Two new comedy series on FX both feature flawed characters in relationships that are far from perfect. But beyond these two similarities, the shows couldn’t be any more different. “Married” focuses on the trials and tribulations (OK, mostly trials) of a couple with three kids and a sexless marriage, while “You’re the Worst” focuses on the budding “friends with benefits” relationship of two young professionals.
Now that we’re a few episodes into these shows, I can safely say that they’re both worth a watch. However, you might prefer one over the other because of how drastically different they are. Hopefully answering these six questions will help you decide which new FX comedy is right for you.
1. Do you enjoy steamy moments TV or does watching shows with lots of these scenes turn you off?
There’s a painful lack of lovemaking in “Married.” The premiere begins with Russ (Nat Faxon) making a pathetic attempt to get his wife, Lina (Judy Greer), to show him some affection, whereas Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) jump into bed right away on “You’re the Worst.” “Married” might not feature any steamy scenes, but there are plenty of dirty jokes to give you just a hint of filth.
2. Would you rather watch a guy looking for action or a couple trying to enjoy a nice night out together?
The first episode of “Married” is all about Russ’s quest to have sex. Lina gets so annoyed with her hubby’s constant begging for it, she finally tells him to find someone else to hook up with. He ends up being surprisingly good at picking up chicks for being so out of practice. He goes to get his ears waxed to prepare for his search and he ends up charming the pants off the esthetician.
Russ and Lina are pretty comfortable around each other when they’re not bickering about what happens (or doesn’t happen) in the bedroom, but Jimmy and Gretchen have the opposite problem; they’re really good with intimacy, but things get awkward when they try to go on a date to a hipster restaurant that serves drinks in mason jars. Gretchen actually enjoys the fancier side of life, but Jimmy won’t quit rudely raging at the world around him by complaining about the communal table and cracking crude jokes about the items on the menu. Luckily, they give up on trying to act like a normal couple and turn a bad time into their ideal date night by being obnoxious at a movie theater with their Chinese food takeout.
3. Are you more interested in the lives of young professionals with exciting careers or average married couples?
“Married” is about a suburban family composed of a dad who works as a struggling graphics designer, a stay-at-home mom, and three kids. Many people will relate to this family.
Fewer people will relate to the lives of Cali residents Gretchen and Russ. Gretchen is a publicist whose celebrity clients are almost bigger messes than she is. They include a teen pop singer who doesn’t want someone else getting credit for her leaked nude photos. Gretchen’s personal life might be such a mess because she’s married to her crazy career.
Jimmy’s off-putting attitude could be a cover for the insecurity he feels when his book, “Congratulations, You’re Dying,” doesn’t sell well. He also gets invited to attend his ex’s wedding in the premiere, and he’s obviously upset that she’s moving on. During the reception, he uses the disposable camera party favors to take crotch shots for all the wedding guests to enjoy. So take your pick: A worn down marriage or a relationship between two people on the verge of nervous breakdowns.
4. Who do you think makes a better surprise guest star: Alexandra Daddario or Flo from the Progressive commercials?
Both shows have had memorable guest stars. Fittingly, “Hall Pass” actress Alexandra Daddario plays a potential mistress for Russ, but she has the same name as one of Russ’s three daughters, which creeps him out.
It’s funny that Flo (Stephanie Courtney) from the Progressive commercials appears on a “You’re the Worst” episode about a woman’s monthly flow. Courtney plays a mean bookstore owner who actually says dirty words. Apparently she and Jimmy hooked up once, and now they always run into one another when he sneaks into her store to move his unpopular books to the “Staff Picks” section.
5. Are you a cat or dog person?
Russ manages to completely flub his attempt at getting a mistress during the premiere of “Married,” but he does score a new family dog in the process. Unfortunately, the cute pup will be a constant reminder of the time he failed to seal the deal with the woman who waxed his ears – he originally bought the puppy for her.
The second episode of “You’re the Worst” also features the procurement of a pet. Because Jimmy is banned from Flo’s bookstore, Gretchen goes in to do his dirty work for him. After Flo is rude to her, she steals Flo’s yellow tabby cat that hangs out inside the store. Hopefully the purloined cat will become a permanent part of the cast.
6. Would you rather watch a bumbling American or sharp-witted Brit?
Faxon reminds me of Ed Helms. Faxon sounds just like him and he does a great job of making you feel sympathetic toward his character, even when his behavior is questionable. It’s just so hard not to feel a bit sorry for Russ, even if he is a bit of a man-child who kills his kids’ pet fish after refusing to even learn its name.
Geere’s abrasive misanthrope character is also surprisingly easily to root for despite his crude attitude. There’s definitely a softer side hiding under that cynical exterior, and “You’re the Worst” creator Stephen Falk told Indiewire that Greere has one important attribute that saves him from being viewed as too repellant to root for.
“What I realized is that an Englishman with a charming accent can get away with saying the worst shit,” Falk said of his British star. “You get an extra seven charisma points with an Englishman.”
If you’re still undecided, you can catch “Married” and “You’re the Worst” Thursdays on FX, beginning at 10 p.m.
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Photo: Scott Kirkland/FOX