"Drop Dead Diva" Mother's Day (TV Episode 2011) - Plot Summary Poster

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  • While working to keep Grayson (Jackson Hurst) from stopping a casino ad featuring photos of Deb, Jane's (Brooke Elliott) mom Elaine (guest star Faith Prince) is arrested after escaping from a grounded airplane flight. And when Fred (Ben Feldman) grows tired of being mothered by Stacy (April Bowlby), he looks to find a place of his own.

  • Friends' conventional advice brings Fred to move out off Stacey's couch to prove he's independent and she doesn't have to 'mother' him, but besides his financial limitations to find alternative accommodation, they miss each-other terribly. Grayson wants to sue a 'tacky' casino for advertising with a picture of his 'late' lover Jane, but reincarnated Deb finds it most flattering, enough to secretly tip off the photographer's counsel. Deb's ever-gross mother is on television and in court after inflating the airplane emergence stairs on the ground after a record taxiing delay, expects being defended and still scolds Deb for 'not caring enough' to seek her up in better times. Both mothers soon bond.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Jane is excited because she (Deb) got a solo shot in a full-page print ad for a casino. She says a photographer named Javier must have sold the photo to the casino. She thinks Grayson is going to love it. Stacy is worried that Fred thinks of her as his mother, after Jane remarks that the note Stacy is about to pack in Fred's lunch is just like what her mom used to do.

    At the office, Grayson has seen the ad and isn't pleased. He says its' demeaning and the casino didn't have permission to use the photo and he's going to fight it. Jane flashes back to her life as Deb, when Grayson was marking up her contract with Javier, which granted him perpetual rights -- meaning he owns all of her pictures forever.

    Jane sees her (Deb's) mom in the office and is about to go say hi when Teri pulls her aside and shows her that her (Jane's) mom has been arrested after sliding down an airplane's emergency slide at the airport and delaying flights. Jane has to head to the police department to get her.

    Jane's mom says passengers were trapped on the plane for over six hours, so she wanted out. She mentions as an aside that her father went to Mexico for a vacation while she was heading to Branson, Mo. She's facing several federal charges. She gets bail set at $10,000.

    Grayson asks Deb's mom to sue the casino. He can't do it himself because he and Deb were never married. She agrees and Parker comes into their office and has a long, gazing encounter with Deb's mom.

    Fred's down because Stacy yelled at him about not being his mother and gets some advice from Kim. She tells him to be his own man, and to get some contract work done by lunch or hire her a new assistant.

    Jane gets her mom out of jail and says she has to leave because there's someone at the office she wants to see. Jane walks in while Deb's mom and Grayson are talking to the casino's lawyer, who says Grayson's argument has no merit because they bought the photos from the photographer, who had a standard rights contract from Deb. Jane flashes back to her life as Deb and a conversation with Stacy about how she can't give Javier the marked-up version of the contract Grayson worked on because he'd replace her. Stacy suggested she white out all of Grayson's marks and she did. Deb also initialed each whited out mark. The casino's lawyer leaves and says the ad tested so well it's going to be the centerpiece of its ad campaign.

    That night, Stacy asks Fred to do him a favor and he says he can't because he's watching a documentary on beer. He goes on to tell her he's losing himself in the relationship and, quoting Kim's advice, that he's not just a satellite revolving around Planet Stacy. She suggests he get his own place, and he says he might.

    Jane's mom is being interviewed by Nancy Grace, where she lists several past arrests -- much to Jane's chagrin. Elaine mentions to Nancy Grace that her daughter is her lawyer, and mentions to any men watching that her daughter is single.

    Stacy is upset that Fred left and Jane tells her she might have given him mixed messages about acting like a boy then being upset when he started to act like a man. Stacy says she'll put a note in his lunch with a very clear message.

    Kim finds Fred sleeping on the couch in her office. She kicks him out, but he tells her that if he's going to follow her advice he needs her support. She tells him she has a client who needs a house sitter for six months.

