If "LCD Soundsystem" was Gretchen's episode, "A Right Proper Story" was certainly Jimmy's.
Our favorite Brit author was showcased in You're the Worst Season 2 Episode 10 (though not nearly as dramatically as Gretchen was in several recent weeks) in a genuinely emotionally affecting installment focusing on Jimmy's complicated family issues.
I don't know about you, but I pretty much saw the arrival of Jimmy's family coming after Jimmy handed Gretchen those three letters in You're the Worst Season 2 Episode 9. Gretchen was so obviously distracted and wrapped up in her own mind (hence hearing Jimmy as if he were a Peanuts adult). It was clear that she didn't register a word of what Jimmy said when he explained his punishment-based writing system.
Thus Gretchen mailed the letters and as a result Jimmy was treated to a thank-you basket from BAMLA (a not-so-thinly veiled NAMBLA) and a visit from the crass Shive-Overly's. I'm equal parts horrified and intrigued to find out the consequences of the third letter, where Jimmy declared his love to Becca. I'm sure we'll see that fallout later.
Jimmy's family consisted of three pretty terrible people and one ditzy, genuinely nice one. Jimmy's older sisters Di and Fiona were a (jobless?) bully and an overweight yammering Tesco cashier, respectively. Jimmy's father was an odd man, not particularly cruel, but with a penchant for ruthlessly mocking his son that was echoed by the two older sisters.
Wow! It's so big and gray.Lily
The youngest, Lilly, apparently displayed some kind of penchant for literary ventures in her youth (reading Harry Potter, admiring Jimmy's writing) but wound up at a strip club, forgoing university to take care of her family.
Edgar, similar to his abbreviated role in "LCD Soundsystem," had a really inconsequential appearance, removed from the main action. He spent his time innocently bonding with Lilly. Honestly, when I first read the episode synopsis, I was concerned that "bonding" was meant euphemistically – I was so not looking forward to Edgar cheating on Dorothy, so I'm glad the show didn't remotely go there.
Jimmy successfully dealt with his difficult family, coming to terms with the fact that their cruelty stemmed from an utter inability to relate to him. This resulted in a fantastically cathartic and downright moving scene with his father Ronny, where the older man admitted he'd read his son's book and was proud of him.
It seemed like a right proper story. Just not for me.Jimmy's dad
Oooh, the feels. It was exactly what Jimmy needed to hear and Chris Geere was incredible during that scene.
I was warming up to Ronny in those moments, but then he had to go and ruin it by calling over Nina (not knowing who she was or her significance, of course). Watching the development of Jimmy's bond with cheerful, friendly Nina is like watching a house burn down very, very slowly when you're much too far away to do anything about it.
We can see the foundation of Jimmy and Gretchen's relationship crumbling, and the show is building towards some kind of inevitable Jimmy-Nina encounter that will either make or break the Jimmy-Gretchen relationship.
I am still not fully decided on which way I think this will go. I find it equally likely that Jimmy will resist temptation and that he'll give in. For all we know, Gretchen could get fed up with Jimmy's inability to comprehend the depths of her emotional pain and numbness and leave him.
As I've said before, numerous times, in some combination of the same words: that's the beauty of the series – it's its very own beast, unlike anything else on TV, and that is what makes it unpredictable.
The sad and distressing part is, neither Jimmy or Gretchen is to blame for the degradation of their roughly built but powerful relationship. Gretchen's mental illness rearing its ugly head has left her stagnant and unable to grow.
I've mentioned before, too, that Jimmy is slowly but surely making strides as a person. He's advancing professionally, writing his book. It is understandable for him to feel, at this stage, that Gretchen is holding him back. Jimmy's father, not exactly a fount of knowledge in the traditional sense, totally called that feeling that I'm sure has been building (but remained unnameable) in Jimmy.
You've got a career. A nice house. Got your own Paki. Don't do what I did and let some black cloud of a bird screw it up.Ronny
Gretchen, elsewhere and largely separate from Jimmy all throughout "A Right Proper Story," was basically at her lowest point (that we've seen so far). It remains absolutely astounding how deeply Stephen Falk is committed to seeing the story of Gretchen's downward spiral told in its entirety, in a completely authentic depiction. Seriously, bravo.
We are seeing Gretchen now in the lethargic, unmotivated part of her episode, where even seemingly doable tasks like interacting with Jimmy's tough family are too much for her to handle. I was actually impressed she made it out the door and over to Whole Foods (c'mon, it was totally Whole Foods even if they didn't specify).
All right, English people, cover your skin. We're going outside.Gretchen
Gretchen was totally drained by the time the Shive-Overly's departed, leading to the fight with Jimmy, who felt she wasn't being a good girlfriend to him. And honestly, she wasn't. Again, you can't fault Jimmy for wanting to feel supported, and you can't fault Gretchen for her inability to support him thanks to her current mental state.
Meanwhile, Lindsay had a fantastic subplot of her own: she was a guest vocalist on Sam's track! It was awesome to see these two great characters interacting, when they haven't had much cause to do so in the past.
Sam is hands down my favorite recurring character, and the scenes where he and Lindsay were in the studio were some of the funniest. Even if Lindsay's "singing career" goes nowhere, this was an enjoyable foray to watch.
I have to look extra dope. Those assholes' latest track dissed my wardrobe so thoroughly they had me doubting my signature style that GQ once called "courageously headache-y."Sam
Lindsay, as per usual, had the line of the episode:
I thought all English people were fancy, but these are like Alabama English people.Lindsay
Never stop being you, Lindzer.
- Di was pretty much solidly despicable and annoying, but I did feel a tinge of sympathy for Fiona in her grocery store breakdown. That was an amazing, hilarious scene, as she grew more and more astounded and despondent at the differences between L.A.'s supermarket and her own, mirroring the larger implications of her drab, wasted life. On fruit varieties the likes of which she's never seen: "Are these all real?"
- Beyond the fact that it led to the Lindsay/Sam collaboration that we never knew we 100% needed, I loved that Lindsay was so ready to snap into action and help Gretchen out by dealing with Sam.
- If Jimmy bows to the temptations of Nina and we have to deal with her in any kind of relationship with him for some period of time, I hope to god that they make her less vanilla/boring. Right now she's classic "cool girl" and I so desperately want Jimmy to not fall for that.
Thoughts on "A Right Proper Kind of Story"? What is your take on the degrading Gretchen-Jimmy relationship alongside the growing Nina-Jimmy one? Is Lindsay on a path towards music superstardom or was this a one-off? Share your thoughts by commenting below and remember to watch You're the Worst online to catch up if you've missed anything!
Caralynn Lippo is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.