In just under two seasons now, You're the Worst
on FXX (the first season ran on FX) has become one of the most
intriguing comedies on TV – if not the most challenging series.
The first season was about millennial dating mores
and the changing values in romance. It started when Jimmy (Chris Geere),
a self-absorbed but obscure British novelist, hooked up with Gretchen (Aya
Cash), a jaded music publicist, at a wedding. Of course, they weren't
there to celebrate. He wanted to tell off the bride, who was an ex who
ended things badly. She was looking to steal a food processor.
Somehow, though, their one-night-stand turned into
something of a relationship, despite the fact that both of them abhorred
the very idea of romantic love. They tried to traverse these new waters
with advice from their best friends – her friend Lindsay (Kether
Donohue), a nymphomaniac party girl stuck in a loveless marriage, and
his roommate Edgar (Desmin Borges), an Iraq veteran and former pot
dealer who was trying stay clean from a past heroin habit.
I was able to catch up with the entire cast of
You're the Worst on a location set last summer. At that point, the
show had not yet premiered and I'd only seen two episodes, though the
cast was in the midst of filming a party scene for the season finale.
While the series showed great promise as a jaded anti-romantic comedy,
no one probably would have guessed the emotional depths the series would
come to explore.
good as the first season was, the second season has been something of a
revelation. Show runner Stephen Falk has taken his supremely smart and
interesting characters and given the new nuances. Not willing to skim
along on the surfaces, the second season has been something of a dark
night of the soul for the main characters, but despite some rocky going
in their personal lives, the show remains as funny as ever.
"We're super excited," Desmin Borges told me when I
recently caught up with him again to talk about the second season.
"It's going splendidly, we think."
The second season has been able to dig much deeper
into the four relationships. Lindsay is lost and depressed because her
husband Paul left her. Edgar falls unrequitedly for Lindsay and finally
starts to come to terms with his Iraq experience through improv comedy,
and even find a new love in a neurotic improv comedienne named Dorothy.
Jimmy's literary career is sputtering and he is trying to deal with his
Gretchen moving in with him, particularly after Gretchen starts showing
signs of clinical depression.
In fact, in the recent episode, "LCD Soundsystem," a
stunning example of the changes afoot, the episode almost entirely
revolved around two completely new characters, a neighbor couple who
Gretchen became obsessed with. Gretchen was in less than half of the
show. Jimmy was barely in it. The rest of the show's characters did
not appear at all. Yet the episode may have caused a seismic shift in
all of the series characters' relationships with each other.
As the second season is winding down to the last few
episodes, I sat back down with Borges to catch up on the changes with
the characters and the show.
the most part, Edgar is the only really giving, thoughtful person in the
group. Do you ever wish you could be as bad as the other characters?
Oh, yeah! Of course. I always throw in little
pieces here and there to Stephen and the writers. Like have Edgar break
bad, maybe. Maybe have something where we actually find this scene with
him shooting up, although I don't think that's the direction people want
me to go with the character. But I'd love to. I think at some point,
if we're lucky enough to keep this bad boy going, we're going to have to
see Edgar drop. That's just the nature of mental conditions, PTSD.
It's like a rollercoaster. Right now he's on a really great upward
trajectory, but at some point, statistically speaking, there's going to
be something that rocks his world and brings him back down and he's
going to have to climb again. It will be interesting to see if we ever
get to the point where I get to explore that.
On the other hand, do
you feel that there is something heroic in Edgar that he can remain
basically human when surrounded by such self-absorbed characters?
Yeah. Maybe that's the key to the success. You
surround yourself with people who are inevitably selfish and damaged,
maybe even more so than you at the root, which causes you to continually
be thankful that your side is brighter, off this day or this week.
Edgar has sort of
found himself this season through improv comedy, though honestly he's
not very good at it. Why do you think that appeals to Edgar?
I think he thinks it is something that he's actually
good at. I mean, he's not going to be Will Ferrell or Cheri Oteri
breaking out over there with the group, but I feel like it's something
that gives him a lot of confidence within himself. It has opened up his
world to new friendships. His overall journey for this season is to be
as – and I'm putting quotes up here – "normal as possible." Whatever
that means to anybody. Last year we dealt a lot with him being labeled
as a former vet with PTSD and a pot dealer, riddled with abusing heroin
and constantly watching Rachael Ray. This season, we're actually
moving on to him really trying to transition into civilian life. Into a
formal place in life, so he can interact with other people. I think
he's really enjoying it. And the improv comedy definitely opens up
doors those for him. It gives him confidence.
most recent episode aired, the second Sunday Funday episode, they showed
Edgar relapsing a little bit with PTSD not under his control. Obviously
that is a serious subject for a comedy, but do you think that will be
explored more as the series continues?
