By the very nature of the show, You’re the Worst never tries to make light of just how awful it’s characters can be. They are selfish and immature, and sometimes, like Gretchen and Lindsay, they’ll disrupt strangers jogs just for the hell of it. Despite this and some of their more painfully tone deaf antics, they’re never written to be one note. They have room to grow and mature, sure, but the show doesn’t believe in the idea that they need to be fixed. They’re not broken, they just have some rough edges that need to be sanded down.
This week’s episode “Born Dead” has the four main characters dealing with the idea of growing older and away from people as well as the friendships you make, even if it’s accidentally. Gretchen decides to meet up with her old group of friends, despite not remembering the last time they spoke and decides to throw a party. This splits the characters up into their own bite sized storylines.
Friends grow apart, it’s so cultivated into a part of our life that it’s become an expectation rather than a sad and surprising occurrence. Gretchen, perpetually stunted, is expecting her friends to be in the same position she is in. To her, time has stood still for the past three years that she’s gone without seeing her friends and expects things to be able to pick up right where they left off. Her friends, aside from the trainwreck that even Gretchen can’t stand being around by the get together’s end, all look at Gretchen and see past version of themselves, helped by how little Gretchen has changed since then.
It’s the idea of having a big circle of friends that’s attractive, filling a want and/or need to feel like you have a big wall of support to fall into or, in Gretchen’s case, a group of enablers who will celebrate her misguided life choices. Aya Cash plays the dawning realization of learning who her friends are now, and that more importantly, how they’re not really friends at all, to perfection.
Gretchen’s storyline however probably leaves the least amount of impact in the episode overall, if only because the ideas explored are ones we have already seen from her in previous episodes. She’s reluctant to change, holds on to the idea of her “bad girl” image and is generally, a mess.
Jimmy spends the episode holed up and sulking about the get together going on, a firm believer that friends “are for babies”. He desperately tries to get guests to remove their shoes and put their drinks on coasters to little success and winds up hiding in a spare room. His alone time is broken by the typically obnoxious Vernon, who believes he and Jimmy are on the fast track to friendship after Gretchen accidentally liked one of Vernon’s Instagram pictures.
Bizarrely enough, the two end up bonding over their mutual irritation of Paul and play darts, where Jimmy divulges some hints to a poor school experience as a child and Vernon drops the bombshell that he was born dead, eliciting some fantastic physical comedy by Chris Geere as he trips mid-throw. Vernon tells him that because of this, he’s chosen to live his life by finding friends and family to share it with and it’s in this moment that Jimmy has the dawning and terrifying realization that he too has formed friendships.
Despite how much I enjoyed Jimmy’s storyline, it needed more time to grow into something other than an afterthought. The real heart of the episode, and something that’s become more and more expected, is Lindsay, who is continuing on her downward spiral after Paul’s left her. She has a moment of hope when she thinks a hook up is going to be arriving to play the part of pretend boyfriend only to learn she’s been catfished by a nine year old. Paul arrives with his new, sweet, nerdy girlfriend though and all reason disappears and Lindsay uses Edgar instead, which manages to mislead him and upset her.
There’s a great moment between the two of them as she tells him that she isn’t a good person and that he is, that she’s selfish and materialistic and it’s such a beautifully played and honest moment by Kether Donahue, that it makes Edgars following kiss so painful to watch. This was Lindsay having a moment where she felt like she could be vulnerable and it was taken away by a kiss that in Edgar’s mind, should have been romantic. It’s telling that I was so relieved when Lindsay thought Edgar had done it to help her with Paul once she see’s her ex standing forlornly in the window, watching the two of them.
These characters are messes, in their personal and professional lives, but they’re still so layered, so richly textured, that we can actively root for them still.
Despite being split into three different storylines, “Born Dead” is another strong episode for the season, largely because of an incredibly smart script that plays the humor so that while we’re laughing at the characters and their antics, we also manage to sympathize with them.