Was This Week’s ‘You’re The Worst’ An Anomaly Or Reason To Start Worrying?

A review of tonight’s You’re the Worst coming up just as soon as my book is a bestseller in the historical romance sub-categories UK and Family Fun…

I’ll try to be brief on this one, because I enjoyed virtually nothing about this episode and want to hope it’s just an aberration, rather than part of a worrisome trend along with last week’s disappointing installment.

Like I said last time, there’s a very narrow target the show needs to hit where the characters are damaged and shallow and terrible, and yet also still watchable, and recent installments have fallen down on the job. Even the hometown episode has Gretchen doing some pretty despicable things to those poor high school kids, but that one was at least played as such — a sad rock bottom moment for a character who has trouble holding off her darkest impulses — whereas everything since then has been played for laughs, and I’m at the point where I’m starting to hate everyone, and not just the fringe characters like Becca Barbara and Paul.

But speaking of Becca, if there was one thing I did not need at this stage in the show’s creative lifespan, it was an episode set largely at her and Vernon’s house. Once upon a time, Becca served a useful role on the show as someone who was judgmental and hypocritical and could spur on both Lindsay and Jimmy based on their shared histories, but who at least had a few toes in a world we could recognize as our own. Now she’s just a shrill, caricatured repository of a lot of things the show’s writers clearly hate, and it makes every moment she’s on screen profoundly unpleasant, even in an episode where we’re meant to sympathize more with her and Lindsay because we see just how terrible and neglectful their actress mother has been to them over the years.

Perhaps more startlingly, though, is the decision to have Edgar — Edgar! — embrace his own inner a-hole. This seems like part of an arc where he will lose the writing job, blow through all his money, and be back to the same penniless loser he was before he started taking improv classes, but Edgar’s value to the show is as the one member of the quartet who’s broken but still decent. The other leads have done worse things than Edgar humiliating his old Army buddy to look cool to Max, but it feels proportionally much harsher because of how well-meaning Edgar is the rest of the time.

And the Gretchen/Jimmy arc is just a mess now, filled with rapidly changing motivations and sitcommy misunderstandings designed to keep them separated, when the show should already have plenty of reason for that, given how last season ended and this one started. Gretchen going to war against Jimmy was such a great idea, and executed so well for a handful of episodes, and now it feels like they’re drifting back towards each other, and then away, and then back, as much for the inertia of the show itself as for their own inability to quit this relationship.

Again, I hope these are just a couple of bad episodes in relative isolation, and the show will get back on track as we move deeper into the season’s second half. YTW has had bumps before. But I’m not sure I’ve found less to like in a particular episode of it than this one.

What did everybody else think?

Alan Sepinwall may be reached at sepinwall@uproxx.com. He discusses television weekly on the TV Avalanche podcast. His next book, Breaking Bad 101, is on sale now.