You’re the Worst, S04E01-E02:
“It’s Been, Parts I-II”

You’re the Worst, S04E01-E02:
“It’s Been, Parts I-II”

The New Season’s First Episode Is a Good Reminder of How Enjoyably Unbearable Both Jimmy and Gretchen Can Be



While its lead characters remain as self-destructive as ever, You’re the Worst continues to mine the darkest of dark humour from their worst-ness. The two-part premiere “It’s Been” catches us up on the three months that’s passed since Season 3, resulting in a solid return to this sharp series.

Rating: 8/11


The last thing we saw Jimmy Shive-Overly do in You’re the Worst‘s third season finale – right after proposing to his long-time girlfriend Gretchen – was drive away. And though there was sheer panic in his face while he did so, it couldn’t mask something definitive about the character: this is what he’s best at.

That’s because Jimmy’s only recourse for avoiding misery is, ironically, to short circuit his own happiness, to cut and run right when things are looking good. To be fair, there are a few reasons for this. We know from a flashback episode in Season 1 that Jimmy has already been rejected once when proposing to an ex. And we also saw the spiral that resulted from the death of his largely negligent father last year. So, even though Gretchen tearfully accepted his proposal, in Jimmy’s mind any pain associated with her hasn’t been completely averted; it’s merely been postponed. She could still leave him one day, or eventually die, and being married to her will only compound how much that sucks. Hence his frantic escape into the night.

Cut to three months later and Jimmy’s living in a retirement village-cum-trailer park encampment. Continuing on from his treehouse building hobby, he spends his days mending fences and other such amenities. Sometimes, he sings karaoke in the evenings. Also, every afternoon he and the surly septuagenarian Bert (Raymond J. Barry) smoke, drink and watch VHS copies of an old show called The Fall Guy. And, as you might imagine, Bert serves as something of a cautionary tale for where Jimmy might be headed if he doesn’t stop cutting people out of his life.

You can see it in the way that Bert and Jimmy each react to social invitations. When several of Bert’s neighbours ask him if he’d like to join them on a walk, he asks drily, “A walk to where?” Later that day, a flirty barmaid invites Jimmy out for a drive and he responds in much the same fashion: “To where?” These fellas are cut from the same cloth, right down to their inability to grasp a journey without a destination just for the sake of company. What’s the point if you’re not going somewhere?

But Jimmy soon gets a wakeup call when Bert thinks he’s lost the keys to his… nice car (I dunno what kind, I’m not a car guy, sue me). When Jimmy sees how manic Bert becomes over the loss of his autonomy, he helps him retrieve the keys from one of the other neighbours who confiscated them out of concern for Bert’s erratic driving. But it’s the revelation that the car is basically all this old fart has left in the world that seems to rouse Jimmy from his despondency. That, followed by Bert calling Jimmy out on his own hangups and the arrival of a copy of his book, is what finally gets Jimmy to switch on his phone after three months of living off the grid.


There’s a fantastic moment after Jimmy turns his phone on when it seems like he has no new notifications. He looks up from the screen, relieved, convinced that he was right to run away because no one seems to really give a shit anyway. That’s right before his phone is engulfed by an ungodly deluge of pings and buzzes, which seems to once again reawaken the panic in his eyes. It’s always been easier for Jimmy to think he’s on his own, because then there’s no one to disappoint or be disappointed by. The hard part is finding out he’s accidentally accumulated a group of people who care for him, and that he in turn cares for. Being forgotten isn’t tough; it’s having to deal with what you owe to those who remember you.

In the end, Jimmy steals Bert’s car and seems headed back to his old life, presenting us with an interesting detour on his path to fulfillment. Because it could only fill out the first part of this episode, his arc from total abandonment to an enlightened return does feel a little hasty and undercooked, as does Burt’s sudden change of heart and engagement with everyone at the trailer park at a late night movie screening (although him hurling a pinecone at that annoying kid was a good reminder that he’s not all that changed). Still, as always Gere is a treat as Jimmy and writer/creator Stephen Falk’s dialogue has lost none of its bitter charm.

Meanwhile, back in L.A., things have never looked better for Lindsay or more dire for Gretchen. Skipping through the street to a tune that only she can hear, Linds pushes her way through lines to order her “everything bagel” and steals handfuls of her co-workers’ lunch from the fridge. In every scene, she’s decked out in all manner of chic get-ups accentuating her perky attitude, seeming more content than she’s ever been in the entire show. She’s really come into her own as a bubbly, sharp-eyed fashion consultant… or at least, the plucky assistant to one. Which can only mean that someone else must be steadily slipping into self-destructive misery to keep the balance.

