YOU’RE THE WORST And The Desire To Be Chosen
“Nobody chooses me.”
In this declaration, Gretchen Cutler finally gives reason to her heinous behavior on FXX’s You’re the Worst. In the end, she’s still unwanted, so why bother trying? These words solidify Gretchen, but they also solidify us, the audience. For everyone who’s waited too long in a sour relationship hoping it will improve. For everyone who’s stuck it out at the shitty job only to figure out that no one is noticing the hours you’re putting in. For everyone who hopes things will get better eventually. You’re the Worst is for us; the last ones on the bench, hoping we can finally be someone’s first pick.
It’s no wonder why Stephen’s Falk’s anti-romantic comedy keeps viewers tuning in every season. With an excellent team of writers helmed by the show’s creator, each season could stand alone as a snapshot of the antics of a group of connected people who bounce back and forth from being each other’s best friends to their worst enemies. As it has been announced that the upcoming season five will be the show’s last season, the fourth season honed in on why people still love this show. Jimmy, Gretchen, Edgar and Lindsay have all returned, but their roles have started to change because for once they seem to be trying.
Set three months since Jimmy (Chris Geere) fled right after proposing to Gretchen, (played by Aya Cash), the fourth season’s opener shows Jimmy has moved to an RV park. He spends his days watching pornography, penning his new novel and hanging out with RV resident, a crotchety old man named Burt, (played by Raymond J. Berry). Once again, Gretchen has spiraled out of control in his absence. Staying with Lindsay (Kether Donahue), Gretchen has not left their shared apartment anytime during Jimmy’s absence. She’s constantly high, she Skypes into her client Sam faking that she has been doing press work for him in Paris, and she sinks back into her crippling depression. She finds reason to believe that Jimmy left because of her.
Around the show’s two toxic lovebirds, the rest of the cast shows significant character development. Surprisingly, both Lindsay and Edgar (Desmin Borges) have excellent careers. Lindsay now works for a fashion company and rents her own apartment; both being huge accomplishments given that Lindsay artificially inseminated herself with a turkey baster in a past season. Even Edgar, who has continued to be the show’s lovable presence works on comedian Doug Benson’s show as a writer. These two, while their best friends go off the rails, have become grounded in their own unique way. Sure, Lindsay is still bullied by her sister Becca, (Janet Varney) and Edgar has inappropriately latched on to a coworker Max, (Johnny Pemberton), but the two characters are trying for normalcy in the only way they know how.
The show still lovingly makes its audience root for these disgustingly hilarious characters. Jimmy, Edgar, Gretchen and Lindsay operate completely in the id, often making heinous decisions that would even make Sigmund Freud scratch his head. But throughout all of their poor choices, drug use and unprotected sex, it is rewarding to watch each cast member face a second of clarity or share a sweet moment. In this season’s eighth episode, “A Bunch of Hornballs,” Jimmy sits outside the bathroom with fellow author Adrienne, (played by Amy Pietz), who just vomited all over him while the two had sex. As Adrienne pours her heart out to Jimmy, he selfishly leaves her locked in the bathroom of their hotel because Gretchen has finally called him. The episode concludes sweetly with the Jimmy and Gretchen falling asleep talking on the phone together like teenagers. It is in these moments, although they are sometimes sparsely sprinkled in, that show us the humanity of these characters.
What has worked so well for this show is that Jimmy and Gretchen have always been destined to be together because they are just too horrendous to be with anyone else. Yet, what if one of them decides to actually to leave the toxicity? The central conflict lies in Gretchen’s decisions this season. Still fuming and devastated by Jimmy leaving her, she latches on to Boone, (played by Colin Ferguson), an older divorcee with a young daughter. In this new relationship, Gretchen chooses to become her form of domesticity: hanging out with Boone and his daughter on their monthly culture day and joining in on weekly taco night. Finally, she is ready to give up on Jimmy because he never really chose her.
In the season’s finale however, Jimmy has finally realized that he is meant to be with Gretchen. He runs into Boone’s house and proceeds to lay everything on the line to win her back. The two scream and bicker in Boone’s kitchen. “You left because I suck!” Gretchen screams at Jimmy, yelling that in the end she is an unlovable person, just as she always thought. Yet in the show’s most tender moment to date, Jimmy, whose past behavior has been so bad that even his family members call him “Shitty Jimmy” stops her and offers a confession. “No, I left because I suck.” That statement is all Gretchen ever wanted to hear and in his own way, that’s Jimmy’s most sincere form of apology, by just admitting his faults. These two have been shitty individuals for as long as they remember. But now, as the season’s finale concludes and the two drive off into the Los Angeles night, they can be shitty together.