In this era of massive expectations and international box office receipts, movies tend toward either blockbuster behemoths or quirky indies, with budgets of either $500 million or $500,000. This leaves little room for the movies that used to occupy that space between a shoestring budget and the G.D.P. of a small nation. This leaves fewer opportunities for those middle budget movies movies we used to see all the time: melodramas, road movies, and rom-coms. Fear not, all of you When Harry Met Sally fans out there. The rom-com genre is alive and well. Over the last few years, the rom-com has found a new home on television with a slew of sharp shows like Catastrophe, Married, and You’re the Worst. Among these three, You’re the Worst is the freshest, hippest, and raunchiest, and it’s coming back for a second season tonight at 10:30 p.m. on FXX.
In this era of too much television, with every website and cable channel angling to make the next Breaking Bad or Orange Is the New Black, it is too easy for a show to fall between the cracks. If the brilliant first season of You’re the Worst slipped by you, allow us to convince you that you’re missing out. Here are the 10 best things about You’re the Worst.
It stars two hilariously unlikeable characters.FX Networks
From the moment that Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) meet after embarrassing themselves at a wedding, you know one thing is for sure: These two really are the worst. Too often, TV shows focus on one unlikable character who bounces off of the well-mannered, wooden characters who populate their world. In You’re the Worst, the two main characters confront and call out each others’ flaws while trying to justify their own terrible behavior. Instead of one character who feels like an alien in their cinematic world, we get two leads who feel cut from the same rotten cloth. And as they grow to care for each other, we learn that maybe they aren’t all bad, despite all of the bad things they do.
The show is sexy…FX Networks
Sometimes romantic comedies can be a little too concerned with being sweet and they forget to get sexy. You’re the Worst goes out its way to let you know that this isn’t the kind of love you see in a Nicholas Sparks novel: There are threesomes, coke-addled hook-ups, and sex contests. Sex is a healthy and unhealthy constant in You’re the Worst. Like in real life, it strengthens relationships and tears them apart. It nice to see a show that frankly admits how important sex is to relationships without meditating on sexual hang-ups (*cough* Girls *cough*). Sex in You’re the Worst is what we would all like sex to be: fun, adventurous, and necessary.
…but the sex is realistic.FX Networks
When you watch a lot of shows, from Game of Thrones to Mad Men, you often see the sex you wish you could be having. Many shows are all about beautiful people doing beautiful things to each other. On You’re the Worst, the sex isn’t always perfect. In fact, sometimes, like in life, it is hilariously terrible. One of the best plots of Season 1 involved Jimmy being rewarded with a threesome, only two ruin his chance to share a bed with two beautiful women because of his, ummm…impatience.
Edgar the Vulnerable VeteranFX Networks
Desmin Borges’ portrayal of Edgar Quintero, a loveable veteran with PTSD, could have easily turned out terribly. Instead, Borges’ nuanced take on the character has become one of the strongest aspects of the show. Though the show finds humor in Edgar’s situation, you also feel for the guy, probably the only truly selfless character on the show. You’re the Worst takes risks with the character, cracking jokes about mental illness and lackluster veterans’ benefits, but does it in a way that keeps Edgar sympathetic and human.
Lindsay the Reformed Party GirlFX Networks
Lindsay (Kether Donohue) isn’t as complicated a character as Edgar, but she is just as hilarious. She begins the series having settled for a boring well-off man who she believes will give her a boring, well-off life. In the pilot, we learn that Lindsay believes that she has traded in her old bad habits for a path to a house and 2.5 kids. Then she learns a lesson that many people learn the hard way: Old habits die hard.
Her internal struggle is one of the best parts of You’re the Worst. It’s hilarious and heartbreaking watching Lindsay try to built a new life that she really isn’t built for.
There are consequences.FX Networks
Not since Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm have sitcom characters paid so dearly for their selfish actions. One of the more annoying things about traditional sitcoms is that the characters often reset each week no matter what happened in the last episode, throwing off whatever trouble they got into the week before. You’re the Worst takes a Larry David-inspired approach in which everything a character does can come back to bite them in the ass. Something as seemingly small as Jimmy’s casual disrespect toward a bookshop owner or Gretchen bending the rules to do her client a favor can have wide ranging, disastrous consequences. These two characters’ greatest enemies are themselves and it’s fun to see the new ways that they can sabotage themselves.
It takes place in the real Los Angeles.FX Networks
Los Angeles is the default setting for so many television and film projects because so many film and TV projects are shot there. Often, the Los Angeles of television shows plays as a bland suburb that happens to have palm trees. You’re the Worst actually attempts to use the real Los Angeles for story, mocking its obnoxious idiosyncrasies. In this version of L.A., hipsters mess with you at brunch, annoying dates take place at communal restaurants, and method actors use you as source material. The L.A. of You’re the Worst will look familiar to anyone who has spent time there, even if it is a little more fun.
The show calls out dull normalcy.FX Networks
Part of Jimmy and Gretchen’s appeal is that they want to avoid a monotonous life. From the very beginning of their relationship, they do everything they can to avoid being normal. This leads to a ton of great bits about the pieces of a bland American lifestyle so many people in this country have convinced themselves they should lead, and Gretchen and Jimmy are so desperate to avoid. One of the greatest pleasures of watching You’re the Worst is seeing Jimmy and Gretchen flee from food processors, meeting each others’ parents, and anything else that feels remotely normal.
The show knows how hard it is to be an adult.FX Networks
Growing up isn’t easy, and what they don’t tell you is that growing up continues well after your 18th birthday. Though Gretchen and Jimmy are in their late 20s and have already had their share of professional successes and failures, they are still figuring things out. Rom-com characters often have everything in their lives under control except for love. The characters in You’re the Worst have absolutely nothing figured out, and just when they nail something down, another part of their life comes undone, just like in real life.
It’s just plain hilarious.FX Networks
And finally, the most important thing for a sitcom: The show is funny. The complex plotting allows for a script full of fast-paced, hilarious scenes. The edgy, dirty tone allows for jokes that you didn’t think they could make on basic cable. It’s hard to convey just how well the rhythms of the show highlight the humor, so we’ll just leave you with three of the best jokes from Season 1 as you prepare for tonight’s Season 2 premiere.
“Fun hipster shit is just poor Latino shit from 10 years ago.”
“They’re taking pictures of their food. Are they afraid people won’t believe they went to a restaurant?”
“As my grandma used to say, it’s only a walk of shame if you’re feeling shame.”