It’s time to meet the family — and no, not Gretchen’s country club parents we saw in season 1. Jimmy’s father (hey, David Schaal!) and sisters come to visit Los Angeles, and no one is having it. Not Gretchen. Not Jimmy. Not Lindsay. Well, maybe Edgar.
Gretchen isn’t prepared to spend time with a bunch of Brits, physically or mentally, and Jimmy just wants her to pretend she’s okay for four days. She can’t.
The gang barely gets through the British invasion, but not all relationships may be left intact. On to the Worstie rankings.
4. Nope, not the worst. Far from it! In fact…least worst: Edgar
Aw, Edgar’s a sweetie in this ep. When Jimmy and his fam forget the littlest sister, he volunteers to show her a bit of L.A. Good for you, Edgar.
3. Eh, not great, but could be worse: Lindsay
Lindsay, dare we say, rules in this episode. She comes over to meet Jimmy’s family, if only to help Gretchen out, and saves her butt when she goes to put out some Sam-related fires. She shows up to his studio, reveals she has a killer voice (hell yeah, Kether Donohue!), and inspires Sam’s latest track with the catchphrase, “New phone. Who dis?” Together they make sweet, sweet music.
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2. Oof. It gets worse: Gretchen
In the very beginning of the episode, when Jimmy tells Gretchen his family is coming to town, he asks her for help, and she says no. “I thought you said you were better,” he says. “I lied,” she says, nearly dead in the eyes. “Well, fake it, and help me!” She responds, “I don’t wanna.”
That’s her take throughout their four-day visit, and she spends most of the time hiding under a blanket and slogging around in sweatpants. She may or may not take a nap in the YTW equivalent of Whole Foods.
Their visit is too much for Gretchen’s depressive episode, but she’s also too consumed by her own pain to help Jimmy with his. After they leave, he starts to vent. “You have nothing to say about my family?” he asks her. She turns to him, steely, and says, “I can’t.” Jimmy responds, “You won’t,” and storms out.
When Gretchen first revealed her clinical depression in episode 7, she told Jimmy, “I am clinically depressed. It’s been going on my whole life, so I’m really good at handling it. It strikes whenever, and I have no idea why, but it’s fine. I’m so sorry I never told you.” But she never says how she handles it. The show has yet to mention medication or therapy, psychiatrists or psychoanalysts, so viewers, like Jimmy, may have a hard time understanding Gretchen’s coping mechanisms.
1. Absolute, hands-down, no-questions-asked worst: Jimmy
And it’s Jimmy who lands as the “worst” this week, for his self-absorption. Yes, it’s easy to have empathy for a man whose insufferable family comes to visit on just a few hours’ notice. But his inability to deal with anything besides their presence and Gretchen’s lack of veiled enthusiasm has us screaming at the TV. (Chris Geere, for the record, gives an excellent performance as a boyfriend in turmoil.)
In one scene, he and his dad go to the bar, and in a tender moment, his father tells him he actually read Jimmy’s book. He’s proud of him. It’s sweet! But the moment comes after his father’s questions about Gretchen. “We’ve been going through a rough patch,” Jimmy says, “but it’ll pass.” His dad responds, “It doesn’t pass, Jimmy.” To Jimmy’s credit, he defends Gretchen until his dad reminds him, “There are always more girls.”
The comment serves as a foreshadowing to the show’s final scene, in which Jimmy goes back to the bar after Gretchen says she can’t deal with his family. He runs into Nina, the bartender from “Spooky Sunday Funday,” checks out her ass, and ends up venting to her. With only three episodes left to go, it’s easy to see why Jimmy uses her as an emotional crutch and leans on her when Gretchen can’t be there for him.
Let the emotional — and maybe physical? — cheating begin. Womp.