You’re the Worst Is Back! Celebrate With a Season 2 Premiere Drinking Game

9 Sep 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

‘You’re The Worst’ Cast Talks Season 2, Romance, Hard Times & True Love.

But if you’re all caught up, you’ll be happy to know that the show returns in top form with “The Sweater People,” which sees Gretchen and Jimmy living together after she accidentally burned down her apartment, desperate not to lose their edge and fall into the normal life they’re so desperately trying to avoid. Well, there’s really no easy way to do this (and I’ve already done it in person, more on that later), but I was wrong — wildly, painfully and ultimately gallingly wrong — about the FX sitcom You’re the Worst, which begins its second season on sister channel FXX on Wednesday.

If earlier romantic comedies created the scripts that we were all supposed to live by — the friends who become lovers, the enemies who find out that their differences are really similarities, the people who take big chances and are handsomely rewarded — the new entrants in the genre are concerned with a more complicated, more interesting question: How do you build a relationship when you’re not sure if you fit one of those scripts, or even if you’re worthy of affection at all?Jimmy Shive-Overly and Gretchen Cutler are quite happy to ingest gluten (and other substances) by the pound, but flinching, shuddering, eye-rolling — these would be good ways to describe their reactions to overt displays of sentimentality.The series, which broke out in its freshman season as one of the year’s most original comedies, centers on Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash), two truly terrible individuals who realize that they’re both perfectly awfult ogether. Your favorite irresponsible garbage people continue to make awful decisions—this includes Gretchen’s divorcing BFF, Lindsay (Kether Donohue), who is even more unhinged than usual—treat Jimmy’s PTSD-afflicted assistant, Edgar (Desmin Borges), terribly, and yet also manage to sweetly reveal their true feelings for one another. It’s easy to picture the two lead characters of “You’re the Worst” dismissively blurting “ugh” at any unembarrassed display of heartfelt emotion.

Ahead of the show’s Season 2 premiere — and move from FX to FXX — creator Stephen Falk talked to Variety about what his former boss, “Weeds” and “Orange is the New Black” creator Jenji Kohan, taught him about good writing, and why he thinks rom-coms need an update. The show even leaned into its deconstruction of classic romances with a series of spots for the second season that showed Jimmy and Gretchen acting out cracked versions of immoral romantic comedy scenes. “I think we all have a lot of sort of doubts about ourselves and … our suitability for relationship,” Falk mused when I talked to him in Los Angeles in August. “And certainly our ability, and our deserving of being loved. Here, THR chats with Falk about what else to expect from season two — which will introduce Paul’s new love interest, Jimmy’s family and see an improv teacher catch Edgar’s eye. In their quest to remain sweater-less, they drink to excess, throw some drugs into the mix to keep things fresh…then realize they’ll kill themselves if they keep going at this level of excess. Cash explains that the cast itself has a positive approach when shooting the show’s more embarrassingly explicit moments. “The sex stuff is fine,” says the actress. “It’s not anyone’s favorite thing to do, but they make it very comfortable, and you write s— on your pasties, and you do stupid stuff to lighten the mood, and then everyone acts like a professional.”

As human beings, they are entertaining train wrecks, and yet, as Cash noted in an interview with The Huffington Post, it’s not as though they’re completely unable to show their devotion to each other. “The most romantic scenes that Aya and I have done are where they’ve both done something for each other and never even made an active decision to do that,” Geere added. “They’ve just organically done it and not even recognized that they’ve done it. To which Lindsay — and all the other characters when they learn of it — respond “Ew.” That’s the theme of this season: Can these two narcissists put someone else’s needs, however briefly and however small increments, above their own?

It happens to be right after he caused a scene at his ex-girlfriend’s wedding and took a picture of his, um, stuff on every single disposable camera. That season ended with a striking pair of shots, doubt creeping over both characters’ faces as they hauled boxes of Gretchen’s remaining possessions into Jimmy’s house.

Throughout season one Jimmy displayed many behaviors that qualified him as “The Worst,” from stealing a cardboard cut-out of Sandra Bernhardt to outing Gretchen’s personal life to her parents. Their growing commitment embodies “all of our deep questions about monogamy, and our fears about how settling down leads, pretty much the next step is death,” Falk said. “Because we’re not making any new experiences.

Oblivious selfishness may be their main mode of existence, but with great deftness and skill, Geere and Cash ably portray their halting attempts to break through their carefully built up walls of self-absorption and self-protection. They get blackout drunk, they do hard drugs, they steal cats, they’re rude to small children, they’re selfish, they’re thoughtless, they’re human. We’re going to bed next to the same person every night, and therefore our brain stops making new memories, because that’s how brain science works, and life time goes quicker, and the next thing you know, you’re 80 and you die.” “They’re constantly trying to remain as fun and young as they have always been,” Geere said of Jimmy and Gretchen’s efforts to combat their fears. “But eventually realizing that they have to sacrifice some of that, if not all of that, if they want to evolve as a couple and have what is commonly known as a relationship. Its middle-class characters are lightly employed, to put it kindly, and none of them pay all that much attention to social norms, aside from the put-upon Edgar.

