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NPR Arts & Life

Here's One TV Show You Might've Missed: 'You're The Worst'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

We know many of our listeners may be with family this weekend. Talking can be so hazardous at family reunions. Isn't there something we can binge-watch that might have been missed this year? We've reached out to a few TV critics to ask what shows they saw and liked but maybe haven't quite caught on yet. Melanie McFarland is a freelancer and an executive board member of the Television Critics Association. She joins us from the studios of member station KUOW in Seattle. Thanks so much for being with us.

MELANIE MCFARLAND: Thank you so much for having me.

SIMON: You have recommended the show "You're The Worst."

MCFARLAND: (Laughter) Yes, and I've got to just preface this by saying you may not want to watch this with your family unless you're all adults. "You're The Worst" is the kind of television romantic comedy that actually goes against the grain of all the typical romantic comedy tropes. So that also means there's some very uncomfortable scenes of sexuality and really reckless drug taking, those kinds of things. So...

SIMON: A laugh riot, Melanie, I got to tell you.

MCFARLAND: (Laughter).

SIMON: And you've left out depression, which is the key plot point, as far as I'm concerned.

MCFARLAND: Well, but that's for season two. So if you're actually going to be binge-watching it, season one is really - it's - the reason it's called "You're The Worst" is that it's about two people, Gretchen and Jimmy, who meet at a wedding and they both are just behaving very poorly. In fact, they meet outside the venue where the wedding is taking place after Jimmy has literally been tossed out on his butt.

(SOUNDBITE OF TV SHOW, "YOU'RE THE WORST")

CHRIS GEERE: (As Jimmy Shive-Overly) So what have you heard about me?

AYA CASH: (As Gretchen Cutler) Nothing, just that you're the worst.

GEERE: (As Jimmy Shive-Overly) Says the girl who just stole a blender from a wedding.

CASH: (As Gretchen Cutler) No, really? Oh, man. I thought it was a food processor.

GEERE: (As Jimmy Shive-Overly) Who's the worst now?

CASH: (As Gretchen Cutler) Yeah, well.

MCFARLAND: They decide that they are pretty much perfect for each other except not in the typical way. They essentially just decide that each other may be more horrible than anyone else. And they end up sleeping together despite their best efforts to really kind of fight any kind of connection to any other human beings.

SIMON: Based on the few minutes I saw, this struck me as "Friends" made from the characters that the people who wrote "Friends" cast off earlier in development.

MCFARLAND: Oh, I don't even think they would have even made it into the audition for "Friends."

SIMON: Yeah, all right.

MCFARLAND: Yeah, and that's the thing that's really great about it is that we think of these shows like "Friends," these are people who live together and, you know, we always knew that Ross and Rachel were going to get together. But with this, you have these two characters who are fighting every single step of the way to not be committed to each other, and yet every single episode has them being drawn more and more into what they consider to be the trap of commitment.

SIMON: It's a very cleverly done show.

MCFARLAND: It is. And the thing that really makes it stand out in the second season, as you mentioned before, there is an entire depression storyline. And one wouldn't think of - it's a comedy about depression. I'm someone who lives with depression and as someone who's been inside of it, there are moments where - looking back when I'm not in it, there are moments that if I tell stories to people it's actually very comical But being inside of it, it's not. And the great thing about this season is that the character who does suffer from depression, you see her and you kind of feel what it's like to be inside of this hollowed out feeling. But you also get to experience the people around her and how they react to it. But really it's Jimmy who kind of has this whole desire to fix Gretchen.

SIMON: Yeah, I wondered about that because that's not always the best motive for keeping a relationship together.

MCFARLAND: No, and this is one of the things I was really thinking about. You know, when people find out that I write about television - and I think this probably happens to a lot of TV critics - the first thing they say is what's your favorite show or what should I be watching? Well, the thing about "You're The Worst" is this is the first show that I would say is actually a prescription for people who might have a friend who's suffering through depression or might be suffering through depression himself or herself. There really aren't a whole lot of shows on television - I can really think of one other, "BoJack Horseman" - that really take this issue on and look at it in a way that is accurate and feels true and yet doesn't lose its sense of humor.

SIMON: Melanie McFarland, TV critic and executive board member of the Television Critics Association, thanks so much for being with us.

MCFARLAND: Thanks so much for having me.

SIMON: And tomorrow on Weekend Edition Sunday, my colleague Rachel Martin talks to NPR's Linda Holmes. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.