Why 'Dead to me' is the most alive and kicking show
Updated: Jun 30
If somebody asked me to name a recent show that swept me away, it’s going to be dead to me – oh I mean ‘Dead to Me’ on Netflix. I felt many things while watching the show – thrill, wit, humor, amazement (just like this blog, ahem, modesty) and sometimes even anger. The character arcs of Judy (Linda Cardelllini) and Jen (Christina Applegate) have been masterfully crafted. The journey they go through is incredible, yet the actors make it believable.
The first season starts with you feeling sorry for Jen, for having lost her husband. But you learn so much about Jen, the husband and Judy (her husband’s killer) through the episodes, that you are forced to rethink whose side you are on. Linda becomes Judy. I don’t know if I will ever be able to know her as another character – but then you don’t know because she is that good. She wants to tell the truth to the point that you want to shut her up. As a viewer you end up feeling protective towards Judy, even when you know she is the killer. She has a disarming personality with a confused smile and just accepts her faults (saying ‘I’m Sorry’) and forgives people (‘saying ‘it’s okay’) on a reflex – all the time. As Jen says, “Hating on Judy Hale is impossible – it is like hating on a baby”. The first season plays with your moral compass. Even though you started the season feeling sorry for Jen, the show makes you hate her through the ten episodes. Christina makes sure you hate her very well.
I watched the second season right after the first because the urge to click that next episode button was irresistible after the 10th episode of season 1. This time you know Jen too well to feel sorry for her and what you know about Steve, is not enough to feel sorry for him. This time you are rooting for Jen and Judy to escape the mess that they have created for themselves. Like season 1, Jen remains her angry self and Judy her confused self. The character arcs are continuous, and you completely understand their intentions and motives. The ideas these two come up with are so witty – at times you want to think like them. They convince Charlie that he is wrong to drive a car without a license, conveniently brushing the murder under the carpet. In order to dispose the dead body, they listen to the advice of a child. Detective Ana Perez’s outburst is a reveal for me – at least I never thought what it is like to be a detective. Do they not have friends, because of their profession? Could be, but I wouldn’t know.
For those of you, who use Microsoft excel the other name of this show could have been circular referencing – and you will realize this after you watch the last episode of season 2 – so go for it!
Other things that work for the show are its length (<30 mins per episode), Lorna’s (Valerie Mahaffey) attitude and Henry’s cuteness (Luke Roessler). It is the perfect weekend binge!