The story revolves around its main protagonist, a large-figured Los Angeles teen who turns to food as her source of comfort because of the neglect she gets from all circles, which includes her upper-middle class mother, who is more focused with her charity work at a drug rehabilitation center than paying attention to her daughter (she believes the only way to make her feel better is by feeding her more food), thus making Dinky feel neglected.
Dinky's desperation and attention to be noticed would receive a surprise boost from another large teen named Tucker, who help her realize that she needs to be herself as she makes a radical makeover in her life. But when her family fails to notice that she wants to change, Dinky takes matters into her own hands, which ultimately proved effective at a charity event that her mother is involved in. The message gets across her family and they finally see the light that Dinky wants to be accepted as the one thing they failed to notice... a daughter who wants to be loved and not fed with food.
Comparisons to the novel
There were radical changes made to the adaptation of the story. The novel focused more on the observations from a male character, Tucker Woolf, a bookworm who befriends and details the going-ons of the title character and helps her self-esteem while dealing with his own family problems. That character's family (his father and journalist mother and an uncle who had a drinking problem and an issue with responsibility and commitment), Dinky's cousin, and Marcus, who was a recovered drug addict (and the only drug-addict related character mentioned in the novel) were notably absent from the program. Also the novel was more comedic and hinted some political views whereas the TV adaptation toned down some of the elements to make it a little more serious, along with the location setting from Brooklyn, New York to Los Angeles.
- Wendie Jo Sperber as Susan "Dinky" Hocker
- June Lockhart as Helen Hocker
- Alan Oppenheimer as John Hocker
- Jon Walmsley as Tucker Woolf
- "Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack" from Novel Guide