You’re The Worst: “Try Real Hard” Season 3 Premiere Review

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Stephen Falk’s biting romance uses its season premiere to take baby steps with each of its characters.

 

You’re the Worst has always found a way to sneak traditional rom-com ideals into its edgy, modern plotlines. Take, for example, season 3’s opening scene which sees Gretchen and Jimmy in the throes of some intense sex…both afraid to finish at the same time. Is it a provocative way to kick things off? Sure. But the heart of what’s happening should be familiar to anyone who’s ever entered new relationship territory with extreme caution. Gretchen and Jimmy may have come along way, but there’s still a lot that’s holding each of them back.

Last season ended with the two finally exchanging “I love you’s” which, at the time, appeared to be a major milestone. If “Try Real Hard” is any indication, it was more of a stepping stone to the next level. The episode doesn’t take its narrative to any shocking or revelatory places, but it’s a solid welcome back to these highly flawed and highly interesting characters, and an excellent preview of what’s to come.

For Jimmy and Gretchen, the future seems mostly bright. The episode picks things up where it left off, with Jimmy reneging on his “I love you” to Gretchen because of how drunk he was at the time. Gretchen tries, in vain, to get him to say it again, only to realize that he’s been saying it without really saying it this whole time. Jimmy spends most of the episode desperately trying to learn new things about Gretchen; his curiosity piqued by the fear that he doesn’t really know the woman he’s sleeping next to. In the end, the two are finally able to say the L-word out loud to each other…with the promise that they can back out at any time, of course.

Jimmy and Gretchen’s plotline fares a little too much on the sitcom side for my liking, but I have faith in Falk and his writing team that things will be getting much more interesting in the episodes to come. Last season, Gretchen’s reveal of her clinical depression became a gamechanger for the show, opening the door to a series of authentic and gut-wrenching storylines that are rarely seen on TV. There’s a brief scene this week where Gretchen mentions she’s starting therapy soon, and I’m highly intrigued to see where that goes (especially since her therapist will be played by Orange is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley).

A much more effective storyline is seen with Edgar, who’s having trouble in the bedroom with Dorothy thanks to his PTSD medication. Edgar’s condition has never been exploited or taken lightly by You’re the Worst, but it is true that his character has mostly offered up comic relief on the show until now. His decision to throw away his medication after Dorothy says she’s fully committed to the relationship, despite his issues, is a powerful one. I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes, especially since Edgar is such an easy character to root for.

The third plotline of the night revolves around Lindsay and Paul attempting to reconnect. Lindsay is dismayed to find out that Paul’s idea of a fun couples night is staying in to cook pre-portioned meals. While Paul is right in Lindsay not being able to really party anymore now that she’s pregnant, he’s basically forced his interests upon her instead of actually taking the time to see what she wants. Again, this plot is fairly sitcom-ish, but it’s saved by two things. The first is Kether Donohue, who continues to steal every scene she’s in with her wide-eyed, bubble performance. The second is the fact that Lindsay, feeling the weight of her new life closing in on her, decides to stab Paul in the thigh with her kitchen knife.

Ending the episode on this note is jarring, but it’s also pretty amazing. This show is more than willing to tackle the common themes of any relationship drama, but it’ll be dammed if it doesn’t get to do it on its own terms. That’s why You’re the Worst, three seasons in, is still the best. Grade: B+

 

Some Other Notes:

  • There is also a subplot about Sam, Shitstain, and HoneyNutz having a “secret” reunion show, that almost ends up being a disaster after they tell Gretchen not to invite anyone. Luckily, she saves the day by bribing a Mexican church to pose as audience members. Brandon Mychal Smith continues to deliver the comedic goods.
  • I’m with Jimmy on this one. It’s gross that Gretchen doesn’t wash her legs.
  • “I’ve done tons of stuff drunk and it all counts. My wedding. Driving school. All my dentist appointments” – Lindsay, trying to offer sound advice.

 

By Mike Papirmeister

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