Brooke Elliott and Margaret Cho as Jane and Terry on "Drop Dead Diva"
"Drop Dead Diva", a new show brought to us by Lifetime, actually premiered back on July 12 but I managed to catch the first two episodes through the In-Demand feature on our cable. (It was a boring afternoon).
Here's the concept. Deb is a shallow aspiring model who is headed to audition for "The Price is Right" but is so busy talking on her cell phone and applying lip gloss that she strikes a truck and is killed. She finds herself in the booking center for Heaven, with Gatekeeper Fred reviewing her life on his trusty computer and being shocked to find that Deb has neither good acts nor bad acts. His very first "zero/zero" in fact. Deb, wanting to go back to her handsome fiancee Grayson and her audition with "The Price is Right", hits the return key on Fred's computer, sending her back to Earth and into the first available body.
That body turns out to be Jane Bingum, a dowdy "size 16" lawyer who unwittingly got in the middle of a domestic dispute at the office and was shot. Jane's soul has already passed on, but her body welcomes Deb's spirit.
So Deb, who hasn't been "anything more than a size 2 in her whole life", except for those freshman 15 she put on, which led her to quit community college, finds herself in Jane's "size 16" body, complete with Jane's intelligence and desires (like chocolate).
Fred is demoted from Gatekeeper in Heaven and sent to Earth to keep on eye on Deb as Jane - - as the new clerk in Jane's law firm.
And just to keep things totally interesting, Deb's boyfriend Grayson - - who Deb as Jane learns was going to propose to her the week following her death - - is hired as a new associate at Jane's firm.
While "Diva" certainly doesn't break any new ground, it's a light, bubbly comedy that is perfect for summertime viewing. Brooke Elliott as Jane is absolutely wonderful to watch. She perfectly nails Deb as Jane, particularly in a few of the courtroom scenes where Deb realizes that she does indeed possess all of Jane's intelligence and is a pretty fierce attorney. Margaret Cho plays Jane's loyal assistant, Terry who always has coffee and a doughnut on hand for her boss.
Throw in fashionable and yet less competent attorney Kim, who delights in putting down Jane and seems interested in getting to know Grayson, as well as managing partner Parker who is always after the big win and the big bucks, and Deb's equally shallow and dimwitted friend Stacy, who knows about Deb as Jane, and Lifetime has a fun little escapist series.
My grade: B
"Drop Dead Diva" is on Lifetime Sunday nights at 9 pm.