Before our intrepid TV Club correspondents traveled to this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour, we asked readers to submit questions that we could pose to the TV pros attending the event. (And we made one up ourselves.) With those questions and the answers they prompted, we bring you the TV Club Questionnaire.
In the first season of You’re The Worst, Kether Donohue’s character Lindsay backslid into hard-partying habits, cheated on her husband, and then put her sister’s marriage at risk by suggesting she’d been sleeping with an ex. And she did all this while remaining an incredibly sympathetic (and comedic) figure, finishing the season with a heartbreaking karaoke rendition of Kate Bush’s “This Woman’s Work.” The actor behind the character has been putting her pipes to good use for years, providing vocals for multiple animated series and leading The Barden Bellas in the prologue of Pitch Perfect. Donohue can currently be seen in the second season of You’re The Worst, now airing on FXX.
If you could be working on any other television series currently on the air, which one would it be, and why?
Kether Donohue: Shark Tank. I swear to you, I’m not lying—it’s my favorite show, besides You’re The Worst.
AVC: What is it about Shark Tank that you love?
KD: I could literally watch it all day. There’s just something fascinating to me about watching a business interaction unfold, and the negotiation. And how everything is negotiable in life.
AVC: What do you think you would bring to the Sharks?
KD: In our cast, we tell perverted jokes sometimes, so me and Aya have this thing we do: Aya Quote Day and Kether Quote Day, and we each tweet funny comments we make throughout the day on set. So the other day I made a joke that instead of an alarm clock waking me up in the morning, I would want somebody to finger me. [Laughs.] And then we all joked that we should go on Shark Tank and have Mark Cuban test out the product. [Laughs.]
What are your earliest memories of TV, and did they have any bearing on you wanting to have a career in TV?
KD: Absolutely. I remember watching I Love Lucy with my little brother. We were obsessed with I Love Lucy. And I just remember thinking “I want to do that.” I love old comedic actresses—Madeline Kahn, Lucille Ball.
AVC: Do you feel like you get to channel some of those actresses through Lindsay?
KD: I do not think I am as nearly good as [Kahn or Ball], because they’re legends. But I will absolutely say that the writing in You’re The Worst is a true gift as an actor, because I do get to play awesome, broad comedy. What’s also nice is that I get to play some serious dramatic moments. I get the best of both worlds, which is nice. And rare, in a sitcom, for sidekick characters.
What efforts does your show take to promote diverse viewpoints, and how do you think that has affected storytelling, either on your show or the television medium as a whole?
KD: I think with each character, there’s never a missed opportunity. And everything’s very purposeful and intentional. It’s obvious with Edgar: I’ve never seen a sitcom on television that talks about PTSD. Episode eight in season one [“Finish Your Milk”] was one of my favorite episodes, because it talked about the VA hospital and how they handle the veterans. That’s a subject that’s close to my heart because my father is a Vietnam veteran. Fortunately, now, the VA does take care of him and his medications, but there was a struggle for a long time where they didn’t want to be responsible for that, and they should.
With Lindsay, something that I’m really proud of is I don’t think we see enough curvy women on television that are able to be funny and sexy and eat. It sounds funny, and it is, but if you sit down and you make a list where you see funny, sexy, women eating on TV, you don’t really see it. It’s nice to represent a woman who can be bigger than what you see as a typical skinny actress—being funny and desirable at the same time.
And we can’t give it away because it’s a surprise, but there is an issue between Gretchen and Jimmy that the writers tackle midway through the season that has never been done in a sitcom before. Something society shies away from on television.
AVC: One of the great things about this show is that, for all their supposed faults, the characters are depicted very humanely.
KD: It’s a very compassionate show. I don’t think anyone would tune in if we were just horrible people, end of story. We’re not horrible people. I think we’re actually good people who are scared and feel unworthy of love. And yet we still try.
If you could add something to the show you’re working on, without anyone knowing about it beforehand and free from any consequences from upset co-workers/networks/viewers, what would it be?
KD: I’ve been trying to do this forever: I really want Lindsay to have a lesbian excursion. I think that would be so fun, if she went through a lesbian phase?
KD: And then I could just hook up with hot girls.
AVC: Maybe Stephen Falk’s somewhere within earshot, and he can make that a reality.
KD: I’ve been pitching it to him for months. [Laughs.]
If any character from your show could be given a spin-off, who would it be and what would be the premise of the new show?
KD: Any one of us would be great as a spin-off. Each one of our stories are so good that they could stand on their own.
For selfish purposes, because I would like to be employed, it would be nice for Lindsay to have a spin-off with her new lesbian lovers. [Laughs.]
AVC: And maybe some opportunities to sing?
KD: Oh yeah. In season two I sing twice. There’s some hip-hop music, and music similar to that of “This Woman’s Work.” Oh, the spin-off could be a musical! Lindsay’s musical comedy!
AVC: And there’d be a Pitch Perfect connection there.
KD: Exactly! But I would like to just stay on this show, and have this show go for many, many, many seasons.