen Joy Nash before in anything that I can remember, and I know Tamara Tunie from more serious roles in “The Red Road” and “24.” Robin Weigert, from “Deadwood” and “Concussion,” is well-cast as Verena. Perhaps the most intriguing part of this show is the casting of Julianna Margulies, who in recent TV history has been playing a do-gooder lawyer and here gets the chance to have a blast and portray someone far less charitable. Watching two hours of this show, which has moments that indicate it could be worthwhile, was more burdensome than anything else, and I think the world would be just fine without its existence.

How will it work as a series? There’s a lot that still has to be unpacked, like why there is mistrust between Julia and Verena, and what role Plum is ultimately going to play in the big revolution that’s to come. The flashes that connect the revenge murders to what’s going on with the primary plot suggest that they’re much more connected than we think.
How long will it last? Puzzlingly, this show seems to have received mostly positive reviews from other critics. The first two episodes aired together, and now a third has also been shown. A decent initial showing in week one dropped for week two, and I think that one season of this show is more than enough for viewers to experience.

Pilot grade: C

No comments: