Dead To Me Overview
I don’t like series. They lengthened a premise that by the second episode, you have established exists. This makes them quickly feel repetitive and boring. I tend therefore to avoid them as much as I can. Being a Netflix subsriber sounds a bit like a contradictory statement in that respect. However, there is always a set of exceptions. Some of these become classics and others are an entertaining passtime. Dead to me is the latter.
The good, the bad, the ugly
Is it because it is a dark comedy? The world pokes so many internal contradictions and irritations at us daily. Maybe dark comedy is the most appropriate answer, a balanced sprinkle of comedy on a well-made cynical bed. After an itch has been creamed and blown on, sometimes a good scratch does shut up the cries of occasional instant gratification we crave.
Is it Christina Applegate? The trailer sold it to me immediately because whatever she said or showcased, felt unambiguously sincere. It is one thing to be a great actress. It is something else when the viewer, after less than 3 minutes, get sucked into her world with complete suspension of disbelief.
Is it the script, the filming, the camera work? I mean it knocks out a lot of cliches and then reintroduces them when you least expect it so that it flows with the script rather than fill up a gap for laughs. Ok the “I promise you” prefixing unkeepable promises is an unacceptable cliché by now, gosh! But these almost unavoidable gliches here and there reflect more of the inextricable human nature of the filmmakers. Dead to Me is a creation within its time and space with their flaws but still worth checking out.
Life on screen
I like the fact that it is about that age range, that the connection between Judy (Applegate) and Jen (Linda Cardellini) grows and tears organically based on their mutual characters rather than being immediate or forced. I like the first night sleep that ensues, the meditation share. These surprising or just awkward moments, even as they are getting comfortable with each other, still make them jump out of that comfort zone. I like the way that scenes cut, almost before I get bored with them and blurt it out, and as if they echoed the “ok I get it” feel that oozes out of a mind subjected to unecessary repetition or lengthened point when the point has already been made.
For a lot of us who feel the same anger without necessarily having yet lost anyone, the relatability is at its peak everytime Applegate’s character expresses it. Because even when she gets to think of what she does, the anger supercedes emotional blackmail so that coming to her senses is eventually learning to calm down not succombing to peer emotional pressures.
I would have continued to go on about the genius casting if I hadn’t realised that Christina Applegate was the executive producer.
But I truly wish that the series did not overstate its welcome by lengthening what it needs not to or creating tangent streams to cover up the eventual aridity of its flow. That felt a little insulting to the very talented cast, the writing, the genre and the viewer. So, no matter how unoriginal and imperfect the script, the casting, acting (including James Marsden who had been sorely missed) and moments of simply beautiful photography (mainly of real estate) and writing have held the plot together Dead To Me still gets a solid 6.