‘Dead to Me’ Should Be Dead to No One | Sojourners

‘Dead to Me’ Should Be Dead to No One

Will this Netflix drama rank among the best TV comedies of all time?
A picture from the TV show ‘Dead to Me’ of Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) in black dresses as they stand side by side with arms locked.
From Dead to Me

I AM CONVINCED that 20 years from now, Dead to Me will finally get the praise it’s due, ending up in some culture magazine’s ranking of the best TV comedies of all time. (I’m giving you a head start, Sojourners: Beat Rolling Stone to the punch.)

Dead to Me, a Netflix show about a woman and her children grieving her husband after he is killed in a hit-and-run, is sort of what you would get if you merged another destined TV classic from Netflix — Grace and Frankie — with the Joan Didion memoir The Year of Magical Thinking and then sprinkled in a police investigation. The show is laugh-so-hard-you-cry funny and yet is driven by situations that would probably make you weep if you paused to think.

I barely had time to do that, though, because Dead to Me is a twisty thriller centered around a hilarious opposites-attract friendship between the widowed protagonist Jen (Christina Applegate) and a jolly woman she meets at group grief therapy named Judy (Linda Cardellini). Throw in some great meditations on friendship, forgiveness, motherhood, absence, and why everything is so screwed up if the whole world is in God’s hands; a Christian youth dance troupe; and an astounding performance by the actor James Marsden, and you have one of the best TV shows ever.

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The cover for Sojourners' May 2023 issue about the mysteries surrounding birth in a post-Roe v. Wade world. There are several illustrations in pink bubbles, such as a pregnant woman, the Supreme Court building, and a hand holding a tiny sprout.
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