SPOILER ALERT: Don’t learn when you’ve got not but watched Season 2 of “Useless To Me,” streaming now on Netflix.
The second season of “Useless to Me” on Netflix began with one hell of a twist: Steve (James Marsden), who Jen (Christina Applegate) killed and then secretly buried with slightly assist from her good friend — and his ex — Judy (Linda Cardellini), had a twin brother. The 2 had the identical face however gave the impression to be worlds aside in character — however by the top of the season they ended up sharing a extra cosmic connection: Each have been chargeable for harmful hit-and-runs.
“I like the perversity of the present,” Marsden tells Variety. “To me, that comedy can come from that’s extra of a mirror on the best way we’re in actual life.”
As a sequence as a complete, “Useless to Me” started with the aftermath of Steve’s hit-and-run — though it was not recognized from the beginning that he was at fault for the automotive accident that took Jen’s husband’s life. As an alternative, the present began together with her assembly Judy in a grief group, which Judy was attending to get to know Jen after the guilt from her function within the accident was weighing so closely on her. The reality was slowly unraveled over the course of the primary season. Equally, the reality about Steve’s demise will get unraveled over the 10 episodes in Season 2, and on the finish of that second season, Ben learns his lacking twin’s physique has been discovered and he falls off the wagon, leading to him drunk-driving into the facet of the brand new automotive Jen simply purchased for her son. Fortunately this time, each Jen, who was driving, and Judy, who was within the passenger seat, lived.
“I don’t assume he noticed them within the automotive. I don’t know that he’d keep in mind them. He was additionally simply blackout drunk, I believe. I believe the reminder goes to be the blood coming from his nostril,” Marsden admits.
Marsden, who initially solely signed onto the streaming comedy for one season understanding his character would die, says that he ended up sending creator and showrunner Liz Feldman an e-mail after finishing that arc as a result of “the present was a lot enjoyable and it additionally did rather well and everybody liked it.” He joked that he had been googling “whether or not or not a human can survive a traumatic head harm compounded by drowning,” and though she knew he had been kidding, she wrote him again just a few weeks later with the concept of him coming again as Steve’s twin.
Though Marsden calls it a “basic cleaning soap opera trope,” he says he discovered it attention-grabbing to discover “the entire nature versus nurture factor” with the “very slick and very clean and very charming … selfish” Steve and his twin Ben, who’s “possibly rather less motivated” however “a greater listener.”
“He’s been the Invisible Man his entire life. He’s all the time been residing in Steve’s shadow. And due to that, I believe what springs from that may be a actual empathy and a extremely sort coronary heart,” says Marsden of Ben.
“Clearly with twins, they actually begin out the identical manner — there are particular issues which are innate in you while you come out into the world and you’re coded in some methods, however then you definately’re additionally fully fashioned and formed by how folks deal with you,” he continues. “We simply needed to do one thing completely different different than simply parting my hair on the opposite facet and throwing [Ben] in some some Dockers and a Patagonia vest.”
Though Marsden bought the prospect to actually play a brand new character within the second season of “Useless to Me,” each Applegate and Cardellini added new layers to their performances as their respective characters flip-flopped their positions within the friendship from Season 1. Initially, it was Judy who was retaining a horrible secret from Jen, however within the second season, Jen spends numerous time hiding the reality about how Steve’s homicide went down from Judy. And the 2 of them collectively try to maintain the key of what they did with Steve’s physique from the remainder of the world, together with Ben and his mom (Frances Conroy).
“That, to her, is nice,” Cardellini says. “She has a secret together with her finest good friend. However on the similar time, the betrayal that’s inside that’s simply so robust for her [and] she does need to cope with the complicated feelings of grieving this very poisonous relationship that she is aware of she shouldn’t wish to grieve in the best way that she does. I liked the best way they took on the concept of mourning any person who’s unhealthy for you, even when that, and the sensation of loss, even when different folks don’t assume you’re so entitled to that loss essentially.”
The second season additionally explored the “nature versus nurture” facet of Judy’s life by revealing her mom (performed by visitor star Katey Sagal) is a drug addict who blamed her daughter (to her face) for her habit and has been serving time in jail.
“They’re each manufactured from the identical material and they’ve type of survived on with the ability to determine the right way to worm their manner into any state of affairs and get out of that state of affairs as properly,” says Cardellini. “I believe there’s there’s numerous her mom in her, however not fairly sufficient to make her as manipulative.”
However, she provides, the 2 ladies have “gone completely alternative ways.”
“Judy’s mother, she by no means actually liked her in the best way that Judy wanted. And but, Judy seems to be this one who is simply full of love — an excessive amount of for her personal good in some methods,” she explains.
Having Judy’s mom within the story holds “a mirror as much as who Judy may have turned out to be — and doubtlessly should still find yourself in her place,” notes Cardellini.
The type of empathy that characters like Ben and Judy exhibit says loads about who they’re. “I believe Judy all the time offers like to the individuals who give it again the least to her. … She’s a kind of individuals who reaches for the one that loves her the least to like her essentially the most and that may show to her her self price, as a result of she’s by no means actually had it,” says Cardellini.
However their instance additionally speaks to a better want on this planet right this moment, within the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I really feel proper now we’re all lacking the type of connection that we have been in a position to have earlier than and questioning once we can get again to these issues and worrying about one another,” Cardellini continues. “On the root of all of it is folks simply wish to be related and liked.”
Watch Variety’s full interview with Cardellini and Marsden above.