YOU'RE THE WORST Creator Stephen Falk on the Network Move, Season 2, and Allowing Growth in the Characters - Give Me My Remote : Give Me My Remote

YOU’RE THE WORST Creator Stephen Falk on the Network Move, Season 2, and Allowing Growth in the Characters

September 8, 2015 by  

Credit: Autumn De Wilde/FX

Credit: Autumn De Wilde/FX

YOU’RE THE WORST — one of the best new shows from last year — returns on Wednesday, September 9th with a new season, and with a new home on FXX.

And those aren’t the only shifts going on: Gretchen and Jimmy have reluctantly moved in together (after Gretchen’s apartment burned down), Lindsay is newly single, and Edgar…well, he’s still into Lindsay.

For fans of the smart, yet charming, comedy, there’s also a bit of good news: season 2 will consist of 13 episodes, up from season 1’s 10 installments.

I spoke with YOU’RE THE WORST creator Stephen Falk about the larger season, switching networks, allowing growth in the characters, and more…Does the shift from FX to FXX change anything for you?
Stephen Falk: No. I wish I had a much more creative answer. I already made the one joke I could think of…we don’t film anything where that extra “X” goes [in the logo].

It doesn’t really change anything. The stock answers are it lowers our ratings threshold [for a potential renewal], which is great. And it signifies a vote of confidence [from the network]: it could feel like a demotion, but actually they want to use us to help define what the network’s going to be. Carving out a distinct identity in the current cable landscape is really difficult. And certainly when you’re making a second network, trying to distinguish it from the other is important. I guess the default now for [FXX] is younger and comedy. But I think they’re still playing around with that, and hopefully we’ll help. A) We’re not that young, and B) we’re not that balls-out funny. I think we’re a really funny show, but we’re more smart-funny. We’re not, like, IT’S ALWAYS SUNNY, funny. At times, we’re pretty stupid.

How did having the extra episodes this year impact how the writers shaped the season?
SF: Even “Sunday Funday,” it was very important for me for each of those characters to have arcs, and for it to progress their relationships. So even though that show was 17 locations, and a lot of fun watching them have fun, it did then end with a big step in their relationship, where Jimmy says [to Gretchen], “Don’t go.” Even though in six, they say they’re going to be exclusive, in five, he asks her not to fuck this [other] guy, and she says OK.

But we do certainly do a lot of special episodes. There are probably four or five that have very distinct and different character [to them], this season. We have a bottle episode, we have an episode that mostly features characters we haven’t met before — almost a Nikki and Paulo in LOST [situation]. So we do a lot of fun stuff, in a lot of ways, to keep us entertained.

In a longer season, there is a certain amount of vamping. I learned on WEEDS, around episodes 7 and 8, when you’re almost in the doldrums, a little bit, of the three-act structure — in the middle of act two, if you think of your season, holistically, as I do, in the middle of one story — you’re kind of at a slight stasis point before the conflict reaches critical mass. But there’s the opportunity in that to have some fun. Our episode 8 this season happens to be our Sunday Funday episode.

Jimmy and Gretchen are certainly moving forward in their relationship. While they might rebel against the more traditional gestures of affection, they seem to work (and express their love) in ways that are very them. What is the balance like in trying to progress in that relationship — and having them share those genuine moments — while still staying true to their authentic nature?
SF: I think it really is watching two people being forced to grow up, kicking and screaming. They’re resisting it; they’re like a dog who doesn’t want to walk the direction you want to. Their feet are out, digging into that carpet, and they’re trying not to go. I think that’s A) very common and B) hopefully fun to watch.

In sitcoms, [characters] learn something, but they really end up progressing by the end of every episode. Not that Jimmy and Gretchen will change, fundamentally, who they are, but it’s always been my intention that the relationship progresses. And there is growth and self-improvement that goes along [with that]. But I think it’s two people that are so resistant to being tied down or behaving properly that they’re always going to be rebelling and fun to watch. I could imagine a version of this show — and maybe it’ll be season 4 — where they have a kid, but still fighting so hard not to be boring parents. As long as they remain who they are, I think we’re going to avoid some of those traps.

How much does the solidity of Jimmy/Gretchen give you room to play with the “will they-won’t they” aspect of Edgar/Lindsay’s relationship?
SF: That’s funny. I guess I never thought of that. In a weird way, while wanting to avoid the “will they/won’t they [trope],” I’ve created [it in] another set of characters.

Lindsay has a lot on her plate right now. So, dealing with [the loss of] Paul is [rough]…she didn’t want something, but when it’s taken away from her, suddenly she wants it. I think that’s a little more on her mind than the Edgar thing.

During the show’s TCA panel, you shared that you’re expecting a child in real-life. How has that changed your writing?
SF: I don’t think it has, though having a girl baby on the way, I think my already vibrant feminist side is only going to get stronger. And, probably, my distaste for exploitation is probably going to rise a bit, because there’s always the [thought of], “That could be my daughter.”

[Those issues have] always been important to me. I have a gender-balanced writers’ room. I think we’ve written some female characters who get to eat, that aren’t ashamed of their sexuality, who get to have as interesting things to do — and talk about — as the men. In some cases even more interesting. We actually have an episode this season where Lindsay and Gretchen try to pass the Bechdel test to not talk about men. So I’m keenly aware of those things, and think it will only get stronger.

YOU’RE THE WORST season 2 premieres Wednesday, September 9th at 10:30 PM on FXX.


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