Why You’re the Worst Is the Best New Comedy of 2014

Why You’re the Worst Is the Best New Comedy of 2014

You're the Worst 1

2014’s been a strong year for new comedies: Benched, Playing House, Selfie and Enlisted all established themselves as must-watch shows early on, though only Benched appears it will remain on the air until its season finale (and Playing House was finally renewed last week by USA!). However, all of these well-received comedies pale in comparison to one particular show: You’re the Worst, which debuted alongside Married this summer as part of FX’s new foray into rom-com – and quickly became one of the best comedies on television, new or old.

Starring Chris Greerre and Aya Cash as Jimmy and Gretchen, You’re the Worst is a show that eschews traditional cliches and tropes at every angle. The stars sleep together in the first five minutes, first of all – and from there, the show steps back and watches two messy characters try to make sense of their damaged emotions, pushing themselves towards each other in pursuit of something neither one actually wants to believe in anymore. And the farther the two run away from their lives and towards each other, the more their budding relationship turns into an opportunity for growth, a chance for Jimmy and Gretchen both to leave painful pasts behind, and start anew by making the “punk rock” choice, and actually investing in a relationship.

What really seals You’re the Worst as the year’s best new comedy, however, is how it unflinchingly looks at the positives and negatives that come around the central couple, detailing the lives of post-traumatic stress-afflicted Edgar and uptight, repressed Lindsay as they come to terms with the new “couple” in their lives. It’s highlighted by the season’s best episode “PTSD”, which points out just how great Gretchen and Jimmy are for each other, and just how toxic their worldviews and behavior can be to the rest of the world: in it, a grudge between the two turns into a competition of sexual conquests, in turn leading to an argument, and completing with the two finally admitting to be exclusive (in that snarky, sarcastic way that lets us know they’re growing, but still have a long way to go).

However, “PTSD” doesn’t end with the resolution of their dispute: it ends with a montage detailing the fallout of their competition on everyone else in their lives. A celebrity Jimmy slept with (Megan Thomas) gets mad when he sees Jimmy’s cover story (titled “Inside a Hollywood IT Girl (Literally)”), Jimmy’s ex Becca smokes a cigarette after being visited by Jimmy, and a young Ohio native Lindsay seduced and traumatized leaves L.A. for good. While You’re the Worst is all about the growth of two characters learning to love themselves again, the show doesn’t shy away from the dark side of those attempts to grow, the fits and starts of maturity that consist of all the selfish mistakes adults look back on and laugh at. In the closing moments of “PTSD”, however, they’re not laughing situations (the path to Lindsay getting divorced kicks off this episode, for example, shaking up her life in a major way).

“PTSD” certainly isn’t the only great episode in You’re the Worst‘s first season (“Sunday Funday” and the finale are also fantastic eps of television in their own right), but it’s the emotional depth “PTSD” finds in its final moments that encapsulate the entirety of the story and characters of the show, a recognition that a romantic comedy doesn’t have to be light on comedy or characters, fleshing out a world beyond the two people supposedly learning how to love each other. And because of that, You’re the Worst is able to deliver emotional stories on multiple levels, topped off with the reluctant love story of Gretchen and Jimmy, sealing its place as the best new comedy of 2014.

Photo via FX

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