You’re The Worst Recap: S3E11 “The Inherent, Unsullied Qualitative Value of Anything”


The characters of You’re the Worst attempt to take control of their own lives, with mixed results.

In this week’s episode of You’re the Worst, we saw storylines that exemplified sitcom clichés.  From Sh*tstain choosing between his two best friends as best man, to Sam realizing that his friends are growing up without him.  From Lindsay leaving Paul, to Jimmy’s pro/con list for Gretchen.  Each of them could be the plot of an episode of Friends.  In fact, some of them literally are from episodes of Friends.  There’s nothing new going on here, plot-wise (though huge shout-out to Wendy Stanzler for the inventive, almost seamless direction).  But the difference is that in Apartment 20, there are no lasting consequences.  In this world, there are.

You’re the Worst, Screencap via FXX

Edgar and Dorothy

Dorothy has become increasingly upset by Edgar’s success, which I find troubling.  I understand this to some degree, but has Dorothy not always been incredibly supportive?  Has she not always found joy in his happiness?  Speaking of uncharacteristic, Edgar is being a little weird here, too.  Does he not notice how upset she is?  Why aren’t they talking to each other about it?  She is not being subtle about her disappointment.  Are we supposed to believe he really doesn’t notice it?  The fact that they are choosing to take these characters here now is a bizarre, especially if it’s a way to write Dorothy out of the show.

I hope they don’t, though, because her perspective is valid and actually important.  In this episode, she has an interaction with a comedian who blatantly dismisses her, after he welcomed Edgar running his ideas by him.  What they’ve started here with Dorothy is such a great setup to address the very real problem of comedy and acting and writing (and every other field, pretty much) being a boys’ club.  Men help men, and women get the coffee.

You’re the Worst could choose to write Dorothy off the show with a breakup.  And breaking up with Edgar over something like this would only send the message that she is crazy and her feelings are invalid.  Or they could choose to keep her on, and address the reality of misogyny in the comedy world.  Your call, Falk and co.

Sam, Sh*tstain, and Honeynutz

Thank the lord these guys are back – and with enough material for their own section!  The storyline here is meant as a refection and an allegory for the bigger storylines, of course.  But that doesn’t make them any less great.

“Your actions affect each other…you gotta take charge of your own future.” – Gretchen

Sam shows up late to Sh*tstain’s elopement party, in the wrong suit, generally making a fool of himself and being a douche.  He even tries to kiss Jaclyn, Sh*tstain’s wife.  But ultimately, Sam admits that he is just terrified of his friends moving on without him.  And really, he should be, ’cause he’s immature as hell.

Sh*tstain makes Sam and Honeynutz his co-best men, and all seems to be well, eventually.  But the real star here is Allen Maldonado as Honeynutz.  Up until now, he’s never gotten much to work with, but we start to get a real picture of him as just an anxiety-ridden, introverted nerd dude.  And it so works.

Even though they weren’t as capital-F funny as they have been, this plot made me nostalgic for the days of regular episodes with this trio.  Can we have a spin-off, please?

Lindsay and Paul

Oh, Lindsay.  Trying to be an adult.  After discovering that the prenup she insisted upon will benefit Paul, not her, Lindsay realizes that to leave her husband, she has to figure out how to get one of those job thingies.  Of course, because she is Lindsay, the first person at the wedding she talks to is a fashion designer who is interested in working with her.

After hearing that the job requires some travel, Paul feels it is his ethical duty to inform the designer that Lindsay is pregnant.  So, because she’s forced into a corner, she lays it on him:  she got an abortion, and she’s leaving him.

You’re the Worst, Screencap via FXX

Ultimately, this episode was about taking control of your own future.  This was needed.  If Lindsay were my friend, I would be so relieved for her.  But nobody wanted Paul to have to find out that way, especially after he told us in “The Seventh Layer” that he couldn’t leave Lindsay because he really, really wanted to be a father.  He walked off like a zombie and I have no idea what his reactions will be in the next few episodes.  My boyfriend and I have kicked around the idea that he may kill someone.  Here’s to you, Paul.

Gretchen and Jimmy

This was the most weirdly-handled pro/con list plot I’ve ever seen.  A staple of the sitcom/rom-com genre, the pro/con plot involves one person in a couple makes a list stating the pros and cons of being with the other person.  Usually it’s a guy who does this, because ability to reduce women to itemized lists is apparently carried on the Y chromosome.

The thing is, the way it generally goes is that these lists are kept secret.  Because, who would want to be with a guy who wrote down every fault he could think of to hold against her?  The dramatic part of these plots happens when the woman finds out that the list exists.  Then she has to decide if she can stand to be with that douche.  Ross Gellar did it.  Ben Stiller in Along Came Polly did it.  Actually, Jennifer Aniston has been the subject of a lot of these lists.

Today, in YTW, Jimmy didn’t even try to hide this list from Gretchen.  Which begs the question:  why did she even entertain this for a second?  I have a couple of theories.  The first is that – and this we can never forget – Gretchen is depressed.  Gretchen is depressed even when it doesn’t look like she is.  So she probably spends a lot of time truly believing in her own worthlessness.  She probably has asked herself a lot of times, “Why does he even put up with me?  He could easily have someone else – why stick with someone as f*cked up as I am?”  So.  This probably scared the hell out of her.

You’re the Worst, Screencap via FXX

The other thought I have involves the fact that he didn’t try to hide it.  Perhaps it is because of this audacity that Gretchen took it as a joke.  She writes her own list to spite him and annoy him, full of little quips about his ugly jacket.  Then, when she finally convinces him to tell her something on the list, he hits her with something huge.  “I can’t see having children with you.”

What?  First of all, the fact that Jimmy can think past his own ego long enough to imagine a future with children is positively ridiculous.  But let’s put that aside.  What makes him think that he will be a better parent than Gretchen?  Why did he do this and present it as a cheeky game?  I have a lot of questions and they are all answered by either “Jimmy is an asshole” and “the writers messed up.”

I’ve been questioning characterization for the last few episodes, especially Jimmy’s.  But really, this isn’t necessarily out of character for Jimmy.  He, of course, is an asshole – that’s the whole point.  But like I mentioned in a previous recap, everyone else is growing and he’s not.  Based on previous seasons, I thought this was a show about terrible people trying to get their shit together.  Trying to be better.  Jimmy has never in his life tried to be better.  He seems perfectly okay with being awful.  And that I have a problem with.  Because if I don’t care about one of your two main characters, you’ve screwed up.  If I can’t feel good about Jimmy and Gretchen being together, then you played yourself.

You’re the Worst, Screencap via FXX

It’s worth noting that Gretchen’s response was to think of the thing that would hurt Jimmy most, that she’s afraid he will never be successful, and say it to his face.  Which is…fair, I think.  Honestly, for comparison, just look at those two statements.  Gretchen’s worst nightmare is that Jimmy can’t see a future with her, that he thinks she’s not worthy of having a family with.  Jimmy’s worst nightmare is that his books won’t sell.

Next: You’re The Worst Recap: S3E10 “Talking to Me, Talking to Me”

At the end of this episode, my boyfriend said, “What if this season ended with them breaking up, and then the rest of the show was just about Gretchen?”  Truly, at this point, I would be so here for that.