Fans of Netflix’s Dead to Me can’t get enough of the downright hilarious friendship between Judy Hale (Linda Cardellini) and Jen Harding (Christina Applegate). It feels like they’re having genuine fun every time they’re together — and that’s because they are. Cardellini and Applegate have mastered the art of improv and playing off each other’s jokes. In fact, Applegate recently told Variety that “almost every single scene” they have together in Dead to Me is improvised. Here are some of Judy and Jen’s funniest improv moments.
Linda Cardellini as Judy and Christina Applegate as Jen in ‘Dead to Me’ Season 3 | Netflix
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini improvised a whole scene about Steve’s penis on ‘Dead to Me’
One of the earliest improvised moments in Dead to Me was Judy and Jen’s car conversation about Steve’s (James Marsden) penis. Jen says that Judy is an “addict” who has to “put down the pipe.” Judy responds: “And by the pipe, you mean his penis? … It’s so hard for me to put that down.”
In a recent interview with Buzzfeed, Dead to Me creator Liz Feldman revealed that she “never would have written” those lines into the script. However, she decided to run with it because Applegate and Cardellini felt like true friends at that moment. Then, she knew she had to work in more improv time for the actors.
“I feel like that was the first time that it really landed. I was like, ‘Okay, that’s something that we should do. We should make time for them to go off script and bring their own magic to it.’ They’re both excellent improvisers, as is James Marsden. So, there’s a lot of improv in the show. Some of my favorite moments are improv,” Feldman shared.
‘Eat my f***ing butthole, Judy’ started as Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini trying to make each other laugh
In season 2, Judy comes home after a night with Michelle (Natalie Morales) and tells Jen about the great time they had together. Then, as Ben (also Marsden) arrives at the front door, Judy pokes fun at Jen for getting dressed up to see him. Jen’s comeback? “Eat my f***ing butthole, Judy.” This quickly became a fan-favorite one-liner.
Cardellini spoke about this Dead to Me improvised scene with Awards Watch in 2020. She explained that it all started because she and Applegate were trying to make each other laugh. Applegate kept repeating the “butthole” line in the hopes that it would get included in the show, and it did.
“Afterward, I said, ‘You know, that’s actually kind of how you talk with your friends sometimes as a joke, but I don’t ever really see women doing that on-screen that much. I think it’s so funny, please keep it,’” Cardellini said. “So when I saw the show, and it was in there, I talked to Liz right away because I couldn’t stop laughing. That’s also me and Christina trying to make each other laugh. She says it to me, and then I say something back to her like, ‘I would, but I can’t. I’m taken now.’ It all feeds into the story.”
Judy and Jen get high on mushrooms in an improvised scene in ‘Dead to Me’ Season 3
Christina Applegate and Linda Cardellini really and truly have the most magical on-screen chemistry.
The final season of Dead To Me is now on Netflix. pic.twitter.com/k6kjzO9rn6
— Netflix (@netflix) November 19, 2022
RELATED: ‘Dead to Me’ Season 3 Ending, Explained: What Does Jen Tell Ben?
What happens when Judy and Jen go on a drug-induced trip? Fans find out in Dead to Me Season 3 when the best friends try mushrooms together. Their high moments include playing with balloons, debating who eats applesauce in their house, discussing the perfection that is the word “spatula,” and more. Yes, much of that was improvised, too.
“Christina is truly a comic genius, and anytime there’s room for her to just do whatever the hell she wants, I just leave that room,” Feldman told Buzzfeed. “And Linda is hilarious, and they work off each other so perfectly. It was just sort of us playing around with the balloons and them switching places and us playing around like a bunch of, you know, idiots really. And Silver Tree, who directed that episode, she and I are pals, so it was like a bunch of friends hanging out pretending to be high.”
All three seasons of Dead to Me are now streaming on Netflix.