You’re the Worst Recap: The Pickup Artist

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Photo: Byron Cohen/FX Networks
You're the Worst

You're the Worst

This Is Just Marketing Season 4 Episode 4
Editor's Rating 3 stars

Like Sean Spicer at the Emmys, Jimmy can just roll back into Edgar’s life as if nothing morally reprehensible ever happened. The guys are back at the breakfast table together, but Edgar is too distracted to listen to Jimmy’s news about his publishing house. “Why aren’t you listening to me?” Jimmy demands. “I’m fascinating.” Edgar’s mind is elsewhere: He’s trying and failing to meet women to date.

As Edgar relates his dating-app woes, noted romance expert (???) Jimmy tells him to try negging. “Isn’t that something lame dudes used to do, like, ten years ago?” Edgar asks. Jimmy insists that’s not the case: “It’s making a comeback, like pubes and racism.” When Edgar says he can’t be mean to the people he likes, Jimmy suggests he see things in a different light. “Those are the best people to be mean to! They never see it coming.”

It’s disappointing to watch Edgar go down this pickup-artist path of supreme douchery, not just because he’s always been the only consistently decent human being on the show — a veteran who actually believes in service, a friend who is quick to forgive and always shows up when he’s needed, a provider of creative and delicious breakfasts — but because it’s such a trite, overdone trope: guy learns to seduce women by taking advice from a known scumbag, reaps the immediate physical benefits, and eventually feels disgusting as a series of meaningless sexual encounters blur together and he realizes he doesn’t even recognize himself anymore.

Also, I’m not here for the show taking the angle of “wow, girls suck because they take advantage of Edgar’s kindness and then they don’t even have sex with him.” Nobody made you move that stranger’s futon, Edgar. Unless the app you were using was “Barter System Prostitution Tinder,” expecting someone to put out in exchange for your manual labor is just gross.

I get that Edgar is a gullible dude, prone to treating Jimmy’s word as gospel, but considering the smoldering heap of trash that is Jimmy’s current relationships status, why would Edgar ever think his roommate had any advice worth taking? He should be talking to Shitstain and Honey Nutz! Even Sam could probably offer better guidance. Jimmy thinks that his interaction with Gretchen went well enough to give him cause to be “guardedly excited.” This is the man from whom Edgar is taking relationship counsel.

Later, Edgar figures out how to combine his genuinely romantic personality with the cruelty and manipulation of Jimmy’s dirtbag strategy. He tests it out on Lindsay, who immediately caves to his, uh, charms. “You cannot bring that technique into the world, Edgar,” she tells him. “It’s too dangerous.” But of course by the end of the episode, we see Edgar making out with a girl at a bar, winking at another over her shoulder.

Gretchen — somehow still employed, for reasons unclear — is blowing off work for a liquor lunch and crashing Lindsay’s job. Lindsay knows about Gretchen’s mental-health issues, so it seems like she should be a bit more on edge about Gretchen’s panicked boast about having sex with Ty and Ty’s married friend. “Two guys in a row, just like senior prom!” But Lindsay ignores this; maybe she’s just relieved Gretchen has moved on from crack.

The girls make their way to Becca and Vernon’s to babysit Lindsay’s niece, who “looks like Billy Corgan fell asleep in a Jacuzzi.” Vernon and Becca still hate each other: Neither of them seems particularly stoked about parenting, and Becca makes Vernon eat alone in the car. Why aren’t they divorced? Vernon uses a baby voice to say obviously inappropriate things to his kid (“Guess what daddy did at work? We lost her on the table, yes we did!”) while Becca has a “GBF” (I guess if we’re still saying negging, we’re still treating gay friends as accessories?) who passionately mouth-kisses her. Also, Becca has gotten weirdly conservative? She probably has always been this way and just hasn’t expressed her politics a ton on the show. It’s pretty in character for her to have only voted for Obama the first time and to demand Lindsay not “indoctrinate my baby with your libtard bullcrap.”

Gretchen decides to go on Vernon and Becca’s podcast because she is “owning” what Jimmy did to her, which leads to an enjoyable riff wherein she and Becca — who I always forget was proposed to by Jimmy, way back when — bond over that timeless source of female communion: shitting on a mutual ex. “I once walked in on him masturbating to a story written by an 11-year-old,” Gretchen says, which, ew. The whole thing empowers Gretchen, who is still paying rent, to move back into Jimmy’s house but exile him from their shared room. I approve.

Lindsay spends the night realizing her all-consuming love for her niece, and just when you think, “Maybe someone in this sick, sad world will develop just a bit for the better,” Lindsay rushes off to tell her boss that those pesky love feelings made her “too vulnerable.” “I never want to feel that way again,” she tells Priscilla, “so I choose for my job to be my everything, just like you.” Priscilla informs Lindsay that she is, in fact, married with a bunch of children. Why is she in the office all the time? Oh, because there’s a lot of work to do. Lindsay stands corrected but her plans remain unchanged: all work, no love.

Meanwhile, Jimmy is somehow unaware that he wrote an erotic novel and is appalled that his book is being packaged as such. “That looks like a sex book for horny airport ladies,” Jimmy says, aghast at the cover mock-up Candice, head of marketing, reveals to him. “My book is, of course, literature.” Candice assures him that the cover is “just marketing.” Jimmy is unconvinced.

Out of protest and embarrassment that he could have written something — shudder — mainstream and popular that women might like, Jimmy refuses to go to the reading Candice arranged. Then he shows up anyway, undercover with his trusty fake mustache. Lured in by the packed house and Candice’s expert encouragement, Jimmy takes the microphone and reads for his very excited audience. He’s in for a real media blitz as long as he doesn’t let this moment pass him by. People magazine even wants to do a profile “because a little white girl hasn’t been murdered in a while,” Candice tells him. “But that clock is ticking.”

The worst: Vernon and Becca’s marriage

Runners-up: Edgar’s new seduction technique, Jack FM (“basically like if the worst kid in detention had sex with a radio station”), pricking the model with pins just for kicks, Jimmy’s attempt at solo breakfast prep.

A few good things: I liked that knock on alleged sexual harrasser Casey Affleck (“We just got signed to dress Casey Affleck’s lawyer for all future press conferences and depositions”), the idea that cats could start barking, and Lindsay finally feeling love for the first time in her life.

You’re the Worst Recap: The Pickup Artist