When pondering the notion of cloning, one tends to overlook the logistical nightmare that comes with two people essentially sharing one life; Living With Yourself, however, magnifies it. After a treatment promising to make Miles Elliot (Paul Rudd) a better person goes awry and leaves him with a duplicate who’s better looking, more charismatic and generally superior in every way, things begin to unravel.
At first, Miles does what anyone would do if they suddenly had a clone: he has his identical counterpart stand in for him during presentations at work presentations and dinner parties with his wife Kate’s (Aisling Bea) friends. Not only does this allow him to skip the drudgery of such affairs, he reaps the benefits of having his better half impress on his account.
But DNA isn’t all the pair share. The “new Miles” also retains all the memories of his doppelgänger. With only one wife, career, house and life to share between them, it quickly becomes obvious there isn’t room for the two Miles.
Living With Yourself harkens fellow Netflix original Russian Doll through its fluid use of perspective and blur of timelines, yet where Russian Doll hurdled toward a climax, Living With Yourself dawdles, never quite reaching its potential.
At just eight episodes, one increasingly begins to wonder how creator Timothy Greenberg will tie the loose ends together as each instalment digs a deeper hole for its characters. So, when the conclusion finally comes, it feels rushed and a little half-hearted.
That’s not to say Living With Yourself isn’t worth watching. It’s tender, silly and riddled with dark and snide humour. Most of all, it provides a very real glimpse of what it means to be human, flaws and all, through the lens of an impossible scenario.
As always, Rudd is loveable – even as he inhabits an infuriatingly unlikable character in the non-clone version of Miles – yet it’s the charm of Bea and Alia Shawkat (Miles’ quirky sister) which truly elevates the series.
Offering a new scope on identity and its many facets, Living With Yourself suggests that while we all wish we were a better version of ourselves, nobody really likes the guy who is annoyingly good at everything anyway.
Living With Yourself comes to Netflix on Friday October 18.