Living with Yourself: Full Season 1
October 18, 2019 6:27 PM - Season 1 (Full Season) - Subscribe

That was neat. I went into it blind aside from knowing there would be some kind of multiple Rudd clone shenanigans and it was Charlie Kauffman-esque, so I had no idea whether it was going to get all murder-y at the end or not. I do love it when I stumble into shows with surprisingly happy endings. And I'm impressed to read that they did block shooting, and Rudd didn't do his scenes with another actor as a stand-in, that seems challenging. How did they keep the eyelines from getting all wonky?
posted by oh yeah! at 6:12 AM on October 19, 2019

I couldn't avoid binging the whole season. I liked it quite a bit. It's fun, although I don't think it was a very serious or insightful query of identity.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:47 AM on October 19, 2019

Cutting myself off at S04 - really should work tomorrow.

Not what I was expecting, but glad of it.

Very much agree that this is not very serious nor insightful, but it's fun. If I took it seriously, there's so much to rip - but I'm ok with it being a funny light-touch show about how one would deal with a version of yourself who was an effective extrovert.

Writer(s) probably took some philosophy classes in undergrad (and mustn't have done very well)

Didn't have to be the "clone" thing - but the "clone" thing is a easy lazy hook. lol, memory transferrance.

But fun. I really like Rudd's energy - and it's a chance to play two sides of a coin for professional cred, since Rudd can't seem to play anything but Rudd.
posted by porpoise at 10:03 PM on October 19, 2019 [1 favorite]

Eh, in the wake of a divorce partially brought on by the strain of four failed IVF procedures, this was more of a documentary/horror movie, so I guess how insightful it is might depend on your perspective. I don't mean it seriously because I'm in a very small minority of people, but I could have used a content warning for this show.
posted by LionIndex at 9:12 AM on October 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I don't understand why he remembers how she likes her breakfast, all her past projects, their wedding dance, etc. but can't remember what she looks like naked or what she likes in bed?
posted by iamkimiam at 1:41 PM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

That gave me pause as well, but my headcanon is that New Miles is less needy of Kate and more focused on getting what he wants, since he now has the confidence to expect that he'll get it.
posted by LionIndex at 2:47 PM on October 20, 2019

"I don't understand why he remembers how she likes her breakfast, all her past projects, their wedding dance, etc. but can't remember what she looks like naked or what she likes in bed?"

Was it established that either of things are necessarily true? At the time, my interpretation was that Clone!Miles knew these things but, as with everything else, he (inexplicably) also sort of didn't know stuff because he was a "newborn". That conceit never stopped irritating me.

The whole idea that he had exactly the same memories but because his DNA was "renewed" he was better (or, alternatively, he somehow had improved genetics but was otherwise indistinguishable from Original!Miles) also bugged me, but not as much because it was a necessary premise to do what the show wanted to do. I could maybe accept that his brain would function better but with the exact same memories (which is the premise), but that he could have exactly the same memories but also feel he was experiencing things for the first time just doesn't make sense to me. You have to add some mysterious qualitative component for that result, not accounted for in the script. Well, okay, obviously it was just the writers thinking "same person but newborn" without considering that's seemingly self-contradictory.

The thing that I noticed which seemed to be a mistake, was Clone!Miles knowledge of exactly where the bodies were buried. At the spa the "state park" is mentioned, but Clone!Miles says "this looks right" when they arrived. Fanwanking it, either Original!Miles told him in detail or they visited the site together off-screen. There might have been something filmed that got cut. Or it's a continuity error.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 5:58 PM on October 20, 2019 [2 favorites]

One thing I did really like was that Kate couldn't fully recall the dance while dancing with the clone, but did with the original because the chemistry brought it back to her. I thought that was a nice touch.

Me being me, I spent probably forty-five minutes trying to come up with a plausible technology, even very far advanced from that available now, that would allow for this kind of quick identical clone. I don't believe that you could produce an identical body without the exact same environmental and epigenetic conditions, certainly not within a short period of time. This kind of cloning would require mapping a body to almost the cellular level, sampling at least 5% of all those tissues to use as seeds for the stem cells, and having both a temporary scaffolding to build this upon and an early and intricate nutritive and waste system already in place. There's a catch-22 problem in that, sure, it's already possible to grow some new organs -- but for this to all be assembled into a whole body, all of this is interdependent.

