Two episodes of the first season of “You’re the Worst” were provided for review purposes prior to broadcast.
What is a romantic comedy? Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere), the sardonic and self-deluded male lead of FX’s new series You’re the Worst, might snarl a snarky answer like “lie” or “propaganda.” A career skeptic, Jimmy has found little success with love or happiness – not that we’re meant to feel sorry for the guy, given how incessantly self-destructive and narcissistic he is. Jimmy doesn’t believe in love, instead only choosing to see the half-truths and compromises that seem to fuel every romance around him. That inordinate pessimism has successfully blown every relationship he’s ever had to pieces – but, in keeping with the show’s title, he has no desire to change one bit.
Watching Jimmy rant and rave about everything from the deceit present in the very premise of marriage to the hidden villain of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, it’s interesting that you never feel like writer and executive-producer Stephen Falk shares his protagonist’s outlook. Thanks to Falk, You’re the Worst doesn’t condemn Jimmy exactly so much as capture him from all angles, both good and bad. That even-handed approach allows the show to be both unbiased and hilarious at the same time in its treatment of the character. Falk paints You’re the Worst‘s female lead, jaded and fiercely independent Gretchen Cutler (Aya Cash), in an equally judgment-free light. Though a lot of the things that come out of her mouth are awful, none of them are particularly difficult to concede, a beguiling trick Falk manages well.
When the two meet up at Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend’s wedding – Jimmy has been thrown out for trash-talking the bride, Gretchen is trying to sneak off with a gift-wrapped blender – they tolerate each other just enough to go home together for one of the steamiest one-night stands I’ve seen on TV. There are no cheesy lines, no sparks, nothing gooey and romantic – just two people who bump into each other and happen to be in the mood. That kind of bluntness is refreshing. Knowing that it’s a one-night stand, the two spill all of their secrets, connecting over their equally ruthless and caustic approach to the world. Soon enough, they wind up in bed again, and again, and just like that, the two have casually initiated what may be the best relationship that either of them have ever had: one built on complete and utter honesty.
It’s easy to see where You’re the Worst, part of FX’s new ‘casually raunchy’ block with Married, differs and improves over its lead-in. Whereas Married is all about the nightmarish ennui of suburban life and commitment, You’re the Worst takes aim at the very nature of dating in the modern age – and hits its mark far more often than not.