Aya Cash Performance

Performer of the Week: Aya Cash

THE PERFORMER | Aya Cash

THE SHOW | You’re the Worst

THE EPISODE | “There Is Not Currently a Problem (Oct. 21, 2015)

THE PERFORMANCE | At first glance, there was nothing wrong with Gretchen in Wednesday’s installment of You’re the Worst. She had her booze. She wanted to get breakfast at the diner. It was just a regular Sunday, as far as Jimmy & Co. were concerned.

But just underneath the surface of Gretchen’s let’s-drink-and-have-a-dance-party facade, a deeply personal secret (and one epic monologue) was threatening to make itself public — and when the time came for Gretchen to finally break, boy, wow, did Cash shine.

First, Gretchen’s stir-craziness and mysterious inner turmoil created the perfect storm, prompting a no-holds-barred rant that found her insulting her closest friends. Nothing was off limits during the tirade — whether it be Edgar’s PTSD, Lindsay’s heartache over Paul or Jimmy’s struggling writing career — and Cash somehow found the balance between blistering cruelty and spot-on comedic timing as she delivered the diatribe. Watching Gretchen eviscerate her loved ones wasn’t easy, but Cash refused to let us look away.

But Cash’s most memorable moment happened after the blow-up, as Gretchen quietly, tearfully, sheepishly confessed to Lindsay (an also-impeccable Kether Donohue) that her “brain is broken,” and she couldn’t bring herself to tell Jimmy of the mental health issues — clinical depression, as we would later learn — that plagued her. For the first time since we met Gretchen, she allowed herself to be confused and vulnerable — and Cash turned in a stunning, nuanced performance.

Moments later, Gretchen brushed herself off and finally broke the news of her depression to Jimmy, but then she was back to her guarded, non-committal self. As the reality of Gretchen’s situation begins to sink in for the couple throughout Season 2, we can’t wait to see how Cash navigates every up and down.

POTWHONORABLE MENTION | We’d been impressed by Chris Zylka’s understated work on The Leftovers before. But in “Off Ramp,” he took it to a whole other level. After Tom realized that he and mom Laurie (Amy Brenneman, also excellent) were never going to be able to save the members of the Guilty Remnant unless they offered something as attractive as the white-clad chain smokers did, he told their support group for former cultists that he’d been bequeathed Holy Wayne’s power of healing touch. Actually, Tom didn’t so much tell them as he sold them on the idea. To get them to buy it, he had to be brave, ballsy, maybe even a little bit nuts — and what are the odds? Those are all descriptors that we’d also affix to his portrayer’s go-for-broke performance.

potw-loretta-devineHONORABLE MENTION | Multiple times throughout Being Mary Jane‘s season premiere on Tuesday, Loretta Devine — in the role of Cece, an extortionist with a liquor (“lick her”?) license — referred to her car accident as a “blessing,” a pleasant surprise that changed her life for the better. If that’s how we’re measuring blessings these days, then Devine’s scene-stealing performance in the stellar episode was certainly ours. Just as Cece kept Mary Jane guessing with her ever-expanding agenda and ever-shifting demeanor, Devine kept us on our toes with her surprisingly layered take on a troublemaking grifter we couldn’t help but love. Not only did Devine’s impressive performance solidify her status as a small-screen chameleon (Adele Webber who?), but she also won us over as the unexpectedly perfect villainous foil to Gabrielle Union’s oft-harrowed heroine.

AAHONORABLE MENTION | It’s not easy to make an impression with a one-off role on a TV procedural, playing a witness, suspect or whatever. But Castle’s Stephnie Weir was, as one TVLine reader put it, a breath of fresh air. As Mia “The Nose” Laszlo, a woman afflicted with hyperosmia, the MADtv alum greatly entertained us with her sharp delivery of repulsed grimaces, salty barbs (“You should change your name to Captain Obvious!”), insightful whiffs of evidence and, yes, even advice for lovelorn Rick. (Having long used her gift to help perfumeries put “love” in a bottle, she reassured the P.I., “What you and Beckett have [is] the genuine article.”) As a perfect marriage of guest-starring role and actress, Weir was, in a word, scent-sational.

Which performances knocked your socks off this week? Hit the comments!

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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68 Comments
  1. Ed says:

    Wow Ellen Pompeo isn’t even an honorable mention? She was on fire this week.

  2. Mimi says:

    I have never even heard of the first show.

  3. Amanda says:

    Perfect choice for Aya. She was fantastic. Also, glad you mentioned Chris Zylka–was great in last week’s episode and really impressed me!

  4. Sara says:

    ELLEN POMPEO. Grey’s Anatomy.

    What a disappointment to see her not mentioned. Her performance was outstanding!!!

  5. Shaun says:

    I watch most of these shows,and You’re the Worst is under acknowledged in general.Good for Weir on Castle,she was very funny.Good for Zylka,he was great at the end.

  6. Leah says:

    Ellen Pompeo knocked it out of the park.
    Can’t stop watching her scenes. I was expecting for her to at least get a mention.

  7. D. says:

    Seriously, Ellen Pompeo was great this week, should have been on the list.

  8. Carisa Guasp says:

    very disappointed. Ellen Pompeo was amazing. Really thought she had it this week…

  9. Al says:

    Ellen Pompeo deserves it this week, I think it was equally on par with Derek’s death epsiode

  10. kirads09 says:

    My honorable mention: Ryan Eggold – Blacklist. THAT scene where he is first practicing then NAILING his high roller persona to get to the guy he needed to. Perfection. There needs to be a spinoff with him as Tom – maybe an equalizer/leverage type – him just going undercover – perhaps to help others with no other option.

