“The Last Sunday Funday” does many things very well, but what it captures best is the bittersweet realization that one is too old for some traditions. After a certain age, the regular events we hold dear no longer carry the same power and joy that it once had, and continuing to perpetuate it only serves to hold one back from discovering new traditions. The gang realizes Sunday Funday, their weekly all-day drinking/adventure session, has been corporatized and robbed of its cool, but the key insight comes at the end when Gretchen sadly acknowledges to Edgar that it’s the last Sunday Funday they’ll ever go on. It’s not because it’s lame, although that’s a bit of it, it’s because they’re getting too old for it.
While the episode follows Jimmy, Gretchen, Edgar, and Lindsay on a scavenger hunt to find a secret speakeasy through a series of clues, it becomes an emotional test of one’s mettle and a catalyst for some mature choices. Gretchen and Lindsay get into a fight over Lindsay’s inability to admit the flaws in her marriage; Edgar gets high all day to try to combat his PTSD; and Jimmy acts selflessly and does something nice for his girlfriend, albeit inadvertently. It’s classic You’re The Worst executed with utter panache, to the credit of writer Stephen Falk and director Wendy Stanzler, who keep the conflicts punchy and concise, use the entire ensemble to its benefit, and chock it full of witty one-liners.
“The Last Sunday Funday” has a few emotional climaxes, but the one that obviously hits the hardest involves Edgar, especially following the utterly devastating “Twenty Two”. At the beginning of the episode, Edgar is still on edge, flinching and jumping at the sound of broken glass. But when Jimmy peer pressures him into smoking Sam’s vaporizer, he enters a mellow state throughout the day that calms his triggers. By the time the gang reaches Chinatown, he doesn’t even notice the loud fireworks behind him as he’s casually dispensing marital advice to Lindsay. The Immersion Therapy scene, in which the gang fires fireworks directly at Edgar in order for him to become comfortable with the world’s abrupt sounds, is legitimately cathartic. Set to The Rentals’ “It’s Time To Come Home,” Stanzler captures the sparkling lightshow as a grandiose affair, but also as an act of direct empathy with a fellow friend, a nice gesture following Jimmy and Gretchen’s abhorrent behavior in the previous two episodes. Though it’s Lindsay who spurs Edgar’s recognition, the entire group joins in to help their trusty companion, even if they just wanted to shoot fireworks.
Another climax is Jimmy’s refusal to give up the scavenger hunt when they reach the Mexican family’s house, a red herring on the last leg to the speakeasy. Of course Jimmy bitches the entire time about how speakeasies are stupid (“Easily the worst development in bar culture since Internet jukeboxes and big ice cubes,” in hands-down the best and most accurate line of the episode) and how riddles are dumb, but halfway through the adventure, he completely falls for it, doing his active best to hide his glee. But when they reach the house and everyone believes it’s time to call it, he stands up for perseverance and resolve, if only because retreat should be voluntary, not forced upon them. However, it’s really because he wants to do something nice for Gretchen, as everyone unconsciously realizes this is their last drunk Sunday adventure, and finding the bar would be a great capper.
The last climax comes at the end with Lindsay and Paul, and it involves her admission to him that she wants to enter a polyamorous relationship, or in the words of Lindsay, “I wanna bone other guys…physically.” The entire episode was leading up to that moment as Gretchen aggressively forces Lindsay to confront her dishonesty within her marriage, resulting in quite a bit of successful physical comedy between the two of them, but by the end, it feels like a bit of a let down. This is partially because Paul still resides in pure-comic-relief land and his own nuanced psychology is still a mystery (maybe You’re The Worst will do a Paul-centric episode one day), but it’s also because the exchange is all-too brief, even if it’s left unresolved, for it to have the emotional impact it deserves. Lindsay clearly loves Paul and wants to start a family with him, but also has needs outside of their relationship, which is a complex emotional desire not fully communicated in the episode.
But the last few minutes paw at the sublime just like the best moments of You’re The Worst. In short, Jimmy gets up on stage at the speakeasy and sings a jaunty, Sinatra-esque ballad for Gretchen, fitting the old-timey mood of the establishment. It’s a sweet gesture, but it’s bookended with Gretchen’s acknowledgment, giving the whole scene a melancholic edge it desperately needed. It’s the end of something. People change and grow up. People let go of the old and embrace the new. People find different ways to cope and accept honesty instead of avoidance. It’s another day. Say goodbye to Sunday Funday.
- The scene when the gang ransacks the Mexican family’s house is hysterical, oddly reminding me of the “The phone! The phone! Where’s the fucking phone?” scene from Wet Hot American Summer, and another great example of the series’ ability to deliver fantastic physical comedy.
- The production design of the speakeasy is impeccable, and what’s great is that Falk understands both how that place can both suck and be fun. $42 for two Rye Manhattans is outrageous.
- Lindsay’s delivery of “Do…we…decimal?” was the best laugh-out-loud line of the night.
- Shitstain and Jacqueline finally eloped. Gretchen is thrilled. On the other hand, HoneyNutz is clearly going through some personal turmoil.
- “Oh no, they’ve corporatized your cloying, fabricated, feckless drinking holiday. Is nothing pure anymore?”
- “I had depression! That is a legit-ass, mental-ass illness.”
- “I look at porn all the time. The bank, the nail salon, that dog store in Fairfax that won’t let me foster puppies anymore.”
- “I have to Gone Girl myself and start over where nobody knows me and I’m the hottest girl by millions, because you know, America.”
- “I went off my meds because my dick didn’t work and now I’m totally freaked out by everything, but this pot is mellowing me out, so that’s an illegal temporary fix.”