Dietland's Creator Explains How The Dark Comedy Fits Into The #MeToo Movement

Photo: Courtesy of AMC.
At first glance, it can look like the upcoming show Dietland is telling two stories at once. There's one of body image, of unrealistic beauty standards, of toxic diet culture, and then there's one of revenge — specifically, revenge against perpetrators of sexual assault. It was writer and creator Marti Noxon's job to find the connection.
"I started to think about how when you look and treat your body like a commodity, like a thing, you are much less able to have a voice," she told me. Then, #MeToo happened.
The original book by Sarai Walker was written two years before the #MeToo movement broke, and the script for the AMC series was finalized just a month before The New York Times published their bombshell report of the allegations against Harvey Weinstein.
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"I was at a fitting for Kitty when the story of Harvey Weinstein broke," star Julianna Margulies, who plays the ruthless and warped head of a women's magazine called Daisy Chain, told me. "It was sort of one of those moments where we all went, 'Oh my God.'"
"The show changed in real time," Noxon explained. "We rewrote to reflect the moment. In fact there's a whole sequence in episode eight that's kind of a direct almost talkback to the moment."
The show, which was originally supposed to air in September, was apparently pulled forward to June, when it could still effectively speak to the movement.
Noxon herself played a part in the reckoning, stepping up to defend former colleague Kater Gordon, who accused Mad Man's Matthew Weiner of sexual harassment. Weiner denied the claims, which prompted Noxon to take to Twitter to say she believed Gordon, and called Weiner an "emotional terrorist."
"Whatever price I'm gonna pay is nothing compared to the women of color who go to work every day and don't have a voice," she said of that decision. "What's the worst thing that happens to me?"
That power is the reason Noxon felt it was so important for her to bring Dietland's story to the screen. "The fact of the matter is an entire world history of oppression ain't gonna get solved with hashtag," she said. But with shows like Dietland, we can keep working towards a larger revolution.
Dietland premieres on AMC June 4.
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