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Two New FX Shows About Love and Hate
July 17, 2014  | By Eric Gould  | 1 comment
 

For the time being, new FX comedies are probably constructed more or less from the Louie template: people are followed by a single camera, characters have serious social shortcomings and the comedy comes from small, downbeat personal letdowns.

Married and You're the Worst (above), premiering Thursday night at 10:00 and 10:30 p.m. ET, respectively, don't have the vignetted, semi-surreal structures of Louis C.K.'s show, but the environments are the same with characters acting badly, winning a little, but mostly losing.

And, surprise, those who are married can probably relate more to the traps and troubles in Married. Those who are still on the prowl or can't seem to commit, can find more fertile territory with the jaded singles in You're the Worst who don't believe in romantic love or relationships.

Both shows build on the quiet dread and disaffection of Louie. That is, they have their own intellectual bases that are squarely down on the opposite side of network sitcoms that live on clockwork punch lines and amped up studio audiences.

Married has the more tender heart of the two with an LA couple, Russ and Lina (Nat Faxon and Judy Greer) scrunched into a too small single family home with three kids. Russ is a freelance graphic designer who can't seem to get current on his fees or his family's bills. Lina has left the workforce to be a mother and is suffering a significant case of mommy burnout. They're probably the emblem of the fading middle class that just can't make it financially, although the writers have Russ riding around in a family-sized SUV and maybe, hint-hint, that's part of his problem.

We're often in Russ and Lina's bedroom (a lot in the first four episodes sent for review) and the sex life of the 40-ish parents is not going well. She's tired, terrified of getting pregnant again and/or simply isn't turned on anymore. She's happier reading vampire romances. He's frustrated and since we're in an FX, cable bedroom, there's plenty of simulated male masturbation to go around. (Ditto that for You're the Worst, as well.)
 
Greer (right with Faxon) has been around since her splash ten years ago in I Heart Huckabees and is currently voicing Cheryl on the FX animated comedy Archer. (She's also an annual favorite as Esther Bloomenbergensteinenthal in the Chanukah comedy The Hebrew Hammer.)

Married churns angles on the middle-aged facing their evaporating youth and sex appeal with Lina demanding a vasectomy for Russ and Russ trying to collect a fee for work he's done at a nearby college while all the coeds find him old and out of it.

Married isn't perfect, but has some genuine smarts and heart about having everything around you that you would think you'd need -- a healthy, generally loving family -- but still feeling there's something, sometimes a lot, missing.

On the flip side, You're the Worst has no illusions about love or happiness, even if the sex is good. There's not a lot to like about the two dysfunctional leads but maybe more to like about the show's premise and territory. 

Jimmy (Chris Geere) is an opinionated, too-honest (read: insulting) Brit who's made some money as the author of a semi-autobiographical book about his estranged father called Congratulations, You're Dying. Gretchen (Aya Cash, left,  with Geere) is a PR flack for musicians in LA. They meet at a wedding where he acted badly as the former boyfriend of the bride and she's waiting for the valet with a present she has stolen off the couple's gift table. We soon find two cynical, self-absorbed 30-somethings who've been unlucky in love and go immediately between the sheets with each other. They begin seeing each other just as long as it's not referred to as dating. Or a relationship. Yet.

You're the Worst has the advantage of being a romance about unlikable characters who kind of like the basic unlikability of the other so there is a wide area for the story to circle around in, and reverse, of course, as it surely will with characters steeped in erratic and erotic love. Jimmy and Gretchen are best in bed with each other, in that non-verbal territory where they, at least initially, communicate.

You're the Worst also features Stephanie Courtney in a few scenes as a local bookshop keeper full of invective and judgment for Jimmy. She's the irrepressible Flo from the Progressive auto insurance commercials and it's pleasing to see her in a role against that stereotype, without the white headband and the bubbly-scary smile. It's not clear from FX press material whether her character is recurring but hopefully it is.

Married and You're the Worst do well for not prettifying love and lust with all the hackneyed television tropes and gets right down to the hard knocks.

You might call them FX's new non-rom-coms.




 
 
 
 
 
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1 Comments
 
 
eLINE
yay! DROVE ME CRAZY TRYING TO FIGURE OUT WHERE i KNEW THE BOOK STORE MANAGER CHARACTER FROM.... AND ITS FLO!!! GOD I SEE HER A THOUSAND TIMES A DAY IN COMMERCIALS BUT WAS STUMPED! HOPE SHE HAS A REOCCURRING ROLE. COOL TO SEE HER NOT AS THE PREGRESSIVE LADY.
Jul 25, 2014   |  Reply
 
 
 
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