“Dramedy” is a term thrown around a lot when it comes to television, especially when it comes to deciding whether emotionally versatile shows like Orange is the New Black, Transparent, and Jane the Virgin are one or the other. The fact of the matter is that today’s TV isn’t as black and white as it used to be when it comes to comedy versus drama.
In the past, TV comedies had to roll out “A Very Special Episode” in order to do something more dramatic, but now, they tend to weave in powerful moments more seamlessly, and an excellent example of this is on FXX’s You’re the Worst.
The ironic thing is that FXX is a network that’s supposed to be geared toward comedy, a run-off of the FX franchise and their ever-increasingly-crowded lineup. And yet YTW is doing (and has been doing even last season) some really emotionally advanced plotlines, despite being a show that’s supposed to—and does!—make you laugh.
The first example is Edgar, played affably by Desmin Borges. Edgar is a young veteran who’s dealing with PTSD, which sounds like something you’d see on Emmy’s former Best Drama winner Homeland. In Season Two, he deals with his anxiety and insomnia by enrolling in an improv group, which actually can be a form of therapy.
Edgar is the absolute heart of the show, and strangely enough, the most optimistic of the four main characters despite having gone through so much. Borges plays Edgar as a wide-eyed little boy at points, an interesting take on post-war life considering that most soldiers played out on TV and movies are jaded and angry.
Edgar’s counterpart (and crush) is Lindsay, played brilliantly by Kether Donohue. While Donohue is mostly known for her voice-over work, she’s a physical force to be reckoned with on YTW, stealing every scene she’s in. Lindsay is a young divorcee, whose learning how to live life on her own for the very first time. She’s like Bambi walking across ice, but with wing sauce all over her face.
She’s needy, superficial, but you can’t help rooting for her. In the most recent Sunday Funday Halloween-themed episode, Lindsay’s run-in with a character in a haunted house inspires her to take control of her life. The final scene of the episode, with Lindsay returning to her own haunted house with a determined look on her face, makes this character more than just a supporting player with a one-note joke. Lindsay might be considered a classic stereotype of a Millennial, but she has depth.
In addition to these plotlines, You’re the Worst also has been tackling mental illness this season, with Gretchen (Aya Cash) revealing to Jimmy (Chris Geere) that she’s clinically depressed and that there’s nothing he can do about it but accept it and try not to fix her. This is quite the departure from 20 years ago when sitcoms would wrap-up “very special” storylines by the end of the episode, with the disturbance never to be heard of again.
It’s great to see that characters in comedies don’t have to be flat anymore, that they can deal with real-life problems just like their dramatic counterparts. There’s no confusion over whether YTW is a comedy, so if Emmy voters are watching, they should definitely know where to put Edgar and Lindsay on their ballot next year.