Chris Geere knows that being the worst is kind of the best.
As he enters into a third season of "You're the Worst," the actor admits that the arrival of each new script is something of a gift as he gets to discovery just how verbally acerbic his character, novelist Jimmy Shive-Overly, can be when it comes to subverting everyday niceties, as well as how quietly sensitive and vulnerable he can be when it comes to the supposedly unwanted romance with his reluctantly admitted love, Gretchen (Aya Cash).
Even as he finally finds his footing with his second novel-in-the-making, Jimmy's world undergoes a major upheaval this season, Geere reveals in conversation with Moviefone, and all of his relationships will feel the fallout, in ways both hilarious and heartbreaking.
Moviefone: As you start out the season we get some great comedy dilemmas as he's working on the new book, and then a real Big Life Thing comes up. So when the material came to you, tell me your reaction to what Jimmy'd be going through this season?
Chris Geere: Yeah well, firstly, it's like receiving a Christmas present every time we get the script. I have no idea what's going to happen next. To go there was brilliant, because the family situation has always been, even though I didn't know, I imagined that Jimmy behaves the way that he always has because of the resentment he has towards his family.
And now to explore that -- and though this season, it's an exploration not only of family, but of grief, and the process of reevaluating. Something like that happens, something big like that happens, you start to question an awful lot about your own life and everything around it. The impact of this will answer a lot of questions as to why Jimmy is the way that he is.
And how does it play in relation to his confidence about the new book?
The new book: it's such a shame, I really felt sorry for him! The thing that Jimmy wants more than anything in the world is to be successful. More than a successful relationship, he wants to be a successful writer. And he's very nearly getting there, very slowly getting there, and then life gets in the way of what he wants to do with his life. So that's annoying.
Yeah, I do get to read a few excepts from my erotic novel, which was such fun. Imagine doing that, narrating it to 10-year-old Killian in the corner. So inappropriate, but it was great fun.
I'm sure this show continues to shock you, but delight you when you see the material. Like, "I'm going to do that. Great," and also "Agghhhh!"
Yeah, I know. Jimmy and Gretchen are, dot dot dot, again! I used to get so nervous about it in Season 1, and now I'm like, "Okay, we're going there again. That's good." There's a scene every so often where I go, "Oh -- what? No."
And I don't know what happens at the end of Season 3 yet, but our director, who has obviously read it, said to me, "You will not see this coming," and that really excites me. It's like a trailer. When you see a trailer for a movie you go, "Yeah!" And that's when we get the scripts: it's like having a trailer for a movie. You get to go and do that. You get to see that film soon.
Does the saying "I love you" conundrum continue to play out beyond the first few episodes? Is it kind of a running gag?
Yeah, not running gag in terms of I don't think Jimmy would ever say it again. He said it once, she knows he wouldn't say it again. But the most important thing is when he says, "So, you don't wash your legs?" What's the line I say? "Through discovering that you don't wash your legs, itself unimportant, I'm now thrust into wondering what else don't I know?"
And that was great fun because the season really is, "I've said I love you, but now I'm discovering this about you. Do I still love you? Oh yes, of course, I have to maintain my love even though I now know this." And what's even worse, then him finding out stuff about her that he doesn't like, it's when he finds out stuff about himself that he doesn't like. He starts self-loathing.
He's got to be really worried that she's going to find things about him that she doesn't like. I imagine that weighs on him.
Yeah. They're like, are they doomed? Or are they meant to be together? We're constantly questioning that. It was never going to be plain sailing for these two. Wouldn't it be funny if they just got married and lived in a nice house and went, "see you later"? No. There are so many demons, and we can explore them in a funny way.
I feel like most men are either pretty quick with the "I love yous," or they hold out until the last possible minute.
I personally am always, "Oh I feel this -- I'm going to say it." If it's a nice thing. I think it's really important to get it out there, because it makes the other person feel great. Jimmy would never do that, because by revealing something as emotionally connected as that wakens him terribly, and that's the last thing he wants is for her to be stronger than him. So why would he invite that sort of angst in his life?
Anything unique going on with Jimmy and the other characters that we love?
I think the relationship with Edgar changes a lot this year. I think he notices that Edgar is now far more independent than he's ever been, and he's not there for Jimmy as much, and there's a lot of comedy to be played there: when suddenly your bitch, as it were, is not your bitch anymore. You're like, "Um, why haven't you done this? Why haven't you done that? You were always doing that. Hang on. You don't look after me as much as you used to. Suddenly, now I have to look out for myself, as a lot of resentment comes from that."
But yeah, there's some brilliant interactions. I get some lovely scenes with Becca and Vernon, which is always fun. Love those guys. Yeah, and we've got some super guest stars as well. I have a nice scene with Samira Wiley ... She's what Gretchen and Jimmy would call a normal person in this world of not normal.
The most terrifying thing they can encounter.
You've seen such a steady build in your audience since the show debuted, and now there's this intensely loyal -- and growing -- following.
Yeah, the trajectory has always been much slower than any show, really. But we've never had any expectations. We set out Season 1 for unknowns in a raunchy show on a raunchy network. Did it get lots of ratings? No. But the people that did watch it, did they like it? Yes. It's great.
The network has been so supportive. They let us try different things. Plus, this year, we're now on a stage as well. The opportunities to be a bit more creative with the shots as well has changed the dynamic of the show again. So we're evolving. Hopefully, the fans will stick with us. We'll always go places where you don't think we'll go.
Tell me about your intersection with the world that your executive producer Stephen Falk's shining a light on. The East L.A. / Silver Lake hipster-dominated community. I don't know if you live over that way, or if you just visit occasionally.
In a nutshell: So I go and play this mean-spirited, narcissistic man on camera who lives in Silver Lake, and then I go home at night and I normally have a glass of wine, speak to my son, watch "House of Cards," and then do the work again. Then as soon as I finish, I go back to England, I live in a lovely little house in the country, I've got a son, and we play in his treehouse, and we go and play football -- I love sports -- and I'm very, very far from this world.
It's such a double life that I'm very grateful to have. I'm very grateful to have a wife who understands this double life as well. I'm just super grateful that I'm now 35 and can embrace this, rather than being 21 and thinking that I deserve this. I still get excited like a kid when I get new scripts, or get to chat to people who love what we're doing. That's really cool. If I was 21, I'd think I'd lose a lot of perspective. This is great.
Tell me about those scenes where the four of you are together, which to me, as much as I enjoy all of the show, the scenes when you're all four in them, just pop like crazy. Tell me about that experience from your perspective.
The energy is what we're like off camera as well, so there's no acting required. We're all just basically having fun together. All four of us are very different actors. We have different processes, but we all respect and love each other implicitly. So when we get together to play, like in a Sunday Funday-type episode, you get all four different energies. It's great.
So Stephen tries to write as much as he can with the four of us in, like, diner scenes. There's more diner scenes this year with the four of us. There's party scenes with the four of us. There's lots of montages. He loves a montage. So do I, because we have some cool music in the show as well.
"You're the Worst" Season 3 premieres tonight (August 31st) on FXX.