You’re the Worst’s Aya Cash talks about dealing with depression through comedy

Byron Cohen/FX
Byron Cohen/FX

The second season of You’re the Worst has been getting serious depression. The comedy series’ has tackled the issue head on as it revealed that one of its main characters, Gretchen (Aya Cash) has been suffering from the disease. Many critics and fans have commended the show on its realistic portrayal and it remains to be seen how or if Gretchen will be able to get the help she needs to get better. Meanwhile, her boyfriend Jimmy (Chris Geere) has struggled with how to help her as she’s been pulling away from him.

For her part, Cash has also been garnering lots of praise for her performance and recently joined reporters on a conference call to discuss the season and what lies ahead for Gretchen and her battle against depression. We’ve highlighted a few moments below:

Why it’s appropriate for a comedy to tackle depression

It’s been somewhat surprising to see a comedy tackle such a serious issue, but Cash said that “hopefully what we’re doing feels both true to life and also we have lighter moments with it.” She did acknowledge that “some people are going to have strong reactions to a comedy dealing with such a serious issue,” but that in her mind “comedy and pain are very closely related, and comedy comes from darkness often. I think our show is trying to find the balance between those two sides of the same coin.”

People don’t want their women perfect

“Last season we were one of the first of now many in the media showing messy women and imperfect women, and the female antihero that matches the male antihero that’s been sort a trend,” explained Cash. With other shows such as Bojack Horseman also highlighting female antiheroes Cash said that it reflects the desires of society as a whole. “We’re getting a little sick of watching perfection and that’s every aspect of our culture. We see people now on Instagram showing ‘here’s me without my makeup. Here’s my stretch marks.’ We’re over saturated with this idealized notion of what it is to be a human that is not remotely realistic and I think we’re part of that wave,” she said.

Will Gretchen get help?

“She is making moves they just not necessarily the right ones at this point,” said Cash. Not only is boyfriend Jimmy not helping a ton at the moment, Gretchen also is going to have to overcome herself. Cash noted that “obviously Gretchen is a self medicator, and we’ll see more of that that come into play in coming episodes.” Cash did say that the much talked about “LCD Soundsystem” episode which saw Gretchen following around a middle aged couple, was her character’s attempt at help “some warped way to pull herself out of her depressive state.” So while “she is trying, she’s not succeeding at this moment and the sort of more traditional ways of trying–therapy, medication, all those things–have not yet occurred to her or she’s brushed them aside for various reasons,” said Cash. Sadly, “it’s hard to ask for help. So she’s going to all her old go-tos and they are just not working,” the actress explained.

Byron Cohen/FX
Byron Cohen/FX

Why the depression reveal made sense

While “the reveal that she is clinically depressed sort of colors all of our viewing of Season 1 and 2. Her debaucherous ways that everyone got a kick out of can be looked at as something of a signifier,” Cash said. She also noted that she wasn’t really taken aback when she heard the plans for this arc because “anyone who behaves the way Jimmy and Gretchen do clearly have some issues, which is why when I found out Gretchen has depression I was like ‘Oh yeah, of course!’” Cash said that “it’s pretty clear she’s been doing this for awhile, even if it was fun to watch.”

Do what scares you

There’ve definitely been some challenges for Cash in playing out this storyline, but she said mixing the comedic and dramatic elements has actually been something that suits her. “I’m not a joke teller. I’m not actually that funny as a person. I’m not a very good storyteller. I feel like I have a good sense of humour,” she noted about herself. That being said, mixing comedy and drama “feels like a real marriage of what I’m interested in. I do think it was challenging and it was scary,” said Cash, before adding that although “it’s sort of a cliche but do things that scare you and that’s the way to live life.”

You’re the Worst: The Musical?

Gretchen’s best friend Lindsay (Kether Donohue) recently worked with her client Sam (Brandon Mychal Smith), on his latest rap single. Will that cause any problems between the two long-time friends? “I don’t think there’s a lot of jealousy about the Sam and Lindsay thing,” explained Cash before joking that “there’s a lot of jealousy from Aya Cash about Kether [Donohue] and Brandon singing a duet together.” She said that all of the cast would love to have some more musical moments on the show. “We all want to sing on the show. We’re all incredibly jealous of Kether getting to sing–I mean she is the best–but we all love to sing,” noted Cash. Of course that leads one to wonder will there ever be a musical episode in You’re the Worst’s future? “We would all love to do a musical episode,” said Cash. She joked that “that’s what you do in Season 3 right? I think it’d be very fun. We could do a musical Sunday Funday episode set in Cuba. [laughs]”


What has your reaction been to Gretchen’s depression this season? Do you think she’ll get the help she needs by the end of the season? More importantly, are you on board for the musical episode? Sound off in the comments below!

You’re the Worst airs Wednesdays at 10:30 p.m. ET on FXX and FXX Canada.