Are you your body or your mind? What makes you who you are? Netflix’s hilarious new show “Living With Yourself” explores the meaning of identity with Paul Rudd as the lead — and his rival.
Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd) is burnt out and depressed as he’s watching his relationship with his wife, Kate (Aisling Bea), deteriorate. His career is crumbling, too, as he’s upstaged for a pitch by a younger co-worker. Overall, he’s in a pretty bad slump. Desperate, Miles goes to the Top Happy Spa, which promises to make him happier by “rebuilding his DNA.” Instead, he is replaced by a clone of himself that seems to be better than him in every way. The clone has his same body and mind, including all of his memories, with one exception: Everything about this new Miles is improved. He doesn’t need glasses, he’s a better storyteller, and he’s more motivated.
Netflix’s original content is pretty hit or miss. Sure, they made “Stranger Things” but they also made some of the worst movies (see: “Swiped,” “SPF 18,” and anything else with Noah Centineo). Admittedly, even Paul Rudd didn’t keep me from being a little wary of the show at first.
The show is only eight episodes long and explores many different threads within the same story. Each episode shifts perspectives from original Miles to the new Miles and even takes a side step in one episode to examine how all the craziness affects his wife. At times the show can be a little slow as the timeline is rewound again and again to look at these different perspectives, but each episode is enjoyable to watch.
Rudd’s nuanced acting makes the conversations between old and new Miles believable and fascinating as the two interact. It’s really a wonder that the role wasn’t written for Rudd, as his two characters’ seamless rapport make the show amusing.
Although Rudd plays two-thirds of the main characters, Aisling Bea’s performance helps round out the show. Her charming Irish brogue makes every scene she’s in a delight, even when she’s complaining about one of the two Mileses. The show also successfully makes her a realistic and likable character without blaming her for original Miles’s shortcomings. At first, it’s easy to want to take the side of the original Miles when it comes to their arguments, but with shifting perspectives, the audience is given a better picture of the brokeness within their marriage. Ultimately, it’s these problems that make their marriage stronger.
At times the “dramedy” label of “Living with Yourself” leaves viewers a little uneasy. It’s hard to walk the line between a drama and a comedy. Random jokes and offshoot story lines such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention getting involved are funny, but also confusing and unnecessary.
Despite these road bumps, the show still has enough depth to be engaging. Both Miles Elliots struggle to come to terms with their new life. The old Miles can’t stand that everyone likes the new Miles better. The new Miles has to come to terms with being a clone and having never experienced “real life.” The show dives into the question of identity and what makes us human.
“Are you seriously jealous of you?” Miles’s half-sister (Alia Shawkat) asks.
“Living With Yourself” proves to be a highly bingeable and rewatchable show.
Who knew four hours of Paul Rudd talking to himself could be so entertaining?