In “Fix Me, Dummy,” the subjects of You’re The Worst all take their own steps forward, albeit kicking and screaming the entire time. Gretchen begrudgingly accepts talk therapy as a legitimate form of medical care, Jimmy reluctantly hears edits regarding his book proposal, Edgar helps Dorothy move into her new apartment, and Lindsay helps take care of Paul as he recovers from his stab wound (at least that’s the charitable interpretation of the events). But while the gang makes moves in an effort to become new and improved adults, Falk also makes sure to inject portents of doom into the action, obstacles that will inevitably complicate these characters’ journey to take responsibility for their own lives. Jimmy and Gretchen especially have been used to passing the buck, but the time of reckoning has come, and it’s no longer acceptable to ignore the problems staring you in the face lest they become bigger than you can handle.
The main plot features Gretchen’s introduction with her therapist Justina, played by Samira Wiley of Orange Is the New Black fame. Typically skeptical and dismissive, Gretchen enters therapy without any interest in meaningfully pursuing it, so she casually baits her therapist by claiming depression is “beatable” and calling therapy a “scam.” Yet, it doesn’t take long for her to admit that there are issues she’s been avoiding, like opening the mail, the one chore Jimmy asks her to do. Why? “They always want money,” she says, “or you have jury duty, or your grandma sent you a check for your birthday and then you feel guilty that you never call her and then you can’t get out of bed for a month.” Surprising herself, Gretchen agrees to complete the task before the next session.
That is until Gretchen tries to torpedo the whole affair by reaming Justina out for suggesting she could have worked to “fix herself” and threatens to quit. Though it’s obvious Gretchen is looking for an easy excuse to get out the hard work (she calls Justina “basically a rape apologist”), Justina nevertheless calmly acquiesces. However, Gretchen isn’t fully satisfied and waits for her in the parking lot so she can follow her home to egg her house, but in a symbolic turn of events, she falls asleep in the car with Lindsay by her side before she can have the satisfaction. Eventually, she admits to Justina that she becomes angry when she’s vulnerable and pledges to return next week.
On some level, this is another “establishing the series’ main action” storyline, designed to introduce a key character for the season, but it’s not exactly wheel spinning. If Gretchen’s downswing was the primary focus of last season and now Falk has shifted towards rebuilding, crucial character moments like this are essential. One of the key tenants of You’re The Worst is that self-improvement doesn’t negate core character traits, that behavioral or attitudinal changes don’t suddenly alter our defining character makeup. Gretchen will likely always try to wiggle her way out of responsibilities because that’s who she is, yet her awareness of the situation could potentially help curb those tendencies. “Talk therapy along with medication is the most effective long-term approach to managing depression,” says Justina early in the episode, as a rebuke to Gretchen’s idea that pills will magically solve everything, and all it took was a hostile therapy session, an ill-timed outburst, and an aborted stalking attempt to get her to tentatively accept that.
In the other major story, Edgar helps Dorothy move into her apartment in L.A.’s hippest neighborhood WeHoCa (West of Homeless Encampment) as he struggles without his medication, which has improved his sex life but has necessarily impacted his mental health. Case in point: His obsessive nature towards improving the homeless’ signs with humor. Though Falk initially mines Edgar’s improv-focused method of charity, by the end, it becomes yet another troubling sign of an approaching cliff. Dorothy reminds him that he’s there to help his girlfriend, but he deflects and says that she doesn’t need his help like they do, which is literally true and wholly besides the point. Falk again demonstrates the problem with deflecting issues until the absolute breaking point. By pushing them aside even for ostensibly good reasons, nothing gets solved and it only creates more hurt in the future. Edgar is heading for a fall, and he’s the only one who knows about it.
On the more comedic side of things, Lindsay plays doctor with Paul as she bandages his stab wound up and plies him full of drugs to keep him sedated and confused, all whilst in a sexy nurse outfit, the funniest consistent sight gag of the episode. Obviously wracked with shame about the stabbing, compounded by the horrified faces of Jimmy, Gretchen, and Edgar when she almost tells them, Lindsay also takes the advice of Justina and decides to take responsibility for her actions, which mostly involves vaguely apologizing and then pretending that absolves her. Meanwhile, Jimmy is at his most funny and obnoxious when he decides to reluctantly hear editing suggestions of his book proposal from Edgar, then Dorothy, and eventually a group of citizens who gather around Edgar’s moving truck. It’s not a super meaty story, but it features choice excerpts from Jimmy’s epic erotic novel, such as a character that allows a punk rock bassists to “urinate on her britches.”
But just when Jimmy decides to incorporate the suggestions into a new proposal and Gretchen decides to take the plunge and open the mail, two pieces of news fall from the sky and threatens to set the two back. Gretchen stumbles upon a letter from Jimmy’s family that says his father died (the note reads: “Shitty Jimmy, Dad’s dead. Sorry,” with a clipping of his obituary) at the same time that Jimmy receives news that his original book proposal has sold. Riding high off his success, Jimmy proudly claims that he never doubted his creation for a second while Gretchen stares at him in shock. Her worst fears about opening the mail have come true and she has to tell her giddy boyfriend that the person whose respect he has craved his entire life has passed. As the episode concludes on Gretchen’s paralyzed expression, the unofficial You’re The Worst motto rings out: Everything changes and stays the same, again, and again, and again…
- Check out Esther Zuckerman’s interview with Samira Wiley about playing the role of Gretchen’s therapist!
- General note: I don’t know how I feel about this brief trend of “cliffhanger” endings. It forces episodes into a strange direction when concluding on grace notes is often the best choice, especially with this series (see the endings for “There Is Not Currently A Problem” and “LCD Soundsystem”).
- Gretchen explains the difference between a psychiatrist and a therapist: “A psychiatrist is like, ‘Here, take these pills, ho,’ and a therapist is all, ‘Oh, tell me your shit, I couldn’t make it as an actor.’”
- Edgar’s joy at giving Jimmy notes is very infectious.
- According to Jimmy, the five most truly free moments of a human’s life are, in ascending order, leaving his parents’ home, dumping a girl hard, deciding to eat a whole pizza, hammocks, and finishing a writing project.
- Names Gretchen calls Justina: Goddamn cock, a suck-balls dumb dick, whore, jizz magnet, and titty-sucking bitch.
- Another funny sight gag: Paul trying to throw DVDs into the player without getting up from the couch.
- “Stockings are a sign both of the deprivation of the Second World War and how much the repressed kitty’s slutty little legs wanted semen on them! What is alienating about that?”
- “Can I get a suggestion of something light?” “Cookies.” “Demon rape.” “I heard cookies.”
- “When I had the mumps, mother threatened to send me to foster care.”
- “Rough day for Jimmy’s dick!”