From the moment Gretchen appears onscreen, shrieking The Cranberries’ “Zombie” and jumping up and down on Lindsay’s bed, my skin started to crawl. This woman – who suffers from intermittent but debilitating bouts of depression – has been through some tough times, and perhaps none more so than near the end of Season 2. Back then, she couldn’t summon the energy to even get up or engage with anyone beyond the level of a dead-eyed stare. Of course, that was also when she had Jimmy, who (though he obviously couldn’t fix or cure her) refused to leave her, setting up a blanket fort to hunker down with her in one of the most romantic gestures in the history of television.

But now Jimmy’s gone, and this is what he has left in his wake. Now, it’s just as dangerous to blame a person for someone else’s depression as it is to think that someone else has the ability to mend it, but it’s hard to argue that Gretchen would be just as messed up right now if Jimmy hadn’t proposed to her and then immediately skipped town. As it is, she now spends all her time at Lindsay’s apartment… like, literally all her time. She hasn’t been outdoors since Jimmy broke her heart, so now she wanders around the confines of this smoky-prison listening to ’90s alternative rock and smoking crack. Yes, Gretchen now smokes crack.

As funny as the transition from Lindsay trying crack to her looking fried as shit at work the next day is, there’s an inky black tinge to all of this that can make it hard to watch. Aya Cash’s performance as Gretchen has long been heralded as one of the most astounding on television, which means she can commit to the brazen humour of any situation while also never losing sight of how tragic a backslide this is for the character. When she Skype’s her clients Sam and Shitstain and pretends to be networking over in Paris, it’s remarkable watching her reign in the frantic, mile-a-minute jabber she’s been exhibiting to convey a calm and collected facade. But even paired with her weak-arse attempts at a Parisian backdrop, the overwhelming feeling I had watching this was dread. Gretchen can’t keep this up for much longer, and it’s scary to watch that knowledge dawn on her.


In case you were wondering about Edgar – everyone’s favourite PTSD-sufferer turned successful stoner comedian – he only makes a couple of appearances here, mostly just to confirm that Jimmy has indeed left town and to (finally!) hook-up with Lindsay. Actually, I guess the more important moment is technically their shared epiphany that they are now the most responsible members of their friend group. Once again – much like Jimmy’s fear of loving or being loved and Gretchen’s refusal to deal with her sorrow healthily – it presents a situation where the characters could stand to grow, while exhibiting fear at what that growth could mean. It’s a strangely meta but still welcome theme for everyone to grapple with: much as the dynamic of your favourite show changes and becomes uncertain as the characters develop, so too can the energy of a group of friends. Everyone has the places they feel they should occupy, and it’s just as strange for Lindsay and Edgar to be filling these new roles as it is to see them vacated.

Which is why, for the most unstable member of this group, regression makes the most sense. And so it is that Gretchen ends up back in bed with Ty, the sleazy director from the very first episode, right as Jimmy re-emerges from out of the blue in the form of a wayward text: “Hey…”


Quotes & Random Thoughts


  • I appreciate Jimmy’s patchy, very un-television beard, which pairs nicely with his pasty, very un-television body. Like, no offense to Chris Geere, who’s a very nice-looking dude, but it is refreshing.



  • “Ooh, they have fluffer grahams!” Jimmy’s insistence on referring to American snacks by their obscure British titles continues, made even better by his realisation that “s’mores” is such a better name.


  • “BMW’s are for lady travel agents.”


  • Deadwood… takes place when you were a child.” No one talks about Deadwood as much as they should anymore, so I’ll take anything I can get.


  • “What were you, a Nepalese sherpa?”


  • Jimmy’s erotic novel is entitled The Width of a Peach. I can’t remember if that was already covered last season, but that’s a great title.


  • That long take of Lindsay walking into her apartment, greeted by an unhinged Gretchen, was dizzyingly superb.


  • “Shove it up your arse, Carl.” Poor Carl. Poor chinless Carl.


  • “Sorry, mentally-ill neighbour. Thanks, Obama!”


  • Not to put too fine a point on it, but Cash’s work this episode was very funny and so damn gutting. When Lindsay dismisses her claim that she and Jimmy are still technically engaged, her response is harrowing: “I don’t know! Who knows?! YOU DON’T KNOW! [Crying] Do you know…?”


  • After seeing the title “It’s Been”, I just knew that “One Week” was gonna come into it somehow. But I never would’ve dreamed it would be as glorious as Gretchen shout-rapping the song at Lindsay until she ran away.


  • Edgar’s fake British accent is miraculous.

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