You’re the Worst Recap: Ashes to Ashes

You're the Worst

The Only Thing That Helps
Season 3 Episode 7
Editor’s Rating *****
Chris Geere as Jimmy. Photo: Byron Cohen/FX

After last week’s killer episode — a wacky, exuberant, symphonic sweep of everything we love about You’re the Worst — we should have expected a run-of-the-mill follow-up. Personally, I find the story lines about Jimmy and Gretchen’s families to be YTW’s weakest material. The episode that introduced Gretchen’s parents was a rare dud in an otherwise stellar debut season; everything involving Jimmy’s family fails to render them as much more than obnoxious caricatures, even when a requisite glimmer of humanity cuts through the trash.

So this week’s episode, which sees Jimmy putting together a memorial for his dad, is a weak one. It certainly doesn’t tell us anything about Jimmy, his dad, or their relationship that we didn’t already know. We don’t see Gretchen flex any of those empathy muscles she’s supposedly building in therapy. There are no surprises: Jimmy expects to be disappointed by his father, allows himself to hope he will be wrong in spite of that well-earned expectation, and then he is disappointed. By the end of the episode, he is in an emotionally conflicted zone, angry and grieving, and angry that he’s grieving for someone who cared so little for him in life. Also, there’s a weird side plot with Ben Folds; more on that later.

One arena in which Jimmy is making some progress: his book! (These long shots of his house remind me that these people live in really nice digs.) The word count ticks up as Jimmy takes breaks to pace, engage in brief spurts of exercise, add more yarn and thumbtacks to his Homeland-style bulletin board, masturbate to his own characters (…okay), and read his work aloud: “He went to wipe it away and she said ‘No, leave it,’ and there it lay, like a raindrop, quivering, trembling, on the hood of her father’s beloved Aston Martin.”

Jimmy’s dad’s ashes are sent to him by mail from siblings who thought that Jimmy — who is “rich” and “talks good” — would be best equipped to host the memorial. (So did they not even have one? Were they expecting to be invited to this one? I thought Jimmy was the outcast of the lot.) Jimmy tries to chuck the ashes, but Gretchen and Edgar, clueless to what the box contains, each bring it back inside. Here’s a fun fact about cremated human remains: “It’s all chunky!” Thank you, Gretchen.

Edgar bounces because he doesn’t have his pot card yet. Great decision, Edgar! Later we see him back at the VA with the same dude he talked to before. He’s trying to find a workaround so he can get a medical marijuana card — seeing as weed is legal in California — and not have it interfere with his benefits. The VA party line is that because marijuana is not kosher on a federal level, Edgar is out of luck. After all, did Edgar fight for the army of California? “How’d they pay you, avocados and screenplays?”

Useful advice comes from Vernon, of all people, who spots Edgar moping at the memorial. “Everyone at this party has a pot card for a dumb reason,” he says. Vernon got one by saying he saw a dog. And that was a total lie! “I didn’t see a dog all day.” At the end of the night, we see Edgar triumphant, as he leaves the alternative health clinic with a weed card.

Jimmy is working on his funeral heckles when some old man who used to work with his dad knocks on the door. Turns out this guy lives in the area, was told by Jimmy’s family to check in on the funeral, and even prepared a eulogy for the occasion. (I do love Jimmy’s specific insults to his sisters: “You’re grossly obese, brush your teeth, and you’re a whore, in descending chronological birth order.”) Jimmy is relieved to not have to write a eulogy after all, but it turns out that the man is reading something Jimmy’s dad wrote in advance, because — what do you know, Jimmy’s dad knew he was sick for quite a while! As in, he knew before he visited Jimmy and he chose not to tell him. Yet another lost moment of father-son whatevering. Rest in peace, Jimmy’s dad. Or, you know, rest in urine-soaked sweatpants, as was your practice in life.

So, Ben Folds. He’s Gretchen’s new client, and the joke, I guess, is that he’s pretending to be publicity averse but is actually desperate for publicity, so he goes about building buzz in increasingly awkward, illogical ways. He keeps accidentally repeating the phrases that are supposed to make him sound down to earth; he hires someone to pretend to be a fan and later hires that same someone to pretend to be a paparazzo. He thinks no one knows what “Brick” is really about. Everyone knows what “Brick” is really about. Come on, Ben.

Over at casa Jillian, Lindsay finds a guy named Raul on Swingerhole.com. (Did anybody else read this GQ story about guys like Raul?) It honestly makes me sad to watch these Lindsay and Paul delude themselves into thinking they’re totally making it work. Lindsay can’t even pretend to not be selfish as she talks to Paul about her desire to have sex with other guys: “And absolutely, down the line, we could do whatever your thing is!” The idea obviously makes Paul want to vomit/die/repeat — “I don’t even like watching other men put gas in the car” — and he instead suggests some relatively tame couple activities, like a boudoir photo shoot. Lindsay is crestfallen, so Paul invites Raul over after all. Everything in this marriage is going to be JUST FINE.

I don’t want to be senior buzzkill correspondent here but … isn’t Lindsay drinking a lot? Is she still pregnant or what?

The worst: So much competition this week! Lindsay’s treatment of Paul, the VA’s treatment of Edgar, Ben Folds’s whole deal. In honor of his departure from the show, I’ll give this one to Jimmy’s dad and his astonishingly horrendous non-parenting.

Runners-up: Everything I just listed, plus Gretchen’s driving (“My car is doing that thing where if I take my hands off the steering wheel for more than ten seconds at a time, it starts drifting”), the word “modicum,” the still-fragile state of Paul’s stitches, that time Sam threw a fan’s crutches into traffic.

A few good things: Raul’s education (Loyola Marymount!), Edgar getting a weed card after all, Gretchen’s British accent, Jimmy’s house, Killian.

You’re the Worst Recap: Ashes to Ashes