In its second season, You’re the Worst accomplished a number of admirable things: introducing meaningful conflict, deepening the relationship between its two central characters, fully realizing its supporting characters with arcs of their own. Yet it’s also managed some less widely praised — though still essential! — work for a comedy in its second season with designs on a long and well-loved career: traditions.
Like Community‘s paintball episodes or Brooklyn Nine-Nine‘s Halloween capers, You’re the Worst has turned several hits from its first season into recurring bits, all while managing the tricky business of keeping things nostalgic without coming off unoriginal or complacent. First, we had the Halloween edition of Sunday Funday; now, we have the second installment of Becca and Vernon’s Annual Trash Juice-Fueled Shitshow.
Gretchen isn’t magically cured, but Jimmy’s show of dedication has at least brought her back from the brink. She’s feeling good enough to banter about Nina’s bronze medal (not a euphemism!), the first of several scenes in “The Heart Is a Dumb Dumb” that showcase Jimmy and Gretchen at their best. When they’re on the same wavelength, this is a couple that’s perfectly matched in their callousness, and secure enough in their connection to talk about Jimmy’s almost-infidelity, then Gretchen’s attempt to replicate it, mere hours after the fact. And then there’s Gretchen’s priceless response to Lindsay’s pregnancy: “You, me, abobo, and Marie Callender’s?”
Everyone then converges on Becca and Vernon’s baby gender reveal party, complete with hilariously inappropriate details like the fertilization game (complete with sperm-like balls). Vernon, being Vernon, has swapped the mail-order popcorn for Trash Juice; Becca, being Becca, takes the first opportunity to rat out Lindsay’s pregnancy to Paul. She also has an anti-vaxxer mommy manual in her bathroom, where Paul immediately runs after finding out he’s a baby daddy via 37 seconds of intercourse and a turkey baster.
Paul’s decision to dump Amy for Lindsay over the act of basic human decency that is “not entrapping me with your pregnancy” is, to be honest, the least convincing character beat of this entire episode. Could I see Paul wanting to be a father? Sure. Could I see Paul dumping the love of his life to revive a relationship that even Lindsay’s now mature enough to admit wasn’t good for either of them? Not really. The karaoke song, now a sub-tradition within the wider genre of Trash Juice-induced meltdowns, might have been worth it, though. (Kate Bush’s “Woman’s Work” to Aaron Neville and Linda Ronstadt’s “Don’t Know Much” is also a nice evolution.)
Dorothy and Edgar’s first major fight, though, was as sweet as it was believable. Figuring out how to argue is part of any growing relationship, and watching this couple develop in a healthier, albeit less entertaining, way than Jimmy and Gretchen has been a nice counterpoint to the dysfunctional duo at the center of the show. It’s also another angle for You’re the Worst to take on the clichés of most romantic comedies, showing dramatic blowups to be as much of a fantasy as happy endings. “We had a little fight and I’m taking the bus home to show you how mad I am,” Dorothy explains when Edgar says he’s not ready to move in. “Did you think we broke up? People don’t behave like that.” Like Catastrophe, You’re the Worst believes in its characters enough to have them argue like adults.
Finally, Jimmy brings up medication, the only major plot hole in this season’s depression arc. Gretchen argues she’s never needed it before, and besides, now she’s got Jimmy; Jimmy resents being forced into the role of caretaker. In true Jimmy fashion, he’s part right and part selfish brat, so he decides to drink about it. And drink he does, right through Drunk Jimmys 1 (angry) and 2 (sad) before arriving at 3 (happy, but still enough of an asshole to steal the mic at a baby-gender-reveal-party).
Part of what’s made Gretchen’s depression so effective, and affecting, is its focus on Jimmy’s experience as well as his girlfriend’s. His bender takes Jimmy through the ugliest parts of himself — the parts that blame Gretchen for “tricking” him into investing in a “lemon” — on his way to the best. Luckily, Gretchen only shows up for the last part, and reciprocates Jimmy’s willingness to be there for her by playing drunk babysitter for the night. More importantly, she agrees to try out medication, because she understands that her depression doesn’t just affect her anymore. In Paul’s words, love means putting someone else’s needs before your own, and by the season’s final moments, both Jimmy and Gretchen have done just that. It’s only fitting that the episode ends by making it official.