High Fidelity and Dead to Me are two shows that don’t come around often—they grab you by the neck and don’t seem to let go (though in the most comforting and kind way possible). The one thing that these two series have in common: Hughey. Not only was I meeting an extremely talented writer, but I was also getting to know the very first person named Celeste that I’ve ever met in my entire life. The only Celeste I’ve ever known up until this point is the darting owl that shows up from time to time in Animal Crossing to let you know that a meteor shower is occurring.
Screenwriting wasn't immediately at the forefront of Hughey's mind as she was making her way out into the world; she actually was working at NBC in New York City, but later decided to head off to Los Angeles to work at Maker Studios, a digital media company for YouTube creators. It was there that she realized her real love was writing, and later on, at a Fourth of July barbecue, that dream was realized with the tap of a shoulder. After talking with her friend, Eric, about how she wanted to pursue writing, he introduced her to the woman who would later become her manager.
"When I was trying to figure things out, I often didn't have the confidence to talk about my goals in social situations," Hughey said. "I was hard on myself and insecure about being another aspiring writer in LA. But as soon as I owned it, pushed through my insecurities, and verbalized what I wanted, it came back to me."
As she made her way onto the scene, Hughey joined Dead to Me for its second season. It already had established characters with specific voices, which is much different to write for as opposed to coming onto a show with a fresh set of characters to mold.
"It's kind of hard to verbalize: obviously I was able to watch the show, read the scripts, and get an ear for what they sounded like—it's a little bit of trial and error," Hughey said. "It's a very collaborative process in the writer's room, so everyone can add to it, add jokes, and hone the tone. For some reason, Jen (Christina Applegate) came really easily to me with her punchiness, while Judy (Linda Cardellini) was harder for me. I wrote a lot of the Christopher (Max Jenkins) stuff—I, for some reason, have a very unique talent at writing gay men. You kind of learn your way with trial and error, but you get there."
The episode that Hughey is directly credited with writing on Dead to Me is titled "You Don't Have To," which features a major plot twist at the end. On top of that, it's right when Judy is starting a new relationship with Michelle (Natalie Morales), whom she met at her job.
"People reached out to me after that episode, because Judy was entering a lesbian relationship and we didn't want it to be a big deal—we wanted it to just feel natural, appropriate for the character, and not have Jen make a big deal out of it," Hughey said. "I was really proud of how it turned out and how people responded to it. It was a special episode—I feel honored that I got to tell that story."