You're the Worst, FXX's seminal modern-romance dram-com, is now into its third season, and as more people discover the show, its survival has relied on critical acclaim and more importantly, fearless turns from co-leads Chris Geere and Aya Cash as the central anti-couple Jimmy and Gretchen. Season two made headlines for tackling clinical depression via a heinously Emmy-snubbed tour de force performance from Cash. But based on last night's episode, it looks like season three is shaping up to be a showcase for Geere.
Of the show's four guarded characters, Geere's Jimmy Shive-Overly keeps his defense mechanisms up the most consistently. And those walls will certainly come up after last night's episode, in which Gretchen learned that Jimmy's father—who, as we saw last year, is the root of many of his issues—passed away. Gretchen's going to have to tell Jimmy, and when she does, both Jimmy's immediate and delayed reactions will be unpredictable, and you can be sure there will be a cruel streak that tests his relationships with Gretchen and everyone else around him.
Which is funny, because last week, when Geere made his late-night TV debut, one thing was immediately clear: he might be one of the nicest guys in Hollywood. We hopped on the phone with Geere to discuss the duality of being a married family man most famous for playing a sarcastic prick, get details on Jimmy's season three arc, and talk all things YTW.
I've watched you on air and I've been reading other interviews, and everyone says you're one of the nicest guys they've ever met in Hollywood. I was wondering: what attracted you to the role of Jimmy, who is this all around asshole?
If you ask any actor what role they'd like to play, the majority of actors will say bad guys. This is the first role that had ever come up in my whole career which was basically a little bit of me mixed up with the antithesis of me. Jimmy is so mean and obtuse in ways that I would never be, but I was excited about doing a role that was different like that.
That's interesting you said he's a little like you. What are the ways that you see yourself in the character?
It takes him a long while to recognize that he needs a change as a human in relationships and things. Obviously we're the same age, me and Jimmy, but there are certain turning points of your life that happen in your thirties: How I felt when I first fell in love; how I felt when I realized that maybe the girl I was with was the one. It's really interesting to explore the vulnerable side of him. I never wanted him to be just mean all the time—there needed to be a reason why he did and said the things that he did and said. I thought there was something very human underneath all the bravado.
Going off that, at the start of season three, how do you think Jimmy has changed from the pilot? Are we seeing more of a human, less guarded side of him?
By having Gretchen at his side has made him so much stronger. You'll find out throughout the season that he's been pretty much on his own for a lot of the time. He's spent his entire life being the master of his own failure. He's never had many friends because of the way he behaves around people. He's never been very close with his family. So, he's a product of that now, and I think this season goes really deep into the roots of those insecurities.
Is the cliffhanger that ended this week's episode going to be a storyline that drives Jimmy's arc this season?
It's a very prominent part. A grieving process for any individual is unpredictable and I think we'll really get to see many different levels of coming to terms with that news. Sometimes in a hilarious way and sometimes in a heartbreaking way. It's a brilliant season for me.
Last year, it was Aya and Gretchen's depression and this year it seems like it's gonna be you and dealing with grief. The show's been described as one of the leading series in this wave of comedies that are also very dramatic, so what's it like being a part of that?
I think you can never really put us in a box. It is a comedy, yes, it was always meant to be a comedy, but I think it's like a new thing, it should be its own title. Like a real love story. A very current love story. A joy about being a part of the show is—I'm looking at my script now and the scenes I have next week, for example. One of them is a montage sequence which I can play a specific level of physical comedy, and the other is a very serious, traumatic thing. I just don't think you get many comedies where you can mix the tone up the way that we do, and I think that's why people find it relatable and interesting.
What's it like being a married family man, playing a role that's kind of a reflection on modern dating? Is it hard to get into that mindset?
When I get on the plane from England to America, I think I subconsciously switch from husband Chris and daddy Chris to actor Chris. There's also a transition when I get home as well. It's hard to switch back from Chris Geere playing this guy on the TV show and living in Los Angeles and going back and becoming husband and dad as my main role again. I put all the thanks down to my wonderful family for that. But as with Jimmy and all men, I think, in general, they're not very good at committing themselves to many different roles at the same time. I'm constantly trying to find the balance between being a good dad, being a good husband, being a good friend, being a good son, and being a good actor, all at the same time and it's something that Jimmy suffers from as well. He can never be a good writer and a good boyfriend and a good friend and all these things. It's constantly a challenge.
Of course the other big moment from these two episodes was Lindsey stabbing Paul.
How cool was that?
Hilarious. But it also seems like the show is heading towards even darker territory, or more surreal?
Yes! As with the depression storyline, you'll find across the season that all four of them, in their own way, are completely out of their depth. And when anyone's out of their depth, you behave in a way that normal you would not behave. Lindsey never set out to stab Paul, but what happens now that she has done that? What are the consequences of that, in terms of her and her friendship and her marriage? Same with Edgar now that he's flushed these meds down the toilet. What happens then? Jimmy has said that he loves Gretchen—what happens then? This is really the consequences of these actions.
What are the odds of season four looking like so far?
Well, we can't count our chickens before they hatch, but I know that all of us would absolutely love to come back so it's down to the audience and the critics and the network. I would be thrilled, as will the fans I know, so fingers crossed.