Inside Last Night’s Episode of ‘You’re the Worst’ with Showrunner Stephen Falk
Last night’s episode of You’re the Worst dove a little deeper into the death of Jimmy’s father and the ways in which he and Gretchen are dealing with it. Creator/director Stephen Falk describes it as a “two-parter of sorts” with next week’s episode. If you watch this episode closely, you’ll kind of be rewarded for paying extra attention when next week’s episode airs, which will focus more on Edgar’s ongoing struggles. Recently, we talked about the episode, how selfish everyone is, and why You’re the Worst can get away with some things other shows can’t.
The fourth episode of season three begins with Gretchen giving Jimmy another blowjob while he processes the death of his father. Do you think that’s a healthy way to deal with death?
I think it’s a very giving thing to do. I think it’s clearly in Gretchen’s psyche. It’s a tactic to avoid actual human interaction and communication and normal expressions of sympathy. You know, she’s not good at the normal girlfriend stuff. So no, it’s not healthy at all but it seems to work for them.
I was thinking a lot about it and how it’s not a handjob, it’s not sex. A blowjob is one of the more intimate forms of sexual interaction.
I mean, it makes for damn sure that she doesn’t have to talk to him about it. But in her defense, at the end of it she does say, “Do you want to talk about it?” and that’s when he reveals he totally remembered and he just stole a blowjob.
I feel like a lot of other shows couldn’t necessarily get away with him stealing one but they have this relationship where sex isn’t treated as a huge deal.
I know what you mean. I think that they’re both equally selfish in certain ways or at least hedonistic, and so when he says “free food tastes better” I think that appeals to her logic in a way that she can’t deny. Even later she tells her therapist that it was a pretty good heckle. So I think he’d only do it with someone he knows is pretty much on the same page.
Jimmy obviously didn’t have the best relationship with his father. He seems to believe that if he pretends to feel nothing, he’ll actually feel nothing. How will that affect Jimmy this season?
I think the interesting journey for us was to address the fact that obviously the death of a parent, no matter how lukewarm you are on that parent, is going to have some effect. So we’re really stretching that out this season because Jimmy is someone who is not really that aware, even if he thinks he is, of his emotional inner-life. So in this episode, they try to accelerate the grieving process for someone who’s not in touch with it and sort of ironically, I guess, what comes out is, yes he was feeling something that he was sublimating but that feeling is happiness and a sense of freedom. Which I think from the last image in the episode, the drawer opening, you get the sense that may not be all there is to it.
It’s fun to watch Gretchen almost use her therapist to provide her own therapy to Jimmy.
She almost thinks that she’s a little bit more of a master of psychology, now that she’s had four therapy sessions, than she probably really is.
Gretchen’s relationship with her therapist is definitely unique and we get to know a lot more about her therapist than we normally would on a television show.
I think for me it was really important not to just portray a typical therapist/patient relationship. I think they’re kind of boring and often just kind of an easy cheat for emotional character exposition. So, for like what we try to do with everyone on our show, we wanted to make sure the character felt well-rounded. And it’s a thing that I’ve heard from some of my friends that are therapists, they’re just humans. They have patients that they’re really fascinated by or interested in or would want to be friends with if it wasn’t unethical and then other patients who bore the shit out of them. And you know, in creating a young therapist who’s still kind of trying to feel her way out, we thought those minor little complications, without getting too dramatic about it, would make their relationship feel not only funny and stand out but feel plausible for a relationship between two girls who are around the same age or even the therapist is younger. It felt like an interesting dynamic to us.
We haven’t seen them back in the actual therapist’s office since their first meeting, right?
Well yeah, Gretchen has no boundaries whatsoever.
Since the beginning of the season, we’ve watched as Lindsay attempts to act like a good wife and mother. But as soon as she sees an opportunity, she’s willing to cheat on Paul. Will Lindsay ever change?
I think the hallmark of our show is that characters go through profound changes and then it’s revealed that they’re still exactly who they were. I think that’s very normal. I do believe people can change, but it’s probably a lot harder than people may think. Any revelation they might have, there’s always that ability to backslide, and I think that’s a very human trait.
It turns out that she has this magical, natural ability to swaddle a baby, burp it, and do CPR. She knows all the little tricks, somehow intuitively, and that freaks her out. When her sister Becca tells her that she’s a natural mom, she immediately takes that to mean that’s all she can be and will be and that freaks her out. There is something going on, more so than just residual Lindsay horniness, in the scene.
What’s going on with Killian’s dad? Where’s he at?
Well, he left him at the Sunglass Hut and I don’t think we know. I don’t think at this point in the season we know where Killian’s dad is and so Killian is living alone, fending for himself in that house. Which is just typical of the neglect that they force it on weaker people in the world of You’re the Worst.
Yeah, and that they just completely ignore this kind of huge problem.
Yeah, this is a jokier, more heightened version of the absence of care that everyone possesses in this show. It’s an extreme version of selfishness but yeah, his dad couldn’t hack it and he bailed. Killian is trying to fend for himself. As the season goes on, we’ll see him slide into even greater disrepair. Which is just us as writers entertaining ourselves. We think it’s funny.
How do you set the tone for those kinds of scenes? Something that should maybe be emotional but is played for comedy.
The tone of our show is something that’s really a moving target. It’s something we’re constantly needing to calibrate because it does swing so wildly. But I think here in season three, we’ve gotten to a point where I feel pretty confident that we earn those moments or that even when things are kind of silly we’re still revealing character, we’re still learning things, or it’s very important to the story and I think somehow it fits. I’m not sure it could on any other show but somehow in this world with these actors and the tone of the writing, it somehow fits together in a weird sort of way.
How about Jimmy’s drinking? Is that going to become more of an issue this season?
I don’t know if we’re going to delve too deeply into it. We’re not going to suddenly become a show about alcoholism. I think the sort of fun for me is to have these characters kind of express this hedonistic behavior and not really see any bad results of it. It’s the truth. I’ve always loved British sitcoms where they get to just drink, and fuck, and be carnal, and not have to then make a big deal of it. I think his drinking, while maybe worrisome, particularly in this episode, you realize it’s not true, he wasn’t blacked out. He’s just lying to get a blowjob.
Chris Donahue is a writer, filmmaker, and comedian who lives in Brooklyn and listens to too much emo music.