Oh yeah. That mental condition lasts. It doesn't
really ever completely leave anybody, no matter how well that they are
doing. Specifically within those circumstances, I mean we were acting
in that haunted house and sometimes I was scared out of my mind. You
can just imagine someone who is riddled with it, for the lights and the
music to be going as it is. People popping out of anywhere to grab you
and clinically do fake harm to you or whatever. I can imagine that that
issue would arise. I'm guessing we'll see more of it. But thankfully
enough, Dorothy was so receptive and understanding, which is one of the
reasons why he falls so hard for her, so quickly. She's just really
such a good person. Actually interested in him, and his life, and his
past experiences. I don't think it was the best place to divulge that
sort of personal information to her, but I'm glad that she was as
receptive as she was in that situation. Then Edgar actually got to have
sex for the first time in three years, which is a hell of a milestone
within itself, right?
I have to admit I've
never seen a no-holds-barred haunted house quite like the one on your
show. Is that a thing now, or did Stephen and the writers come up with
Oh, no, no, that's a thing. The craziest one
apparently is this one in San Diego. It's a minimum of three hours.
There is no safe word. I've gone through one similar when I was in
Texas, when I was a little younger, where you do sign a waiver saying
that you won't sue them if you get hurt or you get too scared and you
pee on yourself, or something like that. I think it's basically like,
unless if you have to be rushed to the hospital and you're dying, they
are not responsible for anything else other than that. So, it's cool
that it came off as well as it did. Our art department and our
director, they did such a damned good job with that. Those seven
minutes in that haunted house, I was there and I remember all those
things, and it's still scary to me. I can only imagine what it's like
for the viewers who weren't actually there shooting.
his own problems, Edgar also picked up on Gretchen's depression very
quickly and I think he sees it more seriously than Jimmy, who almost
looks at it as mostly an inconvenience. Do we get more information on
the source of Gretchen's problem, and will she work towards getting
better as the season goes on?
That's a main storyline for Jimmy and Gretchen
specifically, and the crew as a whole, for the rest of the season.
Clinical depression isn't really something that half-hour comedies,
romantic comedies, anti-romantic comedies, really touch on. It's a very
realistic issue that you deal with in all sorts of different ways,
whether you're in a relationship or you are a friend of someone who is a
relationship. The answer is yes, for the rest of this season we will
continue to tell that story and monitor that storyline. Edgar, of
course, will be as sympathetic as he can be, because he probably is the
only one who truly understands personally what's going on. Although
Lindsay's character in that scene in episode seven, we saw a whole
different side of Lindsay and Gretchen's relationship. How close they
are, with the scene that happened on the bed before she came out and
apologized and told everyone that she was clinically depressed.
performances, the show sort of showed Edgar falling for Lindsay in the
final episode when she sang "This Woman's Work." That continued into
this season, but he was totally friend-zoned by her, in fact, she
treated him more like a girlfriend than anything else.
Lindsay is obviously
kind of a hot mess this season, missing Paul even though she never
really loved him, overeating, not sure how to take care of herself. Do
you think Edgar wanted to save her, or was he really in love?
I think he was really falling for her. If you
remember back to season one, that meta episode when we realize we're
sidekicks. We realize that within our friendships with Jimmy and
Gretchen that they never actually ask us anything about ourselves or
listen to anything that we really have to say. Edgar and Lindsay found
a really good friendship and had really great chemistry together. It's
like that old saying... I don't even know if this is an old saying, but
I've heard so many people saying, "I want to marry someone who is my
best friend." Somebody that you were friends with, that you built a
foundation with. That you can do buddy-buddy things with, but also be
super intimate with. Start a family and start a life with. Edgar in
his mind thought that he was actually falling into what was an
appropriate groove. Then, of course, she just didn't want Edgar in that
way. Although, now, she's super jealous that he has somebody else.
just looking at it from the outside, do you think that Edgar will try to
end up with Dorothy or Lindsay? Dorothy is the sweet, perfect girl who
would probably be better for him, but Lindsay is the one who he could
never get, and that has a strong pull.
