At the beginning of the episode, I thought I knew who the worst was. I thought the way Gretchen went at Lindsay and Edgar’s nascent happiness — one-sided and doomed though this love affair may be — was heartless in a way that wasn’t even that funny for me, let alone for people not looking in through the fourth wall. “Oh my God, their kids are gong to be so dumb! ‘Let’s do some heroin!’ ‘How do you use a phone?’” Gretch, Lindsay is not just your best friend but, as we learned last week, literally your only friend. And Edgar has PTSD! I know the scrambled eggs are a disappointment, but come on now.
Still, Gretchen manages to win me over with her kind of bulletproof excuse for not paying rent — “Why would I pay for it? It’s your house” — and with her accidental slip into girlfriend-speak, when she tells Jimmy to “check in later.” They both, of course, are horrified by this. (Seems like the YTW writers have a real hang-up about “checking in,” either the act of it or the phrase or both; remember the guy pitching Gretchen and Jimmy the family plan by promising “a ‘just checking in’ text when you need it the most“?)
Besides, there is a soul out there that is worse than Gretchen was about breakfast lasagna that wasn’t even hers to devour. Worse than pretentious hipsters who steal your Sunday Funday list just to look cool in front of their never-impressed brunch buddies; worse than refusing to let someone bum a cigarette because they’re really expensive. There is Jonathan R. Straussberg, a fever dream (fever nightmare?) of the Man Who Thinks He Is the Great American Novelist. (TMWTHITGA is … not a great acronym, I admit. For the purposes of this recap, we’ll just still with JRS.)
One of the best things about You’re the Worst is how it can eviscerate its targets with one of comedy’s sharpest weapons: specificity. The attention to detail with every word out of JRS’s mouth, with every absurd furnishing in his caricature of a writer’s den — so many taxidermic animals! — is a wonder to behold. Just bask in these fake book titles: Brunching With Vagabonds. The Milkweed of July. In Keeping With Clem.
JRS rode shipping containers for three years instead of going to Harvard, but his adventure ideas for Jimmy are not particularly adventurous, and this stretch of the episode is a little uninspired. (Of course Gretchen, queen of the cool girls, is like “sure, I’d love to virtually get a lap dance with you! Pick the one with the C-section scar!”) We’re talking about a tool who steals checkers from an old-folks’-home rec room and calls it “just making a little chaos.” Perhaps the most important thing to glean from this sequence is that JRS thinks Jimmy’s book is amazing. So … does that mean it’s really bad, because this guy is a monster? Discuss.
Can we please get a web series about Honey Nutz, Shitstain, and Sam? Watching Gretchen defuse and then capitalize on their feud was plenty enjoyable — always good to get a reminder that Gretchen is probably much better at her job than Jimmy is at his — but I could just as easily watch these guys go off on misadventures without her. I lose it over every line they say. My favorite: “Last time he got mad at us, he cried for a week. Then he burned down my mom’s tool shed. And now she keeps her rakes in the kitchen like a chump.” I also wish these diss tracks were available for download somewhere. Did you know Honey Nutz rhymes with Honey Butts?
Over in Lindsayland, Paul has filed for divorce. But at least the girl has her swagger in her cutting reply to Becca’s condescending, “It’s hard to explain to someone who hasn’t and probably won’t experience it, but pregnancy is magical.” (Oh God, is this what was going through Lindsay’s mind when she turkey-basted herself with Paul’s defrosted sperm?) Lindsay strikes back with “I just don’t want to be one of those girls who settles for a doofus frat boy just because their butt’s starting to sag and their upper arms are getting fat” and claims a victory.
Edgar is in a support group. I am not totally onboard with the wacky-improv-as-therapy routine but, hey, whatever gets you off that heroin, buddy. And something tells me that, as Edgar really goes for it with Lindsay, he’s going to need all the support he can get. Then he can lend some help to Jimmy, who will definitely be in need when he finds out about Gretchen’s burner phone and wherever she sneaks off to in the middle of the night. I have a feeling she’s not just going out to get those lap dances in person.
The worst: Jonathan R. Straussberg
Runners-up: Eating Jolly Ranchers off the floor, putting pennies down the garbage disposal, gazing into the darkness to see if it gazes back.
A few good things: Using a baby pool filled with pillows as a bed, Sam’s panic fort, Paul’s sex life with Amy, apparently.