  11. I can’t believe that you didn’t give the Performer of the Week award to Ellen Pompeo, or even give her an honorable mention, for her performance in Thursday’s episode. She was beyond amazing in Thursday’s episode, and I thought that episode was one of the best episodes of Grey’s Anatomy that they’ve had in years. I feel like I should also mention that I think the episode where Derek dies last season was also pretty amazing too, but I digress. Bottom line, I’m not happy with TVLine at all for not recognizing Ellen Pompeo in this week’s Performer of the Week column.

  12. Lexi says:

    Stephanie Weir on Castle was hilarious… when she was on you watched only her. Talk about a scene stealer.

  13. Regina says:

    I was so hoping it would be Aya! She was amazing. It’s nice to see some recognition for her and the show!

    • Daisy F. says:

      I completely agree! I was watching the episode and actually thought to myself I wonder if Aya will be Performer of the Week on TVLine because she really deserves it. I watched that scene between her and Kether talking about her broken brain about 5 times, it was that good. I know a lot of people are saying Ellen Pompeo, but I watch both shows and would still give it to Aya for sure!

  14. Samantha says:

    What! No no melissa mcbride. She was amazing on twd this week.

  15. Patrick Maloney says:

    Although I love Aya Cash, I think Chris Zylka deserved the “Performer of the Week” spot this week!

  16. nothing on Jesse L Martin from the flash??
    you have failed this article

  17. Martin says:

    I have never agreed more about the performer of the week. Aya Cash was stunning in this episode, I got chills it was THAT good.

    I do agree that Ellen Pompeo should of been mentioned though….and Hayden Panatierre is as always amazing this season. She is just a terrific actress and will go on to even more incredible things when the show is over

    • Regina says:

      I agree. So glad to see recognition for Aya! I think it’s important for the performer of the week title to go to someone that’s done something surprising that we haven’t seen from them before. Aya did just that. In a show that’s a comedy she took her performance from comedic to dramatic and heartbreaking. She did an amazing job!

  18. Tia says:

    Can’t believe Ellen Pompeo wasn’t given Performer of the week. She was amazing, she gave me chills and twitter was on fire with tweets about her performance and in comments everywhere, on her outstanding acting. Wow do disapointed.

  19. S says:

    I was blown away by Ryan Eggold is The Blacklist. His character is already an enigma, with layers added or revealed to suit his agenda. The long monolog where he once again went undercover and created a new identity was captivating. Equally so was when he let it slip long enough to tell Liz he came back for her and loves her. Tom jeeps me guessing, but Ryan Eggold definitely keeps me watching every week.

  20. William says:

    I’m happy to see Loretta Devine get some love because her performance on BMJ was stellar. Such a great actress, criminally underrated. She constantly adds layers to each of her roles.

  21. Allen Dixon says:

    The quick witted performances by guest stars with Castle’s cast is fascinating too watch. The chemistry happens with guest stars in one episode😉. Castles cast & crew lends itself ALWAYS to great television LEGACIES!

  22. Alex says:

    Viola Davis! Or anyone on How to Get Away With Murder.

  23. webly3 says:

    I’m shocked Amy Brenneman wasn’t picked for The Leftovers. Her performance was spectacular and better than Chris Zylka’s.

  24. Aya was fantastic. She made me cry. What a fantastic episode. This series gets better with each episode.

  25. HAP says:

    Glad to see you gave a shout out to Kether, as well. I love both of those women.

  26. Dean Brown says:

    Am I the only one shocked that Liza Weil from HTGAWM wasn’t mentioned??
    She was phenomenal this week!!

  27. Mark says:

    Thank you so much for recognizing Loretta Devine’s extraordinarily textured, Emmy worthy performance on “Being Mary Jane” (a woefully underrated show featuring an equally underrated and stellar characterization of the titular character by the wonderful Gabrielle Union).

  28. Mo says:

    I’m actually surprised that Jeff Perry wasn’t mentioned. That moment he had in the Oval with Fitz was AMAZING! When he said, “I don’t need you…not anymore”, I almost believed him. That scene was gold.

  29. Amy says:

    Ellen Pompeo…..hola!

  30. cintiamcr says:

    Aya deserves all the recognition she’s getting for this episode. I hope this can bring more people to watch the show, because it’s so good!

  31. me says:

    Aya and Kether are SO good, love that show.

  32. MiaB says:

    You’re the Worst is one of my favorites and totally an unearthed gem of a show. Thanks for mentioning Aya Cash!
    There were a lot of great performances this week. My favorites other than the ones you already mentioned: Liza Weil (HTGAWM), Jeff Perry (Scandal), Jesse L. Martin (The Flash) and Hayden Panettiere (Nashville).

  33. They need to make The Nose a recurring character. She’s about the only thing they’ve done right this season.

  34. lame says:

    Stephanie Weir didn’t steal scenes , she stole an entire episode.

  35. liame says:

    I wonder if the team is playing spin the bong when choosing performer of the week. I’ve never even heard of this show. I googled it and I’m still baffled, WTH? LOL.

  36. rachelle says:

    Aya was great! I legit cried when she went off on everyone and when she confessed to Jimmy. I could see how bad things had gotten for Gretchen (Aya). And the scene where she finally told Jimmy was just so sad despite the two’s attempts at keeping it humorous.

  37. Shru says:

    Wait no Ellen Pompeo? She was absolutely brilliant in Thursday’s episode! Those scenes with Amelia and that scene where she’s on the bathroom almost having a panic attack were brilliant! I thought she was robbed of last week’s title (especially when that dead pan, one expression, awful actress Phoebe Tonkin got performer of the week). But this week she knocked it out of the park