While chatting about the woes of Grand Central Station and the wonder that is NYC, Kether Donohue from You’re The Worst caught up with BUST to talk feminism, fighting, and friendship. In the four seasons of You’re The Worst, which was just re-upped for another season, audiences follow Gretchen and Jimmy falling in and out of love, while friends Lindsay and Edgar figure out shit on their own. Lindsay, played by Donohue, is far from a stereotypical, boring side-kick best friend character. The complex characters, how they’ve changed over the seasons, and the seriousness of the plot brings You’re The Worst to the top of any feminist’s TV watch list. The show deals with a lot of heavy topics, like abortion and agoraphobia, but with humor and charm, Donohue and the entire team bring to light what really matters: You and your best friend are the worst, and that’s okay.
Donohue has spoken in the past about how feminist Lindsay is, and that not everyone gets it. To the untrained eye, Lindsay can come across as superficial, dumb and selfish — but really, Lindsay is a woman navigating how to be an independent woman in a world filled with men who don’t take her seriously. Admittedly, stealing your brother-in-law’s prescription drugs and stabbing your husband is not ideal feminist behavior, but within the wacky world of You’re The Worst, you can only blame her so much. When asked about Lindsay’s particular brand of feminism, Donohue told BUST it was Lindsay’s independence and personal evolution throughout the show that truly makes her a feminist character. She isn’t scared to “march to the beat of her own drum” as Donohue phrases it. “I think a side effect of that is it can piss some people off or make people confused or frustrated, but I also think that’s what makes her ‘the worst’ and ‘the best.”
That balance between “the worst” and “the best” is what makes Lindsay, and a lot of the characters on You’re The Worst, so relatable to viewers — and so visionary for TV. Donohue explained that her personal joy in playing Lindsay is that her feminism also breaks the mold of female television characters, “Part of what makes me proud to play Lindsay, as a feminist, has a lot to do with playing a woman that could totally just do wild ‘out of control’ things that you would typically see men play.” Donohue went on to explain that as a feminist herself, getting to play such a wildly feminine, independent, layered character is the best part. “I think it excites me from a feminist standpoint, that there are no rules writing her or playing her, it’s kind of just like she can fuck up and be out of control and stab her husband, but be vulnerable and loveable and caring at the same time,” she said. Any show that has a woman be wild, loveable, and hateable has this viewer’s vote.
But Lindsay isn’t alone in You’re The Worst; she’s with her best friend Gretchen, figuring out how to “adult” without getting wildly depressed, together — really, the only #squadgoals. Donohue explained, “I get jazzed when Lindsay and Gretchen have arguments because I think that’s part of the rawness of friendship.” As Donohue explained, their imperfect relationship is what makes them authentic and relatable. “I think there’s authenticity in their argument scenes because they have betrayed each other, but then they ultimately talk about it and get through it,” she said. “I’m not saying its relatable to kiss your friend’s ex-boyfriend, obviously, that would be horrible, and I don’t think I’d want to be friends with someone who did that to me, but in the world of You’re The Worst…ya know…They’re always there for each other, [and] they’re not afraid to hash it out when it’s needed.” Female friendships that don’t revolve around sex, shopping, or bikini waxes on TV are far and few between, which is what makes You’re The Worst the absolute best. Watching Lindsay and Gretchen get into the kind of trouble you and your BFF get into and fight like you two do too, gives us all hope that friendship is real and will last forever.
You’re The Worst isn’t all partying and brunching; it also gets real by dealing with Gretchen’s depression, Lindsay’s abortion, Edgar’s PTSD, and Jimmie’s general anxiety and impostor syndrome. Life is wild and wonderous, but sometimes it’s awful and you can’t get out of bed for a week. Donohue can relate to the realness, and ugliness, seen in You’re The Worst, as someone who deals with depression herself she can relate to the isolation and fear that others may not be able to empathize with.
But, Donohue is also bubbly and funny: even when she told BUST a story about being so depressed she couldn’t get out of bed, it ended with a punchline and a life lesson. Donohue explained, “I deal with depression a lot, I’ve been super, super depressed in my life. One of those days I didn’t want to get out of bed, I COULDN’T get out of bed, and I finally got the courage to just get out of bed. I looked up at the sky like, ‘If there’s a god out there, give me courage to do this today,’ and I actually got out of bed like, ‘WOW you did it, you got out of bed!’ Then I open the drapes really proudly, like yeah, I’m gonna let the sun in and then go out. And the minute I opened the curtain drapes, the entire curtain rod fell and hit me on the face, and all I could do was laugh…it’s funny because it’s also kind of sad.” Donohue, like Lindsay, and like everyone else has joy and sadness in her life, but being able to laugh at yourself and get out of bed is the first step back towards joy.
You’re The Worst shows us we’re all awful and all amazing. Your best friend may kiss your ex or stab her husband, but she’ll also literally pick you up off the floor when you’re too depressed to function. At the end of the day, women supporting women is the first goal of feminism. While giggling at Lindsay’s absurdity and Gretchen and Lindsay’s friendship, she tells me she has a celebrity girl-crush on Reese Witherspoon. “I feel delusional because literally the other day I texted my best friend…like ‘look, Reese, has the same dog as you’ and I’m like, wait, I’m not friends with Reese, why am I calling her Reese like I know her,” she said, laughing at her own fan status.
Header photo from FX Networks/ You’re The Worst
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