You’re The Worst: “Bad News: Dude’s Dead” Season 3 Episode 3 Review

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You’re the Worst kicks into high-gear with an episode that’s equal parts poignant and over-the-top.

Last season’s “There is Currently Not a Problem” was a major gamechanger for the show in how it revealed Gretchen’s clinical depression. The storyline was excellently crafted; an ace bottle episode that sees Gretchen trapped in the house with Jimmy and their friends, desperately trying to distract herself from the truth until she literally had no other option but to confront it.

I wouldn’t go so far to say that “Bad News: Dude’s Dead” is as groundbreaking as that episode, but both share a lot of similarities. This week’s episode is an expertly plottled bottle episode—save for the few opening scenes—that utilizes You’re The Worst‘s ensemble cast to their full potential. Again, there’s a dark truth that everyone is avoiding, but it’s obvious that it’s going to come out anyway.

The setup is simple: Gretchen doesn’t want to tell Jimmy his dad died because she’s afraid of seeing him breakdown. She doesn’t want their fun, exciting relationship to fall apart again after it’s just been stitched back up. So, in an absurd, but totally Gretchen move, she invites over their mutual friends—Lindsay, Paul, Edgar, Vernon, Becca, and Killian—under the guise of a celebratory book-selling party so she can pass the duty of messenger onto them.

Of course, things go hilariously awry. Despite dealing with such a somber topic, “Bad News: Dude’s Dead” is easily the funniest episode of the season so far, with an abundance of great one-liners, sight gags, and a wonderfully outrageous party montage set to dubstep. All of this happens because Gretchen not only shirks the responsibility of telling Jimmy the bad news, but makes the rest of her guests forget about it as well after gleefully freaking out that Jimmy wants to take her on a “Pets of Instagram” cruise.

Much like how Gretchen tries to drink her impending depression away in “There is Currently Not a Problem,” here she too tries to shove the news of Jimmy’s dad under the rug with a party. It’s always great to watch this group of actors cut loose, but what’s really compelling about the majority of this episode are the tidbits we’re able to glean from other characters while they’re partying. Though most of the narrative takes place over a single event, we’re able to get updates on several subplots throughout the half hour.

Lindsay tries to force, or “incept,” her love for Paul into her brain, and is finally genuinely able to do so when she sees him stand up for her. How long this feeling with last is anyone’s guess, but it’s clear that she’s chosen a delusional path because she’s truly afraid of starting over on her own. Becca and Vernon are equally as delusional as Becca publicly denies that Vernon was an internet money slave, and Vernon is reduced to hobbies that are under $25 (this does include a ridiculous harmonica vest).

Edgar, meanwhile, is dealing with some serious demons as his PTSD is looming larger and larger over him now that he’s off his meds. His subplot ends up being integral to the main plot as Gretchen forces him to be the one to talk to Jimmy, and it’s not something he’s emotionally able to handle. If there’s one weak spot in this episode it’s that Gretchen, in her effort to avoid giving her boyfriend the bad news at all costs, becomes meaner and more selfish than ever before. Yes, this is a show titled You’re The Worst, but most engaging quality about it is how we’re able to see a little bit of ourselves in these characters despite their morally questionable actions. Gretchen yelling at Edgar to rip off the band-aid while he looks up at her and earnestly tells her he can’t is just downright terrible.

Still, this drawback does little to hinder the episode’s powerful ending, which sees Gretchen once again backed into a corner. I think there’s a part of her that knew she’s the only one who could have told him. What’s so heartbreaking, however, is that it takes Jimmy leaving a voicemail exclaiming, “I sold a book, daddy!” for her to finally snap out of it and woman up.

So, she’s the one who finally rips off the band-aid, and in You’re The Worst‘s typically jarring fashion, the episode ends with Jimmy stunned at the news, and Gretchen trying to blow him in some strange form of comfort. It’s an odd, and slightly funny reaction to Jimmy’s silence, but it’s key noting that she’s doing just about anything she can to avoid his face. This is a show that thrives on characters striving to be better, but always falling back on old habits. Now that Gretchen has dropped this bomb, I’m both scared and excited to see where she and Jimmy will divert to next. Grade: A-

 

Some Other Notes:

  • Samira Wiley’s Justina appears briefly at the beginning of the episode when Gretchen crashes her brunch and tells her to “stop Foursquare-ing yourself every time you leave the house like the Mayor of Thirsty Town. Also, stop using Foursquare like the Mayor of 2011.”
  • Lindsay once again gets the line of the episode when discussing the Benihana dinner where her parents told her they were getting a divorce: “Later, I drank my mom’s Mai Tai and climbed up on the table because I forgot it was a grill. That’s why I don’t have footprints.”
  • I like that Gretchen and Lindsay sneak into craft services on a TV shoot by casually telling a PA that they’re “with the network.”
  • I also strangely liked that Vernon, of all people, is the one to tell Edgar he really needs to get help.
  • The best of Edgar’s weird classes at the gym he works at is “Treadsparent,” which is running on a treadmill while watching Transparent.
  • Of all the bizarre moments in the party montage, I think my favorite was Lindsay and Becca having a competitive popsicle-sucking contest.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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