If you’re wondering why you haven’t heard from any of your friends the last few days, perhaps it’s because everyone is binge-watching Netflix’s new original series, Dead to Me. (For good reason, because it’s fantastic.) But while the “traumedy” is pretty hilarious to stream, star Christina Applegate says filming it sent her to therapy. As in, she quite literally went straight from filming to counseling — according to Applegate, the show forced her to deal with a few demons in her own life. Don’t worry, though; it was a step forward for Applegate and, thankfully, she hasn’t suggested that her filming-induced-therapy put her off a second season.
The cast came together on Thursday night to celebrate the season one premiere of Dead to Me at Santa Monica’s Broad Stage, where they spoke to Variety about filming the irreverent show. And Applegate, who acts as an executive producer along with Will Ferrell and Adam McKay, was happy to touch on the complex nature of her character. “Jen, my character, is grieving in the worst way possible, but that’s her way,” shared Applegate. “And I think that we should all be allowed to do that when we need to. Grief doesn’t have a timeline. And grief is messy.” So messy, she says, that dealing with her own required outside help.
In the spirit of holding space for complex emotions, Applegate admits that playing a widow whose husband was killed by a hit-and-run driver (not to mention, no spoilers, all of the other stuff Jen faces in season one) definitely stirred up a bit of inner angst. “It tapped into some stuff that I had to face. It was cathartic. I don’t know if [it was] therapeutic,” she told Variety, adding with a laugh, “Did I start therapy after the show? Yes, absolutely.”
All’s well that ends well, though, and Applegate seems to have truly benefited from the emotional purging that Dead to Me inspired. “To, like, finally talk about the stuff that hurt you in your life — and heal from that? I think it’s a really beautiful thing,” she said.