Dead to Me
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The darkest shade of dark comedy, Dead to Me is sharp and original, wittily employing death itself as both a blunt instrument and the ultimate excuse. It stars Christina Applegate as bitter widow, Jenn Harding, who is determined to find who killed her husband in a hit and run. She forges an unlikely friendship with Judy Hale, played by Linda Cardellini, when they meet at a grief support group. Hale, who is something of New Age flake, turns out to have several dark secrets of her own, and the two women form on an intense bond, united by death and devilment.
Death is not only a reality in this sadcom, it’s also an excuse and a cop-out used by cheaters and the emotionally stunted. As the two women’s improbable friendship evolves, the messiness from their separate pasts spills over into each other’s lives, and the pair dig themselves into ever deeper ditches. The humor is so dark here that at times you’ll gasp and think it crosses the line into crime and thriller.
Death is unpredictable and steals everything from us except our stories. Female friendship as epitomized by Jenn and Judy is enjoyably complicated and messy, in the steady hands of creator Liz Feldman, who also wrote Two Broke Girls. At a time when there is too much actual death everywhere in real life, Dead to Me is a tonic with both the unapologetic sharpness of the humor, combined with its emotional groundedness.
A very large glass of Chardonnay or two to accompany the industrial quantities of the stuff that Jenn and Judy down to accompany nearly every debacle they have to resolve.
The series is executive produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. The second season is now on Netflix and critics are even more enamored of this one than they were of the first. Although a third season hasn’t been announced yet, the cast says they were all asked to sign on for three years. So barring any, ahem, unforeseen accidents, death could continue to become Applegate and Hale.