After plenty of laughs, losses and pre-written heckles, FXX comedy You’re The Worst made a triumphant return to television in this week’s season opener, "Sweater People."
To recap, last season’s finale "Fists and Feet and Stuff" brought on all kinds of change for our protagonists (heroes may be a bit of a stretch); Lindsay (Kether Donohue) continued her downward spiral as long-suffering husband Paul (Allan McLeod) demanded a divorce, Edgar (Desmin Borges) moved back in with Jimmy (Chris Geere) after a brief and ultimately doomed attempt to show that he’d moved on (lovingly consummated by brutal sleeper hold), and an intense finale ended with Gretchen’s (Aya Cash) apartment burning down thanks to a rogue vibrator. Jimmy and Gretchen took this as the universe’s cue to move in together, and although neither will admit it, the final shot of the two with boxes in their hands and fading smiles on their faces show us that there was a fair bit of trepidation in their decision, and that not all things are going to be rosy for our toxic romantic couple. Also, Becca (Janet Varney) and Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson) are having a baby, and though those two really are the worst, it’s going to be interesting to see how their pregnancy plays out among the group (in particular with Lindsay) over the following season.
For now, though, it’s episode one, and it’s time to see how Jimmy and Gretchen are doing as a couple living together. You’re The Worst is at its most effective when we see Jimmy and Gretchen subvert romantic convention, whether that’s by bringing Chinese food and beer to a romantic movie date or by banging strangers in an attempt to one-up one another. It’s in full force here, as our two lovebirds try desperately to avoid relationship ennui by partying non-stop, escalating from drinking to cocaine to a “new synthetic thing - Belgian” that ends up with them stealing a Google Street View car and driving it into the woods.
You get the feeling that it’s due to fear more than immaturity (though they look almost identical in the right circumstances), and this is backed up by the fact that neither party are having a particularly good time. Jimmy is literally “pissing blood,” and Gretchen’s falling asleep at her job, and “sleepy bitches lose their right to use normal people phones,” according to Sam, who gives her a burner phone for her narcolepsy and swiftly slides hers into the garbage. Not that Gretchen would have minded much; ever since she moved to Jimmy’s she’s had awful reception, but a trip to the electronics store brings up suggestions of sharing a Family Plan with. A sentimental (if not slightly creepy) monologue by the sales person gives us an insight into the collective minds of Jimmy and Gretchen, as they high-tail it before the guy’s even turned around.
For whatever reason – Jimmy’s still smarting from his dalliance with Becca and Gretchen’s parents hint at deep insecurities within Cash’s character – the couple can’t bring themselves to be comfortable enough to actually be fully into this relationship, and though they don’t confront it fully, there’s a moment of understanding at the end, whether they share a goodnight kiss and settle into bed. Almost. They resort to only drinking clear liquor to chase away their nine hours of beauty sleep, but for these two, that’s a romantic gesture on par with the end of The Notebook. Despite moving in together, this relationship is going to need a lot more fleshing out, and the sight of Chris Geere’s Jimmy subtly placing a coaster underneath Gretchen’s mug indicates there’s a lot more conflict in the works as they both really get to know one another.
This episode gets its title from Lindsay, who’s doing okay after her divorce from Paul, living alone and… whatever “assing everything” means. She makes Gretchen vow to never become part of a boring couple as she allowed herself and Paul to become, making clear her dislike of “sweater people”. A visit from Paul, however, shows that the independent single girl was just a façade, as within two minutes of showing up at her house to deliver some subscription termination papers, the couple are upstairs in Lindsay’s bedroom, doing the business. Although she’s in her underwear, we see Lindsay slip on her sweater as she urged Gretchen not to, but Paul’s having none of it; he’s clearly moved on from Lindsay, who does not take this well. Another interesting loose thread from the end of season one was the potential feelings Edgar has for Lindsay, and he drops by with breakfast lasagna to find her in her garage, drinking apple cider in her wedding dress. So much for “assing everything”. An Edgar-Lindsay coupling would scream of “Pairing the Spares”, but Desmin Borges and Kether Donohue have enough on-screen chemistry that this wouldn’t be completely cringeworthy. A nice moment wherein Edgar helps Lindsay to pack away the rest of Paul’s stuff in an effort to move on is tainted slightly by the discovery and freezing of a used condom, but we’ll see what will be made of this sticky situation (pun intended).
All in all, it’s nice to see the vision Stephen Falk has for You’re The Worst. The show has lost none of this caustic charm, while sowing seeds for greater story developments that I can’t wait to see.