Tv Review: Living With Yourself Season 1 Episode 1

living with yourself s1e1
Paul Rudd’s brand new Netflix series Living With Yourself is kind of like the famous 1960’s Twilight Zone episode “Mirror Image”, though the big difference is that it’s the central character’s fault that there’s two of themselves running about rather than it being a freaky inexplicable occurrence, and rather than it being a dark, weird thriller which ends in death this is played for laughs, or the first episode is at least anyhow.

It begins with one of those ever annoying scenes where we get to see a dramatic moment, in this case Paul Rudd climbing out of a shallow grave wrapped in plastic (or clingfilm, anyhow), before it jumps back twenty four hours. That device is something I really hate as it’s overused a ridiculous extent, but at least it only takes fifteen minutes before it catches up with the opening and we get to see exactly what happens next.

During those first fifteen minutes we’re introduced to Rudd’s character Miles, who’s seemingly failing at life in general, not getting his work done in time and at home he and his wife Kate (Aisling Bea) are struggling to have a kid with it implied that it’s Miles who’s infertile. So when his friend Dan (You’re The Worst’s Desmin Borges) tells him of a mysterious spa which can change his life he contacts them and signs up for an appointment, even though it costs him fifty grand.

This opening section is a bit frustrating as though it sets up Rudd as a bit of schlub who is awkward and clumsy, and this is of course a bizarro world version of the man who’s supposed to be not that good looking and so he has a shit haircut and seems unable to shave properly, it doesn’t really give us an insight in to why he would pay fifty thousand dollars to change his life at what’s supposed to be an exclusive spa, especially when he takes the money from a joint account which is presumably meant to be for his fertility treatment.

Thankfully it picks up once he enters the spa and meets two Asian guys who promise that they can “Rebuild your DNA better than ever. A better you. The best you can be” and after being put under the next thing we know he’s gasping for air and desperate to know what the hell is going on. After a long and exhausting trip home he thinks his problems are over with, but of course they’re only just beginning when he discovers a clone of himself in his house, and a clone who’s got a lovely haircut and isn’t physically awkward in the way that he was. A quit trip back to the spa explains what’s happened for anyone who might have briefly fallen asleep, and then it comes to an end.

This second part is much more amusing, I mean who can fail to enjoy the sight of Paul Rudd running around the countryside only in a diaper, and the interactions between the two Paul Rudds are pretty funny too, especially once they’ve got over their initial shock and start chatting away about their past. It’s not hilarious by any means but it’s amiable and likeable material, and now that everything has been set up in this initial episode hopefully it’ll become only more crazier and funnier.

Of course it could fail to live up to expectations, and in this opening episode the extremely talented Aisling Bea is underused, but the high concept premise is an interesting one and hopefully given how great a comedic actor Paul Rudd is, and their being two of him trying to live the same life, it will develop in to a really engaging show. Either way, certainly on the strength of this episode alone it’s at least worth giving twenty five minutes of your time to see if it’s your particular cup of tea / coffee / whisky.

★★★ 1/2

Alex Finch.
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