Kelly Osbourne is finally going to make good use of her experience being the brunt of her brother Jack's jokes. Her character on a new TV drama is on the receiving end of adolescent cruelty, but even though it hits close to home, at least this time it's fictional.
On "Life as We Know It," Osbourne plays Deborah, who's trying to start a relationship with another student, Jonathan, played by newcomer Chris Lowell (see "Kelly Osbourne On The Tube Is No Longer Must-Bleep TV"). The problem is, since Deborah is the so-called fat girl in school, Jonathan is teased by his closest friends for being seen making out with her. They liken it to "feeding time at a pork farm."
He gets defensive and tries to claim that it was just a "one-time hookup." His friends respond, "A one-time or a one-ton hookup?" All of this happens out of earshot of Deborah, but she senses the problem when he won't hold her hand in public, so she issues an ultimatum: he either becomes her very public boyfriend, or it's over.
"She knows she's not the most beautiful girl in the world, she knows she's not the most talented girl in the world, she knows she's not rich, but she has this thing about her where she doesn't care," Osbourne said of her character. "She's happy with just who she is, and she doesn't take sh-- from anyone. She's really, really cool."
It's because Deborah is so self-assured that the more self-conscious Jonathan is attracted to her. Still he's conflicted, at one point saying, "Deborah's a woman. She's got an ass and boobs you can hold onto, not just skin and bones. ... But I don't want to be laughed at."
"The struggle Jonathan faces is that Deborah's considered the fat girl at school, and while she might not be, in high school, the stakes are always raised," Lowell said. "If a girl's chubby, then she's obese. Everything is blown out of proportion."
Osbourne said she hopes that by taking this role, she might help make people feel better about themselves. Before she read the script, she said she was offended when her agent suggested the part: "I was like, 'I am not fat! I don't want to play the fat girl! I can't believe you sent this to me!' "
But then, she said, she realized that not only was it a good part in a well-written script, but she could also do some good. "If I did something like this," she said, "like for that little girl who lives in the Midwest, who people make fun of because she doesn't have a flat stomach, I can make her feel good about who she is."
"Life as We Know It" premieres Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.