dietland TV TV Recaps

“Dietland” Ep.1.08: “Rad Fatties”

Two doozies in a row you guys! “Dietland” Episode 8, “Rad Fatties,” is pretty chill for a while and then it really gets in the trenches for the last fifteen or so minutes. I am absolutely for it and I love when my shows tackle tough issues. That doesn’t make it easier to watch when terrible things happen to the characters I love, but I appreciate the effort that goes into addressing these issues with care. That being said, I totally missed the sexual assault warning at the beginning and the end of this episode and actually I’m glad I did because I would have been expecting it and I think it played better as a shock.

Dietland EP 1.08
Joy Nash as Plum, Drew Gehling as Jack in “Dietland ” Season 1, Episode 8 | Credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC

Before we get there though we’ve got another incredible opening semi-animated scene with Plum narrating the differences between men and women through history. Men have all the power because they have the physical power but that dynamic has shifted most dramatically in recent years. We also finally get the “Penis 100”; the list of men who are to be avoided by all women as the biggest offenders against women. Plum calls it a Lysistrata for the modern age (which I did have to look up). It’s essentially a sex strike and the women who do shelter the men will face consequences as well.

Plum gets the first of several calls from Jack the feeder from a few episodes ago. He’s very apologetic about how their date went down and he’d like to see her again. She’s not very receptive while she feels on top of the world. Her blog has gone viral, she’s getting interview offers, including one from Cheryl. Unfortunately, the first notch in her newly acquired self worth is downstairs in the form of a messenger serving her with a lawsuit from Kitty only after she inquires about whether Plum has connections to Jennifer.

Shortly thereafter, Plum meets Dominic at a diner to talk about the lawsuit. He compliments her, telling her she looks nice and she says he looks like a guy in a suit which is such a good burn given that it’s just a statement. Evidently the lawsuit is harsher than it seemed because it includes language barring Plum from ever blogging again or addressing Kitty’s girls. One thing I noted during this scene and the later one with Dominic is that Plum feels a lot more at ease around him now that most everything is out in the open. It’s a lot more like a normal friendship than a romantic flirtation on her end and it’s so great to watch. Dominic says he’ll see what he can do about getting Kitty to drop the lawsuit and tells Plum that no matter what happens the girls aren’t Kitty’s anymore, they’re Plum’s.

On her way home, Plum watches one of the women married to a man on the “Penis 100” giving a press conference about how no “nasty feminists” are going to tell her who she can sleep with. It’s revealed later in the episode that she and a few other wives and girlfriends have gone missing. After that Plum grabs a pennant with Jennifer’s mark on it and walks down the street waving it and some animated street art starts to follow her. It’s one of the loveliest images this show has done so far.

Julia and her unfortunate wig are hanging out at a pier when a young mother walks by and drops something from her stroller. Julia asks if she can help with anything and the woman says yes. It’s immediately clear they’re speaking in code when Julia follows the woman to the bathroom. They lock the door and have a fast and loaded conversation. It turns out the woman is with Jennifer, Julia’s been trying to contact them for two weeks, and she and her sisters have been funding Jennifer but now they want out after all the murdering. It does not seem like Jennifer is going to let them off the hook that easy.

Uptown, Dominic is on the clock at Stanley’s house and so gets treated to a long winded rant about how Stanley can’t believe he’s only Penis #7 and how irritating it is now that he can’t just tap hot ladies on the ass. It’s super gross and Dominic agrees by rolling his eyes. When Stanley asks what the problem is he says he has a daughter, which is fair and the only answer Stanley might have accepted but still pretty reductive of someone we’re supposed to be rooting for.

Stanley goes on to say he understands that there are rapists and murderers and they should not be given any quarter but he’s never raped or hit any woman so he should be exempt from the penis list. I find that last one rich because he manhandled the hell out of Kitty last week, but alas Stanley carries on another week with no consequence. He finishes the conversation with Dominic by proving his dirtbag status for good. He says “men take, that’s nature” and then asks Dominic to find and cover up some “reports” that were filed against him in the past. We can only assume they’re for some kind of assault.

Taking the correct course of action, since Stanley is horrible, Dominic goes to Kitty’s office and waits for her with his news. They come to an agreement about the lawsuit against Plum. If she’ll come and give an interview then Kitty will forget the whole thing, so long as Plum is positive in her comments about both Kitty and Daisy Chain. Before he goes, he asks Kitty about the reports Stanley asked about and she definitely remembers them. She tells Dominic to bring them to her. I suspect it will be quite a big part of her bid to ruin Stanley which will be fun to watch.

From there Dominic goes to see Plum who’s baking an apple pie in Calliope House. He explains Kitty’s requirements for dropping the lawsuit and at first she’s resistant because she’s sure Kitty is trying to make her look or sound stupid. Dominic says if she can control her mouth (LOL) then it’ll be fine and she agrees so long as she can pick the interviewer, make it a live video interview and get hair and makeup before hand. Dominic says he’ll take the offer back to Kitty. I love Dominic being the errand boy of these two fierce women.

