‘You’re The Worst’ Got Real About Mental Illness In The Series’ Best Episode Yet

Are you watching You’re the Worst yet? Because, if you aren’t, you absolutely should be. Last season aired its best-yet episode, cementing itself as one of the smartest and sharpest shows on television. By further clarifying what was going on with Gretchen, You’re the Worst dealt with mental illness in a sensitive and honest way that isn’t often seen on television, let alone on a comedy.

The ongoing question of what was going on with Gretchen has been at the heart of the second season, with each part coming more and more into focus with each episode. Last week, we found out where Gretchen had been going at night, but not why. Aside from her general lack of ease living at Jimmy’s, was there something deeper behind crying jags in her car? As is usually the case, of course there was.

“There Is Not Currently a Problem” picks up the morning after Jimmy finds Gretchen, and despite her assurances that she is fine, Jimmy repeatedly asks if she’s alright. Not wanting to get into it, she brushes him off, and Jimmy unwittingly rips off The Lion King. When everyone, including the “rando” Dorothy (at least Edgar has something good in his life now, right?) and Vernon, gets stuck in the house because the roads are closed for a marathon, the cracks in Gretchen’s facade start to widen. Looking like a trapped animal, Gretchen begins to drink while Jimmy tries to trap the mouse that had taken up residence in their house. However, Jimmy’s lack of understanding, Lindsay being utterly useless, and the presence of Edgar’s as-yet-unknown girlfriend prove too much for Gretchen, everything she’s tried to keep bottled up inside explodes, and no one avoids the shrapnel.

She mocks Edgar for his PTSD-induced night terrors, calls out Lindsay for still being in love with her soft ex-husband, completely dismisses Dorothy as an improv actor and refers to her as a “tweener,” because she’s “not hot enough to be the lead, and not fat enough to be the funny friend.” Of course, Jimmy bears the brunt of her blows as she derides his “writer’s problems,” and she decides that Vernon isn’t even worth her time. You’re the Worst has always had a touch of cruelty in its humor, but this was next level. The camera stays focused on Aya Cash for most of her vitriolic monologue, creating a sense that Gretchen is as trapped in this whirlwind of pain as the audience.

A lesser show might have passed this off as stress and over-imbibing, but You’re the Worst isn’t that simple. As Gretchen hides in her bed, Lindsay, finally acting like a friend instead of an over-indulged child, asks her if “it’s back” and if Gretchen is going to go back to wearing her Hoobastank t-shirt for weeks on end like she did sophomore year of college. According to Gretchen, her “brain is broken” and no, she hasn’t told Jimmy.

Without actually saying the word “depression,” You’re the Worst got to the heart of what it feels like to be clinically depressed — out of control, hopeless, and afraid that those closest to you will run if they are let in on the “secret.” The show handled Gretchen’s depression beautifully. It didn’t make her less of a person, and didn’t take away from the ballsiness that makes her Gretchen. It is just a part of her, plain and simple. In an uniformly strong cast, Aya Cash was mesmerizing in this episode as she struggled with “completely-beyond-her-control wiring issues.”

After she apologizes to the group for her “drunken” outburst, Gretchen finally has an honest moment with Jimmy. She informs him that she’s clinically depressed and has been for years, she’s handling it, and that there is nothing that he can do to fix her. It’s a watershed moment for the couple, and honestly, Jimmy handles it in the only way he could at the moment. As they embrace, his face is a mixture of fear, concern, and an uncertainty of how to move ahead. As a man, his first instinct is to fix, but he can’t even properly kill a mouse. It will be interesting to see how the couple continues to evolve and become more intimately acquainted with one another’s darkness. It’s one thing to drink Bloody Marys together every Sunday and share space, and another altogether to be totally open about your life. You’re the Worst has been cautiously circling the notion of these two screw-ups actually making an honest go at a real relationship, so we’ll have to wait and see if this realization will be a catalyst for closeness or something that they just can’t overcome together.