    Teri gives Jane the witness list for her mom's case, which includes seven of the flight attendants from the plane. One is missing, and Jane wants to know why. Meanwhile, she's noticed Deb's mom in Grayson's office and drops in. Grayson says they're changing their strategy, noting that Deb's contract prohibited significant alterations or manipulations to Deb's photos. The ad changed the color of her dress, added earrings and whitened her teeth.

    Outside of Grayson's office, Jane pulls Bobbi (Deb's mom) aside and asks whether she thinks Deb would've had a problem with the ad. Bobbi says she can't help but back Grayson, who loved Deb and wants to keep her memory alive. Bobbi then leaves for lunch with Parker, telling Jane that they also had dinner together the night before.

    Stacy shows up at the office with lunch for Fred, but Kim takes some pleasure in telling her Fred's out looking at a new place.

    In court, Elaine recounts how she stepped up as a leader when their plane wasn't leaving. She says the plane was a "boiling tea kettle" and it was a matter of life and death that she let people out. On cross examination, the opposing lawyer tells Elaine that the force behind the slide when it deployed could have killed a baggage worker below. He also notes her work on the "talk-show circuit."

    Elaine is upset with Jane for failing to prepare her for the tough questions, and thinks Jane is spending too much time with "Barbie."

    Stacy tells Jane she's worried she's lost Fred, but Jane tells her to love him for the man he is. Jane then tells Stacy that she's going to send the casino's lawyer an anonymous email with all the pointers on how to counter Grayson's points.

    Teri tells Jane about the missing flight attendant. She claimed to be in Florida visiting her mother, but Teri did some digging and found out her mother is dead. Jane meets the flight attendant for lunch. She's worried about losing her job if she testifies on Elaine's behalf, but explains that this was the worst delay she's experienced. She then gives Jane the rundown on how the airline skirted new regulations about delays on the tarmac. She then explains how her Jane's mom helped keep everyone calm during the delay.

    In court, the casino's attorney finishes all of Grayson's sentences as he makes his arguments.

    Jane gets in trouble with the judge as she asks leading questions to try to get an airline official to own up to shady practices.

    Stacy, meanwhile, goes to the house where Fred was supposed to be staying and the owner says the house sitting arrangement didn't work with Fred because he wanted a 30-day commitment and Fred said that was too long to be away from the woman "who completes him." Stacy's giddy.

    Jane runs into Grayson, who's bummed because the casino's attorney seemed so well prepared. He says he's going to try another approach the next day or keep filing motions until they get sick of him. Bobbi sees Jane staring at the ad and says Deb "would have loved it. " Bobbi tells Jane she's noticed how Jane winces when Bobbi mentions going out with Parker. She wants to know if there's anything she needs to know about him. Jane tells her that Parker has broken more than a few hearts. Bobbi says she might still want to go out with him and Jane says she doesn't need her permission.

    Fred's asleep on Kim's couch again and Stacy walks in. She tells him she wants him back. He's back.

    Jane visits Grayson's office and tells him she might know why Deb didn't use his changes on the contract. She suggests to Grayson that Deb would ultimately want him to hold his advice and tell her she's doing fine.

    Elaine apologizes to Jane for accusing her of ignoring her. Jane agrees that she should call more often. Elaine says she's just scared of going to jail -- or Canada. Elaine says no one could know what it was like on the plane unless you were there. Jane gets an idea.

    Jane has had the jury box rearranged to replicate what it's like to sit on a plane. She's added heaters and sound effects to give them the impression of what it was like, and asks them how many of them would pull a lever that was marked "Emergency Exit." They all raise their hands.

    At a celebration for Elaine's courtroom win, there is karaoke. Bobbi tells Elaine how lucky she is to have a daughter like Jane. Elaine puts in a song to sing with Jane, and Bobbi mentions that her daughter never sang with her -- because she had a terrible voice. Jane contains herself, then Elaine invites Bobbi to sing "Lean on Me" with them.

    Grayson pulls Jane aside to show her something outside. It's a big billboard ad for the casino with Deb's picture on it. He tells her he was trying to bully Deb, but Jane tells him he was just trying to protect her in his own way. She then explains that Deb not telling him about how she didn't use his contract was her way of trying to protect him. He puts his arm around Jane and tells her she's "pretty amazing."

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