So then you're left with hand-waving speculative nanotechnology directing and supporting everything, which really just pushes the same sort of problems onto how the nanotech stuff could do all this. If your solution is to imagine a complete cellular mapping of an entire body, including of course the brain, then there's some existing literature pointing out how implausible that amount of data collection and storage that would be. (See discussions of the feasibility, even with far-future tech, of teleportation.)

Then, of course, this idea of perfect or near-perfect reproduction of memory might be implicit in a total cellular mapping inventory. But, then again, it may not. There is a fair amount of evidence that cognition is partly a self-sustaining patterned process in which a complete biological inventory may be insufficient and might also require a recording and an initial recreation of a particular procedural state, which would be as daunting as mapping the cellular anatomy.

In short, although duplicating a whole person, body and mind, is a popular trope in science fiction, it's extremely implausible, sadly. I find lesser degrees of quasi-faithful duplication to be far more plausible.

In case anyone was interested.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 6:34 PM on October 20, 2019 [1 favorite]

For me - if they could grow a clone to maturity in under 24 hours, wtf are they fucking around with flawed "memory transference" (and implicitly an "upgrade")?

That's a Nobel prize within your lifetime and remembered better than Newton and Darwin and Einstein and Watson/Crick/Franklin combined.

Think cloned body parts for transplant without anti-rejection immunocompromising drugs.

Not to mention "memory transference." Think - live forever jumping from one body to another (there is absolutely no reason why the NewMiles is the same biological age while not having experiential scarring/ damage).

If you can afford it. Multi-trillionaire individuals who keep accruing interest/ capital investment income.

Along the SF/F axis, this is definitely in Fantasy.

I'm enjoying this as an allegory for a what-ifs and grass-is-greener, sociological thing rather than a scientific one.

Especially after the great POV flip in e05.
posted by porpoise at 7:18 PM on October 20, 2019

cw finale credible suicide attempt/ sequence
posted by porpoise at 8:23 PM on October 20, 2019 [3 favorites]

I'd originally thought the immediate cellular generation had something to do with the spa cat. There was a cat at the spa when Miles first walked in and then we never saw the cat again, so I thought maybe they'd sort of painted the DNA onto a living being (the cat) to hasten the process.

So going into this with no spoilers, I was kind of ready for some cat behavior to emerge (demanding dinner? Chasing laser lights? Knocking things randomly off tables and shelves?) and give the game away. So, like, The Fly, but minus the actual fly/Goldblum but plus cat/Paul Rudd/maybe adding parts of The Lobster because maybe this time they use a cat but other times they merge with other animals (dogs! mice! bears! lobsters!?).

I don't know. Apparently the cat had nothing to do with it.

The back and forth POV switches were really wonderfully well done, as were Rudd's clever performances as OldMiles and NewMiles. I'd argue that both Mileses' memories/experiences in the past were legitimate, as memory is entirely subjective and unreliable.

The pregnancy storyline ending was telegraphed the second Kate went away with NewMiles, leaving me at peak meh in episode 8. I was hoping they'd clone Kate and then NewMiles and NewKate could work and have parties and keep them financially afloat while OldMiles and OldKate traveled the world and had random adventures.
posted by mochapickle at 12:23 PM on October 21, 2019 [2 favorites]

I enjoyed this but it felt like a lot of things got started with no payoff. The play, as an example; the two gentlemen from the spa as another.

It also didn’t want to do any heavy lifting on the bigger questions it raises around memory vs. experience, or identity, or anything really.

A fun watch, but I wanted a little more.
posted by nubs at 5:41 AM on October 22, 2019

It wasn't the deepest show out there, but it was filmed well and had a nice aesthetic to it.

