“A Very Good Boy” has the unfortunate task of establishing various storylines that will play out the rest of the final season. Written by Marquita J. Robinson, the episode reintroduces Gretchen’s career back into her life in a major way, it brings Lindsay’s love life into the foreground, and it spins another variation on You’re The Worst’s pet theme: the difficult, but inevitable process of losing one’s edge. “A Very Good Boy” covers a lot of ground, some of it more effectively than others, but it feels a little ungainly, especially relative to the rest of the season. In short, it’s a mid-season table-setting episode that has transparent goals it needs to accomplish with a less-than-perfect cover.
The best plot this week involves Gretchen, who learns that her jerk-off publicity job might suddenly become a major part of her identity. If you recall, Gretchen has fallen ass-backwards into another promotion largely because she stole a big office by falsely accusing a co-worker of sexual harassment who turned out to actually be a serial harasser. Now, she can no longer get away with grabbing a bunch of buffet food and skipping out on meetings. She has to actually attend the meetings and contribute. So when her hard-ass boss Yvette (JoNell Kennedy) asks her to pitch a new client in front of the whole team, Gretchen impulsively names Nock Nock (Lou Taylor Pucci), a “trailer park rapper who only raps about drugs and his mom and eating pussy” whom she and Jimmy were confusedly trashing earlier that very morning. Suddenly, her whole office is forced to watch Nock Nock’s entire video oeuvre and Yvette suddenly wants to meet Gretchen over drinks off-campus.
Gretchen expects she’s about to be fired for years of neglect. It turns out, somewhat predictably, that Yvette wanted to meet her because she sees herself in Gretchen. They both got into publicity because of some combination of drugs, sex, and industry connections, but at some point, Yvette started to take the racket seriously and she subsequently rose through the ranks. She knows Gretchen has been failing upwards to some extent, but she also knows that Gretchen’s base tendencies to lie and manipulate others make her suited for the job. Most of all, Yvette realizes something that Gretchen doesn’t: if Gretchen actually tried for once, she could be unstoppable.
Gretchen’s publicity adventures were once a frequent recurrence on You’re The Worst, but they eventually receded into the background as relationship drama and depression spirals took up more space. Falk and company would always check back in at some point or another, usually by bringing Sam, Shitstain, and HoneyNutz into the mix for an episode or two. Yet it was understood that Gretchen’s professional career was to be secondary affair. So it’s a big play for the series to suddenly bring Gretchen’s job back near the center of her life, but I think it mostly works. While the whole Nock Nock debacle feels a little canned, it makes sense that Gretchen’s street savvy could keep her employed this long, and that a professional mentor who believed in her would be just the thing she needed to jump into high gear.
Meanwhile, Lindsay and Edgar’s sex buddy relationship continues unabated, but Lindsay starts to feel unfulfilled after witnessing Vernon and Becca repair their disastrous marriage in real time. (Remember they live with Lindsay now after Vernon’s medical license got suspended. Oh, and their infant daughter Tallulah sleeps in Lindsay’s underwear drawer, which is about the casually saddest thing I could possibly imagine.) Edgar suggests they go out on a real date to see if they can make an actual relationship work, and s you could probably guess, the result is a disastrously awkward affair. Edgar and Lindsay separately flee the restaurant only to meet up out front and conclude that they should stop seeing each other so that Lindsay can make space for a serious relationship.
It’s a pretty compressed C-plot that leverages a background relationship for a sincere emotional climax, but it also mostly works. I buy that Lindsay and Edgar lead different enough lives that their physical relationship has sustained itself for this long, and that Jimmy and Gretchen’s upcoming nuptials have convinced Lindsay that she should want more than just casual sex. Plus, Kether Donohue and Desmin Borges really sell their break-up as a mutual, healthy decision between two adults. It’s genuinely not easy to imbue lines like “As much as I’d hate to give up quality D, I need to create space for love in my heart…and my puss” with non-grating sincerity, but Donohue does it with aplomb, and Borges’ reactive moments radiate understanding. It’s nice that Edgar and Lindsay’s on-again-off-again relationship, which has been around in some capacity since the second season, ends with the two of them on good terms, even while they’re looking for something better.
Jimmy’s story is, unfortunately, the weak link in the chain. It sports a decent premise—Gretchen affectionately calls out Jimmy’s professional and personal stability, which sends him on a spiral to prove that he’s a still a “bad boy”—but it mostly just keeps hitting the same note over and over again until it ends in a predictable, cringeworthy place. Jimmy’s attempts to be bad amount to aborted thievery, littering, minor harassment of children that doesn’t land, and contemplating pushing an asshole into oncoming traffic. These are mildly amusing, and provide Geere some ample room to flex some comedic muscles, yet it mostly amounts to filler in between the other stories.
It’s only when Jimmy tags along with his pre-defensively annoyed florist (Hannah Marks) to an industrial/noise concert that he suddenly feels alive when pushed around in the mosh pit. But after Robinson introduces the florist, it’s too easy to see how this ends up: Jimmy accepts a blowjob from her in the bathroom following an intense epiphany that he has a good life and there’s no reason to act out. Jimmy receives his wish. He got to be a bad boy and the results are a little sad and pathetic.
Jimmy can’t see that everyone in his life has become a little more stable. Gretchen, Edgar, and Lindsay have all taken steps to ensure that their life becomes a little more meaningful. Stability doesn’t necessarily beget boredom. It only means that one commits just enough to ensure that there’s a future worth living for. But who knows? Jimmy’s one-night-blowjob might have thrown his whole future off track. After all, the episode opens with a flash-forward of Gretchen checking into a hotel alone, and her throwing what looks like her house keys out the window.
- The other development this week: Vernon and Becca are scamming Paul out of his money by cashing his checks and throwing his semen out the window, because of course they are.
- After Yvette gives her big inspiring pitch, Gretchen immediately bursts into tears. “Bad mom, huh?” Yvette responds, visibly cringing. Gretchen nods and sobs.
- Jimmy claims to Gretchen that he’s a bad boy because of his foot fetish, but she dismisses this out of hand. “Foot fetishes are apple sauce of fetishes. Bad boy fetishes are like you can only get turned on if your dick is on fire.”
- “We can only kill so much time at the 99 Cent store. It’s fun but then a huge bummer all of a sudden.”
- “Everyone knows you don’t marry the bad boy. You bang him until he gets caught knocking over a tattoo shop he lost in a dice game.”
- “If I don’t find someone soon, I’m gonna end up alone, like Mr. Rogers begging children to be his neighbor alone.”
- Another Slothrust track closes this week’s episode. The official video of “Double Down” is embedded below.