When it comes to losing weight, Plum Kettle has tried it all. And in an exclusive clip from AMC's new series Dietland, Plum (played by Joy Nash) breaks down exactly what that entails. The series based on Sarai Walker’s 2005 novel of the same name, which premieres June 4, takes a satirical look at one woman's journey to loving her body. But before Plum can do that, she puts herself through the ringer trying every diet you could possibly imagine — despite being beautiful just the way she is, which is something she has yet to realize herself. (Don't worry, she'll get there.)
After Plum's doctor rudely questions her weight-loss strategy in the video, she begins to tick off all the things she's tried since she was a kid. There's the "vibrating belt machine, green tea diet, hot yoga, chia seeds, raw foods, sweat cure, fasting, meditation, herbal life, sleep cure, Paleo diet, journaling, acupuncture, fat blockers, hypnotism," and "actual prayer." Honestly, Plum sounds tired just listing off all of these methods.
But there was one, she says, that "almost worked and almost killed me" and it's the Baptist Plan, a fictional weight-loss clinic started by Eulayla Baptist, who was more of a scam artist than a diet guru. No surprise, the Baptists are going to play an important role in Plum's journey to self-acceptance. Well, that and the sudden murders of men accused of sexual misconduct. Yes, Dietland is clearly a good fit for this current #MeToo movement.
Dietland is a story of female empowerment that starts with Plum, the ghostwriter behind the advice column "Dear Kitty" in the fashion magazine Daisy Chain. She's the voice of the magazine's narcissistic editor Kitty Montgomery (a very red-headed Julianna Margulies), but she's getting kind of tired of it. Plum is a recluse, rarely leaving her apartment because she's unhappy with her body, which is why she's been saving up her money to get weight-loss surgery.
But after meeting Leeta, a mysterious stranger played by Erin Darke, her world gets turned upside down. Before she knows it she's being asked to join a feminist revolution led by Verena Baptist, the daughter of Eulayla who's also a body-positive therapist. But when an underground guerrilla group called "Jennifer" starts a literal a war of the sexes to take down bad men in violent ways, Plum is caught in the middle. Who will she choose? You're going to have to watch Dietland to get the answer to that question.
Dietland creator and showrunner Marti Noxon, who previously worked on Buffy The Vampire Slayer and UnREAL, is hoping you'll watch the show and feel empowered. Noxon told Variety that the show is clearly a call-to-arms, but it also questions how one does that.
"Does it require violence and a real threat to the ruling class to keep change moving forward? Should women arm themselves?” Noxon said. “[Dietland deals] with the beauty industry and how beauty and violence are linked. The violence we see against women is related to the violence we do to ourselves looking for an ever-moving target, that ideal of beauty that will make us lovable and precious.”
The book takes on female empowerment, body image, and rape culture, all of which are topics that feel particularly timely in 2018. And Dietland doesn't shy away from the anger a lot of women are feeling in this post-Harvey Weinstein world. (Weinstein has repeatedly denied all claims of nonconsensual sex.) “I want to make Fight Club for women,” Noxon said, and it's unclear whether she's joking, since Dietland's author also said she was inspired by the Brad Pitt movie.
Back in 2015, Walker told NPR that Fight Club brought out something inside of her that she wanted to communicate to other women. "I responded to its anger, its defiance, its punk spirit," she said. "And I love the way it dealt with political issues, particularly gender. I mean of course it's about men, but it's still about gender. And after I saw that film I said to myself: I have to write something like that for women."
Will AMC's Dietland become "Fight Club for women"? That's hard to say, but from the looks of this clip, the only rule about Dietland should be to tune in and find out for yourself.