At the wedding where Jimmy yells at the bride, Gretchen steals what she thinks is a food processor (it’s only a blender, so she chucks it behind a bush). Edgar, a veteran who struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder, is beginning to consider the possibility of dating again, though he has been single since his teens and lacks some of the social skills and life experiences that most men his age have. Gretchen’s a publicist who’s good at her job but very willing to show up to it hungover and otherwise impaired; Jimmy’s a writer who appears to have been mostly eating his housemate Edgar’s carefully prepared meals and watching cute-animal videos since his novel flopped. Star Aya Cash, happily married for a decade, shared her relief over being out of the dating world. ”I just read that article, actually in Vanity Fair, about Tinder, and I was like, Oh my God. Gretchen is a publicist who tries to seduce a gay reporter to get him to hide a story, gets high at work events and has the world’s most DISGUSTING apartment (which she burns down).

They’re often kind of awful — hence the title — but as Falk noted, their more obnoxious moments aren’t gratuitous; each one must serve a purpose. How horrible.” And the romances depicted by typical rom-coms, she says, are contributing to today’s shaky dating scene. “We’re essentially exporting the idea that you can be perfect and you can be a nice supportive, wonderful human at all times, which is not realistic. He pointed to a Season 1 episode in which the pair talked loudly in a movie theater — behavior Falk himself finds “abhorrent.” “I get pissed off if someone whispers so I don’t condone any of this,” he said. Then people think that they’re terrible human beings because they are not living up to this fantasy that doesn’t exist.” Her co-star Chris Geere thinks audiences are thirsty for something other than fantasy. “I really do think that people think differently about love these days,” he says. “It’s not ‘boy meets girl, something goes wrong, both of them mend their ways and live happily ever after.’ It’s not.

But her macro story is about trying to become a better person, which is hard in the face of having a horrible sister [Becca, played by Janet Varney], who is the worst person on this show called You’re the Worst, and having a best friend who’s now deeply involved in her relationship. Next I heard that series creator and writer Stephen Falk said, rather loudly to one of my co-workers, “F— Tim Goodman!” Not an uncommon reaction, surprisingly enough. Lindsay, for example, has consistently treated Paul like a bore and a drag, even though he’s the character with both the best-developed sense of self on the show — he has a high-paying job and many excellent, joyfully nerdy hobbies — and the most mature idea of how to show love for someone else. “His definition of love is putting someone else’s needs above your own,” Falk said. “And Lindsay’s response, and everyone else’s when they hear this on our show is, ‘Ew!” Which I think encapsulates it perfectly and also sets Paul apart as the voice of reason. It was on my Top 10 list last year, and so far I don’t see any reason why it won’t be a contender for the 2015 roster (if you’d like to see what the fuss is about, the first season is on Hulu). They’re trying to build something real and with integrity, struggling to craft relationships that meet their needs, no matter what anyone else says they ought to be doing. “I think the alternative to traditional marriage is non-traditional marriage, non-traditional relationships, and I think you just forge your own path and you get to decide on your own terms what the relationship is,” Cash told me. “And Gretchen and Jimmy’s terms are not terms that I would agree to.

Geere, who is from Manchester, mentioned anxiety around playing Jimmy as his first big American role, and wanting to make him more likable as a result. If something is introduced, it has its own story — even props, even words that are specific to this show,” Falk said. “We’re trying to continually enlarge and populate [this world] in a way that I think is almost like a spider building a web.

As Geere put it, “the ratings were awful,” and he credits critical response, positive word of mouth, and a late-in-the-game boost from streaming service Hulu for the show’s survival. Looking back now, of course, part of this is fallout from Too Much TV, part of it was watching four episodes of two series and not liking three of them — which unfortunately overshadowed the fourth episode of you know what. Later, at the Vancouver International Film Festival, it was relayed to me by someone meeting me for the first time that Falk noted I should be shot or punched on sight.

And given that he urges his writers to make sure that each joke is tied to forward movement in the plot or is crucial to character-building, editing the show is a challenge, as well. “I’m finding it challenging to bring down time,” Falk said. Then I had that awful realization of, wow, do I owe Stephen Falk an apology (for the record I said that stars Chris Geere and Aya Cash were “very, very good — they just need better material”). I won’t give away anything that happens in that episode, except to say that parts of it take place at the home of Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson) and Becca (Janet Varney).

