You're The Worst Creator On Why The Show Is Becoming So Sad

Photo: Byron Cohen/FX.
Last week, I was blown away by how beautifully You’re the Worst has become a show about characters who are sad. In the most recent episode, we learned that Gretchen (Aya Cash), the series' fuck-all protagonist, has been sneaking out of the house she shares with her boyfriend, Jimmy (Chris Geere), to cry in her car. We didn't immediately find out the reason behind her tears, but that didn't make the moment any less powerful.

So, why is a comedy investing so deeply in sadness this year? For You’re the Worst creator Stephen Falk, exploring sadness is another way of subverting what we've come to expect of sitcoms.

“I think that it’s serving perhaps as a reminder that human beings are complicated and that relationships don’t necessarily follow rom-com scripts,” he said. “Relationships aren’t isolated in a bubble... We bring a lifetime of experiences, of damage, of illness, of psychology into it, and forces that have nothing to do with the other person affect it constantly.”

At the end of the first season, Jimmy and Gretchen move in together, despite their resistance to traditional coupling. In other sitcoms, this might mean that “just a bunch of cute shit’s going to happen,” as Falk put it. But in You're the Worst, it means "now the real work begins."

We'll find out in Wednesday's episode what’s actually troubling Gretchen, and Falk said we are to believe her assurance to Jimmy that he's not part of the problem. That doesn't mean that Jimmy will just be able to walk away from it all, even though he did walk away from Gretchen when he found her weeping — a moment that does "kind of paint him as a villain," Falk said. Jimmy's not absolved from helping his girlfriend, though: "It's going to follow him. He's going to have to contend with it."

But it's not as if Gretchen is a stereotypical girl who wants to talk about her feelings while Jimmy is a callous dude who could not care less. In fact, in the first season, she's the one who doesn't want to talk about emotions when he's upset about his father. Gretchen is the type of person who has always handled her crises on her own, but now she's going to have to involve someone else, despite her instincts. “She’s clearly dealing with something, and rather than turning to her partner and asking for support or crying on his shoulder for a while, she sneaks out and goes far away so he doesn’t have to deal with it,” Falk said. “She’s like an injured cat that knows it’s going to die so it crawls into the neighbors’ basement to do that alone.”

On the other hand, there’s Lindsay (Kether Donohue), whose pain stemming from her breakup with her husband Paul (Allan McLeod) is visible from miles away. And there is connective tissue between Lindsay’s problems — which include not paying her bills and not realizing she needs to put oil in her car — and Gretchen’s.

“How as an adult do you deal with your shit?” Falk asked. “That’s what we’re dealing with, both with Lindsay and, on a deeper level, Gretchen."

You're the Worst airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. on FXX.
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