Liz Feldman Interview: ‘Dead to Me’ creator
While “Dead to Me” may be classified as a comedy, creator Liz Feldman isn’t afraid to blend some of that dark comic edge with heavy drama. Season 2 of the Netflix series saw Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) scrambling to cover up the murder of Judy’s ex-fiancé, Steve (James Marsden), which led to some emotional and devastating breakdowns. “It is a bit of a tonal tightrope,” says Feldman in an exclusive video interview for Gold Derby, of the writing process. “When something does get dark or sad or emotional, I just always make sure that there’s a moment of lightness in there if it’s necessary.” Watch the webchat interview above.
Heading into Season 2, Feldman admits it was challenging to figure out where to go with the story after Steve’s death. “For the first month in the room, we really tied to put ourselves in their places,” she explains. “Emotionally, how would it feel literally as a petite 40-something woman, how am I gonna get rid of a dead body?” However, the Emmy nomination for Applegate last year helped to bolster Feldman’s confidence in feeling free to give her and Cardellini “both as much candy to work with as possible.” The creator/writer adds that Applegate and Cardellini share her sense of finding the humor even in the darkest aspects of life. “I can’t help but look at what’s also funny and weird and idiosyncratic about every moment.”
Season 2 features more of Jen and Judy deepening their bond while also giving the latter a love interest in the form of Michelle (Natalie Morales). It has been crucial for Feldman to present the ideas of female friendships as well as female relationships in a way that is true to life. “There’s an intimacy in female friendship and I would even dare say a romance to it because there’s a closeness that we can get with each other that is intimate and it’s emotional but it’s not romantic,” she observes, of the friendship between Jen and Judy. Feldman was “deliberate” in how she wanted to show the blossoming relationship between Judy and Michelle, without putting too much emphasis on the fact that Judy was now with a woman. “I wanted to see something that transcended the kind of stories that we’ve seen so often,” she states. “I just wanted to see something fresh.”
Feldman is now patiently waiting for Netflix to pick up “Dead to Me” for a third season, but in the meantime, she has plenty of ideas percolating. “Whatever plan I have no doubt will be augmented and made better because I work with such talented writers,” she notes.