‘You’re The Worst’ Season 5 is a mixed bag that ends on a high note (SPOILERS)
As the last season of FXX’s You’re The Worst begins, we can’t help but remember with nostalgia the Gretchen and Jimmy that met at Becca’s wedding in the first episode. Like many real life encounters, their bond started with a one night stand— like most of TV’s relationships, time turned their fling into something much, much bigger. Not the most original premise, but You’re The Worst managed to hook us through the seasons with its dark humor and unflenching authenticity. ‘Alright’, the show seemed to say to us, ‘we’ve got the set-up, and it’s a bit cliché for sure, but stick around and you might be surprised’. And surprise us they surely did. It’s hard to think that the messy, selfish, uncommitted twenty-something we met at Becca’s wedding are now ready to tie the knot. As it turns out, we’re not the only ones who are confused about that, the biggest doubts being shown in the groom and the bride themselves. The entire season is built on this simple, but decisive question: will they or won’t they ?
As it turns out, the answer that the finale gives us is somewhere in the middle. No, they don’t get married, but no, they don’t break up either. It didn’t make much sense for the show to force Gretchen and Jimmy, both so afraid of commitment and taking so much pride in being different from other couples into such a conventional fairytale ending. It also makes the unfortunately still controversial statement that, yes, couples can be happy without rings around their fingers. In the final minutes of the show, when the main couple ditches their own wedding, they make the promise to love each other every day, not because they said so in front of a priest once, but because they choose to. It is a sweet, thoughtful, slightly quirky ending, and probably the most satisfying one we could have gotten. In their worldview, marriage doesn’t have to be synonymous with commitment either: the epilogue shows the couple having a little girl, which arguably takes more maturity and devotion than saying ‘yes’ in a Church. These characters have grown for sure, even though, well, they’re still kind of the worst.
Unfortunately, not everything in the season feels as authentic as the final episode. The worst parts are when the show decides to focus outside of its main couple. This is normally a decision that wouldn’t be hard to get behind, as You’re The Worst has proven again and again how solid its secondary characters cast is — it’s too bad that the show seems to forget that fact. Edgar spends half the season dealing with an abusive boss, but just like most of the character’s genuine issues, it is turned into ridicule. The show is at its worst when it feels like a highschool bully, and Edgar is way too often its victim. It feels like an easy and repetitive choice that stopped being funny many seasons ago. It is slightly comforting to see him leave his obviously toxic friendship with Jimmy and become a successful comedian in New York — but it also feels terribly insincere. The show took as much pleasure in seeing Edgar’s unhappiness than Jimmy did, so how are we supposed to believe they’re the good guys now ?
The remaining character of the main quatuor unfortunately doesn’t get treated much better. Halfway through the season, Lindsay realises that she’s tired of meaningless sex and wants to try to fall in love for the first time. Openly addressing and rejecting the obvious choice of setting her up with Edgar was a smart decision, but unfortunately it is the only one in a series of disasters. Lindsay hooks up with Gretchen’s boss and genuinely starts to feel affection for her, which was certainly a nice surprise and didn’t feel out of character. Continuing this storyline could have meant that Lindsay never fell in love with a man before because that’s not where her heart was, or it could have simply been a nice chance to establish her character as a bisexual woman. Instead, the storyline is cut short and Lindsay eventually… Remarries Paul. This wouldn’t be as infuriating if the show hadn’t spent almost three seasons establishing that the two were completely incompatible. It’s a decision that seems stupid in a show about stupid decisions — an achievement that no one should have tried to achieve.
The season’s most controversial episode ‘The Pillars of Creation’, which only shows its main couple for a couple seconds, introduced a welcome change of pace and a refreshing turn of event: having Paul, Vernon, and Becca, certainly not the most liked characters of the show, become an unexpected throuple. It’s fun, new, and makes just enough sense to be acceptable but not quite enough to keep us clear from confusion. Unfortunately, it is forgotten only a few episodes later. Even as a firm defender of the episode, some things remain hard to justify: parodying the now well-known rape scenes of The Handmaid’s Tale crossed into truly poor taste territory.
The season brings back some loose threads from the previous years, but it unfortunately never seems brave enough to tie them up. Through the episodes, Gretchen’s depression sends her down a spiral, which would have been the right occasion for the two unconventional lovebirds to truly talk about it. Unsensitive comments from Jimmy shows that this is a part of her that he truly does not understand. It’s nice (and right!) of the show to push the message that he’s not supposed to fix her — but there’s a fine line between not fixing her and letting him bask in his misunderstandings. You’re The Worst has done a decent effort in depicting the realities of depression, and it is slightly disappointing to see Gretchen’s very real mental distress being pushed aside for the sake of a happy ending. We see her in the epilogue crying in bed while Jimmy is completely oblivious to it, a strangely depressing sight in the midst of a happy ever after montage.
You’re The Worst’s final season also unmistakably has strengths, particularly in the form of Gretchen’s newfound passion for her job, showing that she is capable of maturity. Sam, Shitstain and “new Honeynutz” offer some of the funniest moments of the new season and the brief addition of nonsense mumble rapper ‘Walmart Post Malone’ Nock Nock is often equally hysterical. As for the returning cast, it is a pleasure to see them again despite the weaknesses in their storylines. If the solo treatment of the characters is not always up to par with what we’ve been used to in the previous seasons, it is their various friendships that makes the show worth watching. These are relationships that have been developed on screen for many years, and in many ways, we grew up with them. Despite the season’s irregularity, it still stings to leave them — but noticeable flaws shows that it is the right thing to do. You’re The Worst perhaps makes its most mature choice by leaving us before having nothing left to say. The ending concludes the show perfectly while it’s still time to do so, and in the end it is thankfully these happy memories that we are left thinking about.