This gem is a clever subversion of the rom-com genre. On first glance, it feels like an anti-rom-com because the main characters Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) so deeply despise relationships and cheesy conventions.
The two meet at a wedding and have what was planned to be a one night stand as they share the cynical view towards relationships. If that were the sole element, the show would have lost my intrigue after a couple of episodes. However, the genius of the show lies in taking the good elements of the genre (leaving out everything that’s cheesy and unrealistic) and spicing it up with crass humor and cynical commentary, as our protagonists begin to fall in love themselves and the realization and actual acceptance of that frightens the shit out of them.
The characters are deeply flawed and that’s what makes them so authentic. The show takes its time to flesh out the protagonists as well as the two sidekick characters Edgar and Lindsey, the best friend of Jimmy and Gretchen respectively. Jimmy is an arrogant, self-pitying, eloquent but unsuccessful writer. Gretchen is a tough, pragmatic publicity manager for celebrities, who give close to zero f-s about social conventions. They learn to appreciate each other’s presence and slowly but authentically fall in love. After the stage of denial, which is cause for some absurd but funny situations, they admit their feelings and dare to boldly go where they haven’t gone before – a serious exclusive relationship, which is romantic in its very own way. And don’t worry that’s not a real spoiler as it’s fairly obvious from the start. The way there is what’s fascinating here. They turn up the romance without contradicting their attitude and becoming that which annoys our main characters.
But the show’s scripts finally won me over with its richness in interesting supporting characters. Everyone somehow has their history, everyone is interesting, such as Jimmy’s boy neighbor, Sam the rapper Gretchen represents and Vernon, husband of Becca, Jimmy’s ex, to name the best.
Admittedly, the show features some absurd, also partly hipster-like problems but most of the time the situations and problems feel fresh. Even though it is seldom a laugh-out-loud show, I was constantly grinning while watching. You can easily watch several episodes in a row without the concept wearing off or becoming boring or expectable. The humor defies genre expectations and crosses some lines, which is in accordance with the design of our main characters. It goes so far that it sometimes even isn’t considerate of Edgar’s PTSD from his mission in Iraq. This demonstrates that You’re The Worst abandons all tame sitcoms/rom coms and offers something refreshing.
Jimmy and Gretchen aren’t always easy to like, which becomes most obvious in their very immature competition of sleeping with exes because no one can admit that they do care about one another. Furthermore, Jimmy’s petty feud with the book store owner is one of the less strong plot elements. Yet, I grew to like the two of them in spite of their less desirable flaws. The same holds true for the additional characters; the only exception is Lindsay, who is annoyingly immature while attempting to hold up her façade. My episode highlight was “Sunday Funday”, which was a bit too hipster-ish but filmed and written in a very entertaining and unique way.
So if you are sick of conventional sitcoms, you might want to have a peek at this cynical and bawdy aberrant of the genre.
All images (incl. title image) © by Fox (FX), taken from imdb.com