You’re The Worst: “Men Get Strong” Season 3 Episode 4 Review

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This week’s You’re the Worst is very funny, but a bit too formulaic.

You’re the Worst might not play by typical sitcom rules, but it’s certainly developed some tropes of its own that have held true throughout the series’ run so far. One of the show’s main themes is how difficult it can be for people to actually change and better themselves, even when they fully realize that they need to. Gretchen, Jimmy, Edgar, and Lindsay aren’t going to become better, more mature people overnight, but that’s what makes the show so great. It’s an honest depiction of how growing up and being an adult can often be a lifelong process.

That being said, this show has certainly seen some growth—even if it’s been baby steps—from its first season to now. “Men Get Strong” felt like an episode that should’ve taken place awhile ago, at least before Gretchen’s clinical depression became a major plot point. The episode centers around her trying to fast-forward Jimmy’s grief process over his dad so that he doesn’t have an emotional breakdown on their “rad cruise.” She takes him on a “sadness tour” that involves things like going to a funeral, watching fathers and sons at a paint-your-own-pottery class, and, finally, going to a British pub and having Gretchen impersonate his father.

All of these sequences are greatly funny, particularly because they don’t go as planned. The funeral turns out to be arousing for both Gretchen and Jimmy, so they end up doing it in the cemetery. At the pottery class, they meet a real douche of a kid who bullies his dad. Finally, when Gretchen impersonates Jimmy’s dad and begins to berate him, his reaction is to release a fart he’s been holding in.

Yes, it was entertaining to watch these characters go through the motions of this narrative, but that’s about all they did—go through the motions. After her breakdown last year, Gretchen, of all people, should know that this isn’t something you can just speed through. Again, I realize this is a show titled You’re the Worst, but it’s jarring to see her act so selfishly about this after Jimmy was really there for her during her time of need. I understand that she still hasn’t completely worked out her own issues, but she’s far enough along, and far enough into this relationship, that she should get how Jimmy’s grieving process is going to be a complex one.

The B-plot this week also felt like it would be more at home in a previous season. Lindsay and Paul go to a baby class after Lindsay has the revelation that she needs to be a “good dad” in order for her kids to be sad when she dies. Surprisingly, Lindsay is a excellent at every task thrown her way, from diaper changing, to swaddling, to CPR. Yet, when Becca and Paul commend her for being “born to be a mother,” she once again feels trapped and panics, and comes on to another dad in the class after Paul leaves.

This storyline hit all the right notes and, again, was highly amusing. It was nice to watch Lindsay excel at something, especially in contrast to how poorly Becca and Vernon faired in comparison. Additionally, Vernon getting drunk off “toilet beer” during the entire class was hilarious. Still, Lindsay seems to be going through her own vicious cycle. She’ll have a moment where she feels she really loves Paul, and then he’ll say something about them being together forever and she’ll freak out. I get that we’re only four episodes into the new season, but there has to be a tipping point coming soon. All this back-and-forth just isn’t interesting anymore.

Perhaps the saddest example of this is with Edgar, who has the smallest, but most heartbreaking plotline of the week. It makes sense that most of his friends would be oblivious to the pain he’s going through—particularly because they’re all narcissists—but it’s disappointing to see that, 3 seasons in, they’re still treating him like total shit. Edgar skips out on his VA meeting to drink by himself, which is a troubling addition to his list of troubling choices he’s made so far this season. Here is another plotline where it’s clear that a breaking point is coming soon, it’s just only a matter of when.

“Men Get Strong” continues to prove that You’re the Worst is one of the funniest shows on TV right now, but it’s frustrating in its failure to excel elsewhere. Part of what makes this show so special is how it can be at once so hilarious and so emotionally poignant. I’m not asking for this show to completely become something different. But I hope that, with in the next few episodes, there are some more significant baby steps. Grade: B

 

Some Other Notes:

  • We see Justina again this week, arguing with her boyfriend before Gretchen interrupts her to have an impromptu session. Are these two ever going to meet in her office during a scheduled time? Probably not.
  • Lindsay on grieving: “My guinea pig died and I couldn’t jack off for like…half a day.”
  • “Name one family that’s two people.” “Gilmore Girls.”

 

By Mike Papirmeister

 

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