The 10 Best Music Moments from ‘My Mad Fat Diary’

Photo courtesy of Amazon UK.

Photo courtesy of Amazon UK.

Music plays a pretty big part in E4’s series My Mad Fat Diary, though it didn’t quite make it onto my list of Why ‘My Mad Fat Diary’ Is the Best New Show of 2013. Music got lumped in with all the other 90s aspects of the show–like clothes and slang. But after rewatching My Mad Fat Diary again (for the third time,) I realized just how instrumental the soundtrack is to the characters and plot of the show. Rae uses music as an initiation into a new group of friends, she bonds with another character in particular over music, and the soundtrack helps to set the tone of many scenes throughout the series. After finding Tumblr user Cliffpantones’s gifset of the six best music moments from season one, I thought I’d try to come up with my own list.

Have you ever seen a more 90s group of kids? Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Check out all those Oasis shirts. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Although it’s been six months since I declared MMFD would be the best show to premiere in 2013 (and we still haven’t quite gotten through fall premiere season,) I still believe the show has the best television soundtrack of the year, if not of the past five years. You can check out all 113 tracks from the show in my playlist: My Mad Fat Diary MegaPlaylist. From Oasis to Blur, The Cure to Radiohead, whoever picks the music for MMFD should win some kind of award. Not only is the music quality, each song also fits perfectly into whatever scene in which it’s featured. So, while I rewatched MMFD recently, I took note of every scene that was perfectly matched with a 90s tune and narrowed it down to 10–which was difficult–in order to celebrate the best music moments from season one.

“Sabotage” by Beastie Boys

Episode 1 – “Big Wide World”

In the premiere episode of MMFD, Rae is released from the mental hospital where she had spent that past three months and she’s worried about making friends. However, her old friend Chloe invites Rae to the pub to hang out with a new gang. Since music is Rae’s thing, she feels the need to prove her musical knowledge and what does she choose to play on the jukebox? None other than the Beastie Boys’ “Sabatoge.” I don’t know about everyone else, but the moment the opening riff started I fell in love with MMFD and I knew I’d definitely be friends with Rae if I knew her. Who doesn’t love the Beastie Boys?

“Fake Plastic Trees” by Radiohead

Episode 2 – “Touched”

During the second episode, Rae has a moment where she envisions what it would be like to unzip the fat from her body, drag it through the house, and set in on fire while she stands by and watches with a perfect body. Most people can relate to feeling uncomfortable in their own skin even if they’ve never had the same issues as Rae, so this was a very impactful scene. For me, it’s one of the most memorable in the whole season and it’s made even better by the music. I’m not the biggest fan of Radiohead, but I have to admit that “Fake Plastic Trees” was the perfect song choice for Rae’s vulnerable moment in episode 2. The scene completely converted a non-Radiohead-lover, which is pretty impressive.

“Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy

Episode 2 – “Touched”

Toward the end of the second episode, Rae is told by Finn that she shouldn’t let Archie get away with standing her up for their second date. Rae takes Finn’s advice and goes to confront Archie. The soundtrack to Rae’s angry tirade as she hunts down Archie at his place of work is “Smack My Bitch Up” by The Prodigy which was such a good choice. It’s the perfect 90s song for someone who is full of anger and looking to smack a bitch. As a viewer, I was right there with Rae and if I could have reached through my television screen to slap Archie, I would have.

“Columbia” by Oasis

Episode 3 – “Ladies and Gentlemen”

If I could have included every song by Oasis that’s played in the first season of MMFD, I would have, but then that would have been the entire list. (Maybe I’ll do that some other time.) For now, let’s talk about “Columbia” by Oasis, which plays on the radio when Rae tells Chloe about her suicide attempt and being in a mental hospital for three months. Afterward, Chloe leaves Rae to go talk to her boyfriend despite the fact that Rae turned down seeing Oasis live to go with Chloe for her abortion. It’s an emotionally charged scene and the addition of “Columbia” is relevant and it adds to the tone of the scene.

“Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star

Episode 4 – “Don’t Tell Anybody Anything”

In the fourth episode, Rae is struggling with telling her friends the truth about her past, especially after it didn’t go so well with Chloe. She also struggles in her friendship/more-than-friendship with Finn because of some bad advice about the “friendzone” (never take advice from Danny Two-Hats.) All the while, Rae’s mother leaves her alone for a long weekend and her friends decide she should throw a party. Though there is a lot of drama, by the end of the night Rae is tucked up in her bed with Finn and they’re BFFs again while Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” plays in the background. It’s a sweet and adorable scene with a good song. What’s not to like?

