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‘You’re the Worst’ returns with impressive start to second season

By Andrew Elmers

Section: Arts

October 16, 2015

One of my favorite new shows from last year, “You’re the Worst,” returned to the airwaves last month. Needless to say I was very excited to see where showrunner Stephen Falk, former executive producer on both “Orange is the New Black” and “Weeds,” took it.

Focusing on a couple in their late-twenties living in Los Angeles trying to put their lives together, the show’s comedy is fresh and surprisingly contemporary when compared to other comedies. The first season got better and better with each new episode, so the second season had much to live up to.

Originally airing on FX, the show transferred over to their comedy-oriented sister station FXX for the second season. With the same cast returning, featuring British comedian Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly—a snobbish writer who had one successful book and has done nothing since—and Aya Cash as Gretchen—a determined PR agent who helps out her clients much more than herself—the couple hooks up for a bit after meeting each other at Jimmy’s ex’s wedding before getting into a relationship by accident and moving in together. Along for the ride are Jimmy’s roommate Edgar, portrayed by Desmin Borges, a lovable veteran suffering from PTSD and Gretchen’s best friend Lindsay, played by Kether Donohue, a self-centered woman whose husband leaves her at the end of the first season after she cheated on him.

The second season starts with Jimmy and Gretchen moving in together to Jimmy’s house, still with Edgar there, and the two trying to make their relationship work without it becoming boring. Therefore, they party hard each night with worsening results, trying to hold onto the last of their youth before slipping into normality. The next few episodes focus on them expanding the depth of their relationship and trying to be productive members of society, although this concept escapes them. They go shopping for furniture, try to catch up with old friends and Jimmy tries to find writing jobs after suffering from writer’s block.

The main side plot of the series focuses on Edgar’s increasing crush on Lindsay. After her husband leaves her, Edgar sees his opportunity to try and enter a relationship with her. Instead, the selfish Lindsay only manipulates Edgar into helping her talk to guys and send out risque photos to men over the Internet. A romance that no one wants to witness blossom, it seems inevitable they will get together at some point this season, although the writers have done a good job so far keeping them apart.

Where this show really excels is with the problems the characters face in each episode, and their inability to effectively solve them. Simple problems with relationships, work and living arrangements are all too much for the four main characters to handle, and they only complain about them, leaving the audience laughing at them instead of with them. Yet this template works well for comedy TV. Successful shows like “Seinfeld” and “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” revolved around this concept of idiotic characters who can’t really help themselves and always wind up in absurd situations. In fact, pretty much every comedy show follows this format to some extent.

Yet “You’re the Worst” is different, if only because the problems presented to the characters are much more believable than any standard comedy, and it feels as if the events weren’t scripted. Additionally, the secondary characters are extremely well-developed. The best is Gretchen’s main client, Sam Dresden (Brandon Mychal Smith), the head of a rap trio that is a clear parody of Odd Future. Other memorable characters include Jimmy’s pre-teen neighbor Killian, who is the target of Jimmy’s vitriol and Vernon, the husband to Jimmy’s ex at whose wedding Gretchen first met Jimmy.

With the main conflict of “will-they-or-won’t-they” between Jimmy and Gretchen already settled, “You’re the Worst” faces a tough challenge to progress forward with fresh content, but has done so admirably in the second season. Although some strange scenes have shown up in the new episodes that weren’t present in the first season, “You’re the Worst” has turned the corner to being something more than a flash in the pan.

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