'You're the Worst' Boss on Why Jimmy and Gretchen's "Big Step" Won't Change Them

"I don't think we'll see the end of "Jimmy and Gretchen, f—ed up couple," creator Stephen Falk tells THR.
Byron Cohen/FX

[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the season two finale of FXX's You're the Worst, "The Heart is a Dumb Dumb."]

FXX's You're the Worst continued to explore the definition of love during Wednesday's season-two finale.

During the episode, Gretchen (Aya Cash) turned the corner with her depression and realized she now has more than just herself to take care of. After Jimmy (Chris Geere) learned that his girlfriend never saw a psychiatrist or took meds for her depression, he gets drunk at another of poor Becca and Vernon's parties and Gretchen is left to return the favor and take care of him. At the end of the episode, Gretchen reveals that Jimmy drunkenly professed his love for her and she returns the sentiment, much to Jimmy's pleasant surprise.

Lindsay (Kether Donohue), meanwhile, attempts to be the bigger person by keeping her turkey baster pregnancy from ex-husband Paul (Allan McLeod) and freeing him to be with new girlfriend Amy. Paul instead breaks things off with Amy and reunites with Lindsay. His reasoning? That Lindsay, in keeping her pregnancy a secret, has finally exhibited her love for him when she puts his need to be happy ahead of her desire to manipulate him. While their reunion seems like a good idea to her at first, she winds up stuck in his sidecar and realizes that, despite her recent attempts at personal growth, she's literally right back where she started.

As for Edgar (Desmin Borges), he realizes he's not quite ready to move in with girlfriend Dorothy (Collette Wolfe) but learns that it doesn't mean their relationship is over.

Here, YTW creator Stephen Falk talks with THR about Gretchen and Jimmy's future, the show's attitude toward abortion and more.

The show was just renewed last week. Was the finale structured in a way where it tied up everything in case you didn't get a third season?

I don’t think I put a lot of energy into that because we're early in our run and I'm on a network that seems to be very interested in not just numbers but also critical success and their own enjoyment of the show. No, [structuring it like a series finale] would be a bit defeatist and a wrong way to go about a season two. I just aimed to finish the story of the season in a satisfying way but not necessarily trying to have it double as a series finale. We're not Scrubs season eight, we don't have to do that yet. 

How much thought have you put in to season three? Will there be a time jump? 

I can't say we'll never do a time jump. I've worked on shows where we've done that for various pregnancy reasons or otherwise, but that's not something that I would pull the trigger on at this point. I have a lot of notes and we have a lot of stuff that was generated in the writers' room that didn't fit in or make sense for this season. We have a lot of material and just watching this season — and people's reactions, both critics and viewers as well as my own — there's a lot of stuff that I write down and think, "Now I want to course correct this; or it would be fun to do that." I was really gratified by the response to episode 209, which was a weird stand-alone episode. That gave me an appetite for doing something along those lines again. There's a lot of ideas but until we start the room up, I'm not sure what season three will look like. 

Gretchen reveals she's going to explore medication and seeing a doctor. It's a big step for her personally but for them as a couple because now she realizes she has someone in her life that she also has to be there for. Where do they go from here — especially after the "I love you" scene?

That moment is not the same thing as them deciding to move in together as they did at the end of season one, whether that was for a good reason or not. It's a micro-step, saying "I love you." It's not as big to their relationship as moving in together. But it's something we set up in the first episode with Paul's definition of love being about putting someone else's needs in front of yours. That last scene is Gretchen doing that and Jimmy did it in the episode before that where he decided to built a pillow fort around her. He stayed and it's symbolic of a tent and them being in it and him protecting her from whatever is out there. In their own small ways, they both learned that they are now — whether they like it or not — they're not just living in a vacuum of one anymore. So where do they go from here? I don't know, but I don't think Jimmy and Gretchen are the type of characters where any revelation they make or personal bit of progress as human beings means that they're now good, healthy people and their relationship is suddenly going to be a super functional, healthy one. It is a big step and yet I don't think we'll see the end of "Jimmy and Gretchen, f—ed up couple."

Will season three focus on another big issue the way clinical depression was this season?

I’m not sure. My appetite for trying risky things has only been whetted by this season. The almost universal response — certainly we heard a handful of people going, "This show isn't funny anymore; where's my comedy?!" — but generally speaking, we have a really smart audience and they were a little taken aback though ultimately up for the challenge. I'd much rather have a smart audience than an overwhelmingly massive audience. That said, it would be a little cheesy if we tried to design next season with the idea of, "Now we have to top ourselves in terms of issue-based or think piece-based material." I don't see us doing that, but I feel emboldened and empowered by our audience and the tough stomach of our network to try risky things. Rather than trying to pick an issue du jour, we'll see what makes sense for the relationship and go from there.

Lindsay hit rock bottom and wound up coming back around. But that look on her face in the sidecar says she at least has the awareness of being stuck with Paul again. How will she handle this relationship differently?

