Wednesday, September 9, 2015

REVIEW: 'You're the Worst' - Jimmy and Gretchen Party to Avoid Becoming a Boring and Ordinary Couple in 'The Sweater People'

FXX's You're the Worst - Episode 2.01 "The Sweater People"

A newly co-habitating Jimmy and Gretchen avoid a life of domesticity by partying non-stop. Edgar obsesses over Lindsay while an oblivious Lindsay makes a desperate attempt to reconcile with her husband.

You're the Worst had a wickedly smart and funny first season. It took me a handful of episodes to get into its comedic style and sensibilities. But as soon as that moment of clarity came, it took the show to being one of the best comedies anywhere on TV. The first season tapped into the darkness and tragedy of the shared human existence while still being outrageously funny. Jimmy, Gretchen, Lindsay and Edgar all stand out in society. They are incapable of living life like regular people do - even though the society's norms often dictate their actions. It's a fascinating character study about people reluctant to change and mature while still being allowed to grow in their own unique way.

Jimmy and Gretchen decided to commit to their relationship once more and move in together at the end of the first season. That was a huge step that they were reluctantly forced into. Gretchen literally had no where else to go - as she accidentally started a fire at her apartment. It's one step closer to them being a traditional rom-com couple. That's an image that disgusts Jimmy and Gretchen. They don't want to become those boring, ordinary people who trick themselves into thinking that happiness comes from spending a lifetime with someone - only for the pain to be so much greater when they inevitably split. The boring and mundane are the things that scare Jimmy and Gretchen the most. They will do absolutely anything to avoid becoming those things - even if it puts them in several dangerous situations. They care about each other and hope that their awareness of the inevitably of their relationship ending is enough to make things feel different in the end.

Jimmy and Gretchen are scared of waking up one day and being the type of people they despise the most in this world. That's why they need to keep the party going at all times after they move in. They don't want to be the domestic couple that loses all sense of fun and excitement after awhile. They want to embrace life and all the pleasures it has to offer - even if it runs the risk of destroying everything about their lives. Both of them start feeling the fatigue of this hard partying lifestyle after a few days. And yet, they commit to doing more of it. They do better drugs as the episode goes along to prove that they aren't becoming "sweater people." It's an amusing conceit too. They start with just getting drunk. They then move onto doing cocaine and waking up to learn they stole a DVD rental machine. And then, they take a new experimental and dangerous drug that leads to them stealing the Zoiddle maps traveling car. They physically hijack the vehicle. All of this is done in the pursuit to keep things as exciting as possible.

Both Jimmy and Gretchen have consequences that come from this ongoing party. They are both physically exhausted. Neither one can stay awake throughout their work day. They know that they can't keep moving at this speed. And yet, they continue to do so out of fear. Fear that as soon as they stop it will led to the fall that ends in boredom. They are both feeling the exact same thing. They both want to stop. But they keep going through the actions reluctantly in order to keep their relationship special. Lindsay is jealous of what they are still able to do. They aren't worrying about a divorce or real world problems. Sure, this party forces Gretchen to get a stern talking to from Sam of all people. But that's the only outside world cost to all of their actions. The psychological problems they are both feeling are the only true consequences they have to deal with. That is so fascinating from a story prospective. It forces them to be the ones who have to decide when this is no longer healthy. And yet, when they are faced with that prospect of a full nights sleep or a chance to read again, they immediately retreat back to the fun party.

Jimmy and Gretchen are still so afraid of what the future might bring now that they are more officially a couple. They live together. That's a huge deal. Their relationship isn't that much different than it was last season. But there is a change that is forcing them to freak out a little bit. They don't know how to stop partying. That's an important distinction. This new living arrangement has forced them into a relationship they aren't completely comfortable with. They are a little bit more awkward even though they both want the same thing from this relationship. Jimmy accurately notes that they couldn't become "sweater people" even if they tried to. But it's still a reality that terrifies both of them into action. It's a precarious and dangerous way to start the new season. But it's also so satisfying to watch from a pure comedic perspective. The two of them stealing the Zoiddle maps vehicle should be horrifying because they essentially beat someone up to do it. And yet, it's not because it is shown completely from the camera on the car's perspective which brings a nice additional layer of comedy to things. The execution really is the reason why so much of this show works. It's wonderful to watch. Hopefully, things will continue to be just as twisty with the core relationships for the remainder of this season. This is a very strong start.

Some more thoughts:
  • "The Sweater People" was written by Stephen Falk and directed by Alex Hardcastle.
  • Edgar's infatuation with Lindsay has only gotten stronger between seasons. He's hopelessly thinking about her all the time and asking other people what they think about her. He's awkward when he brings her up to Jimmy and Gretchen. And yet, when he's actually with Lindsay, he is a genuine, caring guy who seems to have his whole act together. It's wonderful.
  • Speaking of Lindsay, she is doing everything possible to save her marriage with Paul. She is fighting for it much more now than when the two were seemingly happy together. She actually gets him to sleep with her again. And yet, that only results in him feeling guilty for cheating on his new emotional online girlfriend.
  • Paul really is the biggest idealist and romantic on the show. He fully believes that love is a person putting someone else's needs above their own. That's a necessary character on a show like this where everyone else hears that and immediately hates the entire concept.
  • Does Gretchen suddenly not love Edgar's cooking? This episode doesn't deal much with how her moving in changes the dynamic of the house. But she doesn't want his food and then immediately starts eating when she meets up with Lindsay.
  • Love the running joke that all these people want to eat is bagel bites.
  • The guy who launched into a big family plan speech was a slightly off comedic beat but also showcased just how absurd this show is at taking those concepts. In this world, something like a family plan is so important. A responsibility Jimmy and Gretchen aren't ready to handle yet.
  • Gretchen: "Who knows their address?" Jimmy: "People. Kidnapped children. This dog I saw on Dateline that rides the bus to the park."
  • Paul: "You're right she's going to hate me. I look like a young Roger Ebert."
  • Gretchen: "Let's cocaine to the butt stuff."
  • Sam: "Sleepy bitches lose their right to use normal people phones. Sleepy bitches only get to use phones made for hookers and drug addicts and irresponsible garbage people."