Married Thursdays, 10 p.m., FX.
You're the Worst Thursdays, 10:30 p.m., FX.
FX is airing its new relationship comedies Married and You’re the Worst back to back, premiering on the same night, and they’re obviously meant as companion pieces, even if they were developed and produced entirely independently. Although both are broadly about couples with dark sides—one a late-30s married couple with three children (Married), the other a 20-something couple who’ve just started dating (You’re the Worst)—it wouldn’t be accurate (or fair) to reduce them to versions of the same show set at different ages.
The main couple in Married seems resigned to drudgery not only in their marriage but also in every other aspect of their lives. The main characters in You’re the Worst may be cynical, but they’re also vibrant enough to fight for a better future. Consequently, watching Married can feel a bit like drudgery, while watching You’re the Worst is at least a little more fun.
Both shows have some trouble modulating their tones and figuring out how to handle lead characters who are often unlikable. On You’re the Worst, their unlikability is the point; as the title implies, Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) are gleeful misanthropes, and they bond over their shared disdain for romance and pretty much every other person that they know. On Married, Russ (Nat Faxon) and Lina (Judy Greer) are equally distasteful, but the show attempts to offer a more mature look at long-term relationships, which ends up making the characters’ selfishness and insecurity come off as more irritating.
While You’re the Worst features a cast of young up-and-comers, Married is filled with recognizable comedic performers (the supporting cast includes Jenny Slate, John Hodgman, Regina Hall, Paul Reiser and Michaela Watkins), which makes it even more disappointing that it just isn’t very funny.
You’re the Worst doesn’t really deliver many more laughs, but it feels like a more balanced dramedy, as much about chronicling the lives of mid-20s hipsters as it is about the development of the central romance. Both shows could improve as they find better balances of comedy and drama, nastiness and likability, but for now, the younger, more inexperienced show comes out on top.