Post-breakup, her character, Jules, struggles with finding her way back to her friend group, which she neglected during her relationship with her ex. Losing touch with friends is a universal result of aging and occasionally an unfortunate side effect of being in a relationship—people get married, move away, have kids, become vegan; it’s something Dennings relates to on a personal level. “I’ve been a career girl and been really focused, and all of a sudden I’m like Where did everybody go?” she says. “My closest friends are all over the map. My best pal has two kids now and is married. And it’s still the same person, the same love, but you just stand there and you’re like Did I just miss all the things?”
On the flip side, friendship was easy to come by on the set of the show, and Dennings had no trouble establishing a rapport with the rest of the cast. “There’s no better friendship environment than working on a set together because you’re basically at sleepaway camp,” she tells me. “You start at the crack of dawn, you get ready together, you get coffee together, you eat your breakfast together, you huddle in your little set, you find your little space. It was kind of magical in that way because the four of us got very close.” That closeness supports the characters in their various struggles—Jules’s struggle to show her friends she appreciates them, the group’s struggle to find its footing, everyone’s struggle to identify what feminism means in 2019. (Keep your eyes peeled for episode nine; it’s special.) According to Dennings, “It felt very emotional because there’s so much love there. I think viewers will feel that.”
Throughout the series, Jules’s particular struggle gets lessened somewhat by her fairy cat mother, the Cat Lady, who takes a staid old stereotype and flips it on its reductive head. Benevolent and hilarious, the Cat Lady magically pops up to zap Jules out of many an inward spiral, dispensing advice and necessary reality checks along the way. “I really liked calling her the Cat Lady because what it begins as is a culmination of Jules’s worst fears, which is like ‘Oh, society says if I don’t do this and this by this time, I’m going to be an old crazy cat lady,’” Dennings says. “We’re all told this, and it’s so ridiculous when you think about it. I don’t know, I have a cat, and she’s the best. What’s wrong with being a lady who has a cat?” (For the record, Dennings’s cat, Millie, is adorable.) “It starts there, but it becomes more of a symbol of strength and independence,” she continues.