You’re the Worst Creator on Changing Networks and Why Comedy Is So Much Harder Than Drama

Season 3 debuts Wednesday on FXX

Changing networks can be a perilous proposition for shows, as Community discovered when its move to Yahoo Screen became the TV version of entering the witness protection program. But last season, the comedy You're the Worst shifted from FX to FXX, to help that network solidify its identity, and got even better. Last season, which featured Aya Cash's Gretchen Cutler coping with depression, ended up as one of 2015's best shows.

The series, about two awful people (Chris Geere's Jimmy Shive-Overly and Aya Cash's Gretchen Cutler) who somehow make a terrific couple, hasn't lost a step in Season 3, which premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. Creator and executive producer Stephen Falk spoke with Adweek about his initial FXX worries, his continued search for integrations and why comedy is so much harder than drama.

Adweek: Looking back, how worried were you about moving from FX to FXX last season?

Stephen Falk: I liked the idea that the ratings bar was lower for us because I don't think we're ever going to be a rating juggernaut, regardless of what network we're on. But yeah, I was a little worried that the perception was going to be that it was a demotion. [But] they assured me, and I pretty much believed them 98 percent, that they're working hard to find that thing where you think, "Oh, FXX, that's the one with that show and that show and that show." With The Simpsons and [It's Always] Sunny [in Philadelphia] and us and the new shows, they're hoping that we can help to make that the brand's identity. Right now, there's massive value in being the face of a cable network or a new cable network. I think a lot of shows, ours included, exist at least partly because we provided that. For that, I'm very happy.

The first two seasons are now on Hulu. Do you hear from anybody at FX or the studio about what the Hulu response has been to the show?

Not from them. I do hear directly from people who finally watch it on Hulu, who are tweeting at us or writing to me on my personal website. More people are watching the show and binging the show, which is fantastic.

Is that feedback concentrated around when a new season comes out on Hulu, or do people stumble upon the show on Hulu all year?

It probably is a concentration at the beginning, but certainly there's a constant trickle. I know a lot less about the Hulu algorithm than I do about Netflix, which I know very little about also, so I'm not sure how our show is platformed on Hulu. When I look for it on Hulu, even I don't know how to find it. I just have to type it in! [laughs]

There's a Hulu reference early in the new season of You're the Worst. Is that a shout-out to your SVOD partner?

We did? Oh, yes. I literally did not even think of that until this moment.

At the TCA summer press tour, FOX and NBC execs were making the case that there's more urgency among viewers to watch dramas more than comedies, which makes it harder to monetize comedies, since so many people watch them outside the seven-day C7 window. Has that changed your approach to viewing ratings and developing new shows?

Absolutely. But not about the comedy versus drama thing. I've always had a chip on my shoulder ever since I was a kid about how drama is viewed as prestige and important, and comedy is viewed as disposable and easy. I think it's the exact opposite. I think drama is really fucking easy. It's sort of like Ginger Rogers doing all the dances that Fred Astaire did, but also backwards in heels. We also have to make jokes and be funny. And whether we're always successful or not, what we do really has a high degree of difficulty and doesn't often seem like that. Whereas dramas and prestige dramas, there's a lot of money behind them. You can put a lot of song budget behind cool songs to play at emotional moments, and it can seem like it's really working hard. Whereas I can tell you it's not as hard. That's not to say that dramas aren't good or difficult, but I'm just not a drama person necessarily.