Dead to Me finally gives fans the queer romance they’ve been longing for – just not the one they expected

Dead to Me's Judy and Michelle kissing

Dead to Me season two sees Natalie Morales join the cast as Michelle Gutierrez, a new love interest for Judy (Lina Cardellini).

Dead to Me fans have campaigned for Judy and Jen (Christina Applegate) to give in to their undeniable chemistry since the series first arrived on Netflix in 2019. But with the release of its latest run of episodes, it appears the show’s creators had a different idea.

Season two introduces a brand new love interest for Judy – a woman named Michelle Gutierrez, played by Natalie Morales.

Judy meets Michelle at the care home she works at. While going through Abe’s old things after her friend’s sad death last season, Judy is interrupted by Michelle and her mother, who is moving in.

Quickly they form a close bond, but as their relationship progresses Judy learns a shocking fact about Michelle that threatens her and Jen’s safety.

It’s not quite the queer twist fans were looking for, but for the most part viewers were overjoyed.

Who is Natalie Morales, the actor who plays Michelle Gutierrez in Dead to Me season two?

Natalie Morales will be a familiar face to many comedy fans, having previously starred in Parks and Recreation as Lucy, the wife of Tom Haverford (Aziz Ansari), and in Netflix’s Santa Clarita Diet as lesbian cop Anne Garcia.

More recently she played the lead role in Abby’s, the short-lived NBC sitcom that followed a bisexual woman who turned her backyard into an unlicensed bar.

Many of Natalie’s roles have been queer women, and in real life Natalie identifies as queer herself.

The actor wrote a coming out essay in 2017 for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, in which she explained: “I am not attracted specifically to any type of gender.

“I’m attracted to people. Each person is their own incredible, massive universe. That is what I am attracted to; that is what I want to know, want to love, want to defend, want to take care of.

I don’t like labelling myself, or anyone else, but if it’s easier for you to understand me, what I’m saying is that I’m queer.

Natalie said that her friends and family had been aware of her sexuality for years, and that she had decided to come out because “even though me telling you I’m queer might not be a big deal these days, things are still pretty bad out there for people like me”.

Natalie grew up in Miami as part of a close-knit Cuban family but today lives in LA.

She said that her family understood her move, but when much less supportive of her in 2010, when she came out as vegetarian.

When she landed her Abby’s role, it made her the “first Cuban star of an American network comedy in more than 60 years”, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

As well as being a proud LGBT+ advocate, the actor is also a gun law reform activist.

She has spoken many times about being impacted by the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, near her hometown of Kendall, Florida in 2018.

She’s also a vocal critic of Immigrations and Custom Enforcement (ICE).