Yeah. I think that is ultimately a tug of war that
we're going to watch continue to develop as time goes on. You said it
best, Dorothy is obviously the smarter, more mature choice in the
relationship scenario, but we are creatures that always want what we
can't have. You tell me I can't eat that candy bar, you better be
damned sure that I'm going to do everything in my power to eat that
candy bar. (laughs) I think that's something we'll see him
continue to grapple with as the season progresses.
Have you ever had a
situation like that, where you were interested in a girl and she just
never got it or tried to keep you on the line as a fall back, and then
when you became unavailable suddenly she was back?
Oh yes, very much so. Two specific instances, when
I was in college. One of them happened to be one of my best lady
friends. I thought everything was kind of falling into place. We had
been friends for a couple of years. Then I started to develop feelings
and she really didn't. Then I started seeing someone else and she
developed feelings. Then I broke that off and then I came to her and
she didn't want me anymore. She wanted somebody else. Which is
unfortunate, but it's also indicative of naďveté and the lack of
maturity. I feel like that happens a lot more in younger relationships
than it does once people get into their groove. Into their mid-30s.
But with Edgar, he hadn't had sex in three years. Probably hasn't had a
real girlfriend since maybe he was getting out of high school, right
before he went to Iraq. So emotionally he's still like an 18 to 20 year
old kid. We're witnessing the relationship aspect, so I wouldn't be
surprised if that's something that he goes back and explores quite a
The one episode in
which Jimmy and Gretchen woke up and panicked when you were not there,
if only because they didn't know how to make breakfast for themselves,
was interesting. Do you think that they could survive without Edgar?
It would be difficult for them. They would go
through all the food and all the alcohol in the house first. They might
figure out that GrubHub works – how to work GrubHub or Seamless.com.
But they might die from starvation. Statistically, I'd give it like 76%
that they would die from starvation. (laughs)
would you do on your ideal Sunday Funday?
Right now it's football season, so my ideal Sunday
Funday is I usually have something in the kitchen that I have cooked,
marinated for a night, whether it's some crazy hot chili wings or some
marinated skirt steak. I wake up in the morning and get some Bloody
Marys going. I get some food going on the grill. Then I watch the
first round of games with some friends. Then usually after the first
round of games and eating and having some Bloody Marys, I fall asleep on
the couch. Then I wake up to either watch the night game or if I'm too
tired, I sleep all the way to Monday morning. That to me is a hell of a
Sunday Funday. (laughs)
How is it that you
You're the Worst
can touch on such serious issues and yet still stay funny?
That's just the brilliance of the writing. Stephen
and FX and John Landgraf [CEO of FX Networks], believing in Stephen and
giving us a playground to continue to explore those things. I feel like
every time I hear Stephen talking about notes that he's getting from the
network, it's about: Let this sit longer. Make this a little bit more
awkward. Go deeper with this situation. Let that scene hang for a
little bit. It's nice to have the network, FX's vote of confidence in
you. The thing is, with Edgar, PTSD is not a funny issue. With
Gretchen, clinical depression is not a funny issue. But these people
and the way they deal with them and the way that their friends react to
them in a very selfish manner makes this sort of humorous. We're
commenting basically on the fact that the people around them are the
ones who are disrespectful to the nature of what the beast is. Whereas,
the people in them are really trying to work as hard as they can to
fight through them and to come out on top. As the actors who are
dealing with them, we take it very seriously. We allow the supporting
cast to be the butt of the joke and to fill in the fun for us.
Last season when I
interviewed the four of you, I asked who was the worst and everyone but
you said it was Lindsay. You said Jimmy was probably the worst.
Another season on, have you changed your mind on who is the worst?
I think Becca [Lindsay's sister, played by Janet
Varney] is the worst now. I know she hasn't been in it lately as much.
Her husband, Vern, I think Vern is the best. Him and Paul [Lindsay's
ex-husband] and Shitstain and Honey Nutz [the sidekicks of Gretchen's
rapper client], they are growing on me so fast. Every time those guys
are on screen, I feel such a joyous surge that goes through my body.
But every time Becca is on screen, man she is just inherently vicious
all the time. It doesn't matter to who it is. I understand she's
pregnant right now and sometimes there's hormone imbalances happening
and that, but I'd have to say I think ultimately Becca is the worst. I
think Jimmy is still following right behind her, though.
Any word on a season
No word officially that I know of. I know that we
all feel fairly confident that it will happen, based on what we've done
and the response that we've received from the networks and from our
fans. We know that we would love for there to be a season three,
because we want to keep on telling this story. But there has been no
official word from FX, so I'm waiting, just like you are.