On the Set of FXX's 'You're the Worst': A Family of Misfits Who "Have a Lot Left to Say"

You're the Worst - Set Visit -Photographed by Jessica Chou-H 2017
Photographed by Jessica Chou

It doesn't have the biggest viewership, but the comedy packs a lot of heart into examinations of heavy topics including depression, PTSD and abortion. A fourth-season renewal gave the close-knit cast even more to bond over.

You're the Worst wrapped its third Emmy-contending season on a hot, dual-unit day last September. The two scenes couldn't have been more different. In downtown Los Angeles, leads Aya Cash and Chris Geere were enjoying a playful game of "You Dropped Something," in which their characters, Gretchen and Jimmy, taunt passers-by as they spend an afternoon drinking. The scene ultimately would get cut from the finale. Elsewhere, Desmin Borges and guest star Collette Wolfe were filming Edgar and Dorothy's breakup in a sparsely decorated Echo Park apartment that, at the end of the season, would become the home of Kether Donohue's struggling Lindsay.

The FXX half-hour, created by Stephen Falk (Orange Is the New Black), is the anti-romantic comedy — Jimmy and Gretchen are two horrible people who are great at being terrible together. The series became a critical favorite in season one, but broke out in its sophomore run when it earned rave reviews for its portrayal of Gretchen's clinical depression.

It averaged 1.09 million total viewers across all linear and nonlinear platforms in season three, where the serious subject matter continued to be family-focused as Gretchen went to a therapist and Edgar battled some PTSD demons; Lindsay's pregnancy and Jimmy's grief over the loss of his not-so-beloved father also pushed the show's line between comedy and drama. "We found a way to meld the fun we had in season one and the creative and tonal flights we took in season two and meld them in a really nice way in season three," says Falk. "I talked about this season being about family, but this morning I realized it's really about the complications of trying to keep a relationship going — and hopefully we are doing it in a fun and not depressing way."

The season also marked the first time that Falk was able to film a finale with the knowledge that the series was renewed for a fourth season and wasn't on the cancellation bubble. "It feels different. … There's never been a positive article about our ratings until our third season premiere — and the reviews were great," he says. "That's what we really care about the most. The hope is that the network likes us and sees longevity, because I feel we have a lot left to say."

This story first appeared in a June standalone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.