Oh my god, you guys. Just... wow.
You're the Worst Season 2 Episode 7 went there. It fully went there with Gretchen's depression, in an unflinching, real, heart- and mouse-stomping way. What an incredible piece of television. I really don't give out these 5 out of 5 ratings lightly.
This was virtually flawless. It was a smart decision to use a bottle episode format (a format in which a series limits itself to one location and uses a small cast of regular or semi-regular characters). The group being trapped in the house really amped up the tension and exacerbated Gretchen's issue to the point of her exploding.
I mentioned in my review of You're the Worst Season 2 Episode 6 that I hoped the show wouldn't drop the ball with Gretchen's depression and have her crying in the car be a quirky one-off moment. Prayers answered! I was sure the show could handle the subject matter with care and precision and boy, did it deliver.
The build-up to this moment of Gretchen's break was truly masterful. We've seen Gretchen struggling all throughout You're the Worst Season 2. And while her mental illness of course doesn't excuse her "worst"-status actions, it really puts a lot of things that she's done in context.
Like her desperately clinging to her old friends that she no longer had anything in common with. She clearly has a deep issue with abandonment.
It even puts the theme song ("I'm gonna leave you anyway") in a whole new, emotionally-shattering context!
Aya Cash should have piles of awards thrown at her for this performance. It was remarkable. And not only the Gretchen breakdown monologue, which Cash performed with an incredible restraint and a mix of humor and emotion that perfectly fits the shows tone – no, Gretchen getting progressively drunker and slowly unspooling throughout the day was played with a wonderful subtlety.
Beyond Cash's performance, there were two standout moments in the Gretchen-breakdown storyline.
The first was Lindsay immediately comforting Gretchen, and the reveal that Lindsay knew about Gretchen's clinical depression. What a fantastic way to explain the close, no-boundaries relationship between these two deeply flawed, erratic women.
Wear your stains on the outsides of your clothes, Gretch.Lindsay
A lovely moment, particularly the fact that Lindsay didn't even address the terrible things that Gretchen said to/about her. Kether Donohue and Aya Cash have great, easy friend-chemistry.
The second was Jimmy's palpable concern for Gretchen, woven throughout. Sure he tried to play it off as if he wasn't really concerned, but the fact that he even brought up Gretchen crying in her car to Edgar out of the blue proved that he was worried for her.
Heaps of praise for Aya Cash, for sure, but Chris Geere managed to play off the really tough role of the emotionally stunted boyfriend, who loves his damaged girlfriend and wants to fix her but doesn't quite know how to deal with it. Really incredible.
Just layering more on top of what was so successful about "There Is Not Currently A Problem" was the symbol of the mouse. Jimmy was anxious to fix a problem that he only recently discovered was there. Gretchen's philosophy?
Yeah, if he's [the mouse's] not bothering anyone, who cares that he's here?Gretchen
Same can be said for Gretchen's treatment of her clinical depression. It's there, all the time, but often unseen. So let's just ignore it.
Unfortunately, just ignoring it led Gretchen to her breakdown. And according to Lindsay's conversation with Gretchen, the same thing happened to her back in college.
The mouse symbolism was underscored by Jimmy's closing line, which also emphasized that (1) he doesn't truly understand Gretchen's problem (everyone knows you can't fix another person's mental illness) and (2) he honestly thinks he can fix it.
Gretchen: And who knows? With the right attitude, this could be a really fun adventure for everyone. So the only thing I need from you is to not make a big deal of it and be okay with how I am and the fact that you can't fix me.
Jimmy: Can't I, though? I got that mouse.
Jimmy's apparent ignorance of The Lion King was a great recurring gag, and on top of that, it tied in nicely to Gretchen's issue. She, and the Disney people, think the phrase means "no worries" (for the rest of your days, a problem-free philosophy, etc.) but according to Jimmy's literal translation it means "there is not currently a problem" (italicized emphasis mine). These are two very distinct things!
Elsewhere, Dorothy and Edgar continued to develop their sweet relationship, a foil to just about every other relationship on the show. I loved that she was stuck with them in the house and sort of catapulted into the group, forced to interact with all of them (many for the very first time) all at once.
These two moments tell you basically all you need to know about Dorothy as a character:
Edgar: You guys would probably like each other a lot. You both like naps. Dorothy, tell Lindsay about that nap you took the other day?
Dorothy: I napped in a sunbeam.
Gretchen: Oh, I know you.
Dorothy: Oh, you do?
Gretchen: Yeah... you're a theater girl.
Love her. Collette Wolfe as Dorothy is an adorable ball of sunshine (err – sunbeam, rather). Her interactions with every single other character were each brilliant. It was great that she and Vernon, who seemed kind of like the odd one out here, started to bond and she recognized him as the only one who was nice to her.
I also rooted for Edgar as he cheerfully ignored Lindsay's manipulative flirtations. He is such a genuine, level-headed guy and only wants real love. He seems to have wised up to the fact that Lindsay (at this stage, at least) can't offer him that.
So he's all in with Dorothy. Which is great! For everybody except for Lindsay, who is maybe now realizing her mistake in treating Edgar like a doormat (or just scrambling for affection again... who can tell with her?)
- As a native New Yorker, Jimmy's completely awful New Yorker accent made my day. That tortured look he gave Dorothy, desperate for her to give her approval of his terrible joke/impression, was just the icing on the hilarity cake.
- Overheard in the latest Shitstain/Honeynutz diss track: "I hate him [Sam] more than white people love The Wire." HA. Way harsh.
- Interesting choice: Dorothy's bemused, non-flustered reaction to Gretchen's insults directed towards her. Wasn't expecting her to react (or non-react) that way, but it characterized her incredibly well in that small moment.
- The addition of Vernon was questionable but I think it paid off in the end. He's a great, really funny character and helped to lighten up a fairly heavy installment.
- Everything about the dancing was great! Lindsay walking in and immediately segueing into a sexy-silly dance with Gretchen, Dorothy's shin complaints while still trying to be game and participate in the dancing – all wonderful.
What did you think of tonight's installment? Of Aya Cash's performance, and of the show's portrayal of clinical depression? Chime in below and watch You're the Worst online via TV Fanatic to catch up on anything you may have missed!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.