If you’re a fan of Netflix, in those rare moments of peace and quiet, you may have come across the new show Dead To Me. Starring Christina Applegate as Jen and Linda Cardellini as Judy, it has been pitched as dark comedy. But it is so much more than that.
Dead To Me begins three months after the death of Jen’s husband Ted. Killed in a hit-and-run accident on a dark road at 1am, the driver of the car has yet to be found. Drowning in her grief, Jen is barely hanging on. Her days are filled with a mixture of utter grief and rage and all while trying to put on a normal face for her children.
Running out of options and aware that she needs help, Jen turns to a bereavement support group and that’s where she meets Judy. Judy, with problems of her own, is a far more whimsical character and soon the two become friends. So far so good.
But things take an unexpected twist when we, the viewer, discover that Judy is harboring a very dark secret. Despite this, it’s still very difficult to not like Judy who is played expertly by Cardellini. She is essentially a very good person who did one bad thing. The problem is that the longer she lies about it the bigger the problem gets.
All the while Jen is oblivious as the friends continue their quest to find out what really happened to Ted.
The really great thing about Dead To Me is that it is a compelling story about friendship. It’s not a dark, suspense filled crime show. It’s about two women who are in desperate need of an understanding friend. Their mutual experience of loss and grief allows them to relate to each other on another level.
Likewise, the script of the show is impeccable. There is a significant amount of swearing but it’s all in context and very relatable. Christina Applegate is so good as Jen that despite her understandable outbursts she comes across as a woman who just wants what is best for her family and her children. She simply needs to the closure on the accident to do it.
Dead To Me is definitely a very unconventional take on grief. But it makes for a refreshing change especially as the plot builds through all 10 episodes of Season 1. The cast is rounded out by James Marsden, the very funny Max Jenkins, Ed Asner and Valeria Mahaffey as Jen’s Mother-In-Law.
It’s a great Netflix show and one well worth watching.
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