Showrunner Liz Feldman On The Genre Non-Conforming Style Of ‘Dead To Me,’ And The Show’s Alternate Ending

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Liz Feldman is used to making people laugh. She’s written for sitcoms like Hot in Cleveland and 2 Broke Girls. She’s won Emmys for her work on The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She started performing stand-up before most kids learn how to drive.

But she’s never killed someone before. Or, at least, pretended to.

Feldman’s new Netflix series, Dead To Me, a grief-com, or, as the cast likes to call it, a “traumedy,” is a melting pot of genres centered on a story of love, loss, and betrayal. It features Christina Applegate in her first TV role in seven years, as a rage-filled widow trying to move on from the death of her husband. Linda Cardellini plays a friendly, free-spirited woman she meets at a grief support group and the two journey together through their sorrow and shame and sh*tty life circumstances.

They get high, they vandalize cars, they rock out to heavy metal, and they find themselves involved in not one, but two murders by series end. Feldman’s responsible for most of the madness she puts her characters through, enjoying forcing them through the kinds of twists and turns that hook binge-watchers in need of an adrenaline rush while also mining the kind of dark humor that makes the show’s more poignant moments feel all-too-relatable.

Uprroxx chatted with the showrunner about defying genre stereotypes, refusing to be pigeonholed, and why she never planned on killing James Marsden.

This is a comedy, but it’s probably not one that would live on a network like CBS. Was this show one you’d been itching to make for a while?

This is the kind of show I have always wanted to make, but what happens in your writing career is you often get, I don’t want to say pigeonholed, but you seem to get work in the genre that you start in and it becomes harder to sort of break out. I started as a joke writer, but I was always really interested in shows that were dark and twisty and edge of your seat kind of thrill rides if you will. I would always come up with ideas of shows that had those elements, but I just wasn’t in a place where I was able to pitch them.