Robin Blassberg A&E Editor
On Oct. 18, Netflix released “Living with Yourself,” starring Paul Rudd and Aisling Bea, directed by Timothy Greenberg.
The series follows middle-aged Miles Elliot, a burnt out man, overwhelmed with his life, specifically his job and marriage, and the fact that him and his wife, Kate, are struggling to conceive. One day at just another tedious meeting at his job at a marketing company, his co-worker Dan, played by Desmin Borges, tells him of an interesting spa in town. He promises the spa will change his life for the better, and while a vague description, viewers find out it was ultimately convincing. Miles calls the spa and learns the treatment is $50,000. He promptly transfers the money from savings to checking in his account, and heads to the spa. The next morning, he wakes up in the dirt, claws himself out, and finds out he’s been cloned, and the clone, also played by Rudd, laying in bed with his wife is the better version of himself.
The show is then set in motion with Elliot literally and figuratively is in combat with himself, his wife, his job, and the employees at the spa, who neglected to inform him of what actually happens when you undergo a treatment.
The premise of the show stems from “a recurring childhood dream of Greenberg’s [who] was influenced to write the series because of his very real experiences while aging and getting married,” according to an interview with Collider. Even someone as prolific as Rudd relates to his character, claiming that “‘it’s impossible to go through [life] without getting knocked down several rungs…I think life can be full of pressures and overwhelming and sometimes, I find that I just need to detach,” in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Rudd is an excellent choice for Elliot due to the fact that although he is a famous actor, he has relatable qualities about him that make watching him behave as a man dissatisfied with every aspect of his life believable. His acting in the eight episode show was spot on and he seemed to nail the challenge of playing two distinctly different characters. In an interview on YouTube web show, “Hot Ones,” he reveals that in order to play two characters, he would have to stand in one spot and say the lines of one character while receiving the lines of the other character in an ear piece. Since he had such a successful career and is characterized by his positivity, it was interesting to see him play the opposite.
While the plot of the show is unique, at times it felt empty. Some parts of the show also feel unmemorable. There are many plot twists that string it along when things veer on the edge of getting boring. In fact, at times the show seems to have little direction. Questions and conflicts arise, such as how the spa got the technology to clone in the first place, without answers and without motivation of the characters to answer them. A recurring feature of the show is the fact that a few episodes are the same scenario from the perspective of another character. Since you are watching the same events play out, it can begin to feel redundant, especially since there are only eight 20 minute episodes.
“Living with Yourself” is worth a watch if you’re looking for something easily watchable and doesn’t require thinking too hard.