Tuesday, April 29, 2014

The OTP Problem

I happened on to "Drop Dead Diva" flipping through channels on a marathon one day and got sucked in quickly. Most of what I know about the law I've learned form listening to lawyers complain about TV depictions, but it seemed to me that while DDD has some crazy cases, they are working on playing with some of the finer distinctions of how law both helps and hurts us.  But, I'm getting ahead of myself. 
So, DDD is the story of a model Deb who had a great life, great boyfriend, great best friend, great car.  She gets in a car accident and dies.  Due to what the opening credits refer to as a mix-up, she gets sent back, but not as herself, as a plus sized lawyer Jane.  Her guardian angel and old/new best friend know the truth, but she is not supposed to explain to others which is a challenge since one of the other members of the law firm is her model-self's boyfriend Grayson. 
I think DDD has done great things with Deb's merging of herself with Jane.  She has Jane's body and Jane's law knowledge but Deb's sense of style and fun.  Stacey could be played off as the dumb best friend, since Stacey never got magically downloaded with the law school knowledge. But while Stacey often has different non-lawyer reactions to things, Jane never treats her contributions as unimportant. 
Where, I as a viewer worry is Jane has grown to accept so many changes in her life, and yet, the Grayson carrot is still there, dangling in front of her.  Now, I confess, I personally am not sold on the chemistry between Jane and Grayson. But even trying to approach it logically, what little we the viewers know about Grayson and Deb he mostly seems to have liked how hot she was.  Jane hasn't just been waiting around, she's adjusted to having new parents, dated some very nice men, and even was engaged to one.  But, of course, in TV fashion, that ended when her fiance caught her kissing Grayson while in her wedding dress.  (Cliche.) 
Grayson has been working along side Jane for all this time, but he really only seemed interested in her romantically when he discovered she had Deb's soul.  And here I think we have a problem.  I think the showrunners fundamentally believe that Jane and Grayson are soul mates.  And I don't - in theory - disagree with soul mates.  But, very little has occurred to convince me that Grayson is a worthy romantic interest for Jane.  I wish, that the direction they were going was to teach Jane that while Grayson may have been a great boyfriend for Deb, he is not the best person for Jane to spend the rest of her life with.  In dancing around the will they won't they between Jane and Grayson, Jane and Grayson have had some great love interests. And I liked almost everyone Jane has dated better than Grayson. 
I'm not a Grayson hater.  Grayson seems like a fine guy.  Grayson appreciates Jane's smarts and her sense of humor.  But he was never attracted to her until he thought she was Deb.  Not really.  So, really, this isn't a OTP problem.  This is the Superman/Clark Kent problem.  Back in the day, on "Lois and Clark", Clark proposed to Lois and she turned him down because she still had a thing for Superman.  Someone pointed out, if he told her, she'd have accepted.  And Clark's answer was that Superman was a job, Clark was who he really was and he needed her to love Clark. 
Technically, Jane's body is just her wrapper, and I don't want to suggest that's the only thing that held Grayson back.  But he didn't fall in love with her as Jane.  And now that he knows about her Deb insides, any choices he made seem less about learning to appreciate Jane, and more about him being stuck on Deb. And Jane and Deb deserve better than that.  Heck, Grayson deserves better than that.
There's still a few episodes left (and I am a bit behind anyway).  Perhaps the showrunners will shock me.  I hope so.