“You’re the Worst” might not be the best series on TV about self-absorbed Millennials, but it’s far from the worst. Stripped of that context, the show – which returns for its second season, now on the comedy-oriented FXX – is mildly likable, with Chris Geere and Aya Cash as the grudgingly involved central couple, who chafe at any suggestion they might settle down or become boring like, well, other people. The central joke, however, has a repetitive quality, and if series creator Stephen Falk brings a singular voice to the proceedings, it’s partially dulled by the fact that every character essentially speaks with it.
Season one charted the hookup-turned-relationship between struggling writer Jimmy (Chris Geere) and music publicist Gretchen (Aya Cash) as well as the quirky characters that surround them. In season two, they’re both so aghast and agitated about circumstances dictating that they live together that, in the premiere, the two engage in an escalating game of drug taking and sexual derring-do, ashamed to admit that cocaine and “butt stuff” might begin to grow tedious in its own way.
Another episode finds Gretchen deciding its time she purchase a few items for the house, as opposed to just being a vagabond toting replacement underwear around. (There’s an echo of the movie “About Last Night” in this, when Demi Moore discusses the huge commitment Rob Lowe’s character is making by granting her an entire drawer.)
Meanwhile, Gretchen’s friend Lindsay (Kether Donohue) is adjusting to having split with her husband, while Jimmy’s roommate Edgar (Desmin Borges) dutifully waits in the wings, hoping for his opportunity. Naturally, she doesn’t see him as anything more than a tool to advance her objectives, among them serving as a “wing man” when she decides it’s time to go out and meet guys.
“I’m perfectly fine having you as a girlfriend,” Jimmy tells Gretchen at one point, which, in a show where the principals are horrified at the thought of putting someone else’s interests before their own, amounts to professing true love.
Cash and Geere convincingly sell their shared panic, and however dark the writing, there’s something universal – and ripe for comedy – about being at the cusp of taking on a mortgage and actually having to function professionally if you wake up with a hangover. Practically speaking, “Worst’s” cultish following also seems well suited to the narrower platform (that is, FXX) in which FX returns it, paired with “The League.”
The main issue is that the show joins what amounts to a parade of anti-sitcoms featuring narcissists with antisocial tendencies, some funny (see Hulu’s “Difficult People”) and most not, usually set in New York or, in this case, L.A. From that perspective, when Jimmy and Gretchen fret about becoming like “the sweater people” – that is, those boring, sedate, middle-class types living lives of quiet desperation – it doesn’t feel all that edgy. Because thanks to the hunger to speak to this demographic, in TV terms, they pretty much already are.