You’re the Worst Season Premiere Recap: Love Hurts

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Aya Cash as Gretchen. Photo: Byron Cohen/FX
You're the Worst
Episode Title
Try Real Hard
Season
3
Episode
1
Editor’s Rating
4/5

When we last saw our unlikely lovebirds, Gretchen and Jimmy said those words. The words neither of them thought they'd ever say to each other. Not "I wonder if my actions have consequences that negatively impact other people," or "You know, Edgar really deserves more from me, as a friend" — I mean, let's not get crazy here. But they did say, "I love you." And so, as the second season of You're the Worst ended, Gretchen and Jimmy were smiling.

But now, in the time-honored tradition of people who realize that they did something drunk that they can't undo in the harsh, sober light of morning, Jimmy's reaction to saying "I love you" is … basically pretending that he never said it.

And yet, as "Try Real Hard" so memorably and immediately reveals, he and Gretchen are so in sync as a couple they're literally climaxing together. (Though Jimmy keeps his voice down after she announces she's coming, because "Gretchen has the floor!") When Gretch throws in a very girlfriend-y, casual "love you!" his way, though, Jimmy goes bananas because he does not even remember saying it. (Or so he claims.) "I'm starting to think you have a drinking problem," says ever-observant Gretchen. Jimmy's counter: "Maybe YOU have a huge 'believing things people say drunk' problem." Not good enough, dude!

"I might also have said that I don't have an opinion on your pubic hair, or that I was going to help Edgar with his résumé. It doesn't make them true!" Oof, Jimmy. Not a good look. Especially when our next scene jumps to Edgar going down on his girlfriend for half an hour, like a prince.

At least Gretchen has plenty of time to mull over this disappointing development as she takes an extra-long, leg-washing shower. That counts for something, right?

Over at Lindsay and Paul's, she has decided to keep the baby so they're making a go of it, again, as a couple. It's hard to articulate just how terrible an idea this is. Like, sure, get back together, you two! Because you've obviously reckoned with the reasons your relationship didn't work out in the first place, and both of you have grown/changed/whatever-ed. At first glance, Lindsay is the more juvenile and self-absorbed of the two, but watching this episode made me realize that Paul is equally childish and self-centered. How does he try to prove he can commit to Lindsay? By chucking his boy-nerd stuff in the street, only to replace it with domestic-nerd stuff. Does he really think Lindsay wants to cook mail-order dinners while listening to bird sounds? Has he met Lindsay? He's just projecting his fantasy of "wife" onto this convenient person, just because he accidentally got her pregnant. And Lindsay, for her part in this disaster, says "family" like she's trying to learn a foreign language.

Back to Edgar! It turns out his attention to oral detail is actually a diversion tactic, a means to avoid telling Dorothy that his PTSD meds are having some, uh, limp side effects. As he tells Jimmy after making him breakfast tots — I love how enraged Jimmy is that Edgar has never made them before — he has a problem. (Jimmy's response: "Having a problem is your defining characteristic." When Edgar gets more specific, Jimmy is appalled: "I've gone years successfully never picturing your penis, and now, there it is!"

Here is an incomplete list of sex things that Jimmy suggests Edgar try to "kink it back in order": latex, smooshing, medical play, size training, CFNM, funneling, clit-negging. What are these activities? Please leave detailed hypotheses in the comments.

Meanwhile, I wasn't all that impressed by Gretchen's obvious ploy to get Jimmy drunk enough to accidentally say, "I love you" again, but I was impressed by her list of secret stuff he doesn't know about her. (Sidebar: Does any show do absurd lists better than YTW does?) Just read, people: "I dated two of the Baldwins. I competed in the U.S. team nationals in show jumping — in horsery — I've never eaten a blueberry. They're DOLL EYES. Think about it […] An owl tried to kill me at Bible camp." And like a true Millennial Angeleno, Gretchen isn't religious. "I consider myself more generally spiritual."

Gretchen brings Lindsay to work — I hope Lindsay has to get a job this season, if only so we can see how that disaster would shake out — which means we get the return of my favorite character: SAM. (Plus Honey Nutz and Shitstain.) Sam is a hero-god-king among lame, boring mortals. Sam is both completely above Lindsay and Gretchen's conversation about whether drunk stuff counts and too wise on these matters to not share his thoughts.

"Bitch, he does not love you. When you say, 'I love you,' it's supposed to be romantic and/or HIGHLY sexual." Also: Where can I buy those cash-patterned capri sweatpants?

Honey Nutz, bless his precious heart, says he's never loved anyone. "I guess it's because I never felt worthy of love in return." Poor guy.

Back to Sam: "Be the CEO of your OWN LIFE, Gretchen." Every morning, Sam tells himself he loves himself in the mirror.  But on this day, he orders Gretchen to summon a crowd for his group's secret reunion show without doing any PR, because it needs to be pure, like that time Young Thug and Sufjan Stevens opened that broth restaurant. No press, and it was packed!

Of course, when no one comes to the show, Sam and the guys try to build some last-minute buzz on Snapchat — "Secret show, HELLA SHRIMPS!" — and Gretchen is left to scramble for a crowd so she doesn't lose her job. Shitstain, by the way, is now wearing leopard-print sweatpants. A+ sweatpant selection happening over here. Gretchen gets her audience from this chill Spanish church that has to give up its space at midnight for Pharrell's pop-up show. She bribes them into attendance and stuns Jimmy with her Spanish fluency, and also speaks the truth about crepes: They are just pancakes for assholes.

Out on the sidewalk, Gretch and Jimmy have a heart-to-heart, or something that is remarkably close to one. It's a long time coming, too: Jimmy spends the whole episode learning, again and again, that he doesn't know his girlfriend nearly as well as he thought he did, which he interprets as "willingly living with a wild animal, but one with thumbs who can steal your money and hurt you emotionally." (I'm going to write that in wedding cards from now on.) But Gretchen, who has always been the more insightful and mature of the pair, tells him that "I love you" is "just a promise to try real hard."

Nothing like the relief of knowing you can bail at any moment to make you feel comfortable enough to say, "I love you," am I right?

I want to believe in Edgar and Dorothy because she seems like a good person who loves him unconditionally, but I'm also annoyed that someone who is supposed to do professional improv is so horrendous at role-playing. Anyway, I'm sure Edgar dumping his meds down the toilet won't backfire at all!

Back on the home front, Lindsay appears to be contemplating suicide while staring down the barrel of the rest of her life. Paul makes marriage and parenthood sound like a death sentence. Paul should watch Friday Night Lights. I was hoping the episode would end with Lindsay banging on the door of a closed-for-the-night Planned Parenthood but — twist! — upon hearing there will be no surprises left in her life, Lindsay creates one by STABBING PAUL WITH A KITCHEN KNIFE.

The worst: PTSD medication.

Runners-up: Not washing your legs, Paul's secret bank account, the fact that Honey Nutz feels so unworthy of love, getting stabbed by your pregnant wife.

A few good things: Sam's wardrobe, breakfast tots, Gretchen's haircut, apple-juice eyes, Edgar's understanding of basic finance ("This is my house which I bought with the mortgage money loan!"), deserving to be blown before the Jacuzzi, being compassionate about your boyfriend's PTSD, saying "I love you."