Irreverent, crass, and capable of turning a conversation about arson and foot fetishism into the believable foundation of a burgeoning relationship, the first season of You’re the Worst was the most enjoyable TV show of the summer. The FX comedy from Stephen Falk was relegated to a 10:30 p.m. slot on Thursday nights, and featured a largely unknown cast and a well-worn premise. It did not, at first glance, look like a show I’d consistently watch, let alone love. But watch I did, and from the moment Gretchen (Aya Cash) willingly played along with the mild podophilia of Jimmy (Chris Geere) over the phone—shortly after stealing cocaine from the bathroom of an on-again-off-again fling—I was all in. Which makes this week’s news that FX has renewed You’re the Worst for a 13-episode Season 2, despite middling ratings, equal parts pleasant surprise and oh-thank-God relief.
You’re the Worst is ostensibly about two unlikable people—Jimmy, a crotchety young British novelist and Gretchen, a music industry publicist—coming to grips with the fact that a post-wedding one-night stand is much more than that. But thanks in large part of the chemistry of its cast—in addition to Cash and Geere, Desmin Borges and Kether Donohue fill out the foursome as Jimmy’s PTSD-addled roommate, Edgar, and Gretchen’s unhappily married best friend, Lindsay—the show’s often crude dialogue rises above trying-too-hard boorishness and becomes believable banter between close friends. And what makes it one of the best shows on television is that the sharp writing, bawdy humor, and that undeniable something between the cast’s main quartet are deployed as ammunition in a fight against the ridiculous way that TV typically portrays romantic relationships.
Despite what so many rom-coms suggest, life, as Grantland’s Andy Greenwald put it in a piece about the show, “doesn’t get boring once coupledom starts.” Relationships, by and large, are messy, and often on the verge of disaster. Particularly when those relationships—and I can, uh, attest to this—are heavy on boozy brunches and weddings and the general dysfunction that is life as a millennial in a major metropolis. Here in the real world, absurd alcohol-related drama and been-there-done-that cynicism are just as prevalent as hand-holding and I love you’s for new couples.
Which is why You’re the Worst works so well. Gretchen and Jimmy—two relationship-averse and semi-toxic human beings—almost immediately skip past the meet-cute phase, dipping a toe into the “getting serious” waters at the very beginning. This allows Falk to portray the confused couple ricocheting around the vast, complicated middle ground before marriage—both of them with fingers fixed to their ejector-seat buttons throughout. The result? Stolen cats, botched threesomes, apartment fires caused by sex toys, and quite possibly the most realistic relationship on TV.
Plus, it’s funny. Really, really funny. I can’t wait for Season 2.