Can The ‘You’re The Worst’ Gang Make New Friends?

A quick review of tonight’s You’re the Worst coming up just as soon as you pass the sweet salt…

After the last few episodes focused on the Gretchen/Jimmy war, “There’s Always A Back Door” pulls back a bit to feature each character pursuing a new friendship — or trying to take an old one to a new level. It’s probably a necessary decision — a season where every episode is about Gretchen trying to ruin Jimmy’s life would probably burn itself out quickly — but this was definitely much less fun than the last few outings.

Of the different new friendship/relationship subplots, the most effective was Gretchen starting to view Boone as more than just a sex buddy — less for the jokes about the ex-wife/daughter name confusion than for the later scenes where Gretchen realizes that nobody ever fights for her, and falls deeper for Boone when he does, even if he does it mainly because she asks him to (and because she was still on the curb when he came to take out the trash). Aya Cash has mostly been in vengeful comedy demon mode of late, but she’s still pretty splendid at showing a more vulnerable side of Ms. Cutler.

The subplots were a mixed bag. I appreciated Edgar finally getting a cold hard slap of the truth about Jimmy, but Jimmy, Vernon, and, especially, Paul were so (deliberately) grating that the bar sequence was tough to get through. I buy that Paul would respond to Lindsay’s mistreatment of him by becoming a hardcore MRA loser, but given how thoughtful and kind and happy he’d been presented as earlier in the series, I mostly felt sad watching him now. (And, like Becca Barbara’s transformation into a “Lock her up!”-chanting right-winger, it feels more caricatured and angry than most of the show’s comedy.) Lindsay going too far in trying to make friends at work, and alienating her co-workers as a result, was fun — Kether Donohue playing Lindsay’s unbridled id usually is — and then more intentionally and effectively melancholy once she realized they blew her off to do karaoke without her.

Other than Edgar, the show’s main characters tend to live up to the title, which means that they — like the friends from Seinfeld, It’s Always Sunny, and many other modern dark comedies — are really no good for other people. (Even Boone, Gretchen’s relatively normal new boyfriend, is shown mercilessly harassing his ex’s new guy, including rubbing his bare genitals on him.) That can make the stories begin to feel claustrophobic after a while, but a smart show can also lean into that issue and make it fodder for a story. Odds are that eventually Gretchen and Jimmy are drawn back to one another — it’s that, or the series ends much sooner than we’re all expecting — but she has to at least try to explore other options, even if the laugh quotient is lower than when she’s going all J-horror in Jimmy’s bedroom.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at He discusses television weekly on the TV Avalanche podcast. His next book, Breaking Bad 101, is out 10/10 and available for preoder now.