'Dead to Me': Netflix show exploring female friendship is the right blend of mystery and dark humor
The complicated friendship that Jen and Judy share forms the crux of the show that works both as a buddy flick and a gripping mystery
The mystery in Netflix's comic-dark series 'Dead to Me' unravels slowly and carefully through the ten half-hour episodes of season one. The episodes are interspersed with plot twists and cliffhangers and stitch a gripping narrative that keeps you glued to the screen till the end of episode ten. The show that premieres on May 3 revolves around the complicated friendship between newly widowed Jen and the mysterious mourner Judy, who meet at a grief counseling group, after which their friendship takes off on late-night phone calls and a shared affinity for 'The Facts of Life'.
Jen, a real estate agent from Brooklyn with a beautiful home and two boys, is played by Christina Applegate in one of her best performances on television. Jen is struggling to move on in life and stay strong for her kids after her husband Ted's hit-and-run murder that took place three months earlier. Applegate perfectly portrays Jen's flared up anger, depression, and affection for her kids and Judy. Judy, played by Linda Cardellini, brings most of the drama to the show, and like her ex-fiance Steve says, "chaos follows Judy wherever she goes."
Cardellini balances the ambivalent humor and mystery on the show that is also a major part of Judy's character and makes it look effortless.
Season one ends on a cliffhanger so it looks like we can definitely expect a season two. But with the details of Ted's murder out in the open and the events that followed, the plot ends in a tangled mess that is probably better left as it is.
Jen's character goes through some development through the course of the ten episodes, and we see her being polite and making an effort to keep her anger at bay, by the end of season one. She was even sweet to her neighbor, who had a door slammed in her face by Jen at the very beginning of the show. Jen's friendship with Judy, through all its complications, still helped her move on from Ted's death and this beauty of the female friendship is what lies at the center of the show and makes it worth the watch.
Jen and Judy are each other's support system, and the lighter moments on the show with Jen, her kids, and Judy stand out in contrast from the rest of its dark mysterious plot. These moments with Jen's family in the picture are dark humor-ridden too, but it makes you laugh and relax, unlike the rest which keeps you on the edge of your seat. Episode five, 'I’ve Gotta Get Away', shows Jen and Judy away on a grief retreat, sipping martinis on poolside benches and taking a much-deserved break from their otherwise stressful lives. The episode throws light on the chemistry the two leads share and gives viewers a relaxing break from the fast-paced narrative.
The episode acts as a hiatus, while also setting the stage for the events which unfold over the remaining five episodes.
Created by the writer of 'Two Broke Girls' Liz Feldman, the show explores the human emotion of grief, seamlessly woven with dark humor, light buddy comedy, drama, and mystery.