Todd Robert Anderson as Vernon, Allan McLeod as Paul.
While watching our fair program, have you ever thought to yourself: I wish we could get a bottle episode with Paul and Vernon? No? You don’t say! Almost any other character combination would be more entertaining and illuminating: Becca and Lindsay, or Becca and Gretchen, or Shitstain and Honey Nutz, or Sam and anyone. Instead, we get our two saddest, most tangential, put-upon husbands prowling through the woods in a series of events so no-duh predictable that this episode feels like a few back-to-back forevers.
I believe in You’re the Worst. I really do! When it works, it is so dark and vicious and hilarious, I can’t see straight. When it doesn’t work … well, let’s get to the recap.
We begin with Vernon, describing himself to a bassinet salesman as an “unsatisfiable dick nugget.” “When you think about it,” Vernon says, “aren’t we all special needs?” Vernon is bitching about Becca, who not only put him on that real tight $25-at-a-time budget (that’s what you get for allowing some stranger on the internet to engage in financial S&M) because, as part of forcing frugal ways upon him, she makes him negotiate for everything he buys. He still ends up spending $60 on this sad-looking baby-holder, but not before asking this Craigslist rando to text confirmation of the aforementioned haggling process to Becca as proof.
I know I’ve raised the question before, but why are any of these two married to each other? Did we ever learn why Becca and Vernon got hitched in the first place? I know we saw some banter-as-bonding last week, but that’s hardly enough to keep together something so clearly dysfunctional and toxic.
Vernon doesn’t want to go home, and Paul, glasses newly shattered, promised Lindsay he’d be home in “two hours and 12 minutes.” You know, because he’s got to be home in time to put his penis in a torture chamber while his wife screws Raul. This is approximately four minutes into the episode, and chances are you could, at this exact moment, hit pause and predict exactly where the story will go.
Will Vernon, desperate for an excuse to avoid his depressing reality, find a way to sabotage their return trip? Yes! Will these men find themselves stranded in some middle-of-nowhere zone without cell-phone reception, food, or water? You bet! Will they tromp into the forest without even leaving a Hansel and Gretel–style trail of corn chips by which to find their way back and realize, too late, that they have no idea where they are? Yup! Will this sad, scary slumber party lead to some Male Bonding Moments™ and Very Important Revelations™ about these men and their vacant, pathetic lives? Correct! When dawn arrives, through some convenient miracle, will they stumble back to their car and, despite promises to begin their lives anew in a distant land, return to their sad status quo, but just a little more enlightened about each other and their own self-worth? Damn, you’re good at this game.
I wish I could say there were enough killer jokes laced throughout this tired plot to make the episode worthwhile, but even the best is so not anywhere near what we’ve come to expect from YTW. I like Vernon’s weird hybrid of expertise and ignorance re: the medical field. (“I can’t get sick. To build my immune system, I lick weird stuff at the hospital all the time.”) I also was startled, and then immediately not surprised, by Paul’s awkward family tree and his “uncle-nephew,” who is six years his senior but like a father to him. And I like that Vernon called Paul “Rumpleforeskin,” though I wonder if the Veep writers are jealous they didn’t think that as one of the many on-point monikers for Jonah.
I am also glad that someone finally told Paul that OBVIOUSLY Lindsay stabbed him on purpose and this injury, which I guess will heal whenever an Olive Garden pasta bowl will end (spoiler alert: never) was not the result of a “knife accident.” It’s a little heartbreaking to know that Paul really, really wants to be a dad — what are the odds Lindsay got her “abobo” off-screen this week? — while Vernon has zero interest in fatherhood, even though his wife has reached what I believe the medical community refers to as the “no backsies trimester.” Vernon tries to tell Paul that their kids would be better off without them, citing the case of Jimmy’s confidence-destroyer of a dad. I mean, you could make the case that these kids would be better off growing up in that creepy-ass orphanage where Dumbledore found Voldemort, but you know, nobody can choose their parents.
Vernon almost follows through on his dream to abandon his very pregnant wife and bolt across the border — “I’m really a good person with a good heart and I believe there is someone out there who will love me. Hopefully a Mexican hottie with big naturals” — but caves at the last minute, claiming he can’t let a legally blind Paul drive home.
Oh, and the seventh layer of the dip is whatever you want it to be. In case that was bothering you as much as it was bothering Vernon. Isn’t that beautiful? No? Yeah, I didn’t think so, either.
The worst: Watching Paul and Vernon jerk off into a campfire. Is this karma for complaining about all the female nudity on Westworld and the like? This is not the kind of equality I was talking about.
Runners-up: Coming to terms with the fact that your wife stabbed you on purpose, harmonicas, driving for two hours to buy a shitty bassinet that gets stolen anyway, eating a squirrel, pumping your own gas (seriously why?), ordering takeout for one, whatever went down between Paul and his uncle-nephew.
A few good things: Paul’s attempt at singing the blues (“My name is Paul / I am a human / I’m vice-president of Wolf Management and Investment Strategies / Again, my name’s Paul!”), putting booze in a Dairy Queen Blizzard.