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One step forward, two steps back: ‘You’re the Worst’ returns for season 3

| Friday, September 2, 2016

One step forward, two steps back webJoseph Han

There’s something very enticing about watching fictional characters behave as total trainwrecks. And, while in movies (like “Trainwreck”), the characters might finally get it together, TV shows have a tendency to let their characters mature a bit, only to backslide in the next episode, season, or arc.

Shows like “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “You’re the Worst” succeed primarily based on just how awful their characters really are.

“You’re the Worst” returned Wednesday for its third season. The end of the second season was hopeful, hinting that each of the main characters might be ready to finally mature.

After what has been praised as one of the best portrayals of clinical depression on TV, Gretchen (Aya Cash) was heading to therapy and finally starting to take meds. Lindsay (Kether Donohue) had (finally) reunited with her husband (Allan McLeod). Edgar (Desmin Borges) had found a girlfriend and meds that were actually combating his PTSD. Jimmy (Chris Geere) was finally able to admit his feelings for Gretchen — even if he was blackout drunk at the time.

Most of these steps towards maturity fell apart in the first half of Wednesday’s premiere. Jimmy is still commitment-phobic, Edgar’s meds have some unintended side effects and though it’s not a problem yet, Lindsay’s husband has some new plans for bonding “as a family.”

The unraveling of the semi-progress made in the second season could seem tired and overdone — and as though the TV show has already run its course. But what keeps “You’re the Worst” going are its self-deprecating humor, the naive cluelessness of its characters and its unending relatability.

From the first season’s, “Are you in a profession where you can day drink?” to Wednesday’s, “Have you seen what I do?,” the show has always been good at internally mocking its characters’ “jobs” which never seem to demand much from them (except, of course, when it is a convenient plot point). This episode’s midday heavy drinking scene is no exception.

When Gretchen does finally leave the bar to go to work, her client, Sam Dresden (Brandon Mychal Smith) continues to be the series’ wisest character. Despite his youth, his questionable rap career and his insistent use of profanity in nearly everything he says, he’s usually the one person who can give Gretchen sound advice about her life.

“Be the CEO of your own life, Gretch,” he tells her after she returns from drinking with Jimmy. Delivered by Sam, the statement is more sharp demand than comforting encouragement. He has no time for her waffling worry about her relationship. 

Finally, in the climax of the episode, “You’re the Worst” addresses the tricky problem of how much Gretchen and Jimmy truly care about each other.

On the phrase “I love you,” Gretchen says, “It’s just a promise to try really hard. It doesn’t mean you can’t fail.”

It’s a nice sentiment, but as always, the pair manage to interpret it in the worst possible way. They assure each other that they are ready to drop the relationship at a moment’s notice even as they say “I love you,” thereby “resolving” their conflict.

Outside of Gretchen and Jimmy’s unconventional relationship, everything manages to spiral as well and the final moments of the episode promise an interesting season for Lindsay and Edgar, who are finding that getting what they thought they wanted is not quite as fulfilling as they thought.

As always, “You’re the Worst” delivered a depressingly comedic episode — one where you realize halfway through laughing that it probably shouldn’t be as funny as it is. Jimmy’s one-liners are particularly good (“I could fly a plane after five shots”), and every new fact Gretchen shares about herself garners at least a smile (“An owl tried to kill me at Bible camp”).

The premiere showed that the title still aptly describes its characters in the most comedic way. Despite what the end of last season might have promised, progress towards maturity is slow, especially for these characters.

If the rest of the season is as good as the first episode, the third season promises to live up to its predecessors.

“You’re the Worst” airs on FXX at 10 p.m. on Wednesdays.

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About Caelin Miltko

I am a senior English and Irish language major, with a minor in Journalism. I spent the last year abroad in Dublin, Ireland and am currently a Walsh RA living in Pangborn.

Contact Caelin