vulture lists

Which You’re the Worst Character Was the Worst in Season 1?

Photo: FX

You’re the Worst — the FX comedy that wrapped up its stealthily fantastic first season last night — is replete with selfish sometimes-sociopaths who all, to varying degrees, do horrible things to each other and themselves. In an effort to put my power-ranking skills to good use during the Pretty Little Liars off-season, I have conducted a thorough investigation of everyone and everything that could potentially be the worst in the series and offer the results below. Of course, since there is an inverse relationship between how terrible these characters are at heart and how amazing they are to watch in action, this is also a ranking of the best things about You’re the Worst, arranged from least worst to the actual worst.

27. Edgar
We have a serious problem with veteran homelessness in this country — almost 50,000 veterans experienced homelessness on a single night in January this year — and it didn’t even occur to me that this issue could be explored in a way that is both (oddly) respectful yet still hilarious. I thought all we’d ever have was that one episode of The West Wing that was all Serious Toby Eyebrows and Christmas spirit. But then Edgar came along, with his tragicomic trio of real problems: “The nightmares, and the crying, and how I want to do heroin all the time.” The show manages to mock his weirdness but not his sickness, usually mining jokes from the way in which he is failed by everyone around him and not the ways in which Edgar is failing. He really does try to be a good roommate and friend. And he cooks so well!

26. Eating all the free frozen-yogurt samples, then leaving without buying anything 
Full disclosure: I have pretty casual ethics regarding food theft. Frozen yogurt is basically an edible lie: a cold, still-very-high-in-sugar confection masquerading as a healthy yet satisfying alternative to ice cream, and it deserves to be stolen for the sham that it is.

25. Sam, Honey Nutz, and Shitstain
Gretchen’s rap-star clients are completely ridiculous, unreasonable, and impossible. But they also provide little flashes of wisdom and a constant stream of hilarity. Showrunner Stephen Falk told TV Guide the most fun spinoff he could imagine would involve these three guys “skateboarding and making weird music and going to architecture seminars,” something I obviously need in my life starting yesterday. I like that they go to Beverly Hills to see Wes Anderson movies, too, and that Sam just wants his beautiful house to be featured in Curbed, Apartment Therapy, and Black Dwell.

24. The mustache Jimmy wears whenever he’s out snooping
I mean, look at this. It’s right up there with Blair’s spying beret.

23. Paul
The sweet little vignette of Paul trying to recourt Lindsay by showing her how he spends his days made me think, just for a moment, that these two crazy kids could work their marriage out. He rides that weird, reclining bike, he home-brews beer — this is annoying to me for some reason; like, don’t people who do this understand that the whole point of specialization was to never have to do things like “brew your own beer” ever again? Anyway, he flirts via telescope like that cute kid who got kissed by Sally Draper in the Mad Men finale. For six weeks every summer, he goes to a magic camp for adults. He’s odd. But unlike almost everyone else in the You’re the Worst universe, he is actively trying every single second to be a good husband and make Lindsay happy. You know, until he isn’t.

22. Killian
Nobody give this kid a phone; he might become a YouTube celebrity.

21. Lindsay
Where has Kether Honohue been all my comedy-loving life? Lindsay has this bananas, just-got-high-on-helium voice, but she says words like sluts and cocaine with a relish I haven’t seen since Jenna Maroney graced our screens. She is a screw-up of a wife and an enabler of a friend, but she means well. I have hope for this one. Especially now that her husband has given up on her, maybe she can try to date and marry for substantive (not to be confused with substance-abusive) reasons?

20. Marriage
You’re the Worst: aggressively chipping away at the Friday Night Lights idea of marriage as a safe, happy union of soul mates since July 2014.

19. Gretchen
Gretchen isn’t actually “the worst” in the same way that Jimmy is (more on him later). It’s more that she is the worst at things: at making decisions, at trusting other people, at taking care of herself. But she hits bottom before the series even begins with that whole cocaine-at-the-studio, DUI-on-the-way-to-her-not-boyfriend’s-house situation; once we meet her, she is already awkwardly finding her way to a more mature and semi-stable future. There are all these signs that she is a really good person underneath it all: She’s still friends with Lindsay, she’s killing it at work, she’s taking care of her clients. She’s better at expressing what she wants and needs than Jimmy is — not by much, but I’m grading on a curve here — and is much better at her job. Jimmy stares at a blank screen; Gretchen gets off her ass and gets things done, whether it’s damage control for an interview gone awry or the coordination of a “controlled rollout” of a teen star’s naked photos.