Eagle-eyed watchers of the show will remember in season one she had a speech in an episode where she and Edgar learned that they were sidekicks. One of her bizarre analogies was if she was riding a motorcycle was that she was driving it, not sitting in "one of those shitty sidecar things for dogs or whores," to paraphrase. Now she finds herself literally riding in that sidecar. That look on her face says a lot. While she did grow up a bit in this season — in episode 207 when Lindsay goes to comfort Gretchen, she shows a very sensitive side of her that we haven't seen. Starting with that, she made an effort in the second half of the season to try to be a real person. We had a lot of fun writing her as very incapable of normal human thoughts or behavior. While that's fun, it was also very gratifying to watch her — and our writing — mature in front of the audience's eyes. That said, I don't think one could argue she's made that many changes. What led her to refer to Paul with all those [awful] names and be a "cockaholic" outside of her marriage and do everything she did, I'm not sure any of those issues are really resolved. And she's reminded of that the minute she gets in that sidecar and this is one more of Paul's nerdy-ass hobbies. I don't know where she's going to go, but she has a lot on her plate and it will be a lot of fun to see. I was very sad to see Paul jettison his happiness.

Aside from Dorothy and Edgar, Paul and Amy were the one couple who were so perfect for each other. To see him jettison that for his duty to his former wife was really sad. I feel for both of them, but that's not to say I'm not going to have fun f—ing with them as a writer.

Gretchen's attitude about abortion is very cavalier — she tells Lindsay that they can go for an "abobo and Marie Callendar's." Will that subject be explored more in season three? 

I just had a child and that doesn't change my attitude at all. The attitude that allowed me to write so cavalierly about such a weighty decision. But I do think it's gratifying to get to make my tiny little political statements with normalizing things like that without making them a big issue. People picked up on it [in previous episodes this season] and there are other shows that have been dealing with that where it's de-politicizing it and making it a decision that one can make because, by the way, we can and should if we want to because we can. You might want to get braces, get your hip replaced or get an abortion and are allowed to do that by Supreme Court. Until that's changed, I think we should treat it as such. Putting aside it's a really weighty decision. I'm not in the business of making giant political statements with my show. I like making small ones and letting people pick up on that.

Edgar and Dorothy aren't breaking up or moving in together. What kind of story are you looking to explore with them?

Their storyline ended very differently; I pivoted at the last second and decided I wanted them to remain together. I had that fight at the party be it for them. At the last minute, I said, what if they stay together? What if he misinterpreted that argument as being a final blow to their relationship and what if it was just like a fight normal couples get in? Then I realized that I was breaking a lot of my rules of writing by not having people behave logically; I'm having them jump to illogical conclusions and not playing that out. That's where the scene at the bus stop came from. It's a nice thing for Edgar to learn that he can "f— up" and people won't leave him and he won't be abandoned. Where they go from here, I'm not sure; but I'm gratified for all the abuse we put Edgar through to allow him at least some temporary happiness.

Will Collette Wolfe be back next season?

I don't know. I have no plans yet with anyone yet except the main four series regulars.

Will Sunday Funday be an annual event?

Only if we come up with a really good idea that doesn't doesn't feel like Back to the Future 3 or Wayne's World 3 — was there even a Wayne's World 3? Well, there shouldn't have been if there was. Only if it doesn't feel like we're buying into this easy marketing tie-in for the network. We're able to take the sequel-itis possibilities and turn them on their heads by making it a very different and dark horror episode for a good chunk of it.

What was your biggest take-away from season two?

I learned a lot in terms of structure, potting and about the audience's willingness to go to dark places. With Gretchen's story taking a lot of real estate this season, I do miss Jimmy and Gretchen [together] — as a lot of audience members do. We do get to see them together in the finale and have their normal spark that made a lot of people fall in love with the show. I miss them a little bit and if I have any take-away, it's that [Gretchen's story] was great, but what's next for their relationship? That will be at the forefront of our early discussions when we hopefully, knock on wood, do come back to the writers' room.

Structurally, the season ended at a similar place as last year: someone drunk and ruining Becca and Vernon's party. What was your motivation in going back to that setup? Is that something you're looking to do again? There has to be some baby party Becca throws again.

Like Sunday Funday, it was an opportunity to see how things have changed by returning to the scene of the crime. Also, it was a good excuse to get them all back together by having an event or party. It made a lot of sense that Becca would be the one in our world who would throw the parties and they would always be for her and celebrating her in a way that allowed her costume changes, presents and adulation, which as we've seen twice now does not go right as long as she has Jimmy, Gretchen and the rest of these knuckleheads in her life. That said, I can't imagine us doing it a third time, but I love Becca and Vernon and they shined a lot this season.

What did you think of the You're the Worst season finale? Sound off in the comments below. You're the Worst returns in summer 2016.

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