After a season filled with progression, You’re the Worst returned to a familiar setting for its season finale. Becca, who has been pregnant for a millennia at this point, gathered her friends and foes for another bash to celebrate herself, this time disguised as a gender reveal party for her unborn demon spawn. Like “Fists and Feet and Stuff,” season one’s capper, “The Heart is a Dumb Dumb” had awkward speeches, karaoke and lots and lots of trash juice.
Leading up to the finale were a string of episodes that perfectly blended You’re the Worst’s new, heavier tone with its existing comedy lean. Gretchen’s depression story reached its peak in poignant fashion, proving that Stephen Falk’s comedy was more nimble than first thought. But all the beauty that preceded the year’s final entry made this half-hour jarring.
“The Heart is a Dumb Dumb” was the most straightforward comedic and brashest episode of the season. Much of it felt like a step back for the show, which has pushed forward with determination, through a series of growing pains to reestablish itself as not just a member of television’s new stable of indefinable comedies, but a standard bearer. To cast aside the assiduous work done throughout the season wasn’t just a waste, but deeply confusing.
Not only did the tone revert, but for much of the episode it appeared that many of the characters were prepared to ditch their personal growth for a shot at returning to season one’s status quo, undoing 6.5 hours worth of story building. Gretchen’s depression was quelled by Jimmy’s grand gesture from last week, which is understandable, but I didn’t expect the turnover to be so sudden. Edgar, after constructing a genuine confidence through his improv classes, allowed Jimmy to twist his mind, and it almost cost him Dorothy. Lindsay, at first, held to her newfound independence but folded once Paul learned of her pregnancy and broke up with Amy, a decision he made because Lindsay showed care for his feelings by not holding the pregnancy over him (come on, Paul!). Lastly, Jimmy returned to his selfish ways, proving that he can only handle so much adult behavior before snapping.
Luckily, most of it was a ruse. The actions taken by Gretchen, Edgar, Lindsay and Jimmy were a manifestation of their deep anxieties but, unlike last year, the group didn’t allow them to take hold. Edgar and Gretchen fought back, and Lindsay (if her face in the closing moments is any indication) will soon. Jimmy is the outlier; he was too drunk to come to his senses. Halfway through the episode, I worried that YTW was undoing itself, and the Worsties would begin season three much the same way they did this fall. By the time the credits rolled, it was clear growth had indeed been had, and the lives of the quartet are in a much different position than they were last spring.
Once I swallowed the tone of the episode, its rich humor became readily apparent. Chris Geere stole the show as Jimmy unveiled a new level of himself with each downed drink, but he wasn’t the only one. Allan McLeod (Paul) and Todd Robert Anderson (Vernon) each had moments in the spotlight, both delivering impeccably. The bathroom fight scene between the two was one of the best moments of the year (if marred somewhat by the grotesque, and unnecessary, toilet humor). Vernon’s confiscation of the microphone, for the second year in a row (this time in a far more sober state), to admit his secret sugar daddy life, was wonderful. Gretchen confronting Nina, only to fall for her the same way Jimmy did, was bizarre, but the whole episode was a little bizarre, and watching Gretchen chase Nina around the bar, trying to get a kiss, was delightful.
The half-hour wasn’t without some drama, either. Much of it was comparable to the kind found in the first season, as opposed to the gentler breed here in season two, but the best dramatic moment of the evening came from Edgar and Dorothy. Spiraling down a well of uncertainty, Edgar confronted his sweet girlfriend about the two of them living together. The ensuing fight belonged to Collette Wolfe (Dorothy). Wolfe has been an excellent addition to the cast, combining an earnest and bubbly nature with the edge you’d expect from a modern LA comedian, but last night she was nothing but heartbreaking.
You’re the Worst’s second season will be remembered as a bold swing that could have, quite literally, sunk the show, but instead transformed it. At the midway point, I was uncertain the darkness Falk drove us into was going to be worthwhile. Then “LCD Soundsystem,” the season’s ninth and best episode, aired and it was clear the comedy had become a more layered, more complex work of art. From that moment, it took off delivering a string of episodes that were among the most interesting on television. It lasted a half-hour too long, last week’s gorgeous “Other Things You Could Be Doing” would have served as a perfect closer, but You’re the Worst’s second season is nonetheless monumental for its truthful depiction of depression, relationships and the often stupid nature of the heart.
Eric Walters is the Assistant Tech Editor for Paste and a regular contributor to the TV section. For more of his thoughts on comic book television, listen to his podcast.