If you’re the kind of person who finds shows like How I Met Your Mother or Hart of Dixie just too sickly-sweet, then You’re the Worst is for you. If those shows are like pink lemonade, this is a tequila slammer with extra lime – tart, sour and delicious.
Our couple here consists of Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere), an egotistical and often just plain rude British writer who’s written a successful book; and Gretchen Cutler (Aya Cash), an acerbic and self-destructive publicist. They meet at a wedding and quickly end up in bed for what each assumes will be a one-night stand. After a torrid session between the sheets however, it seems there may be something more than just physical going on. For both these misanthropes, there are glimpses that they “gets” each other in a way others simply don’t. In between them however are a series of people in their lives who present potential “banana skins”. These include Jimmy’s messed-up war veteran housemate Edgar (Desmin Borges); Gretchen’s wild-child best friend Lindsay (Kether Donoghue) and her rapper client Honey Nutz (Allen Maldonado).
As you’ve probably guessed by now, You’re the Worst isn’t going to be for all tastes. First off, there’s a lot of sex and while it never gets too explicit, it’s not a show to watch with the kids. Some of the situations are pretty confronting too, although they’re generally handled with a light touch and plenty of humour. There’s also some hard drinking, mild drug use, full-on language and petty larceny.
It’s a mark of the skill that series creator Stephen Falk and his writing team have brought to the project that they make you care about this distinctly unlikeable characters. It would have been easy to play the shortcomings of the main characters for cheap laughs, but they’re rounded out in such a way that you can’t help but feel for them. That said, there are plenty of laughs here. The script allows for everything from a wry smile to a full on belly-laugh as Gretchen and Jimmy navigate the dangerous waters of coupledom.
None of this however would work without the outstanding performances of the cast. Key to everything is Aya Cash as Gretchen, who brings sass, style and substance to the production. Chris Geere is the perfect foil as the successful but blissfully obnoxious writer, bringing a ragged edge to the character. The supporting cast are all fine as well, though particular mention should be made of Desmin Borges in the role of Edgar.
It’s safe to say that, despite its critical success in the US (where it’s already in its second season), the Ten Network here are a bit reticent to unleash it on an unsuspecting public – which explains why it’s been shoved over to late Friday nights over on secondary channel Eleven. Still, with catch-ups available via streaming from TenPlay, that shouldn’t prove too much of an obstacle. Give You’re the Worst a go. Who knows, you just may enjoy its bitter edge.
You’re the Worst is on Eleven, Friday nights at 10.30 p.m. (from 2 October 2015).
David Edwards is the editor of The Blurb and a contributor on film and television