There’s a scene here with Cheryl where she finds out the ending of her story about the suicide bombing last week has been edited by Stanley himself. Instead of her original ending, which I believe was about there not being any connection to Jennifer, Stanley has inserted an interview with a boy crying about how his friends were killed. It’s a real testament to the show that I immediately believed the boy was putting on his display of grief. I just inherently don’t fully trust any of the male characters we meet.

Kitty is treating Eladio like garbage in the beauty closet as per usual. Making him fetch her a lipstick the color of Advil, giving him grief about eating crackers, complaining that he’s not Plum or Julia who she could talk to. Luckily this fun talk is interrupted by Cheryl arriving in the room asking Kitty why Stanley is editing her story. Kitty’s hands are unfortunately tied given her demotion and she admits to Cheryl that Stanley threatened her the week before because he’s scared.

Right on the heels of that we’re treated to Plum’s interview which actually goes pretty well. She talks nicely about Kitty and Daisy Chain but then she mentions Calliope House and Verena by name and I knew immediately that there was going to be an issue. Once the interview is over Plum sees another call from Jack asking if they can be friends again. Plum sends back a smiley face just as Kitty comes up behind her. They trade a few barbs, Kitty dismisses the lawsuit and they go their separate ways for now but I’m sure they’ll come together again before the season is out.

There’s a tiny scene with Julia and her sisters eating lunch and plotting in an absolutely perfect Hooters knock off called “Knockers”. They decide they have to go after Jennifer before Jennifer can get to them. I’ll be honest though, “Knockers” was my biggest takeaway from this scene.

When Plum arrives back at Calliope House after her interview it’s to find Verena, Rubi, Barbara and Sana having wine in the front room waiting for her. Verena insists she’s not in trouble but it sure feels like an intervention. The gist here is that everyone in the house is upset that Plum would expose them in such a way to the public when they’re all at Calliope House specifically to avoid unwanted attention especially in the very violent and volatile time going on outside the doors. Everyone is reasonable at first until Plum gets defensive. She truly believed she was doing something good, singing the praises of Verena’s non-violent approach. But the other women feel betrayed, specifically Barbara who is transgender and Rubi who when Plum says she’s been hurt by men shouts back that she has too and if they want to go toe to toe Rubi will surely win that contest.

The confrontation fully devolves when Barbara accuses Plum of being already addicted to the endorphin rush of outside approval after a lifetime of being told you’re less than. I have to say I did think the women were being a little too upset about everything. I definitely don’t think just mentioning the colloquial name of an organization on a pretty niche internet video is cause for this much concern. However, if Plum were to become more successful then it would become a bigger issue and they’d become a lot easier to find. Verena finally tells her that if she wants to be part of the community “you need to respect our beliefs and if not then maybe you belong somewhere else.” Plum goes to her room to think it over and before too long she’s back out in the city trying to decide.

Back in the public bathroom, Julia and the Jennifer representative have another pow wow. Julia and her sisters seem to have realized their importance as the financing in this endeavor and so Julia heavily implies they will hire assassins to take out Jennifer if they continue the violence. Otherwise they’ll give them half a million dollars if they do stop the violence. Julia says she knows that change only works if the stakes are life and death but she assumes Jennifer will want their families taken care of if that’s the case.

Stanley continues to be the world’s hugest tool while he has a meeting with Cheryl. He’s also extremely cavalier about sitting in the windows of his apartment. Mark my words, he’s going to get sniped through one of them at some point. In any case he explains why he changed Cheryl’s story and he says he wants her next story to be about the “Penis 100”. She resists slightly but he insists. Dominic listens to the whole meeting. I love that he’s getting totally passed over because he’s poor and “beneath” Kitty and Stanley, but he’s absolutely going to contribute to the downfall of at least one of them.

The final scene of the episode is extremely tough to watch, and yet I can’t explain how important I think it was to see. Plum agrees to meet Jack the feeder for a drink. They have martinis and it goes well. He apologizes for their date and seems sincere and Plum agrees that it’s nice to be out of Calliope House and all their rules and how she feels she has to choose her words very carefully.

They end up back at Jack’s apartment drinking beers, Plum seems tipsy but not drunk. They start to fool around a little but when Jack ventures lower Plum gets a little spooked. Jack insists it will feel good and they keep going until she gets spooked again. She gets up to leave and Jack once again convinces her to stay. By this point they’re standing by the bookcase and he abruptly turns her around to face it and at the very least sexually assaults her.

The camera stays on Plums face for the entirety of the scene and you can see the moment she shuts down is the same moment Jack says “I love your fat ass” as though it’s a romantic thing to say. When he’s finished he goes to the kitchen to get another beer and then, not understanding he’s done anything wrong asks Plum if she wants to stay over.

She obviously does not and we see her flee from his apartment, down the stairs and out onto the street. There is such a fury inside her at this latest insult to her womanhood and personhood that it’s only a matter of minutes I’m sure until she’s right in bed with Jennifer looking for her own revenge.

Catch me live-tweeting “Dietland”  at Shuffle Online  on Mondays 9/8c and catch me on So I’m Watching!

Featured image credit: Patrick Harbron/AMC

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