FXX's second season of ‘You're the Worst' triumphantly shows us comedy through pain
Editor's note: This review of the second season of You're the Worst contains spoilers. But we're not talking those Shondaland OMG! moments spoilers. It's a crude show about a couple in a relationship, or whatever. Calm down.
Some of the best shows on TV right now are the ones that walk the line between humor and pain. You laugh as you feel all the other feels. Amazon's Transparent, Showtime's Nurse Jackie, Orange is the New Black on Netflix, Hulu's Casual and the best one: FXX's You're the Worst.
But You're the Worst didn't necessarily start that way. The show about a couple in a non-relationship was full of the lolz. Yeah sure, YTW is a romantic comedy, so the feels have always been there. But it wasn't until this second season, which ended Wednesday night, when the show continued to stay funny while portraying depression in an unfiltered and honest way. And it became one of the most groundbreaking sitcoms you're probably not watching. It was a risky move, but so is love.
The first season found our beloved anti-couple, Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere), figuring out how to avoid "what normal people do" (you know, feel things) while we, and everyone around them, knew exactly where they were heading. They bond over their awful antics, a crude sense of humor, Sunday Fundays and very hot sex. Their chemistry is captivating, and their sorta-love was very relatable.
While Aziz Ansari is figuring out how hard relationships are past the honeymoon stage over on Netflix's Master of None, the sexually-honest YTW explores the scary idea of "buying in" from the very beginning. These bratty and flawed characters go ahead and accept that the worst could, and probably will, happen. Though, that doesn't seem like a strong foundation to withstand anything serious. But these two suckers break down those walls and realize what they have is unique to them and it's worth fighting for. But life happens and pokes holes. The heart is dumb-dumb. Honesty is one thing, doing the hard work — together — is another.
The second season started with the two of them moving forward, and moving in together. They try very hard to maintain their full of fun anti-relationship. And then Gretchen starts to sneak out to cry in her car. Turns out, she's clinically depressed and Jimmy can't fix her. But we watch her unable to fix herself. It's frustrating to watch, as everyone is always quick to solve mental illness. Just go to therapy. Talk to someone. Take some pills. Exercise. Buy kale (but don't eat it). Jimmy struggled to help. He couldn't understand why his girl couldn't snap out of it. He hated that he wasn't enough for her to want to get better. The show stood still as Jimmy hesitated to help.
Gretchen, and most of us, expected Jimmy to run away. And he almost did. It was expected from a guy on a show called You're the Worst. He'd be the absolute worst for leaving our girl in despair.
And, actually, that would have been realistic. How can an unhealthy person expect their loved ones to stick around when all they're doing is pushing them away? She should have ended it with Jimmy and gotten the help she needed, right? But that's not what this show is about. They came together, flaws and all, and accepted each other. In our worst moments, it sucks to be alone, even if that's what we want. Jimmy and Gretchen knew their ... whatever ... would end horribly. So was this it? Were they going to end in exploding flames of heartbreak?
But in the season's feeliest moments, Jimmy stayed. And our collective hearts melted forever.
It's actually another character's definition of love that really gets to the core of the show. It's putting someone else's needs above your own. Ew.
But YTW didn't forget about the laughter. All this serious stuff showed us comedy and pain are closely related. Comedies are best with feelings. The scene where Jimmy calls everyone in Gretchen's phone to come talk to her was heartfelt, yet full of laughs. "I'm sorry during the Rock of Love auditions I called you a poor man's Isla Fisher," says Lindsay, Gretchen's baby-voiced bestie. The finale's scene in the bathroom was so absurdly hilarious. Poop is funny, you guys.
Props to the surrounding cast who brought lots of funnies this season. Lindsay (Kether Donohue) figures out a life after divorce and the lovable war vet with PTSD Edgar (Desmin Borges) became an improv actor and found love. As Gretchen and Jimmy suffered through their mess, these two got funny storylines showing us that these characters are also great when they're at their worst.
Jimmy and Gretchen are learning how to be better people. Together. Jimmy is a narcissist. Gretchen keeps to herself. But after Gretchen's bout of depression, which she wrongly assumes Jimmy has fixed, the two have come out the other end, hopefully stronger than before. The finale didn't just gloss over Gretchen's cure and move on. Jimmy comes to terms with what this means going forward. Gretchen says she's going to seek professional help after all. They're both realizing when they say "I love you" that they're just better off together. They're not letting go, and neither are we.
In the spirit of romantic comedies, the second season ended on a happy note. But what would an actual happy ending mean for these two? In a phone interview last month, Geere put it best: They'd figure out how to be "content to be themselves. This year was Jimmy versus Gretchen. Next year, I hope it's Jimmy and Gretchen versus the world."