Gretchen wakes up to discover that she and Jimmy fell asleep together on the phone last night. She is seeing pink electric hearts and feeling all wistful and whatnot. Lindsay’s reply: “Awesome! Do you think you’ll be in the same homeroom next year?” She then encourages Gretchen to “do something” about these feelings — interesting counsel for about 8,000 reasons, but sure — until Gretchen tells her that’s not really her style. “I’m more of a ‘It’s too late to buy a wedding gift so I’ll stop being friends with them’ kind of person.” (If I remember the pilot correctly, Gretchen is really a “show up at the wedding to steal a gift” kind of person.)
This episode, I am sad to report, is as scattered, aimless, and underwhelming as much of this season has been. Becca and Lindsay’s mom comes to town, and in a shocking twist, she was a negligent parent who focused all her energies on her burgeoning porn career and now delights in watching her grown daughters fight petulantly for her affection. (I was hoping that she would turn out to be a totally normal person, forcing Becca and Lindsay to acknowledge that they are the ones who are responsible for the way their lives are shaking out.) Gretchen wants to make a Worldstar video, I guess? And Jimmy, upon learning that Gretchen brought Boone and Olivia to Lindsay’s divorce party, decides to call up some girl from his childhood for a hookup.
Let’s start with Jimmy. After some convoluted thing about how he can’t have casual sex because he’s a novelist (did we not watch Jimmy have casual sex just one episode ago?), he explains that it is impossible for him to hook up with someone without hurting her. “Happiness is a finite commodity. You have to steal it from people. And I’m just not the kind of person who would mistreat people like that.”
So Jimmy decides to call up a woman he knows who used to be a bartender. Does he stalk her on Facebook to see what her current life status is, like a normal millennial? Nope! He just assumes that in the years since he last saw her, she has not changed her life in the slightest and will be wowed by his “architecturally significant house.” This is absurd on so many levels. We know that Jimmy hated his childhood and was mocked/tortured/hazed/etc. by his family and classmates and basically everyone who knew him. His nickname was “Shitty Jimmy.” Why did he think calling up a woman from this part of his life would be a confidence boost? It doesn’t make any sense.
When Katherine, the woman in question, arrives, she is “shockingly presentable,” as Jimmy says to her face, and obviously has matured and moved on up in the world since the last time he saw her. He is appalled that she’s a “higher status” than he is. She’s a jerk to him, too. Why are these two people even spending time together? She stays there for hours. Wouldn’t she just … leave? Did Jimmy really let this woman stay in his house for hours on end to just mock him relentlessly? He says, “This was a complete waste of time! I got nothing out of this utter debacle.” I AGREE. And then they have sex.
Over at Becca and Vernon’s house, Becca and Lindsay are just trashing each other in a very pathetic way — “I’m a stylist now!” “I read a really long book!” — as their mom applauds their misery.
Meanwhile, Boone tells Gretchen that Olivia is “begging” for a group camping trip, and Gretchen doesn’t want to go. She’s still talking about “going down a road.” JESUS, GRETCHEN. Camp or don’t camp, you literally just told this guy you wanted to be a part of his daughter’s life and that you had feelings for him, so maybe just give it a shot? It’s one weekend and you apparently never have any commitments, any work to do, or anywhere to be. Vernon, who is essentially parenting solo, briefly pulls himself back from the brink of collapse to actually dole out some decent advice: He wisely tells Gretchen she should just communicate with Boone instead of, as she says, “let the universe decide for me, that way nothing is ever my fault.”
Gretchen and Boone make better plans, and whatever road she is worried about seems ten times better than her life is now. But when she gets home and sees Jimmy and Katherine screwing through the window, she is so upset she has to … masturbate? Cool.
Lindsay tries to confront Becca for ruining her life, but Becca isn’t having it: “Like the actual 9/11, you did it to yourself.” Then they watch a home movie and it takes Gretchen’s not-exactly-insightful observation — that their mom was ignoring them in all these videos — to realize, hey, maybe that’s the source of their distress!
Becca then announces, “I just wanted mom to think that we had everything figured out,” which seems like the sort of thing people never say out loud that could easily be inferred by us, as viewers, without Becca’s narration. With astonishing speed, Becca sobs that her life is shit, Lindsay hugs her, and they make up and decide to be there for each other and fix their lives themselves. It’s like an episode of Full House, if everyone on Full House were sociopaths.
But out of this whole goon squad, the most disappointing dumb-dumb is Edgar.
Edgar was always, for my money, the most interesting character in You’re the Worst: a veteran with PTSD and an unwaveringly generous spirit, trying to build a life and identity outside of his service in a society that undervalued him. Plus, he makes great breakfast! But there’s been zero coherence to Edgar’s development this season. Remember when he was supposed to learn to be a skeevy pickup artist? That lasted all of ten seconds, I guess. Last week, he was the nice guy who kept getting taken advantage of by his “friend.” In this week’s episode, while working on some adaptation of a depressing movie for kids, he comes face-to-face with Ricky, a guy he served with in Iraq. It’s an awkward situation for both of them — Ricky is delivering Edgar’s food — and he’s offended that Edgar pretended not to recognize him. Edgar explains that he just hasn’t told the talking fedora about his service yet, and Ricky gets pissed and leaves.
That would be the end of it, but Fedora says the sauce is missing and calls Ricky back. Ricky lashes out at Edgar, outing him as a vet and saying, “He ain’t shit, never was.” So Edgar just treats this person like absolute dog shit, offering up $50 and a five-star rating if and only if Ricky spreads the sauce on the steak himself. Which Ricky does. Fun how the only kind of decent person in this universe is suddenly an amoral scumbag!
The worst: It’s a real race to the bottom this week, but I’m going to go with Edgar, who was the only one of these clowns I still believed in.
Runners-up: Becca, Lindsay, Becca and Lindsay’s mom, Vernon’s habit of getting off to his mother-in-law’s pornography, Fedora, Katherine, Jimmy, Gretchen’s weird Worldstar fixation, Jimmy’s misguided belief that casual sex partners should treat each other like garbage.
A few good things: Vernon’s advice, The Width of a Peach (apparently selling pretty well on Amazon!), Boone’s offer to go to the Ace Palm Springs instead of camping.