Fans of Netflix's Dead to Me will remember that many of season 1's most pivotal and poignant scenes revolved around a bottle of wine. Well, that trend continues in the show's second season, which hit the streaming platform earlier today. In fact, over the course of season 2's ten episodes, Jen (Christina Applegate) and Judy (Linda Cardellini) enjoy upwards of 20 drinks — I tried to keep track, but it actually became a little difficult. So why exactly did drinking become such an important part of this dark comedy? According to writer Kelly Hutchinson, who worked on both season 1 and 2 of the series, it all goes back to the pilot.
"It was actually in the pilot when Jen and Judy first start bonding that Judy comes over to Jen's house and they drink wine in the backyard by the pool. That just became such an iconic thing," Hutchinson tells Refinery29. Because the two main characters are so different, the wine became what Hutchinson calls a "lubricant for them bonding." It also makes sense that the women would turn to wine when they're trying to relax and connect given what they're both going through. "They both have pretty stressful times in the first season, and I would say, in the second season too so the drinking continues throughout," the writer explains.
As Hutchinson states, there is plenty of imbibing in Dead to Me season 2, but there is one very specific drinking-related bit that really stands out. Shortly into the season's premiere episode, we see Jen's well-meaning but annoying neighbor Karen (Suzy Nakamura) make yet another pesky appearance. This time, she shows up at Jen's offering orange wine. According to Hutchinson, that very on-trend wine joke came from Jessi Klien, a writer who worked on the show's second season and is known for her work on Inside Amy Schumer and as the voice of Jessi Glasser on Big Mouth.
"We were trying to think of something that Karen could make a gambit to hang out with Jen, and we thought, 'Oh, it would be so funny if she was super into something so niche,'" Hutchinson shared. As the writers were tossing out ideas, Klein brought up orange wine. "We all just broke out laughing because we all knew about it, but hadn't really had it. We were all like, 'have you had it? Maybe once. Have you had it?'" she said. "It's just a little off-center and not something that Jen seems like she would be into and we just loved it."
While it might be difficult — probably inadvisable — to keep up with Jen and Judy's drinking when it comes to watching the show, the series does lend itself to pairing well with a few specific drinks, especially if you're tuning in with your bestie. Hutchinson has a few suggestions for what to pour when you settle in with season 2. First, she recommends kicking things off with a tequila cocktail because that's a favorite of the show's creator and showrunner Liz Feldman. "If you're not feeling a margarita, maybe go for a Paloma or something just to get the party going," she says. May I suggest Don Julio Blanco as your tequila of choice for the cocktail since that's what Judy and Michelle (Natalie Morales) drink at Michelle's restaurant in episode 5.
After having that first cocktail, Hutchinson suggests segueing into wine. "I love a fruity, fruit bomb, bold Cabernet. I think that would pair well with the show because there are some bold flavors going on in this season," she says. Then, of course, she recommends finishing up with an orange wine.