The second season of the FXX comedy “You’re the Worst” was critically acclaimed, but don’t expect the third season to be a rerun of what worked last year.
“We’re trying hard not to top this season in terms of some issue we’re dealing with, like we did with depression,” creator Stephen Falk said at winter TCA press tour. “It’s a very seductive idea, but it would feel like we’re trying too hard. We’re just continuing with the fallout from last season, always moving the characters forward.”
Falk did say there’s a good chance that when “You’re the Worst” returns, the story will commence immediately after the closing moments of the second season, in which Gretchen (Aya Cash) returned an “I love you” from Jimmy (Chris Geere).
“I think time jumps are useful for certain shows, but it feels like a later season thing, when you want to mix things up,” Falk said. “But rather than just a couple weeks later, we thought it would be interesting to see what happens right after ‘I love you’ and then they walk back into the house.”
There’s a good chance that one of the show’s annual traditions — a Sunday Funday episode — will be part of the upcoming season, which will arrive in late summer or fall.
“We’ll have to think of something that doesn’t try to top [Season 2’s Halloween outing]. But it makes sense if we have the right idea, and I think we have the right idea, so tentatively,” Sunday Funday will return, Falk said.
Falk said he appreciated the creative freedom that allowed him to do form-breaking episodes, not only last season’s Sunday Funday, which was set in a haunted house, but also an episode focused on two of Jimmy and Gretchen’s neighbors, as well as a “bottle” episode that took place mainly in Jimmy’s house.
Doing three unusual episodes in a row was “incredibly gratifying,” Falk said. “That could feel stunt-y if you did it too much, but I think it refreshes everyone who works on the show, and hopefully the viewers as well. So we’ll probably be doing some of that again.”
Cash said that she got a lot of positive responses to her portrayal of Gretchen’s clinical depression, which was something she very much wanted to do accurately. And she said that she wasn’t surprised that Gretchen had depression, given that since the show began, the way she lived her life contained signs of significant issues.
When she got the script for the fourth episode of the most recent season, which depicted Gretchen crying alone in her car, Falk gave her “a heads up” about where things were headed for the character.
“It made perfect sense when we discovered that [depression]. When you’re doing as much coke as these characters, you’re probably running from something,” Cash said.
After production on the season wrapped, Cash said that she herself experienced depression for a time.
“I feel like I had PTSD about doing this. I didn’t have it during shooting, but after,” Cash said. “It was almost a delayed reaction to what we were doing. I don’t feel that way [due to a performance] very often, but there’s something to that.”
The show’s depiction of the condition — for both the person with depression and her friends and significant others — won praise from many quarters and landed “You’re the Worst” on many year-end lists. But the outpouring of essays and interviews about the season didn’t influence the approach of the cast and Falk (who spoke to Variety near the end of the season about his creative inspirations).
“Unless you’re just a garbage person, you’re probably not thinking ‘I’m an amazing person and so-and-so just said this about me,’” Cash said. “The critical acclaim has been one of the best things that ever happened to any of us. We obviously believe in the show and really care about it on a day-to-day basis.” But thinking about the kudos constantly “is just not part of our life.”
Noting the show’s relatively small ratings, Cash noted, “We’re not like ShondaLand — we don’t have 25 million viewers. And it’s hard to think of yourself as glamorous and fancy every day when that’s just not what your real life is.”
Geere said Cash’s performance made his job easier. “She gives me gold, and I can just stand there and make my weird faces. I have about eight,” he joked.
Desmin Borges, who plays the couple’s friend Edgar, joked that he pitched Falk on a season three outer-space story as a follow-up to the character’s foray into the world of improv comedy, where Edgar met his girlfriend Dorothy. Although a space trip might not be the best thing for the relatively new relationship.
“I don’t know if he and Dorothy will be able to do long-distance,” Borges said.
Falk said that going forward, Kether Donahue’s character, Lindsay, will wrestle with her decision to have a child with her husband, Paul.
“Getting her power turned back on, it was empowering. I didn’t mean that as a pun,” Falk said of Lindsay. “She was able to come to a place where she made a decision with Paul out of some sort of thought and some sort of maturity, which was a big step for her.”
“We are going to start from [her final season two] moment — that moment of regret — and see what choices the newly enlightened Lindsay will make now that she has her lumpy hubby back.” Also, given that Lindsay has sung in both seasons and that Donahue is part of the cast of Fox’s “Grease Live,” there’s a chance Falk will try to take advantage of her singing and dancing skills in season 3.
Falk, who just began working with his writers on season 3, is certainly busier than he was during previous seasons. He has an overall deal with FX and has other programs in development.
“The other shows I’m working on, I’m writing with other people or just supervising other people. It’s hard and I just had a kid, so we’re multitasking, but obviously this is my main child. Sorry, Bernadette!” he joked.
He quickly clarified that “You’re the Worst” is his most important “TV child.”
“We just started writing the third season and that’s a pretty full-time job, balancing and juggling everything,” Falk said. “I supposed at some point I have to learn how to delegate tasks to other people.”