Depicting depression — actual depression, not theatrical depression overplayed to an audience — is incredibly tricky to do on television. I’ve written about it before, in reference to how well BoJack Horseman portrayed multiple forms of depression in its second season. It looks like You’re The Worstis heading in that same direction (one more sophomore show and it’s a trend!) and is also doing a remarkable job.
“There Is Not Currently A Problem” is a stellar episode of You’re The Worst, and an absolute sock to the gut. It’s also a bottle episode, which ups the fun and the tension, and it gets so much accomplished in just under a half-hour. The ending of last week’s “Side Bitch” was abrupt, with Gretchen sobbing in her car as Jimmy strolls away, triumphant that he’s not the cause. But what isthe cause? That’s been the main mystery the last few episodes, and we finally get a more explicit answer.
But prior to Gretchen’s big explosion, there’s a lot of setup that needs to occur. Our characters — the main couple, Edgar, Dorothy (who is now crashing at Jimmy’s), Lindsay, and Vernon — are all stuck together at Jimmy’s because of the marathon that prevents them all from driving anywhere. And, as we all know, no one walks in Los Angeles. The combination of our mainstays with some newcomers (Dorothy and Vernon, sort of) already make for an interesting dynamic — “Who’s the rando?” becomes a refrain — so adding some Heavy Shit just makes it better. The storyline also needs some silliness to keep it light; here, we have the combination of Jimmy obsessively trying to catch a mouse (ahem, vermin) in his home as well as the multiple callbacks to Jimmy being unaware that “Hakuna Matata” is from The Lion King and not a wise man he once knew. There is some non-Jimmy/Gretchen related tension in the mix, with the Lindsay/Edgar/Dorothy sort-of but not-really love triangle.
Throughout the day, Gretchen occupies her time dancing (sometimes to no music), wearing sunglasses indoors, having mundane — and faux-reassuring “I’m fine!” — conversations (as well as catch-up because, as Lindsay notes, Gretchen’s been out of the loop lately). Oh, and she proceeds to get drunker and drunker as the day goes on. In a subtle move, she’s never seen without a drink in her hand as she’s dancing in the living room but you can see the different drinks as she plows through all the alcohol in the house. There are some small glimpses into her slight breakdown and descent into that uncaring mode of depression: “They are sooo gonna fire me,” she laments at one point when realizing the fake feud between her clients has gotten out of control, before shrugging it off with, “Whatever, jobs are dumb!” Gretchen is the person who sits on a couch as a fire rages around her, shrugging and saying “It’ll be fine” because depression has numbed her to the point where she can no longer deal with disaster.
The dancing is oddly pivotal to Gretchen’s storyline. She begins dancing before the music kicks in; she keeps lazily swaying to nothing when Jimmy forces them to mute the music, even after everyone freezes. She’s determined to have a good time, because she’s not having a good time, no matter what she tries, and so she’s forcing the Fun Girl role upon herself and hoping that she can fake it ’til she makes it, smile until it’s real. The blow-out comes after a small problem — no more booze — which turns Gretchen’s frustration over not being able to do shots into frustration with every single person in the room. She picks them apart one by one, zeroing in on their insecurities and cutting them down completely. She spirals and lashes out, insults the people that she loves, before exclaiming how much she wants to just get the hell out of there. It’s a remarkable, heartbreaking, and angry scene — all played to perfection by Aya Cash — that culminates in a mouse smashed half to death with Jimmy’s novel, and Gretchen crying in bed while Lindsay comforts her.
And it’s there we get to the truth. This has happened before (during a time when Gretchen wore the same Hoobastank shirt three weeks in a row, a small detail that provides a big laugh and break in tension), and Lindsay gently suggests that Gretchen tell Jimmy about her depression. It’s such a testament to their powerful friendship (and to Lindsay’s overall personality), that Gretchen can say truly hurtful things to Lindsay but Lindsay doesn’t hesitate to comfort her immediately after. What’s also important in the conversation is that Lindsay explains to Gretchen why she should tell Jimmy: They’re both creeps, and they know all about each other and stick around anyway, so of course he’s going to be OK with this, too. So she does tell him. She spits it out, in a super-casual and totally in character way, and Jimmy takes it … uh, well enough. He responds in a cheerful, optimistic, helpful way but the look on his face betrays these feelings — as does his realization that there is a second mouse in the home, an easy metaphor about how Jimmy can’t possibly solve this.