It's been a long time since I realized awards shows weren't at all reflective of the actual best performances and programming on the air. This isn't to say that those who are nominated (or win) aren't worthy of the honor, just that there are plenty of actors and shows that are worthy that never get their due from the Academy. Having resigned myself to this, I've felt lukewarm toward the Emmys as the television landscape grows and diversifies yet the nominations remain repetitive and relatively safe year after year. Every now and then an unexpected show or actor breaks through and I'm thrilled to see something I love and respect so dearly finally get the recognition it deserves. And in the last year of eligibility, I can only dream that this year's off-the-wall nomination goes to You're the Worst's leading man Chris Geere.
I know this will probably never happen, but it's not because Geere isn't deserving of a Lead Actor in a Comedy nod. Of everything I watched this Emmys cycle, it's a brief moment in the FXX comedy's series finale that remains the most vivid thing in my memory, and it's purely because of the power of Geere's performance as the narcissistic, acid-tongued writer Jimmy Shive-Overly.
After five seasons of an on-again, off-again relationship with the equally selfish and emotionally stunted Gretchen Cutler (played by Aya Cash, who deserves a closet full of her own Emmys), Jimmy and Gretchen decide to run away from their own wedding. But the couple don't break up; instead they decide to make staying together an active and daily choice, with Geere delivering this declaration with all the heart of a rom-com leading man. Yet this tear-inducing speech isn't the moment I'm speaking of (although, to be clear, I have literally cried every single time I've watched that moment, which is many, many times).
After Jimmy and Gretchen finally figure out the path they want their relationship to take, the viewers are gifted with a montage that fills in the gaps between this moment and the flash-forwards that were sprinkled throughout the season. We see Jimmy and Gretchen welcoming their first child and moving out of the house they called home the entire series. While the montage is littered with heartwarming glimpses of the happy couple, it ends on a shot of Gretchen crying in bed next to their infant daughter while Jimmy sleeps on obliviously.
The show then cuts back to Jimmy and Gretchen in the present, still at the diner and in their wedding wear. Gretchen, whose struggles with clinical depression have been a focal point of the series since Season 2, turns to Jimmy and gives him one last chance to back out: "You know there's always the possibility that someday I might leave my phone and keys at home and step in front of a train. You know that, right?"
In the proceeding moment, you can see Jimmy's conviction in their future about to unravel — all the fears and doubts he's felt over the years playing out in his expression without him having to utter a word.
But just as quickly as his uncertainty begins, it ends, and Jimmy casually replies, "Yeah, but I'll move on quickly, record-setting." It's a small moment, but it delivers massive emotional impact, and it's all because of Geere, who manages to capture five seasons of Jimmy and Gretchen's relationship ups and downs and his ultimate acceptance of her and make it look effortless.
There are many other moments I could point to as reasons for why Geere deserves an Emmy nomination; no one is better at blusteringly delivering sub-par heckles or hiding his true feelings under an unearned bravado. But it's this moment — this beautiful, silent, powerful moment — that I always come back to when I think not only of this show, but of everything I've watched over the past year. It's also a great reminder that Geere is always at his best when he breaks from his smug, on-screen persona (which, to be fair, Detective Pikachu did use to great effect). And I hope it's this moment that casting directors remember moving forward, inspiring them to turn to Geere for more roles that mine his full range. But for now, let's just give Geere the Emmy nomination he so rightfully deserves.
You're the Worst is streaming on Hulu. Emmy nominations will be announced Tuesday, July 16. The 71st Primetime Emmy Awards will be broadcast Sunday, Sept. 22 at 8 p.m. ET / 5 p.m. PT on Fox.