“Difficult People” is a Hulu original series featuring some very high-profile guests, including Tina Fey and Fred Armisen. “Difficult People” centers on two main characters, Billy and Julie, who live in New York City and are always griping about their surroundings. Both of these individuals are in their late 20s to early 30s, and are eternally working on starting a career in show business, although they have no clear goals or vision.
Both Billy and Julie might qualify for a DSM-V diagnosis of Persistent Depressive Disorder, given that their symptoms of anhedonia, irritability, and fatigue have lasted at least two years.
One thing I love so much about this show is its inclusion of gay characters. In particular, Billy, the aspiring comedian who can’t get his comedy career off the ground, plays the role of the Disinterested, Depressed Gay ™.
There is something about Billy’s unending state of ambivalence, whether it’s his inability to find a boyfriend he doesn’t hate, or his escapist tendencies preventing him from staying at the same gym for more than a week, that I relate to in a deeply satisfying way. Watching Billy whine about everything in his world is, to me, like collapsing into a dark and cozy state of existential disillusionment.
In addition, Julie complements Billy’s nihilistic tendencies wonderfully. Perhaps this is because Julie is practically the same as Billy — she hates everything. Julie and Billy do a great job of portraying the timeless friendship between a straight girl and a gay man, the collective cynicism of which is impenetrable by the outside world.
“Difficult People” might be a tad oversimplified in its premise — these two depressed young adults resent the well-adjusted world around them so much they can’t even land a decent job! It’s not easy being neurotic!
While “Difficult People” lacks the depth of “Louie” or the originality of “Broad City,” it makes up for this with a great cast and funny writing.