It was the summer of 2014. I had been sleeping on my friend’s couch for the summer and working for my undergrad’s English Department office because I didn’t want to go back home. It was a weird day and neither my friend nor I had succeeded in finding a party to go to (college parties during the summer are way more exclusive, and our friends were normal people that returned to their out of state childhood homes), so I was watching TV on a Thursday night with nothing to do. I switched the channel to FX and my eyes stayed focused on a show I had never seen before. It was called, “You’re the Worst”. I thought that the show would be hokey or rely on the word, “worst”, to make the show stand out, but I was wrong. That day on July 17th 2014, I found the show that I now know as my favorite show.
So this show is about two people, Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere) and Gretchen Cutler (Aya Cash)–they are in the role of, “The Worst”. Jimmy is British and has published a book that was reviewed well and sold terribly. Gretchen is an entertainment agent that deals with hard to handle celebs of the music industry. They meet at a wedding. Jimmy’s there because it’s his ex’s wedding and he wants to heckle her/ hurt her. I won’t spoil what he does. Gretchen is there because the bride is her best friend’s sister–she ends up trying to steal a food processor. They worst people meet, they have sex, they become close, and they try to handle their issues of being the worst (kinda) in, of course, some of the worst ways possible. I realize that that’s not a great way of advertising this show, but that’s why I’m writing reasons for why you should watch.
1) It’s funny as hell. I mean from references to it’s style of dark comedy, you’ll be laughing for entire episodes. From the get-go of season one episode one, even during sex scenes, there’s an amount of humor layered in. And a good amount of the time, it’s not overt. There’s a subtle humor that works so well and energizes the show. You’ll get the biggest laughs in the show, in my opinion, from both the Sunday Funday episodes and the two season finales.
2) There’s an expansive cast that carries weight in each episode. So there’s the main cast of Jimmy, Gretchen, and their two friends, Lindsay (Kether Donahue) and Edgar (Desmin Borges…why doesn’t he have a wikipedia article yet? Someone needs to work on that), but there are also recurring characters that can carry their own weight. There’s Becca, Jimmy’s ex. Becca’s husband Vernon. Jimmy’s neighbor, Killian, is a recurring character even though he’s a child, and it’s odd how that works, but it does. There’s also Gretchen’s clients of Sam, Shitstain, and Honeynutz. There’s Lindsay’s husband/ex husband (depending on what season you’re watching), Paul. In season two, a few more characters are added, and these characters don’t rely on the main cast to bring out their strengths. They even have their own storyline arcs that come into play and matter in sense of the show’s world. In the .gif above is Vernon. Though he begins as a bro-ey type character or seems that way, he develops into something different. As we get to know more of the show’s world we get to understand more of the expanded cast and become invested in them, and that’s something we shouldn’t ignore.
3) Emotional depth of the characters. Piggybacking off the last reason, this show has fleshed out characters. You understand the trauma of each character, and though the trauma is a reason for their being, we also understand that it’s not the full reason. Our characters being the worst is because they are the worst. Though we may become sympathetic with our characters, we don’t forgive all of their actions either. Not only are insights on our characters used as a means of fleshing them out, they also become references and jokes to add to the humor, but it’s how the show takes time to flesh characters that needs to be acknowledged. It doesn’t go for one episode and then disappear, there are season long arcs dedicated to fleshing a character out and the arcs interweave with other character arcs in order to form great chemistry and a cohesive show.
4) The way it handles depression. This one is a doozy. In season two, one of the characters has depression (well the character has always had depression, but that fact is being brought up during the second season) and goes through a rough patch. It made season two hard to get through because of how invested I was in the characters, and watching that particular character go through a hard time was something to acknowledge. Now what made the handling so impressive deals with the blame game. The depression isn’t blamed on an event, it just is. A misconception for many is that depression is caused, but for many people it just happens. I loved that they just made it a thing that happens. Even more to the show’s success of handling depression is that though it’s affecting the character’s relationship, we don’t blame the person having depression or the partner in the relationship. The partner realizes that they can’t fix it, but is also hurt from pressure that depression puts into a relationship. And as we watch two characters being affected, directly and indirectly, by an illness that many people go through, we can’t help but to sympathize with both parties. It was an elegant handling.
Most of all, the show’s writing and acting is beautiful. Everyone puts their heart into this show, and you need to try it. You’re the Worst currently has two seasons. You can watch season one on Hulu. And it has been renewed for a third season on FXX, though I wish the channel would promote the show more. Try it. Watch it. Thank me later.