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October 4, 2022

New Netflix show pits Paul Rudd against Paul Rudd

By EUNICE PARK | October 31, 2019

Gage Skidmore/CC BY-S.A 2.0

Netflix has recently released a new show called Living With Yourself starring Paul Rudd, and it has proven to be even better and more complicated than expected. Already having received great critiques and responses from audiences all around, it is full of twists and cliffhangers that would have even The Vampire Diaries shaking. 

For this reason, I cannot help but delve into the plot, which, through the wonderfully integrated play on doubles, leaves the audience with a number of existential questions (warning: spoilers ahead). 

Paul Rudd, American actor, producer and comedian, plays the role of Miles — and also Miles. 

Taking on the responsibility of acting as two versions of the same person throughout the course of the first eight episodes, Rudd takes on the unique premise of a man confronting his ostensibly better and more promising clone. 

Living With Yourself sets the stage by introducing Miles as a dry, ungrateful man who technically has the picture-perfect life: He has a beautiful wife who he has been married to for 10 years, a great job and much potential for running, playwriting and various other extracurricular hobbies. 

Eventually his life begins to spiral, with both a failing marital relationship that is exacerbated by a miscarriage and a failing career that leads to his financial and social demise. 

In the midst of such sudden downfalls, his coworker recommends a “spa,” claiming that all of its clients, including himself, walked out feeling “renewed.” Desperate to return to a previous lifestyle he once took for granted, Miles knocks out $50,000 for this treatment. 

Little does he know that the “spa” is actually a pseudonym for an undercover cloning enterprise where they extract the clients’ DNA, clone them into a better-looking and improved version of themselves before ultimately murdering the original client. In Miles’ case, however, the operation is not completed properly (unbeknownst to him, of course), and he somehow ends up surviving this inhumane operation. 

The remaining episodes are about Miles living with a “New Miles” and learning how to cope with himself as well as his new clone twin. 

While Miles grows jealous of New Miles’ skyrocketing success rate and his unparalleled charm, the first monumental cause of discrepancy between the two is when Kate (Aisling Bea), Miles’ wife, comes into the picture. 

Because the two share the same memories, New Miles knows everything that Miles knows and he therefore formulates a misconception that he can role play as the real Miles in moments of intimacy with Kate because of “everything they’ve been through together.” 

The conflation between Miles’ memories and New Miles’ fake memories makes Kate confused about how she feels about her husband. However, this does not stop New Miles; if anything, an even more intense rivalry ignites between the two men as they both try to find ways to murder each other. 

Their mutual feelings of hatred quickly escalate, and they both end up wanting nothing more than a life of their own. 

New Miles spends his time charming Kate and trying to create his own memories with her whenever the original Miles is not around. 

Again the severe character changes between original and new Miles leave Kate flustered and disoriented, because she can’t understand why her husband, or the person she thinks is just her one singular husband, is awfully sweet to her one night then back to his usual grumpy self the next. 

Eventually the two clones of Miles finally meet together in public for the first time at a promotion party at work (thanks to New Miles, of course), and the secret’s exposure leaves Kate infuriated. 

The three of them enter an intermediate stage of unknowingness when Kate has a momentary affair with New Miles, who also claims to love her. On the bright side, her confusion is short-lived; she finally has an epiphany and realizes that New Miles will never be the original Miles she has been married to for the past 10 years.

As most endings do, the last episode leaves the audience with a cliffhanger. Kate catches the two men in the middle of a physical fight (which results in New Miles’ apartment getting trashed) and spontaneously announces that she is pregnant. 

Although they do not know whether it is New Miles or Miles’ baby, the first season ends with the three of them celebrating the fact that Kate is pregnant again. 

The audience must wait for the second season to see how the three will cope with the impending birth of this surprise baby. 

I was immediately hooked by the opening scene of the first episode and couldn’t stop watching it. The premise of this show is very comedic and utterly unique, but the underlying theme is arguably even more interesting, especially with the notion of the “self versus self” complexities that Miles must confront during the show. 

As he is often unable to criticize his clone without also criticizing himself, watching Paul Rudd’s character evolve over the course of the first eight episodes has been nothing but rewarding, and I’m hoping that a second season will be announced soon.

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