You’re the Worst is a modern classic. It is original, hilarious, and emotionally authentic; the quintessential romantic comedy for our generation.
Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) play a pair of terrible human beings who fall for one another and have a go at a real, monogamous relationship. Though perhaps “have a go” isn’t quite the right phrase–they sort of fall into the relationship and the relationship progresses from one level to the next based almost entirely on things that just wind up happening, often without Gretchen and/or Jimmy’s direct intention.
Gretchen’s best friend Lindsay (Kether Donohue) is a ditzy ex-housewife with a deep-seated craving for male attention. Jimmy’s best friend/roommate/general moocher is Edgar (Desmin Borges), a former soldier and former heroin addict who still suffers from combat-related PTSD.
This “core four” of Gretchen, Jimmy, Lindsay, and Edgar are incredible characters portrayed by fantastic actors, and we firmly believe that, if they had to, the quartet could sustain the series all on their own, with no additional supporting cast.
That said, YTW creator Stephen Falk and the writers have given us an amazing, fully-realized universe featuring a wild assortment of side characters and “randos” who each add an extra something special to the adventures (and more often, misadventures) of the main cast. Here is our definitive ranking of the series’ prominent recurring characters, ranked best to (you guessed it) worst.
#1 – Sam
There’s no contest, really. Brandon Mychal Smith’s performance as Sam, PR rep Gretchen’s exceedingly eccentric rapper client, is a thing to behold. The ongoing faux-turned-real rap feud between him and his former collaborators Shitstain and Honey Nutz is a fantastic subplot that makes us laugh every time it comes up. Plus, Sam is granted some of the hands-down most hilarious lines of dialogue in the series. Smith’s flawless delivery of the lines is often just the icing on the cake. “Sleepy bitches don’t deserve regular phones.” Never forget.
#2 – Vernon
The dopey husband of Lindsay’s sister Becca is so over the top and obnoxious that he loops back around and becomes incredibly endearing and likeable. You always know what you’re going to get with Vernon; that is, a doctor who talks like a college frat bro d-bag on the regular and is just a little bit on the stupid side. Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson) is also totally obsessed with being Jimmy’s friend and has a tendency to just kind of show up wherever Jimmy might be. “He’s not really a doctor, is he?” wondered Dorothy after meeting him for the first time. Yes, Dorothy, we totally understand your concern.
#3 – Dorothy
Speaking of Dorothy: she is one of the newest additions to the cast and Collette Wolfe has definitely made her into a keeper. Edgar’s upbeat and quirky brand new girlfriend, and the breaker of his three-year-long sexual dry spell, is a perfect foil to characters who are more darkly humorous and depressive like Gretchen and Jimmy. She is a fantastic match for Edgar, who’s really the heart of the show. Her propensity for pun-based humor and Avoca-don’t vines makes her a really lovable oddball.
#4 – Killian
Oh, Killian, where have you been?! Killian (Shane Francis Smith) has been MIA since sh*t started to hit the fan with the reveal of Gretchen’s manic depression and the more serious issues coming to the forefront (understandably). The relationship between Jimmy and Killian, in which Jimmy acts as a kind of world’s-worst-father-figure to the young, abandoned boy, is really sweet and contributes a lot to Jimmy’s character growth. The last we saw of Killian, he was expressing his appreciation of Jimmy’s friendship to a repulsed Jimmy and then being aggressively propositioned to buy a stolen stereo system from Gretchen’s hard-partying ex-friend.
#5 – Paul
Paul (Allan McLeod) is adorable and dorky and sweet. His ex-wife Lindsay almost certainly didn’t deserve him (despite how much more attractive she is than Paul, a real young Roger Ebert lookalike) and we rooted for Paul when he found Amy (Mageina Tovah), the male version of himself. Their cute relationship soldiers on, disregarding all of Lindsay’s attempted interloping. Paul’s rambling speech to Edgar about how his buddy’s friend’s wife died via freak biking accident was one of the funniest moments of the season.
#6 – Amy
Even Lindsay can’t really fault Paul for falling for his new girlfriend Amy. She is basically the most level-headed, understanding girlfriend in the world. Heck, she rapidly forgave Paul for technically cheating on her with Lindsay and she’s done nothing but try to be friendly towards and supportive of Lindsay. She’s almost too good to be true, which lands her at this slightly lower spot on the list.
#7 and 8 – Honey Nutz and Shitstain
These two are basically a package deal, though they have distinct personalities and we’ve gotten glimpses of their distinct backstories. The pair are ranked on the lower half of the scale simply because we need MORE. Though they’ve each appeared in a decent number of episodes, they haven’t had nearly as much individual focus as Sam. Maybe one day Shitstain (Darrell Britt-Gibson) and Honeynutz (Allen Maldonado) will have a chance to shine fully outside of Sam’s influence, but for now we’re content to catch the absolute gems in the diss tracks they write in response to Sam. Personal favorite: “We hate him [Sam] as much as white people love The Wire.”
#9 – Ty
Ty (Stephen Schneider), Gretchen’s kinda-sorta-ex-something has only appeared once this season, when Jimmy was on a mission to uncover who Gretchen had been texting from the burner phone. Ty just so happened to be at the bar where Jimmy had arranged to meet mystery-texter, so naturally Jimmy (and the audience) had a brief terrifying moment where we all thought Gretchen might be cheating on Jimmy with Ty. We say “terrifying” because, objectively, Ty is awful. He’s a pompous ass, with a sanctimonious penchant for “causes.” It’s no small wonder Gretchen ditched him for Jimmy! We salute you for that choice, Gretchen.
#10 – Nina
While we’re aware that she’s only been in one episode so far, if you think her appearance in “Spooky Sunday Funday” is her last, you must not have any idea how television works. Nina (Tessa Ferrer), the attractive bartender/owner of Keune’s, has apparently been serving Jimmy (and Gretchen, by extension, I would guess?) drinks for months without Jimmy noticing her. Of course, the minute Gretchen and Jimmy have a serious argument, Nina shows up and reveals herself to be simpatico with Jimmy. There’s a very real possibility that (apparently) simpler, easier Nina might tempt Jimmy away from difficult, complicated Gretchen. And we hate it. HATE.
#11 – Becca
That’s right, Lindsay’s sister/Vernon’s wife/Jimmy’s ex Becca (Janet Varney) is even worse than Nina, the girl who’s threatening to rip apart the core couple of the series. She very nearly cheated on Vernon with Jimmy, and totally would have had Jimmy not rejected her. She is awful to Lindsay, on every level. Gretchen didn’t even feel it necessary to berate Vernon when she was going on her depression-induced verbal tirade because, as she put it to Vernon, “You got real issues… you’re married to Becca.”
What do you think of our rankings? Did we get it right? Who are your favorite You’re the Worst recurring characters and who do you want to see more of? Sound off with your thoughts in the comments below!
You’re the Worst airs at 10:30 p.m. ET on Wednesdays on FXX and season one of the series is currently available to stream on Shomi.
Caralynn is a freelance entertainment writer. She also writes about all things television for TV Fanatic, Tell-Tale TV, HelloGiggles, and New York Observer. In her spare time, when she's not writing about TV, she's tweeting about it over at @caralynn_marie.