Journalist Nell (Gina Rodriguez) sees the ghosts of the people for whom she writes obituaries in the new ABC comedy Not Dead Yet, but perhaps the most surprising change in her life is her worst nightmare come true: Her BFF Sam (Hannah Simone) is now friends with their former enemy (and now boss) Lexi (Lauren Ash).
“That resonated with me so hard right from the beginning. I was like if that were me…,” Ash said when she and Simone sat down with TV Insider’s Damian Holbrook during the Television Critics Association 2023 Winter Press Tour.
Simone admitted that she’d question the friendship, as Nell does on the show. “These are the growing moments that happen on this show, which is, ‘well, Lexi has changed and grown and been good to me, and you need to give her another chance, just like you’re asking for another chance,’” she shared. “There are moments of maturity that we have to embrace.”
Added Ash, “and there are moments where that’s a bit of a struggle, and I think that’s so realistic.”
We do hear quite a bit about Sam and Lexi becoming friends, though we won’t necessarily see flashbacks of that happening, at least not this season. “You see more of the shorthand that has built over time,” Ash explained. “The smart thing is, it makes sense. You lost your best friend, and she moved very far away, and then it kind of is one of those things where it’s like, where do we spend most of our time? At work. Your coworkers are going to become your friends.”
What also bonded them was that they got through the pandemic together and are mom friends. “They really held each other down. They were two moms that were together,” according to Simone. We’ll see “some really beautiful things in the give and take of the friendship.”
To their surprise, Ash and Simone didn’t know each other before working on Not Dead Yet. “It was very strange we had never crossed paths, but it felt like it was because we were destined to meet doing this,” Ash said.
Watch the full video above for more from Ash and Simone on their Not Dead Yet characters’ bond as well as their work friends from their two very popular comedies, Superstore and New Girl.
Not Dead Yet, Series Premiere, Wednesday, February 8, 8:30/7:30c, ABC