Warning: This post contains spoilers from Wednesday’s You’re the Worst season premiere.
If You’re the Worst is actually just a competition to see which character is truly the worst, Jimmy raced out to an early lead in Wednesday’s Season 4 premiere.
The FXX comedy’s two-part premiere revealed how Jimmy and Gretchen reacted to him proposing to, and then abandoning, her in last season’s finale: Jimmy ran away and hid in a dusty trailer park for three months, watching The Fall Guy DVDs and drinking whiskey with a surly old neighbor (Justified‘s Raymond J. Barry), while Gretchen smoked crack and huddled like a hermit inside Lindsay’s apartment. (She even learned all the words to Barenaked Ladies’ “One Week”!) But by episode’s end, Jimmy finally offered an olive branch to Gretchen — in the form of a text saying “Hey.” (Well… baby steps, right?)
TVLine chatted with YTW creator/executive producer Stephen Falk about the Season 4 premiere, including key details like: Chris Geere’s patchy on-the-lam beard; Lindsay’s unlikely transformation into “a fully functioning human being”; the implications of her finally hooking up with Edgar after three seasons of heavy flirting; and her ex Paul’s eventual return as what Falk terms a “super villain.” (Ooooh!) So pop on a little Jack FM and join us, won’t you?
TVLINE | The first half of the premiere was this mini bottle episode with Jimmy in the trailer park. Why start out the season that way, with Jimmy apart from the rest of the gang?
We always want to be surprising, but not in a stunt-y way. It felt like, OK, he had done this really s–tty thing. What would the character that we’ve created actually do, if he ran away? He may try to crawl in bed with [Gretchen] in the middle of the night and say, “Hey… sorry.” But that seems almost too mature. I think it made more sense that he would turn off his phone and drive as far away as he could, and then just stay there and hide out for three months. It was a bit of a style exercise, but it also was showing an extreme version of what someone might do if they did something really s–tty. Like, an eight-year-old kid who got caught shoplifting. Sometimes they’ll just run away, rather than tell their parents. He’s a child who runs away. He’s trying to run away from his problems.
TVLINE | Chris Geere’s beard: Is it supposed to be comically patchy, or is that just the way it grows in for him?
It’s just s–tty English genes. I mean, he has straight teeth, so that’s one thing he has. But yeah, he didn’t have the ability to grow a real full beard. [Laughs] I gave him three months’ warning, I think, and that’s what he could come up with. But his wife likes it, so I can’t say anything bad about it.
TVLINE | Gretchen’s in a pretty dark place when we catch up with her, but she’s actually kind of keeping it together: She’s taking her meds, she’s at least pretending to work… she’s being responsible about her breakdown.
Yeah, I think she’s probably learned a little bit about her own psychology from being in therapy and taking meds. But she is hiding. She hasn’t left Lindsay’s apartment, even going so far as to hide under the bed when Lindsay comes home to masturbate during lunch. [Laughs] So in their own ways, [Gretchen and Jimmy] are both just hiding from having to confront what happened. On her part, it’s too humiliating, and on his part, he’s too scared to deal with the consequences. But he does reach out at the end of this episode. It’s really big on his part: He texts “Hey.” He’s really, really mature.
TVLINE | How many takes did it take for Aya Cash to nail those Barenaked Ladies lyrics?
Oh, there’s a little part that gets difficult. It’s a lot of words. I can’t remember what the line is. But she killed it. She did really well. She didn’t mess up very often. She’s just that skilled that I can make her do a mid-’90s white rap, and she f–king kills it. Even while she was running!
TVLINE | The biggest surprise of the premiere: Lindsay is like a functioning adult! She has an actual job… and she didn’t even screw it up!
Well, she almost did. She showed up hung over from crack, and then tried to make out with her boss. But it’s fun to watch messes try to not be messes. It’s rewarding for the audience, and I think it’s a little reward for the character. I love all of my characters, and I want them all to do good and have good things. And watching her struggle to get away from this giant Paul orbit that she had found herself in… I think watching her remake herself, in very rudimentary ways — she’s not like spreading her wings and moving to Uganda to help people. She’s just getting an apartment and getting a job, like a f–king 21-year-old would do. But for her, yeah, that’s a big thing. And she’s not running to anyone, except for Edgar, for sex. She’s being a fully functioning human being, and I think that’s really nice for her character, and fun to watch.
TVLINE | She and Edgar have danced around each other for three seasons now. Why was this the right time to have them finally hook up?
Because they both have their north star either absent, or shining in the incorrect way, in Lindsay’s case. So it creates a vacuum for them. They miss Jimmy and Gretchen. They’ve lost the connective tissue to their group. So they find themselves sort of clinging together. And indeed, the way they get together is by play-acting as Jimmy and Gretchen, which is kind of sick and weird, but kind of cute. And afterwards, they say, “Can we do this? Can we actually just have sex and do our jobs and not catch any feelings?” And they shockingly think they can, and decide to keep doing it. I don’t think they’re the great love story of our show. But I think they’re two people who like sex, and like each other, and it’s fun to watch f–k buddies actually be successful f–k buddies. It rarely happens in real life!
TVLINE | So is Paul completely out of the picture? Will we ever see Allan McLeod back on the show?
While he’s not in the first few episodes, Paul will emerge, and he’s gone through a transformation. It’s sort of like Willem Dafoe in Spider-Man: He fell in a bunch of toxic goo…
TVLINE | So Paul becomes a super villain?!
He kind of becomes a super villain. Lindsay pushed him over the edge. It’s pretty dark, but it’s pretty amazing. I’m very excited, and I feel bad for what I put the actor through, but it’s really rewarding.
TVLINE | What else is coming up this season? We know Colin Ferguson joins the cast as a more mature love interest for Gretchen…
Yeah, he’s a dad. So there’s a kid, which Gretchen is probably not that good at dealing with. There’s an episode where Gretchen goes home. We’ve met her parents, but she hasn’t gone home yet. Her brother is having a baby, and she’s compelled to go visit them. That’s the episode in which Zosia Mamet guest-stars.
A lot of work stuff is happening for Jimmy. His book comes out. [He and Gretchen] are forced into each other’s orbit pretty quickly, but it’s not an easy reunion for them. We’re really exploring, in a slow-motion way, the after-effects of a terrible betrayal. It took three seasons for them to kind of melt into each other, and for Gretchen to give her heart to Jimmy. And to see it dropped immediately and crushed, it’s going to take a while. But this season’s really about how people in life leave their marks on you, even when you think that you’re self-sufficient. It’s a maturing… but also, they’re going to make a lot of horrible mistakes along the way.
Alright, Worst-ies: Give the Season 4 premiere a grade in the poll below, then hit the comments with your post-premiere thoughts.