You’re the Worst, Season 2
Created by Stephen Falk
Premieres Wednesday, September 9th at 10:30pm (ET) on FXX
2 episodes watched for review
It’s been a long year without You’re the Worst. With its debut way back in the summer of 2014, it was the dynamic new face of FX programming, along with Married, a marked departure from the network’s gritty, dark dramas. You’re the Worst’s simple premise (man and woman meet at mutual acquaintance’s wedding, proceed to fall for each other, mess a lot of things up in the process) was a platform for the show to critique society and relationships as a whole. Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere), over the course of the season, stumbled into a meaningful relationship together, as they, with friends Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Edgar (Desmin Borges) navigated life in Los Angeles. Since You’re the Worst‘s premiere, sincere, cynical television shows have become more popular, lauded for their dark and dramatic explorations of depression, failure and identity. You’re the Worst deserves all this praise and more, as it continues to tell the stories of painfully insecure, commitment-phobic adults who are searching for meaning in the worst possible ways.
Cash and Geere anchored season one with their consistent, acerbic performances as Gretchen and Jimmy, and are no different in season two. Jimmy and Gretchen are living together, but this doesn’t automatically mean the two are deep in domestic bliss. “The Sweater People,” the season opener, finds Jimmy and Gretchen increasingly, exhaustedly one-upping each other to prove that they aren’t going to become a boring couple. The way Gretchen and Jimmy dance around their feelings for and about one another, letting just enough slip to let the other know that they care, is one of the best parts of You’re the Worst. Geere and Cash have screwball comedy chemistry together, Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn for the smartphone generation, as they get into increasingly absurd situations and somehow manage to stick together, despite it all. It’s impossible to imagine Gretchen and Jimmy played by any other actors, and their love of the show and each other as performers is present in every episode.
While Jimmy and Gretchen are still the show’s main focus, it’s Kether Donohue’s Lindsay that steals the spotlight in the first two episodes of the season. Lindsay as a character has changed the most since the beginning of the show, and Donohue has played every twist and turn with a winning, endearing self-centeredness. Season two finds Lindsay in an emotional tailspin since her separation from Paul, her breezy ignorance sadder, her fear of being alone desperately on display. “Crevasses,” the second episode of the season, sees Lindsay at her lowest, and yet still wickedly funny. Donohue and You’re the Worst’s writers find the balance between indulging Lindsay’s worst tendencies for humor and reigning her back in just enough that she’s tragic, instead of utterly unlikable.
While You’re the Worst is decidedly a show about Gretchen and Jimmy, the increased focus on Lindsay is helping to expand the show’s storytelling possibility. With only four characters, You’re the Worst’s world could seem small, even claustrophobic, and yet each character is so well-developed and clearly defined that the show has endless storytelling possibilities. For example, Edgar’s developed feelings for Lindsay, sparked by the events of the season one finale, and the first two episodes of the season explore that dynamic, although the show could have easily expanded on his identity as a veteran, his drug dealing past, or his current job at a gym. Edgar is specific enough as a character that he feels real, though not so specific that he becomes an archetype and is pigeon-holed into scenarios and storylines. Each character in You’re the Worst is like this, representing a new world to explore, a new Los Angeles subculture, a new target for Stephen Falk and the show’s wry, witty sensibilities.
You’re the Worst is a show with a point of view, about everything from hipsters to writing to the insincerity of Los Angeles, and every character and every storyline serves to expand on that point of view. The show’s first season was full of humor and unique writing, and its confident season two debut shows no signs of that changing any time soon.