One of television’s saltiest, smartest comedies, You’re the Worst transcended last season with a measured dial-up of seriousness. Gretchen (Aya Cash), the intimacy-spooked train wreck, was diagnosed with depression, complicating her antiromance with vain, caustic Jimmy (Chris Geere), her soul mate in anti-soul-mate philosophy. We left her resolved to get some help, and with the two of them saying those three little words they never thought they’d say to anyone. Of course, Jimmy was blackout drunk at the time. Still, it meant something. Right?
Season 3 begins with a bit of a hangover in story and tone as the show engages more sobering themes. Gretchen and Jimmy struggle to suss out what, exactly, “I love you” signifies for them, while Gretchen, fearful of the change she knows she needs, sabotages sessions with her therapist (played by Orange Is the New Black‘s Samira Wiley, who makes an immediate impression as the only mature adult on the show). Creator-writer Stephen Falk wisely depicts self-improvement not as boundless ascension but as a chaotic, at times self-sabotaging process — but his scenarios for expressing that mess hurt for inspiration.
Helter-skelter personal development and fitful comedy also bedevil the supporting players. Edgar (Desmin Borges) experiences sexual-performance issues with new girlfriend Dorothy (Collette Wolfe) and pursues a risky strategy for remedying it. Pregnant Lindsay (Kether Donohue), the show’s broadest character, suffers a plausible but still bizarre psychotic break while trying to rebuild her marriage. Watching the show’s noxious and damaged narcissists slowly, credibly get over themselves remains an entertaining, worthy project. But the start of season 3 isn’t You’re the Worst at its best. B
You’re the Worst season 3 premieres Wednesday at 10 p.m. ET on FXX.