‘YOU’RE THE WORST’ Interview: Aya Cash and Chris Geere Take Season 2 to New Heights


IMG_0949Preston Barta // Features Editor

FXX’s little series that could, YOU’RE THE WORST, wormed its way into the hearts of critics and audiences with its first season. Last year, we saw Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) meet at a mutual friend’s wedding and share what was intended to be a feelings-free, one-night stand. What followed was an odd love story that tried desperately to be anything but.

After its 10-episode run, YOU’RE THE WORST closed the book on a devilishly terrific first chapter. Tonight, that book opens back up for chapter two, and it’s even better and humorous than before (read our full thoughts here).

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to speak with Cash and Geere about their characters this season, the humor within, and what’s in store for audiences this go-around.

So I was just telling creator Stephen Falk that my favorite comedic scene of the series thus far comes from this season’s second episode (airing next week) when you guys go around the mall and kind of goof around. I found this so funny because I think we’re all kind of guilty of playing games like that with our friends and or significant others. Have you guys done something like that when you’re in a mall? What’s perhaps the worst or funniest you guys have done like that?

Chris Geere: “Yes! When we were filming that whole sequence, which we were in this mall for I think – was it two days, Aya, we were there or was it just one?”

Aya Cash: “It felt like two. I think it might have been just one, I can’t remember.”

Geere: “I think – yes. I think it was just one but there were so many different kind of parts to it, especially the montage that we felt like we were there forever. But it actually reminded me all day of when I was 15 and used to go to the mall on a Saturday with my friends and just goof around and I think that’s a really endearing quality of both of these people who are, you know, a publicist and a novelist going to the mall and mucking around, basically.

So, yes, that’s what the show is all about and we can have something as kind of mindlessly comedic like that and then five minutes later they’re pouring their hearts out to each other about something. So that’s a privilege for us to play.”

Cash: “We’ve actually behaved like teenagers as actors on the day. I got my keys taken away from my scooter because I wouldn’t stop driving it around. And we were introducing Chris to the joys of American eating. He had Cinnabon for the first time and Wetzel’s Pretzels. I mean, we ended up just eating so much crap that day.”

Geere: “Yes, we did! And there’s a thing called an Orange Julius, which I’d never tried before which had more sugar in it than anything I’ve ever had in my life!”

Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, and Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly in tonight's season two premiere episode. Photo courtesy of Prashant Gupta/FX.

Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, and Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly in tonight’s season two premiere episode. Photo courtesy of Prashant Gupta/FX.

[Laughs] I’m just really loving the show this season. Can you talk about how you feel that your characters have developed this season?

Cash: “So I am now a divorcee with two kids, as you know [Laughs]. I think you’re going to see a real continuation of what you saw in Season 1. Obviously the writers know us a little better and I think they play to our strengths. You’re going to get a lot of great ‘Jimmy’ speeches delivered dexterously by Chris Geere.”

Geere: “Why, thank you.”

Cash: “But I think you’ll see a real continuation of what you saw before but also some surprises and some – there’ll be some reveals about our characters kind of back-story and what they’ve dealt with before they were in a relationship. You’ll see Jimmy’s family.”

Geere: “Yes. A continuation of the tone that we kind of set last year but Stephen has apparently so much faith in us that he’s put us in darker territory as well. There’s many opportunities. The same comedy is there, even I believe is better and the one-liners are there and the guests are there, are fantastic this year, but I think as actors and as characters we’ve been put in positions that are even more uncomfortable than the first season. And yes, it’s been a wondrous experience.”

So, it looks like the big challenge early on is the cohabitation aspect of relationships. So I want to know how did your own cohabitation experiences help you inform the experience of Jimmy and Gretchen?

Greere: “Yes, I think it’s the biggest step that a couple can make. It’s a huge kind of compromise in putting your lives together like that. And yes, I found it very difficult in that I was always allowed to leave my wet towel on the bed after a shower when I lived on my own but when I moved in with my now wife that seemed to be problem. So that was my experience from that kind of thing. But with Jimmy and Gretchen, I think Jimmy’s such a selfish guy that this is doubly hard for him to find space for her in his life and that’s where we really explore that in the first couple of episodes and make a joke out of it with a trash can – it had trash bags in the corner and everything. But, the whole how it works in the end with, you know, that compromise and everything is great. I’m really glad that they portrayed it that way.”

