And the 'Worst' shall be not so bad

Aya Cash and Chris Geere star as terrible people made for each other in "You're the Worst."

* RUSH. 9 tonight, USA.

* SATISFACTION. 10 tonight, USA.

* MARRIED. 10 tonight, FX.

* YOU'RE THE WORST. 10:30 tonight, FX.


THE STATE of marriage in Hollywood must be even sadder than it looks from the supermarket checkout line.

The institution takes a beating in two new series on different networks tonight, USA's "Satisfaction" and FX's "Married."

Meanwhile, two other new series - FX's "You're the Worst," and USA's "Rush" - deal with the only slightly less depressing dysfunctions of single people.

It's enough to make me long for the simpler pleasures of "NY Med" (10 tonight, 6ABC), where the patients may be sick, but are at least surrounded by people trying to help.

With a cast that includes Nat Faxon, Judy Greer, Jenny Slate and John Hodgman - all people who've made me laugh plenty in the past - I had high hopes for "Married," which stars Faxon and Greer as Russ and Lina, a couple with young children and a nonexistent sex life. (That doesn't mean this is remotely a show for anyone else's children: All four new series are very much meant for adults.)

Though ostensibly about the point at which exhaustion trumps romance, "Married" unfolds over the first four episodes to reveal that Russ and Lina's dissatisfaction is also economic: They're barely making it financially and are surrounded by friends who appear to be much better off.

Slate's intriguing as Russ' best friend, a woman who married an older man (Paul Reiser) and whose situation is more complicated, and more interesting, than it appears at first. But even if "Married" was all about her, I'd probably still find it more sad than funny.

USA's going in a deliberately darker direction with "Satisfaction," which stars Matt Passmore ("The Glades") and Stephanie Szostak ("The Devil Wears Prada") as Neil and Grace Truman, an affluent couple whose marital ennui leads them to some unexpected places. Passmore's interesting to watch, but the characters are frustrating in their refusal to acknowledge that their obstacles are far from insurmountable. Money may not be able to buy happiness, but it makes whining even less attractive.

"Satisfaction," whose pilot runs about 83 minutes, is preceded by USA's "Rush," whose main character, Dr. William Rush (Tom Ellis) might be the evil, considerably taller twin of Mark Feuerstein's character in USA's "Royal Pains."

An ex-ER doctor in Los Angeles who now works out of his Mercedes and ministers only to those wealthy enough to cough up his considerable fees in cash, Rush has a "House"-like pill habit that he's convinced he has under control and a best friend (Larenz Tate) who'd like to see him clean up his act, something he might just be willing to do for another shot at his former love (Odette Annable).

Although not, I'm guessing, any time soon.

He may make house calls, but Rush lacks the sunny disposition - and the "MacGyver"-like skills - of his "Royal Pains" counterpart, and while Ellis exudes a certain dangerous charm, I found it wearing thin before the first episode was over.

Obnoxious people meeting cute might seem like the least likely winner of the night, but after two episodes of "You're the Worst," I actually wished FX had sent a few more.

Easily the most sexually frank show of the four, it's also the funniest, starring Aya Cash as a publicist named Gretchen and Chris Geere as a writer named Jimmy who meet at a wedding where he behaves badly and she makes off with one of the gifts.

Naturally, they end up in bed, where their lack of long-term intentions sparks a surprising intimacy.

"You're the Worst" begins to get interesting the morning after, when Gretchen unexpectedly bites back against Jimmy's casual misogyny, and he's charmed.

If "Married" and "Satisfaction" are any indication, this can only end badly.

But until then, there are worse places to look for laughs.



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