‘YOU’RE THE WORST’ Q&A: Chris Geere Talks About Jimmy and Gretchen’s Change in Direction in Season 2


YTW_209_0297d_hires1Preston Barta // Editor

When YOU’RE THE WORST started this year with its second season, it took comedy to a whole new level with its relevancy and situational humor. However, in the weeks since its second-year debut, Stephen Falk’s brainchild has become something more interesting than television’s best comedy. It’s become television’s most honest comedy.

Last week’s episode (“LCD Soundsystem”) was not an episode for everyone. It started from the perspective of people other than our four main stars and it took a deep, dark look at life, relationships, and how routine effects us. It’s one of those events that opens your eyes and makes you think about your own role in the world. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is when you know you have powerful TV on your hands.

We’ve been on one fascinating roller coaster ride with Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) this season, and it shows no signs of slowing down.

Fresh Fiction had the opportunity to catch up with Chris Geere recently about Jimmy’s reaction to Gretchen’s depression and what this means for the rest of the season.

Chris Geere as Jimmy. Photo courtesy of Byron Cohen/FX.

Chris Geere as Jimmy. Photo courtesy of Byron Cohen/FX.

One of the things that really strikes me about the show is the whole storyline with Gretchen and Jimmy now that she’s been dealing with her depression. It’s really brave to take such a vivacious character like her and flip it around. I think Jimmy’s getting really frustrated with that. He tried really briefly to try and shake her out of it in the “Sunday Funday” episode, but I think he’s done trying to reach out with her. So what is that going to mean to their relationship?

Chris Geere: “I think he’s tried everything he can, keeping true to himself and everything. For a very intelligent guy, he’s quite limited emotionally. This is something where he’s really going to have to change in order for the relationship to progress. I think in the final course of the season, you really see him especially having to really compromise, having to really battle with his past, and how he dealt with things before emotionally.

Yeah, I think he mans up eventually. It’s one of my favorite scenes that we did is when he realizes– Later on in the season you’ll see it, when he realizes that, ‘Hang on. She is worth everything.’ He’s about to make a huge mistake. He doesn’t do it because of her. That’s love.

I think the whole depression storyline has been challenging for all of us because we’re trying to stay true to the characters without getting too involved ourselves. I mean, instinctively my instincts are to just be there more for her without us being on set and Stephen [Falk] saying, ‘No. You need to hold back. You need to be Jimmy.’ Jimmy doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t think to give her a hug at the right moment. He doesn’t think he needs to give her space or talk to her. He has a very narrow-minded. More often than not, he’s wrong, which is, I think, tricky because you begin to hate him. I think that’s important that people do dislike him for a little bit, so that they can realize later on that he’s just lost. He doesn’t know what to do.”

When you found out about this storyline, did it surprise you at all that it was taking this rather dark turn?

Geere: “Yes. We only had last season to go by, and last season we knew pretty much what was going to happen in the entire season in the first month. We had that either to look forward to or prepare, in a way. I don’t know whether Stephen chose not to tell us, or we were too busy at the time. We didn’t hear until the second block that, at that beginning of the depression storyline, that that was going to happen.

It was interesting, really, because we never really know where it’s going to go. We can only take the scripts, the episodes, for what they are at the time. We knew because we trust [Falk] so much that it would go somewhere interesting and somewhere somewhat darker than usual. We just had to go with it, really. For me it was very tricky because Aya [Cash] is someone that I bat off all the time. We bounce off each other on set. She would give me lines, and I’d give her lines back. We’d have a real kind of relationship going there.

As the depression storyline progresses, she’s more and more distant. That was really tricky for me because if you don’t have your scene partner to act with, then, because she had her own stuff going on, that was something that, I suppose, I really had to really get into the head of Jimmy, which was, ‘he doesn’t care that she’s not listening.’ He was just interested in what he was saying.

Yeah, it was hard. It was definitely a tricky season for everyone because we call the depression, ‘The 5th Character,’ so there was the four of us and, then, the depression, and the effects that it had on everyone. Integrating that into a show, a tone that we had already formed with the show, was a challenge, but that’s what made it fun and it’s working.”

L-R: David Schaal as Ronny, Geere as Jimmy. Photo courtesy of Byron Cohen/FX.

L-R: David Schaal as Ronny, Geere as Jimmy. Photo courtesy of Byron Cohen/FX.

Two weeks ago, there was a great scene where Gretchen is at a bar with Jimmy and she thinks out loud about how one different decision could have changed the trajectory of her life. I believe that everyone has thoughts like this at one point in their life. For Gretchen, I think she’s in fear that Jimmy will never truly understand her. I feel like so much could be said about that particular scene. When you read it, what did you think about it, and the personal connections that you made with it?

Geere: “Well, I read it how you would, which was, ‘Oh, she must be feeling this. That’s very important to address that.’ Then, that’s where I need to peel back the layers and go, ‘Actually, no. Jimmy wouldn’t take that on.’ If anything, he’d be offended by that. He’d be offended that when they first met it was a terrible thing, not that I don’t understand her depression. That’s the thing about being a narcissist is that he really doesn’t think deeply enough for that.

I just thought it was a really interesting scene because that’s one of the first times Gretchen really reveals how she feels about something. She normally keeps it to herself, so for her to just admit that, that’s a big admission. Yeah, I think that’s the start of the end, really, for them. That carries on in the next few episodes and gets a bit more hurtful. The truth comes out.”

How do you think Jimmy might have handled the situation differently if Gretchen was dealing with a physical disease instead of a mental disease like depression?

Geere: “I think he’d be more educated on it. I think he’s be less naïve. I think he knows the hospital route that he would take with severe intensive-type illnesses. With depression, people don’t understand it. Jimmy doesn’t understand it, so he doesn’t know the steps in order to handle it. I think he’d deal with it a little bit better, but still not how you should behave. I think that’s the point. No one has an answer. No one is perfect enough to respond to that kind of news in the best way. You just do the best that you can.

It’s very typical of a lot of people out there, which are (a) to try and fix it, and, then, (b) if you can’t fix it and you’re pushed away, then you just walk away as hard as that is until you realize that you love them too much that you need to go back.”

In regards to tonight’s episode, I think it’s safe to assume that your family is nothing like the TV family?

Geere:“[Laughs] No. I think all families are tricky. All families are hard. I think the point of this episode, for me, what I really hoped was that it explains a little bit why Jimmy is so distant, twisted and has these issues.

The scene at the bar with my dad at the end (pictured above), the only thing he ever wanted was his father’s approval. He’s been seeking approval from anyone, anywhere, ever since. He goes about that in a very arrogant narcissistic way, but, at the end of the day, we all just want to be loved. We just show it in different ways.

His family are terrible, terrible people. I think it was a nice tonal change from last week and will be different the week after again. That’s the magic of [Falk] and the writers.”

Episode 10 – “A Right Proper Story” of YOU’RE THE WORST airs tonight at 10:30 p.m. E/P only on FXX.

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.