I Can’t Tell if It’s the Best or the Worst

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I don’t know what it was about You’re the Worst that compelled me to watch the entire first season. Much like the show’s central relationship, what started as a flirtation/distraction from my other show commitments suddenly morphed into my going to Hulu only to watch it. I found the characters and the idea of the show to be frustrating, but somehow I kept coming back for more.

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The show follows the relationship between Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere), two commitment-phobes who start hooking up and slowly/begrudgingly take steps to end up in a committed relationship. Not really a spoiler, because if you didn’t see that one coming, then you shouldn’t be watching television.

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Gretchen is the cool girl, essentially a female Jimmy who loves to eat breakfast food and have threesomes. She’s a PR Rep for a rising hip hop artist who has found success in business if not friendship by being brash.

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Here’s how Jimmy describes Gretchen to her parents, an uptight country club pair to whom Gretchen has lied about her life:

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“The real Gretchen runs publicity for some of the biggest rap acts in town.
The real Gretchen doesn’t drink milk or take ballet classes.
In fact, she just cancelled her gym membership so she’d have – money for cigarettes.
– FRED: You smoke? JIMMY: Sure, she hasn’t been to the dentist in years and lives off 7-Eleven hot dogs, but she is brave and spontaneous.
And that Gretchen is so paralyzed with the fear of disappointing you that you don’t actually know her at all.
I feel sorry for you two.
You will never know the brilliant, beautiful mess that is your daughter.”

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Jimmy is a bitter struggling writer whose penchant for brutal honesty has left him largely friendless. He has a foot fetish and likes to type out heckles for various events he attends.

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That’s his heckling disguise

Maybe what I like about the show is its occasional gems of wisdom and insight. Like, when Gretchen has this exchange with Jimmy:

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“GRETCHEN: Are you aware that you only want people in your life on your terms?  JIMMY:Yes.
GRETCHEN: Well, stop. You’re self-awareness on this means nothing, if you don’t – change it.”

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I can’t decide if their side-kicks pull me in or repulse me.

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Gretchen’s friend Lindsay has the most obnoxious fake voice and is completely self-involved, but I’m somehow interested in what happens to her character next season.

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Jimmy’s friend Edgar is genuinely charming, and delivers a sometimes heartbreaking portrayal of a veteran adjusting to civilian life. Through him, the show ends up leveling some unexpectedly serious and politically-relevant criticism of the way our country treats veterans. In one episode, Edgar tries and fails to get medication through the VA; in another, he confronts representations of veterans in the media.

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Here’s how Jimmy bucks him up:

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“You bought into a long con. Society screwed you over and we owe you for that. I personally do not owe you, but a sort of collective ‘we’ does. And you need your meds so you can shake off some of the damage done by Cheney’s fictional yellow cake uranium.”

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Here’s how Gretchen describes the group:

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“Edgar is both a patriot and a skeptic.”

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“Lindsay’s both a wife and a skank.”

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“I’m professional and completely unprofessional.”

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“And, you, Jimmy you’re–You’re just one thing.”

I think I stayed for the cheap laughs, the occasional moments of insight, and the chemistry between Cash and Geere.

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Has anyone else seen this show?

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