“Movin’ On Up” by Primal Scream

Episode 4 – “Don’t Tell Anybody Anything”

Remember when Rae was afraid that she wouldn’t have any friends when she left the hospital? Well, by episode 4 all those worries are behind her (or at least they seem to be.) The morning after Rae’s party, the gang all help her clean up her house while Finn plays some great tunes. The montage is soundtracked with Primal Scream’s “Movin’ On Up,” which is a fun, feel-good song if I’ve ever heard one. Rarely in movies and television do you see friends helping each other clean up after a party, which makes this scene stand out from other shows and movies about teenagers. It’s relatable and fun–it certainly made me want to be best friends with all these characters–and the song choice was perfect for the mood of the scene.

“To Wish Impossible Things” by The Cure

Episode 5 – “It’s A Wonderful Rae Part 1”

In the fifth episode, Rae is rebelling against her therapy and her medications because they’re holding her back from living a normal life–as well as making it difficult for her to keep her past a secret from her friends. So Rae shucks all her responsibilities, flushes her meds down the toilet, and goes to a rave with her friends despite her mother and therapist forbidding it. It’s a nice scene as she rides on the back of Finn’s scooter then troops through a field with the whole gang to get to the rave. For a short while, Rae’s able to pretend she’s just another normal teenager without any abnormal problems. “To Wish Impossible Things” by The Cure was the best choice to fit the mood of the scene because it easily relates the emotions of hope, resentment, and bittersweet nostalgia that Rae is feeling in this moment.

“Wild Wood” by Paul Weller

Episode 6 – “It’s A Wonderful Rae Part 2”

In the season finale episode, Rae gets into a dark place. She feels isolated from her friends, her family, and she retreats back into the same headspace she was in when she tried to kill herself. Rae writes a suicide letter to her mother and reads it in the form of a voiceover during a scene in the episode. Meanwhile, Paul Weller’s “Wild Wood” plays under Rae’s voice as she talks of all the pain and hopelessness in her life. Every time I watch this scene, it makes me cry. Not because the song is so sad in addition to Rae’s sad words, but because the song is impassioned and the words Paul Weller sings have a tinge of relief to them, as if Rae killing herself would be a relief. It’s another moment when the song choice fits perfectly with the scene to create something that has a great impact on viewers.

“Champagne Supernova” by Oasis

Episode 6 – “It’s A Wonderful Rae Part 2”

Of course “Champagne Supernova” by Oasis was going to make the list. In one of the final scenes of the last episode, Rae admits to her mother’s reception party everything that she’d been holding back all season. In the next scene, Chop begins singing the iconic Oasis song and everyone becomes friends again! Then Rae confronts Finn about their feelings for eachother. With Oasis playing in the background, it’s the most adorable scene in the whole season. I might be a bit biased toward “Champagne Supernova” though because I think it’s seven-and-a-half minutes of pure music genius. But in all honesty, who didn’t love this scene?

“Spaceman” by Babylon Zoo

Episode 3 – “Ladies and Gentlemen” & Episode 5 – “It’s A Wonderful Rae Part 1”

Although I’ve gone mostly in order of the episodes for this list, I think “Spaceman” by Babylon Zoo deserves its own special place. I’m completely invested in the friendship/more-than-friendship between Rae and Finn and “Spaceman” is totally–and begrudgingly if you’re Rae–their song. In the third episode when Finn declares he’s creating the mixtapes for their ride to Oasis at Nebworth, Rae’s first request is no Babylon Zoo. However, when she gets in the car with Finn, “Spaceman” is the first song to play. Then in episode 5 when the two are listening to music in Finn’s room, he puts on “Spaceman” again because he knows it’s her favorite song of all time. I like that the creators of MMFD chose a song that could illustrate the relationship growth between these two characters and I’m glad it’s a song I’d never heard of before watching the show. It’s an inside joke between Rae and Finn, which makes it an inside joke between the fans and the show. Plus, it can’t be a bad song if even Rae can put up with it.


6 thoughts on “The 10 Best Music Moments from ‘My Mad Fat Diary’

  1. Marta

    I know this post was published a long time ago, but I also think music is one of the most important things that a tv show or a film has. And I could say that the scene I love the most is from the last episode of the second series, when Rae is talking with Kester about her when she was a kid, and after that she appears at the hospital, and you can see how Finn’s hand writes “Hi” on her leg… To me, “One” by U2 was the best choice for this scene. If this scene was actually perfect by itself, I absolutely fell in love with it when I heard the song. I just needed to share it hahaha. (Sorry if I made any mistake, I’m spanish) 🙂

  2. brit pop from the nineties is pretty much like the elizabethan age for theatre. such a wealth of excellent productions that wherever you fish you end up with something valuable if not an authentic masterpiece!

  3. Personally, I felt “My Mad Fat Diary” had way too many incredible musical moments to count, but one that stands out for me is one that you mentioned: “To Wish Impossible Things” by The Cure, and the corresponding scene. There is something so beautiful and blissful in that moment between her and Finn that it almost triggers a similar teenaged memory of your own where the moment and music match perfectly.

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