It may or may not have been intended, but this felt like a great exploration of the Bipolar II experience.
posted by BuddhaInABucket at 11:22 AM on October 22, 2019

Yeah, I thought that, too. Which is why I strongly disliked the "because your didn't earn it" line. Basically, his depression is seen as a self-indulgent vice. The messaging on the hypomania isn't bad, though. It feels great and you get things done, but you're not doing as well as you think you are and the divergence from reality accumulates until you get an unexpected reality check.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 3:00 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]

Liked it but didn't love it. As with most things, needs more Aisling Bea.

There were a few times in it where I got the impression they heavily edited -- parts seemed to be missing, to me. This happened 3 or 4 times. I assume they cut it for time but it was weird.
posted by dobbs at 3:10 PM on October 23, 2019

I enjoyed it a lot, fantasy-science, plot holes, and all. I was amused that they cast Tom Brady as a fellow spa-user (6 times cloned!), probably appealing to his fans as well as non-fans at the same time.
posted by geezlouise at 7:28 PM on October 24, 2019

I enjoyed this just enough, but think the first couple of episodes were the strongest.

I was rooting for a dark ending and I didn't get it. I didn't want Clone!Miles – or Original!Miles – to die, truly, but the show was telegraphing a little of that with Clone!Miles imitating the original just prior. I also selfishly wanted this to be self-contained because now it feels like it could go full sitcom: two clones raising a baby with their wife! A little much, maybe. (And the metaphor of them both destroying the credenza... man, they played up the tension of "Will Clone!Miles join in or not?" and I wanted him to not.)

I also sat and wondered how I really felt about the "same story from multiple angles" approach. This show naturally allows for it – answering questions here from each one's perspective – but I also wonder if it would have been stronger if some of those things just went into light exposition or maybe unexplained? What if we didn't see the Paris trip, for instance, and then stuck with Original!Miles dealing with the fallout of missing a week of work?

Anyway. Much like Maniac and Russian Doll, not necessarily something that needs another season, I think.
posted by hijinx at 8:07 PM on October 24, 2019

I realy enjoyed this. After about four episodes, I'd have praised it for being fun and clever, but I couldn't have told you what they were going for thematically. By the time we got to Kate and NewMiles' ill-fated getaway and OriginalMiles saving the day at the public presentation, it started to become clear and I was even mildly impressed.

In the end, for me, there were two main thematic payoffs. The first is that a Miles without all of the accumulated damage and weakness that OriginalMiles had was not really Miles, was not really the man Kate loves. This is the kind of unsexy truth that underlies real marriage. The second was the reveal that in the end, the difference between a Miles that is underwhelming and scuffling through life and a Miles that is firing on all cylinders and being his best self is less about a specially constructed "better" Miles and more about where a given Miles was in the inevitable cycle of success/failure. NewMiles was a dynamo when his internal damage was rebooted to zero, but he scuffled and fell apart in the face of adversity just like OriginalMiles when life started to sour for him. Similarly, when OriginalMiles made a concerted effort to turn the page and do better, he could be as realized as NewMiles on his best day.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:03 AM on October 27, 2019 [1 favorite]

I kinda thought they’d meet at the middle, with newMiles a little worse for wear and OldMiles a little better. I kept saying to my husband this is a case study of depression. I’m glad Kate didn’t love the new miles - she wasn’t where he was at, so it was a mismatch.

That pregnancy ending though ugh Why??? I thought they’d do that oldMiles wasn’t fertile and they’d need NewMiles to procreate but instead they went with some weirdo threesome.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 10:42 PM on November 5, 2019

I enjoyed this, although I really, really could have done with no pregnancy storyline whatsoever. (Every time writers make a lady character desperate for a baby, I eye roll so hard I can practically see my brain.)

Anyway, Rudd is a charming actor and that made me root for both versions of Miles. It’s like the mellow suburbs version of Orphan Black.
posted by tautological at 6:59 PM on November 7, 2019

there is absolutely no reason why the NewMiles is the same biological age while not having experiential scarring/ damage

Well, then, Paul Rudd is the guy to cast if you need a character to be no particular age.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 1:13 AM on April 28, 2020

Fun series. I've nothing to add to what anyone else says, except it was nice to hear all that Anna Meredith on the soundtrack.
posted by Grangousier at 11:00 AM on December 6, 2021

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