Dietland season 1, episode 1 & 2 recap: ‘Pilot’ and ‘Tender Belly’


AMC’s Dietland is powerful, brave, and bold–and told from the perspective of a badass inspirational character, Plum Kettle.

Dietland is a show, unlike anything we’ve really ever seen before and revolves around the life of Plum Kettle. Plum lives a fairly solitary life dealing with her weight issues and works as a ghostwriter for Julianna Margulies’ character (an editor-in-chief) for a fashion magazine.

She gives out advice on a column to those suffering from a myriad of issues ranging from health, weight, self-harm, rape, and many others.

She yearns to do more but is always shot down by her cocky, hoity-toity boss. Plum’s daily routine consists of work, visiting her local coffee shop, and attending weight meetings. Throughout the two-hour season premiere, Plum realizes she is being followed by a punk rock girl.

Things take a weird turn when the girl grabs Plum’s arm to write ‘Dietland’ on it–and thus begins this incredible, badass story. And while initially Plum is taken back by the words written on her arm, she soon finds a book that is left behind for by the same name–Dietland.

Credit: AMC

So what exactly is Dietland? Well, this is where my interest increased ten-fold as Plum learns the book contains insight into how to break free of society’s shackles and stigma surrounding self-image. And if that isn’t mysterious and alluring enough, Plum soon learns she is being vetted so she can be a part of something.

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As we learn more about Plum and this secret mission, there are tidbits of news reports embedded within the first two hours discussing a case and a group being referred to as “Jennifer”.

Basically, it’s a movement/group that is fighting against the men of the world that are oppressing women. This aspect of the series seems to be in direct parallel to the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.

Something that particularly stands out during the second half of the premiere (and something EW also mentions in their recap), is a Margaret Atwood quote that Plum opens the episode with:

"“Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.”"

Credit: AMC

It’s a great quote that sort of encompasses the feel and vibe of Dietland–an outspoken female-heavy story. In the second hour, we learn about the many types of diet programs Plum has tried in her journey to lose weight, including a brief stint at the “Baptist” weight loss clinic.

It appears that Plum was being sought out after by the goth girl (Leeta) for a very specific reason. Her boss Julia wanted the list of people who write to the advice column that Plum writes for–and it seems like there is some sort of agenda against Kitty.

And despite Julia insisting that their work with Plum is over, Leeta decides to continue keeping her in the loop and manages to get her to Verena Baptist–the daughter of the founders of the weight loss clinic. And boy, did her parents have one hell of a story.

Credit: AMC

As the audience, we start to feel bad for Plum who is never thought of first. Kitty decides to finally give her a job that would put Plum’s name on the page but doesn’t allow her to attend the show she’d be writing about. However, her meeting with Verena opens her eyes up to a world devoid of neglection. She learns about Verena’s parents and their struggle with her mother’s weight gain despite being the face of the clinic, and how her father was ashamed of her.

Next: Dietland season 1, episode 3 recap: ‘Y Not’

It’s quite a powerful moment for Plum, who feels very alone in her struggles. But then something interesting happens. Verena offers Plum $20,000, which she can use towards her weight loss surgery, but in exchange, she will have to sign up for Verena’s program. What does that entail? We have no idea.

She reluctantly agrees and proceeds with the very first step of the program–stopping her anti-depressants which she flushes down the toilet. All the while, “Jennifer” is out seeking revenge against the horrible men of the world. This show is about to blow us away, isn’t it?

Dietland airs every Monday on AMC at 9 PM EST!