You’re the Worst
I don’t know if you can take your mind off our national nightmare for the 23 minutes it takes to watch You’re the Worst, or for however many more minutes you’ll need to read this recap about it. I don’t know if you are just spiraling right now. I don’t know if you’re ready to think about anything but the thing you can’t stop thinking about.
But if you could use a brief intermission from everything that’s happening, the rest of this recap is an election-free zone. Escape with me into a world where the most terrible people are not real — and even if they were, they don’t even have power over their own lives, let alone power over the lives of nearly 319 million people living in this fair nation. Go ahead: Take a break.
Gretchen rises to find Jimmy chucking heaps of his possessions in the trash. He is, hilariously, wearing boxers and a thick, knit scarf. (It kind of looks like a girl’s scarf, not that I want to impose sartorial gender norms on this Brit.) Gretchen’s take: “Jimmy, if you’re thinking of getting into ski porn? It’s a niche audience and the work is seasonal.” But Jimmy, trying to liberate himself from his not-so-dearly-departed dad’s influence, wants to determine who he really is, and what he actually wants. Hence the episode title: Jimmy is making pro-con lists about literally everything in his life in order to determine “the inherent, unsullied qualitative value of anything.” For instance, “Stapler. Pros: petite, efficient, comely. Cons: literally no place for you in the digital world.”
It does not take long for Jimmy to turn this appraising gaze on Gretchen, who slinks under the comforter to avoid his judgment. (I love how this episode is shot, by the way — how perspectives shift, especially in the upcoming perfectly choreographed wedding-party sequence.) Jimmy hedges, while Gretchen peels off her T-shirt to show off her two pros — Get it? They’re her boobs — and, whoops! She discovers that like Alexander of Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day fame, she accidentally went to sleep with gum in her mouth. Gretchen feigns unwavering confidence in her irrefutable awesomeness. It’s clear Jimmy is already not so sure. I know I don’t need to tell you fine readers that this is, objectively, a horrendous idea. Making a pro-con list about your significant other, telling them about that list, and then reading parts of it out loud? Like, to their face? That is next-level brutal.
Luckily, Gretchen has an opportunity to distract herself. Yes, at long last, it is time to celebrate Shitstain and Jacqueline’s elopement.
An unfortunate truth about weddings is that, although they are technically “about” the couple getting married, they wind up acting as a come-to-Jesus spiral session for everyone in attendance. Watching other people go through this big, legal, financial (and, of course, emotional) rigmarole is bound to make guests do some scary self-reflection about all the big-ticket stuff in their lives. And so it is at this otherwise fun — and coke-fueled — celebration. All of our main couples have major, maybe even life-changing blowups.
Let’s start with Lindsay, who wisely tells Gretchen that the problem with the pro-con list is that writing down our negative thoughts about other people “makes it real, like websites or fortune cookies.” This, alas, is the end of Lindsay’s intellect. I know the girl has never been a rocket scientist or a particularly hard worker, but damn was I amazed at the depths of her … you know, non-depths. She doesn’t understand that the prenup she “made” Paul sign hurts her more than it hurts him, as it is designed to protect the wealthier partner. (Did she not have a lawyer for that process?) She’s annoyed at herself for getting an abortion because “I had a ticket to 18 years of dough and you let me flush my ticket? Now I have to get a stupid job.” I mean, I guess it’s still a relief that Lindsay didn’t have a kid after all.
Improbably, Lindsay eavesdrops on and subsequently charms a stylist and gets this close to becoming her assistant, but Paul wrecks it by insisting she disclose to her potential future employer that she’s expecting. This results in Lindsay dropping a couple bombs at once — telling Paul about the abortion and that she’s leaving him — which, in turn, scares the stylist away.
Edgar is still unaware that his success is crushing to Dorothy, and Dorothy decides to be passive-aggressive and get drunk in a performative, not-actually-productive way. Oof. Been there, girl. The specificity of Dorothy’s struggle to break into comedy makes me feel like someone (or someones) in the writers room pressed down hard on some real bruises. (Before her day derails, Dorothy lets slip this bizarre but great detail: “Plus you can totally steal a chair at a wedding. I’ve done it so many times. Most of my chairs are wedding chairs.”) By the time she and Edgar run into big-deal comedy dude Brian Posehn, who doesn’t remember having met Dorothy years earlier but laughs heartily at Edgar’s lame sketch ideas, she is done.
Gretchen tries and fails to swipe Jimmy’s pro-con list and, as you may have predicted, decides to pull a two-can-play-at-this-terrible-decision and write a list of her own. (The meta-exchange between Gretchen and Sam about saying certain phrases “with a glint in your eye” is perfection. Would absolutely wear a T-shirt with “BITCH, I AIN’T GOT NO GLINT” on it.) At the end of the episode, they each sucker-punch the other with the most cutting item on their respective lists: Jimmy says, “I can’t see having kids with her.” Gretchen shoots back, “I’m afraid you’ll never be successful.” They drive home in their separate cars, and the split-screen shows them both looking ahead like they have no idea where they’re going. It’s all very The Graduate, if The Graduate ended with Benjamin and Elaine quietly panicking on two different buses.
You know that I love Sam, Shitstain, and Honey Nutz more than any of these dopes in our main cast, and I could go on and on about how delightful their dialogue and fashion is in this episode. Instead, I’ll just pluck a few of my favorite gems: The fact that Sam, the worst best man ever, “lost the ring at the Monterrey Aquarium tide pool. Said a sea anemone took it. Does that sound plausible to you?”; how Honey Nutz gets nervous offstage where he’s really “just Zachary from Reseda, who likes hard cider and losing himself in a graphic novel”; and “A BABY? A HUMAN-ASS BABY?”
Shitstain swears he and Sam will be friends forever. And as soon as Sam is out of earshot, Jacqueline says, “You know you can’t be friends with him anymore, right?” Shitstain’s response: “Yeah, right.” I know they’ve only been together six months, but I think these two are really in it for the long haul.
The worst: Ending this recap and thinking about reality again.
Runners-up: This entire pro-con list idea, Honey Nutz’s attempts at comedy (“This dude is so ugly, his dad left his family and asked to go to jail!”), Edgar’s insensitivity, pretty much everything about Lindsay including her fashion sense, kissing the bride in the bathroom when you are not the groom.
A few good things: The fact that Gretchen thinks ink comes from squid, Sam’s suit, chugging Champagne straight from the bottle, having a glint in your eye.