Aya Cash & Chris Geere as Gretchen & Jimmy
Photo: Byron Cohen (FXX)
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You’re The Worst is a love story between two people who don’t subscribe to conventional ideas of love, but, as I’ve said countless times in these recaps over the past six years, it’s also about the process of entering adulthood kicking and screaming. Jimmy and Gretchen can be exaggeratedly childish and venal (after all, it’s a sitcom), but their struggle to be mature in the face of satisfying selfishness isn’t an alien concept. It’s really, really easy to live recklessly for yourself. It’s more difficult to live responsibly with other people in mind. Each member of the gang has made some progress—somehow they all have stable jobs—but there’s still plenty of room for growth.

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“The One Thing We Don’t Talk About” follows Jimmy and Gretchen as they take some responsibility for their shared future. After visiting their wedding venue, and “breaking it in” on the pool table, Jimmy learns about Gretchen’s enormous credit card debt spurred by her belief that it’s “not real money.” That plus the exorbitant cost of the wedding inspires him to take a meeting with studio executives to pitch his take on a film adaptation of his own erotic novel. Naturally, Jimmy holds the entire film industry in contempt, but accepts that sometimes there’s value in experiencing the same story in a visual medium, “like when you roast a delicious hen and then boil the bones to make a soup.”

While Jimmy is whoring himself out to Hollywood, Gretchen spends the day interviewing replacement candidates for her publicity job, but mostly uses it as a lengthy, boozy distraction to avoid informing her mother about the wedding. She was initially planning to delay the call indefinitely until Lindsay, who might now be the most sensible of the gang despite her general foolishness, forces her to accept that that’s just not a tenable idea. So, Gretchen kidnaps a few of her interviewees and whisks them off to a bar where they mostly watch her get drunk, make out with strangers, and begin brawls under the guise of “tests” for dealing with celebrities. Only one of them, Debbie (Kate Comer), sees through the charade and takes care of Gretchen before pushing her to do the right thing and call her mother.

Though “The One Thing We Don’t Talk About” sports pretty thin A-stories, it makes up for it with some standout funny scenes. Jimmy’s pitch meeting is a delight, especially because it scans as both a semi-accurate representation of post-Weinstein exec meetings and a light-hearted dig at modern audience expectations. (“Her messiness is aspirational!” feels like a transparent crack at how critics responded to You’re The Worst in its early years.) Gretchen acting flippant and bitchy to her interviewees at the bar is classic You’re The Worst, like when a confused applicant tries to help her complete a simple bar video game only to enrage her further. The best scene, however, features Lindsay playacting as Gretchen’s haughty, judgmental mother to prepare her for the inevitable phone call. She does such a good impression that Gretchen immediately reverts to a vulnerable, angry place that ends with Gretchen screaming, “I hate you!” and Lindsay yelling back, “You’ve been nothing but dead weight since they cut you out of my uterus!”

Credited writers Sarah Carbiener and Erica Rosbe also do a good job of instilling dark foreshadowing in broadly positive scenes. The most obvious one involves Edgar, who still works for Doug Benson but no longer writes with the manipulative Max (Johnny Pemberton). A fortuitous meeting with podcast extraordinaire and phenomenal stand-up Paul F. Tompkins offers Edgar the opportunity for a new mentor, but Tompkins’ genial nature masks a nasty core. Stephen Falk’s direction implies as much, at one point literally tilting the camera up to halve his face at one point, like he’s the devil. Sure enough, by episode’s end, Tompkins financially pressures Edgar into eating a bunch of sandwiches for his own sick amusement. Tompkins may have taken Edgar under his wing, but it’s bound to be much more than he bargained for.

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But the worst moment comes in the final scene when Jimmy and Gretchen reunite at the end of the day. Jimmy informs Gretchen that he got the job and that he booked their wedding venue. Gretchen tells Jimmy that she finally called her mother and that it went much better than expected. They had a productive, warm conversation that brought them closer together. Just when Jimmy expresses admiration towards her burgeoning maturity, Gretchen drops the other shoe: She told her mother that she’s marrying Boone. Sarah Carbiener & Erica Rosbe play this for a laugh, and it is funny, but, again, there’s a pretty rough undercurrent to Gretchen’s casual dishonesty. If she can’t muster up the courage to tell her mother whom she’s marrying, then will she ever stop racking up credit card debt, or hooking up with random dudes at bars, or tell Jimmy the truth when something more serious comes along? Jimmy might have royally shit the bed when he abandoned Gretchen on that hill, but after swallowing his pride and principles for the sake of financial security, how long will he keep putting up with Gretchen’s immaturity? Their relationship might be stable, but with these two, there’s always trouble over the horizon.

Stray observations

  • Edgar, Doug Benson, Paul F. Tompkins, and Dutch (Steve Agee) are all collaborating on a show that Benson predicts will be a “a real tentpole for Metro PCS,” which is just brilliant.
  • Lindsay believed she was banging her boss, but it turns out that he was just a janitor. “One of these times he has to be an undercover boss!” she exclaims. “It’s math!”
  • Gretchen didn’t end up hiring any of the candidates, including Debbie who helped put her to sleep, bought her food, and convinced her to do the right thing. So she’s going to hire Lindsay, which seems just right.
  • Edgar initially refuses to pose as Jimmy’s assistant in a pitch meeting, but takes him up on it after being offered $100 for his trouble. “My Yeezy’s plummeted in value again,” he says forlornly. Poor Edgar.
  • Paul F. Tompkins loves soup and carries it with him everywhere. Jimmy believes that soup is just “bone water.” Those two should duke it out.
  • Another sad glimpse at Gretchen’s childhood: “If I tell her about the wedding, she’ll get in my head and I’ll give myself a butt ulcer. And then when I’m puking up stomach acid all over Court 7 in the All-County Mixed Doubles Final, it’ll be my fault for being a total disgrace to Grammy Gretchen’s name.”
  • Another weird glimpse at Gretchen’s superstitions: “And you have to bang on your wedding night, like how if you break a mirror your grandmother’s ghost sees you masturbate.”
  • “Fuck” Count: I counted three this week! Good for You’re the Worst.
  • Best Insult, Gretchen Edition: “These post-Millennial with their high GPAs and multiple internships. As if being smart and working for years for free means you deserve an actual job.” (This one stung.)
  • Music Corner: The episode opened with “It’s Happening” by Magic Bronson and closed with “Wild” by Molly Burch, which is embedded below.
  • “You’re like 50/50 with flushing the toilet. How do you remember to pay off 70 credit cards each month?”
  • “You don’t know that you didn’t get the job. They said ‘good stuff’ at the end.” “You think someone who had been rejected as often as you would recognize when it happens.”
  • “You don’t know my mother. She withheld food, human touch, and Breyer model horses to control me.”
  • “Gretchen, this isn’t teeth. This is important.”

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