Don’t worry, guys: this review is spoiler-free! Dig in.
It seems like it’d be hard to make a bad episode of You’re the Worst. With two seasons under their belt, Stephen Falk, his actors, and the production team have created complicated characters, nuanced scenarios, and a lot of delightfully dark humor that has slowly evolved their main couple, Gretchen and Jimmy, into something almost nearly resembling adults. And in the first two episodes of the show’s third outing, much of the same continues.
But unlike seasons past, there’s less electricity in their pairing as they become, frankly, more human. In its third season, You’re the Worst continues its forward trajectory into almost-kinda adulthood. Starting up where season two left off, Gretchen and Jimmy are forced to reckon with three little words: I love you. With actual, vulnerability-inducing emotions coming into the front-and-center, are these two destined to fail or succeed? Or does life sometimes tear those seemingly pre-destined apart?
Continuing on its season two trend of meditating on slightly more sobering (pun completely intended) themes, season three shows the potential for change and evolution in its characters more than ever before. Will they ever stop drinking their own self-absorbed Kool-Aid? It’s the question at the center of the series, but not much of the discussion of season three, which ventures out to give a bit more substance to the secondary storylines. Particularly with Desmin Borges’ Edgar, who shines particularly bright in the first few episodes of the series.
Though he decided against moving in with her in season two, the duo is still together and willing to make it work. But sometimes want isn’t enough. As Edgar’s mental health issues worm their way into the bedroom, his coping mechanisms and problem solving skills are put the test—and not always to great results (for him). Borges delivers on the deep, unknowing vulnerability that comes with living on that edge. With his PTSD front-and-center as his relationship with girlfriend Dorothy progresses, Edgar tries in earnest, but the foundation certainly seems shaky at best.
As a mirror to Gretchen’s inability to cope with her own issues, it works wonders. Where Edgar vies for the external—at times with maniacal glee—Gretchen goes internal, thrashing away at the things and people who want to help her. This is where Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley comes in, as her new therapist. In their moments together, Gretchen grates, hard, to an almost frustrating degree. Because self-destruction is so much easier than putting in the work, and old patterns die hard. But Wiley’s character’s projection for real evolution is promising… so long as Gretch doesn’t self-destruct.
In many ways, Edgar and Lindsay are Gretchen and Jimmy (respectively). For Gretchen and Edgar, the parallels are obvious and many. That may be less obvious for the Lindsay/Jimmy comparisons, but this season makes it much clearer that Lindsay and Jimmy are cut from the same avoidant-yet-outbursty cloth. (Gretch: methinks you have a type-of-person problem here). Much like Jimmy, Lindsay spends much of her time avoiding the reality of her wants, to the very real detriment of everyone around her; resentments flair, outbursts happen, mistakes are made, and people are hurt (in more ways than one). It’s a defense mechanism of the most toxic order, and the exact same sandbox in which Jimmy gleefully plays.
Season three of You’re The Worst feels very much at home in its formula, and it works. The side characters are excellent and funny, the situations too real to deal with, and the reactions of our main characters a welcome pool in which to wade, hilariously. We’ve long big huge fans of the show, and even though it doesn’t feel as electric as it did in season one and two, it’s the promised evolution of characters like Edgar and Gretchen that has us most excited, and seems primed for some spectacular, relationship-and-norms busting fireworks at the end of season three.
You’re the Worst‘s third season premieres August 31 at 10PM on FXX.
3 out of 5 dumpster burritos: