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You’re the Worst: “Crevasses”

Season 2, Episode 2
Written by Stephen Falk
Directed by Alex Hardcastle

“I don’t want to live around you, Jimmy. I don’t want to live in the crevasses. I’m not moss.”

Last week, I touched on You’re the Worst as a portrait of characters sitting at a terrified crossroads, unsure of how the easy cool of their life up to this point will factor into their futures. That comes to the forefront in “Crevasses”, an episode that pulls this season’s direction into a sharper point. It lacks the spinning plate nature of this show’s best episodes, but nearly makes up for that with a deep view into how stasis and change each generate their own kind of horror.

Jimmy is the one standing still. He’s suffering from acute writer’s block, but won’t let that interfere with his dreams. He scoffs at the notion of stooping to a movie novelization. At least at first. That seemingly unfounded ego is present from the brilliant opening, which sees his frustration boil as Gretchen, Edgar and Lindsay fail miserably at a game of Trivial Pursuit. The best touch here is that, at a certain point, Gretchen chooses to egg him on, pulling on his thread of superiority. That’s one of the show’s best aspects, but the rest of the episode sadly departs from that dynamic.

The foursome find their way to the mall, and splinter almost immediately, which is rarely the best form for a sitcom to work in. Most comedies, and dramas for that matter, spark to life because of founded relationships that can bubble to the top or spin in unexpected directions. “Crevasses” is far from a total bust, but it never matches the opening scenes that allow those interactions to flourish. Jimmy is given the weakest segment of the episode, as he trolls the mall for writing inspiration. Meanwhile, Gretchen is trolling for items to stock her new living situation, Lindsay is trolling for men, and Edgar is trolling for Lindsay. The great Steve Agee is always a welcome sight, but Jimmy’s plot is relatively flat until the end.

Lindsay and Edgar arrive at a sports bar so the former can eat wings and find hot guys. The wings are a clear success, evidenced by the growing mess on Lindsay’s face (and, as we later learn, somewhere “down there”). The sexual pursuit is quickly cut short, however, when her first pick turns out to be gay. This ends up pushing Lindsay out of her own plot in a rather disappointing way. And Edgar’s confusion over whether to pine for Lindsay or find someone else is also a little formulaic. Yet this too adds to the dynamic of fear, though in subtler ways. Lindsay is driven by loneliness, whether she’ll admit it or not, as much as she’s driven by lust. Her usually insane behavior is even more justified this season, as she attempts to grapple with her life’s enormous shift. Edgar, too, is afraid, but of loosing this opportunity with Lindsay more than anything else. That’s why he’ll bake pies, buy jerseys and even hit on guys for her. If he doesn’t, someone else likely will.

If it sounds like I’m coming down hard on this episode, that mainly comes from the extremely high expectations I have for You’re the Worst, one of my very favorite shows on television. And that greatness shines brightest in Gretchen’s story, the most poignant of the four. Her task seems relatively easy, just needing to obtain items that form a livable environment in her new house. But there’s so much baggage in every direction that it paralyzes her, sometimes literally. On one hand, Jimmy’s inability to cope with change leads her to question whether or not moving in was the right choice at all. It’s well handled, but something we’ve seen before.

On the other hand, the very idea of buying adult stuff sends her into a frenzy. One of the episode’s best sequences sees Gretchen attempt, multiple times, to simply enter a store. Later, she freezes with her shopping cart for nearly half an hour. That fear, the gnawing realization that you may not know what tokens adult life should consist of, is beautifully deployed. It’s a subject rarely discussed; there are plenty of shows or films or books that examine how important the stuff in our life is. But the accumulation of that stuff is a more vital topic, given an urgency when entering a new environment. I particularly love the moment when Gretchen explains that all of her old stuff just kind of came to her over time. Eventually, though, everyone has that moment where they alone must stand before a store and figure out every single thing they need. A college checklist can help the literal, but not the existential crisis that accompanies that shock. While You’re the Worst is so much more than any one thing, through Gretchen it has become TV’s best examination of the emotional toll of moving.

Then Gretchen and Jimmy’s individual fears coalesce into one being, artfully done in a mall food court. At home, that night, the episode disappointingly scuttles Gretchen’s third act, but there’s enough to the story to ultimately redeem it. She’s not only game to commit herself, but forcing Jimmy to take notice, Kool Kat poster and all. And he’s built her a lopsided tiny dresser. That compromise and growth comes naturally from their earlier conversation. Jimmy is stuck in place, afraid of what may happen should he never write that second novel. Gretchen is being thrust into a new chapter, flames licking at her heels, and that’s a terrifying motivation. Then the two are able to find something in each other, that mushy, gooey thing they dare not discuss too often. There’s a comfort in their time together, but also a spark they bring out in each other. That combination of the safe and the threat of looming disaster lie at the heart of their relationship and You’re the Worst in general. Fear, for lack of a better word, is good. It can drive us to the places we need to arrive all while dangling us over a ledge.

Grade: B

Notes:

  • That opening Trivial Pursuit game is a delight in every way, especially for Lindsay and the great name, Aaron Space.
  • Also, “Q’s are like the elbows of letters.”
  • Jimmy’s mild fury at Edgar getting to “Mallden” first is another early highlight.
  • Honestly, I could have written this entire review about the scene where Gretchen & Jimmy attempt to make Bloody Marys.
  • This is absolutely Gretchen’s episode for both thematic reasons and the incredible way Aya Cash delivers these lines:
  • “Get off the counter, banana. You fancy now.”
  • “Look at that cat. He’s so cool.”

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Josh Oakley is a writer for Cut Print Film and runs the pop culture blog Wine and Pop.

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