But everyone is still dysfunctional in the same charming, relatable way that convinced us Amy Schumer could win over Bill Hader in Trainwreck, or that Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney could make a go of it in Catastrophe, or Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner at least deserve each other—if no one else—in Difficult People. The house and its lawn were as full of actors, crew members, equipment and background players as they could possibly be, but the atmosphere was one of genial focus. It’s not rare to find actors filming a finale counting the minutes until they’re done, but that wasn’t the case with the “Worst” stars, many of whom participated in several energetic rounds of “Heads Up” as the clock headed toward 11 p.m. What I had done, clearly, was bang it out, half-assedly. (And yes, I should probably go rewatch Married while I’m at it.) I started with the third episode and found out immediately, in the words of a famous comedy character from a series I loved more than any, I had made a huge mistake. The game-players didn’t have a ton of room for gesticulation due to the tight quarters, but Geere said it was lucky the show wasn’t shooting at Jimmy’s house. “It’s so hard to shoot in, it’s a really tricky space,” Geere said. “Sometimes we have scenes on the steps outside, and it’s so hard to light that area that it takes forever and it’s on a very dangerous slope.

Jimmy is struggling to make money because he is struggling to keep that house above the Silver Lake Reservoir that he shouldn’t have bought after he sold his book. Each episode produced more laughs and more appreciation for his talent; there’s an earworm hilarity and precision to the way he crafts dialog between main characters Jimmy (Geere) and Gretchen (Cash), two mostly awful people who fall slowly and cautiously, with acid barbs — plus booze, drugs and wanton hedonism — into some semblance of love. And Cash thinks the appeal of the show isn’t just Jimmy’s specifically English condescension — which is never not entertaining — but the show’s willingness to mix things up, thematically and emotionally. “Because Chris is British, there’s been some talk about how this talk about how this is a distinctly British show,” Cash said. “But what’s distinctly British about it to me is that in England, they’re not afraid to mix genre and they’re not afraid to go to different places. Kether Donohue (Lindsay) and Desmin Borges (Edgar), were — like all good supporting characters who get more material and time as the season goes — two people who validated Falk’s choices.

As Lindsay says, “I thought all English people were fancy, but these are like Alabama English people.” Jimmy calls his family thieves, soccer hooligans and psychotics with lead aggression because he comes from a lead mining town. I think the jaded part of me would also like to add that, historically, when I’ve given extended second (and sometimes third) chances to shows, this is usually not how it turns out. I could easily have gone down that road if I hadn’t had a gross and surprising divorce in my thirties that then led me back into the gross and disgusting dating scene that made me realize how truly awful it all is. But the end result of her safety-oriented choices led to a situation in which her “internal and external life were just opposites and conflicting and causing so much friction. She was sick of me saying how much I’d read that it had gotten really good, saying “Then go watch it!” or words to that effect, with gratuitous swearing omitted.

She’s married but not happy in the marriage … She has this family — sounds great — but on the inside, ‘I hate my family, I hate my sister.’ Now her friend’s in a relationship. Several attempts by her to get Falk and I together at events didn’t work out until it finally did — and he stupidly took the high road and didn’t gloat in my face when it finally happened.

He will get a big proposal together, but there’s something introduced — an old piece of his writing that Gretchen finds — that leads him to his next thing. She has the strongest bullsh–ometer I’ve ever met — and I equally have a strong bullsh–ometer — in terms of human behavior, in terms of how people talk, in terms of how people talk on television.

He meets with some studio executives — I can’t believe I’m giving this away — to novelize the TV show that he loves that was [revealed] in the first season: NCIS: L.A. You know, I could flip this story around and say that what it mostly documents is the difficulty the Platinum Age of TV places on critics to adequately absorb what’s coming at them and how rare second acts are in— no, no, nope. I don’t need gifts and shit.” “There’s something about actively being present and listening to the person you care about,” Borges added. “We don’t get that a lot, because text messages get erased in our world now, it’s ‘Hey, I love you. Whether flirtation is driven by answering machines or apps is almost irrelevant to its core themes about the safety of loneliness and the price of vulnerability.

Love’s always hard and the battle between self-expression and compromise is one that can never be resolved, and the variety of responses to these dilemmas is endless, even within one person. “My mantra is always to deepen the characters and deepen any situation,” Falk said. “When you expect that a character always has one side or a situation has one side, you pick it up like you would a snow globe and you turn it around and examine it from another side. So yeah, they’re commitment-phobes and they’re not certainly great at it, but hopefully that serves to make them universal or recognizable, in that we all are secretly afraid that we’re not deserving of love or unlovable somehow or just too damaged to actually function.” For much more from Falk, Cash, Geere, Donahue and Borges, check out the latest Talking TV podcast, which has the full interviews with all five (and each of the actors answers the question, “What is your definition of a romantic gesture?”).

But no, my writing staff is just really tuned and plugged into culture: To not only Los Angeles culture, which allows to us to make a show that has a strong sense of place, but also to pop culture and the world around them to make our show feel like it’s taking place at a certain time.

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