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Why ‘You’re The Worst’ Was The Best Show You Didn’t Watch In 2015

Where to Stream

You're The Worst

You really didn’t get everything you could have possibly gotten out of 2015 if you didn’t spend your Wednesday nights watching FX’s You’re The Worst. Lucky for you, the show’s second season just wrapped up, and you’ve got a whole winter’s worth of binge watching to catch your silly ass up. For those of you already in the You’re The Worst fan club, I salute you. (I mean, we could really get to know each other and be friends…) But for the rest of you, take heed: You’re The Worst is the best show you didn’t watch in 2015. (Disclaimer: I’m going to try and write this with as few spoilers as possible because the aim here is to get you to watch).

You’re The Worst began as comedy about people who are, as the title suggests, the worst. In the first episode of Season 1, Jimmy (Chris Geere) meets Gretchen (Aya Cash) at his ex girlfriend, Becca’s (Janet Varney), wedding. Gretchen is at the wedding because Becca is her best friend, Lindsay’s (Kether Donohue), sister. Jimmy and Gretchen attempt a one night stand, but over the course of the series, it evolves into a relationship. Meanwhile, Jimmy’s ex-army vet and PTSD suffering roommate, Edgar (Desmin Borges), Lindsay’s husband, Paul (Allan McLeod) and Becca’s husband, Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson), complete the group. They are all, to varying degrees, terrible people who make bad decisions.

The show is, first and foremost, funny. There’s the physical comedy of watching Jimmy, Gretchen and Lindsay get wasted and fall into various states of disarray. There’s the dirty conversations exchanged between friends. The nuanced, but always comically self-aware portrayal of creative-industry 20-somethings living in LA, including the hip hop trio who are Gretchen’s PR clients, Sam, Shitstain and Honey Nutz (side-note: watching You’re The Worst is worth it if only for Season 2, Episode 10 “A Right Proper Story”, where Sam and Lindsay team up for the track “New Phone, Who Dis?”) and Edgar’s eventual foray into improv. The comedy of You’re The Worst is what, at first, will pull you in, as it makes you cringe and laugh at everything you hate about real life and real people.

If You’re The Worst’s funny bone is what you come for, its heart is what you’ll stick around for. Sure, watching people who are funnier versions of people you might know in real life is great, but watching them grow and become better all the while finding new mistakes to make, is compelling. So too is watching them love each other, and the tenderness and empathy they’re really capable of through their self-destructive narcissism. As Jimmy and Gretchen soften to one another, You’re The Worst does something reminiscent of Parks & Recreation: it makes your laughter come through blubbering tears. That’s because the show is not only true to its characters, it seems to genuinely love its characters, even when they’re being insufferable. It never sells them out, never makes them into caricatures of themselves, and develops them into fully rounded, flawed but marvellous people, the way few half hour shows are rarely capable of doing.

You’re The Worst delivers on the promise of shows like Girls and Master of None. Whereas a lot of “realistic” millennial comedies are self-conscious without being self-aware, and which fail to offer a sympathetic side to their self-involved characters, You’re The Worst —even when its characters are being the worst— never lets you fall into the trap of believing they actually are the worst. This perfect combination of reality, self-awareness and honesty demands a tricky combination of care and risk. Transparent pulls it off beautifully. If you’re a fan of comedy, You’re The Worst does it even better, exchanging Transparent’s dreamy, captivating direction with laugh-out-loud funnies. Both shows deal with real issues that real people have, like restlessness and non-specific dissatisfaction and disillusionment, independence, career anxiety and depression. Both shows also invite you to get to know their characters the way you’d get to know your friends–at their very worst, their meanest, their most annoying, but also their most vulnerable, their most kind, their most endearing and their most fun.

Photo: FX

And then there’s Lindsay. If you’ve ever watched anything with a shitty, hard drinking, potty mouthed, sexual, gorgeous best male friend, that’s Lindsay, except as a woman. Lindsay is a feat of television. She’s as iconic as Joey on Friends but with way more attitude and an incredible body. Lindsay is the role that’s traditionally written for a man, but it’s turned around so seamlessly that you don’t even realize you’re watching television history happen. As she bumbles her way hopelessly through life, Lindsay is the kind of BFF you wish you had, because no matter how drunk or how self-pitying she comes, she’s always got Gretchen’s back. And some of the things that come out of her mouth will have you cackling with laughter, thanks to Kether Donohue’s genius delivery.

You’re The Worst is up for a bunch of Critics Choice Awards, including Best Actress In A Comedy Series (Aya Cash), Best Comedy Series and Best Supporting Actress In A Comedy Series (Kether Donohue). It deserves to win in all three categories. Despite the critical accolades, it’s criminal how many people haven’t yet watched You’re The Worst, and even more so how many TV-loving/snobby culture connoisseurs haven’t watched it, given that it’s the most brilliant thing to happen to sitcoms since HBO’s VEEP/Silicon Valley double threat. And as if you needed further evidence, You’re The Worst is not here to mess around. It might not yet have the epic ratings it deserves, but its continuing existence is a testament to the importance of networks like FX keeping quality programming on the air regardless. Get on it. If you don’t, you’re the worst.

[You can stream You’re The Worst on Hulu or the FXNow app]

Photo: FX

Kat George is a writer and a Fast & Furious obsessive. Follow her on Twitter: @kat_george.

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