Mark Watches ‘My Mad Fat Diary’: Ladies and Gentlemen


Thanks again to Sophie! The video file for “Ladies and Gentleman” can be downloaded here, and all Mark Watches videos are now located in my Dropbox folder.

  • I haven’t commented much on Rae’s mother, and it’s about time I do! It’s fascinating to me how Rae’s journey through her own sexuality and self-acceptance mirrors what her mother is going through. In this case, Rae is shocked that anyone can find her mother attractive. That internalized hatred comes out when she talks to her mother this way because she believes she can’t be attractive to anyone either.
  • At the same time, a great deal of “Ladies and Gentlemen” is about Rae’s need to accept herself as a woman. She is embarrassed by her period; she’s furious that her friends view her as “one of the lads”; and she is endlessly jealous of her best friend, Chloe. God, this show does such a good job of showing how perception is altered by the lens of bigotry. Rae truly believes that it is impossible for good things to happen to her, that Chloe has this perfect life without any problems. Even though this clearly isn’t the case, it’s hard for Rae to see otherwise when the general pattern of her life has been so overwhelmingly negative.
  • It must be said that I am so impressed that I just watched an episode of this show where a character gets an abortion and is not demonized for doing so. It’s shown as a rational (if traumatic and stressful) choice, and no one criticizes Chloe for making the choice. Bravo.
  • This episode also brilliantly shows us how you can be a good friend. Finn. Finn. Oh my god, y’all. I never thought I’d like him so much!!! And now he’s defending Rae in a way that shows that he really understands why she is being bullied. Holy shit, AMAZING. Finn, you’re awesome.
  • Which is not to suggest that you need to go out and start punching the faces of folks who are bigots. (I wouldn’t be upset if you did, though. Some folks deserve a punch in the face.) It’s just nice to see someone tell a bully to back the fuck down.
  • Amidst this, Rae and Chloe both fight with one another while also trying to find their place within the group. (Kester was right about why these two were having problems.) Chloe wasn’t invited to Knebworth, and Rae can’t be seen as a desirable woman. So the two clash, essentially! It’s fitting to me, then, that they end up supporting one another independent of the group. As friends. FRIENDSHIP. I love friendship so much.
  • That being said, I think there’s a very important (and subtle) moment at the end of “Ladies and Gentlemen” that I want to discuss. Rae finally decides to open about her stay in the hospital, and Chloe appears totally mystified at the news that Rae tried to hurt herself. She can’t fathom why Rae would want to do such a thing, and I’m worried that Rae isn’t going to find the kind of friend she needs in Chloe. Chloe is so quick to appear as if she’s judging Rae, and I can tell you from experience that that does not go over well. Kester said that Rae needs someone on the outside to talk to, and I’m hoping Chloe can put aside her own issues and be a good friend.
  • Goddamn, this was fantastic. I’m really happy I’m watching this show, even if it is upsetting at times.

Tomorrow, I’ll be starting a rather unique set of commissions! Some folks over at Mark Spoils commissioned all 13 episodes of the BBC miniseries I, Claudius, so I’ll be doing the entire series over the next couple weeks. Huzzah!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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