18. The Bookstore cat
Cute, fat, helpless, harmless. Also, presumably, literary.

17. Becca
This girl should be grateful I put her so high on here, honestly. Anyone who throws a barbecue but then locks her friends in her backyard just so she can orchestrate the perfect, elaborate, “We’re having a baby!” announcement deserves so much less than I am giving her right now.

16. Gretchen’s parents
“Finish Your Milk” was the one episode that felt out of step to me. Must Gretchen’s parents be so cartoonishly uptight? Of all the stereotypical Waspy sports, do they really need to play tennis? And why would Jimmy need to show up and be her valiant knight? Like, you’re not her boyfriend, stand down, psycho. But, strictly in the context of “which people on this show are more or less terrible than other people,” I feel confident in saying Gretchen’s parents belong on the bottom half of this list.

15. Jimmy
Entitled, bitter for kind of no reason (you can handle a failed/non-proposal with grace, Jimmy! See also: Elle Woods), deliberately ruins his ex’s wedding, wrote what sounds like an insufferable novel but refuses to write magazine stories in between books, takes advantage of everyone around him; I could go on. If it weren’t for his crackling chemistry with Gretchen and the glimpses of humanity we see when he extends (limited) kindness to Edgar, Jimmy would seem like a pretty irredeemable fellow. His accent is cute, though! And when he’s being mean, at least, he is usually being very, very honest. He made Gretchen a key, and even though, from that final-frame-of–The Graduate look of rising panic on his face, I’d say there’s only a 50/50 shot he will still be happy-ish about this decision come next season’s premiere, I like to believe that he could one day become a halfway-decent guy.

14. Cigarettes, people asking to bum one
They’re pretty expensive.

13. Cigarettes, smoking them in general
I mean.

12. Vernon
The trash juice is really what pushed me over on this one. There is almost nothing sadder than an overgrown frat guy trying and failing to bring back the party by adding endless amounts of vodka into a mixed drink he concocts in a garbage can.

11. Sunday Funday hipsters
“Fun hipster shit is just poor Latino shit from ten years ago.” Were truer words ever spoken?

10. Dana
Gretchen’s work wife and the third in a failed threesome. Criminal offense: being boring, and also being that new friend who thinks friendship is a performance you amp up in front of your new friend’s older, more valued, irreplaceable friend.

9. Jimmy’s novel, Congratulations, You’re Dead
It sounds terrible. Per Sam’s review: “Obviously, I thought it was like boring as shit, and clearly you used to jack off to Hemingway in high school, but the prose was good.” So, terrible.

8. Ty
This douchey director Gretchen hooks up with for a while is every terrible thing about L.A., wrapped in an almost–Adam Levine package, put in one of those oversize houses that no guy in his 30s should actually have because it just makes him look like he’s compensating for something.

7. Mondays
You can have a job and still hate Mondays. Garfield does.

6. The V.A. bureaucracy
Just give Edgar the meds he needs! Stop giving him the runaround and inventing fake illnesses like “Domestic Civilian Transference Syndrome by Proxy,” even though, yes, that is a great name for a fake psychological condition and also for the band I just started.

5. Megan Thomas
Like the world needed more evidence to support the bogus fantasy that male journalists totally have a chance of sleeping with the female stars they interview.

4. Gretchen’s apartment, first half of the season
Almost impressed by how thoroughly disgusting it is.

3. Insouciance
That awful, pretentious restaurant where the wait is 10 billion hours and then the reward for waiting is you get to sit on a backless barstool in the close proximity of eavesdropping, obnoxious strangers.

2. Jimmy’s prepared heckles for Sandra Bernhard
“Look! There’s the second worst thing about the ‘80s after Reagan’s trickle-down economics, which immediately caused an 8 percent rise in unemployment and an explosion in income inequality. Stuff like that.”

Actually the worst.

Which You’re the Worst Character Is the Worst?