To say that Gretchen and Jimmy aren’t a perfect couple is an understatement. You can easily make the argument that they are only together because they are the only people who can (and do) put up with each others bullshit but there’s certainly more to it, and they do tend to work well together. But there is no way that these two can keep it up without some serious trouble ahead.
“All About That Paper” is, on the surface, about the pair’s respective careers. Yet it’s also about how they are so adamant about not being in a typical relationship even when they’re falling into routine patterns and it’s even, ultimately, about how this relationship isn’t as strong as they thought it was. Relationships rarely are, especially with two people who are this caustic and narcissistic.
Lindsay’s storyline is also troubling but for different reasons. After exchanging passive-aggressive remarks with a friend over lemonade, she gets served divorce papers from Paul — officially making things R-E-A-L, even though they had sex as recently as the week before. She goes to confront him in the woods where he’s camping with his new girlfriend. Lindsay tells Paul, straight up, that she’s going to get him back. She’s downward spiraling, hard.
Edgar, on the other hand, has some newfound confidence thanks to an improv group that shows up at his Veterans Support Group. He decides to go ahead and tell Lindsay once and for all but, well, Lindsay is currently microwaving Paul’s sperm to try and get pregnant as a way to lure Paul back into her life. It’s a comical scene — exploding used condom, turkey baster, popsicle, etc. — but Lindsay’s story isn’t really working for me, though I’m curious to see how it plays out.
But on to the main two: At work, Gretchen is tasked with dealing with beef between her three rappers. These three dudes — Sam, Honeynutz, and Shitstain — are at odds and releasing diss tracks about each other (all while adorable Sam hides in his panic fort, hurt by his friends’ “betrayal”). At first, Gretchen think it’s best to squash the beef and bring them all together but once the diss tracks get attention on Pitchfork, Gretchen realizes that she can use this to bolster all of their careers. She convinces them to play up the now-resolved conflict and they do, hilariously, with ridiculous “threats” and comebacks like “My schedule is too full from writing dope raps to suck your dick.” and then clumsily dropping utensils around. (Also, line of the night: “Spinderella would never hack a brother’s Netflix queue.”)
Meanwhile, Jimmy is on a day-long interview with an eccentric author he admires. Jonathan R. Strasburg (Roger Bart), author of perfectly terribly-titled novels, takes Jimmy on a bunch of ridiculous “errands” such as hanging out in a strip club and talking to a stranger’s grandmother in a nursing home. Jimmy gets frustrated and tries to leave but his egocentrism forces him to turn back around when Jonathan begins to compliment his book. Eventually, Jimmy is offered a job
But the most interesting aspect of Jimmy and Gretchen’s days is how often they check in with each other, despite their insistence that they don’t have to. (The cold open, in which Jimmy makes fun of Gretchen for slipping and saying “check in later?” before they leave for the day, is hilarious and real.) They are independent, they don’t need to remain in constant communication, and they can go about their lives without involving the other. Except, of course, that this isn’t exactly true: They spend the day texting each other about both the mundane and the big moments, even FaceTiming in a strip club at one point.
Still, the point the episode makes is that despite how strong Jimmy and Gretchen seem to be, their relationship has its cracks — even if they don’t fully know it yet. At the end of a seemingly great day and a seemingly great conversation with Jimmy at the bar, Gretchen waits until Jimmy is asleep to grab a secret cell phone and sneak out of the house, driving away to who knows where. I have my predictions for the series arc: Gretchen’s depression, that she can’t fully explain or share with Jimmy because of her aversion to honesty, is going to play a big role. Maybe that’s the point of You’re The Worst: Two wrongs don’t make a right and two fucked up people don’t cancel each other out. But they can try to help each other.