Relationship sitcoms as a subgenre usually stick to a limited number of formulaic storylines—something that You’re the Worst has dodged again and again. Midway through its stellar second season on FXX, when Gretchen (Aya Cash) started sneaking out in the middle of the night without telling her live-in boyfriend Jimmy (Chris Geere) where she was going, the implication that she was cheating seemed clear. But when Jimmy finally caught on, he tailed her and found her not with another guy, but sitting alone in her car, crying—a symptom of her clinical depression, which she confessed was beginning to surface again. It was an audacious twist, but one the show had carefully built toward, and has sensitively explored in the following weeks.
You’re the Worst’s first season was a surprising hit—pitched as an acidic sex comedy about the union of two narcissists, it immediately felt more than the sum of its parts by having such a firm grasp on its central pair, their fear of growing up, and what it means to embark on a serious relationship. In the second season, its creator, Stephen Falk, could have turned to the kind of stories that have waylaid classic sitcom couples like Ross and Rachel or Jess and Nick—jealousy over exes, or meddling parents—but has instead burrowed deeper into what makes his lovably unlovable pair so self-destructive in the first place. Gretchen insists to Jimmy that he can’t cure her depression and that he can only help her weather the storm, but Jimmy pledges to try anyway. It’s painful to watch, but the way You’re the Worst remains true to his and Gretchen’s characters, shunning the devices of typical relationship sitcoms, is its greatest strength.