(Warning: The following story contains mild spoilers for “Living With Yourself”)
“Living With Yourself,” the new Netflix comedy from “Daily Show” alum Timothy Greenberg that debuted on Friday, gives Paul Rudd a chance to shine… twice.
For Greenberg, however, the series was a chance for him to try and answer a few personal questions.
“I had the idea a long time ago. What if there was another you out there in the world?” he told TheWrap, adding that it was initially more a science-fiction concept. “And then as time went on and I got married and had a family and sort of, the concerns about how I am, how I’m behaving with my family. When I’m the better or worse versions of myself. It’s one thing if you’re sitting in your apartment alone and you’re kind of acting like a jerk… so that became more of a question to me. Why am I sometimes better or worse with the ones I love, and what are the struggles there and how can I be better for them.”
The series stars Rudd as Miles and plays two versions of him. When Miles undergoes a novel spa treatment that promises to make him a better person, he finds that he’s been replaced by a new and improved version of himself. As he deals with the unintended consequences of his actions, Miles finds he must fight for his wife (Aisling Bea), his career, and his very identity.
“I realized that you could combine the two and tell a story that was, at the same time, very fantastical fun — What happens if there’s two of you but only one life? And yet, talk about the kinds of things that were in my own daily existence,” Greenberg said.
The series sees Rudd shift between the more disheveled and cynical “real” Miles and a cloned version of him that, while he has the same memories and is unaware (until the real Miles shows up) that he’s even a clone, doesn’t have all the Miles’ personal baggage. Many of the scenes feature both versions of Miles playing off each other, which affected how they shot the series (“Little Miss Sunshine” duo Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris directed the series).
“It gets very complicated very quickly. I think there’s probably some scenes that might have had to shoot as many as six times,” Greenberg said. “We tried to be careful about our shot selection for that reason.”
One of the biggest surprises of the whole series comes within the first half of the first episode, when Miles visits the ultra-secret Top Happy Spa, after a recommendation by his co-worker Dan (Desmin Borges) who went from unsuccessful wallflower to uber-confident seemingly overnight. As Miles enters, he sees non-other than New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady emerge from the spa, appearing in mint condition.
Greenberg, a fan of the rival New York Jets, said that he wrote the scene as a “subtle dig” at Brady, who at the time was coming off his “Deflategate” suspension.
“There was this implication that maybe he’s a clone and he’s cheating,” Greenberg said. “When I wrote it, he was 37 and had won four Super Bowls. And then by the time I actually make the thing, he’s now 41 and he’s just coming off his sixth Super Bowl win. So he became even more perfect. He was our number one choice for that.”
“Living With Yourself” is now available to stream on Netflix