As the creator, executive producer, and showrunner of FXX’s You’re The Worst, Stephen Falk has a lot on his plate. But that hasn’t stopped him from curating a weekly web show about film, and producing his long-running live storytelling show “Public School” in Los Angeles. We got a chance to catch up with Falk at the Television Critics Awards to get the scoop on how the show came about, and just what viewers can expect to see when the Season 3 premiere airs tonight at 10/9c on FXX.
What was the inspiration behind the show? What was your original pitch?
A boozy, messed up, cable-y British-y version of “Mad About You,” about two jerks that fall in love. The inspiration was a couple of things. One was a bad experience in network television that I had, trying to bend to their will and play that game which is the opposite of everything I like to do creatively and it was a soul-crushing experience. So whatever I was going to do next was going to be more personal and just what I wanted to do. Then at the same time I’d gone through a divorce, had been dating and it was awful. There were a lot of stories that came out of those experiences. Those were my two inspirations.
What brought you to FXX?
Initially the show was on FX, and then they put me on FXX for the second season. FX is the best network! They have executives who are actually smart and deep thinkers about television and art in general. They wanted to hear something from me and I was like, “God bless, please. Let me talk to you guys!”
How has the show changed from your initial vision?
I think it’s only expanded, deepened, and become more broad. I think it’s sillier but at the same time a lot more dramatic, but I think that was sort of on purpose. I think it’s changed in that I’ve slowly pushed the boundaries of what our show is in small increments. For this upcoming season we’ve definitely taken on even more.
How important is it for you to remain a comedy even while tackling heavy subject matter?
It is what we are. It’s incredibly important. It’s also … well it’s a failure of mine as a writer, but I can’t just write something straight. I can’t do it, I don’t know why. It’s impossible for me, so it’s always going to be funny. I have a hard time having a straight conversation, and I’m a firm believer in the notion that humor is in everything. Sure, there are certain things that aren’t funny, but there are always moments of levity and to deny that is to deny reality.
What do you think the worst thing a character has done on the show? Who really is the worst?
I think Becca, Lindsay’s sister, is probably the worst person. I think she’s pretty irredeemably just nasty, and lives only to push her sister into things and belittle her husband. She’s lucky that she has a buoyant, unsinkable husband in Vernon who’s kind of a joke of a human being, but at the same time I think we’ve gotten to see some deeper humanity beneath all the frat boy bro-ishness. The worst thing that anyone has done? Well Lindsay does something pretty bad in the premiere this season.