Cash: “Yes, I like to eat in bed. My husband doesn’t like that. And he also – when we first moved in together he would walk around and he would touch anything that was mine and be like ‘What’s this? Where does this go?’ and finally I said ‘It’s my stuff. It lives here now.’ So I think everyone can identify with that. And I think what Chris is saying is true that it’s actually the biggest step in a relationship. I think even more so than marriage. Marriage is much more of a psychological step but in terms of the reality of how your life changes with someone, moving in is even bigger.”

Geere: “Yes, you realize once you’ve moved in with someone after a couple of weeks that you’re going to have to give up on a certain part of your life, your previous life, that independence and that doing whatever you want whenever you want to do it. To give that up for anyone is very tricky, but for these two, you know, self-absorbed people it’s doubly hard.”

L-R, Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly, Kether Donohue as Lindsay Jillian, Desmin Borges as Edgar Quintero. Photo courtesy of Autumn De Wilde/FX.

L-R, Aya Cash as Gretchen Cutler, Chris Geere as Jimmy Shive-Overly, Kether Donohue as Lindsay Jillian, Desmin Borges as Edgar Quintero. Photo courtesy of Autumn De Wilde/FX.

There’s a great quote from the show that talks about how Gretchen and Jimmy’s relationship is only going to end one way and I think it says something along the lines of whether it’s two weeks or 20 years there’s a horrible sadness and pain coming their way and they’re inviting it in. Do you think that people like Gretchen and Jimmy, who may or may not be right for each other can still have a lasting relationship, or do you just think that we take these leaps of faith with people for self-betterment or maybe in the hope that they’ll perhaps change?

Cash: “I actually think Jimmy and Gretchen are right for each other. I think the point of that sort of speech is not that they’re wrong for each other, it’s that nobody can possibly make a relationship work in this day and age. I mean, some of this is very realistic. We live in a culture of divorce, I mean – and of quick, easy casual sex with Kinder and – Kinder or whatever they are.

You know, so I feel like it’s more a comment on that than, like, why would we even try? I think the truth is that you can only learn some things in relationship with another person and sometimes that’s friendship and often that is romantic love because it is the thing that demands the most of you and therefore there’s only certain things you can learn about yourself when you are in a romantic relationship. And that’s not to say – so I think there’s a sort of idea which is actually what my husband said to me when we were deciding to get married or not. I never believed in marriage really, and he said, ‘Look, even if it doesn’t work out, I will have wanted to have been married to you. Like let’s try this thing and see if it works, and it’s not to say we’ll just get out of it so easy, but it’s – who knows what will happen?’ And that’s the realistic approach and in some ways I think that’s more romantic. And I think the thing with Jimmy and Gretchen is they’re going into something that they believe will end badly but it’s worth it to go through the journey together even if it doesn’t work out and I think that’s actually like the most romantic thing that they could do.”

Geere: “Yes. I love that. That’s brilliantly put. Brilliantly put, Mrs. Cash.”

Cash: “Thanks, Chris.”

Geere: “One of my favorite phrases is when – someone has always given me every time I’ve ever broken up with someone before, which is, ‘Don’t cry because it’s over; smile because it happened.'”

Yes, I’ve heard that as well.

Geere: “And that, you know, at the end of a relationship it’s actually quite a comforting thing to hear. I think you have to take that leap of faith and you have to go through that hardness and the battle that is every relationship and singlehandedly the toughest thing I’ve ever done in my life, which is marriage, but it’s also the most rewarding as well. And people these days I think are braver. There are so many options available in terms of trying to find someone but people are using their instincts more. I’m normally using my friend’s – you know, a couple of my single friends are on these social sites at the moment as examples, but they’re being far more instinctive than they’ve ever been and they won’t waste anyone’s time if the relationship doesn’t look like it’s working, but if it does they’re really pursue it and they’ll dive in and that diving in thing is something that Jimmy and Gretchen – well I can only speak to Jimmy really, has never – he’s never done before.”

YOU’RE THE WORST‘s new season premiere is tonight at 10:30 p.m. E/P only of FXX, followed by an encore presentation at 11:30 p.m. E/P.

About author

Preston Barta

I have been working as a film journalist since 2010, dividing the first four years between radio broadcasting and entertainment writing in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex. In 2014, I entered Fresh Fiction (FreshFiction.tv) as the features editor. The following year, I stepped into the film critic position at the Denton Record-Chronicle, a daily North Texas print publication. My time is dedicated to writing theatrical film reviews, at-home entertainment columns, and conducting interviews with on-screen talent and filmmakers, as well as hosting a podcast devoted to genre filmmaking (called My Bloody Podcast). I've been married for seven happy years, and I have one son who is all about dinosaurs just like his dad.