It’s difficult to recommend You’re The Worst without a few disclaimers — it is, after all, a comedy series about very bad people. If you have lines for graphic content, foul language, drug or alcohol use, or people being awful to each other, it’s probably going to cross them with gleeful abandon.
But somewhere along the way, the FXX comedy turned surprisingly heartfelt, particularly when it comes to compassionately portraying people with mental health issues. You’re the Worst’s second season dealt extensively with depression, a theme which continues into the current season (because you can’t just fix people, even with the power of seasonal arcs). At the same time, other characters’ issues are coming to light.
This week’s episode, Twenty-Two, goes to some of the most haunting places the series has gone. In it, one character, Edgar (Desmin Borges), goes to the VA seeking help with PTSD. There aren’t many laughs as he deals with the consequences of going off psychotropic medication without a doctor’s supervision, finds himself spiraling, and barely makes it through — but there are a lot of powerful moments. The episode’s title references a tragic statistic – that twenty-two American veterans take their own lives each day (current numbers place it at a still-tragic twenty).
Yesterday, Vulture spoke with Borges about how he prepared for the role and the responsibility that comes with it.
What kind of research did you do to get into this character? You don’t see a lot of veterans like him on TV.
No, you don’t, and that’s one of the things that I’m most proud about, that we as a show give voice to the voiceless, and how we are telling a very different vet story than we’ve ever seen on television before. As far as research goes, you can read as much as you want about it online. There are PTSD blogs that, you can’t subscribe to them, but I’m on them all the time, trying to hear feedback from actual vets that are dealing with it in the aftermath. But I gained the majority of my knowledge from a few different people. I found out that a couple of my really close friends’ dads who fought in previous wars have PTSD,and I’ve known them for like 18 years and I had no idea that they had PTSD. They don’t walk around and you’re like Oh, PTSD. Oh, autism. Oh, clinical depression. You don’t just name that shit when you’re seeing people on the street. That gave me a really nice outer shell of how I wanted play with Edgar.
Then, specifically, we had a vet come in in the very first season, and he told us his entire story, his ups and his downs. He’s now at a place where he’s very comfortable. He has a service dog. He doesn’t have sleep to rage anymore. He’s not dealing with insomnia or hallucinations. But just before that, there was that shooting that happened at the movie theater when the Batman movie came out [in Aurora, Colorado in 2012]. It freaked him out so much that he started carrying his service weapon on him again, not because he wanted to use it on anyone, but because he wanted someone to see it on him, feel confrontational, and beat the hurt out of him. Nobody who I had ever spoken with had said those words to me before. When he said it, he had tears in his eyes and I had tears in my eyes. I knew that we may not be able to show that considering it’s a comedy — we now know that it’s a very dark comedy, but this was before we shot episode two — but I just knew that the feeling of that was the baseline for Edgar.