“We Were Having Such A Nice Day” is a very strong penultimate episode for You’re the Worst, not only because it features well-written scenes that probe Jimmy and Gretchen’s psychology and forces them to confront some ugly truths about themselves and their romance, but also because it makes great use of the flash forwards which have accompanied nearly every episode this season.
All season long, the flash forwards have suggested with increasingly greater certainty that Gretchen and Jimmy won’t actually go through with their wedding, and will break up rather than stay together. This future seems all but certain after the previous two episodes’ flash forwards (“Magical Thinking” and “Four Goddamn More Days”) where Jimmy appears to be dating the wedding florist, and where Gretchen appears to be single. These flash forwards have effectively injected an air of suspense into “We Were Having Such a Good Time” and (presumably) the series finale next week, because whatever will end up souring their marriage plans has to happen either in this episode or the next (and this week’s episode seemed like a strong candidate, given its title). Will Jimmy get cold feet? Will Gretchen sink into a depression? Will they mutually agree to call it off? Essentially, we’re in suspense as we wait for the other shoe to drop: every action and event makes us wonder, “Is this the thing that will end it all?”
The uncertainty of how Jimmy and Gretchen become estranged is amplified by the events of “We Were Having Such A Nice Day” because the two spend much of the episode apart from one another, and make it clear that they don’t intend to see each other again until they meet at the altar the next day. Whatever will go wrong between them, it seems like it will happen independent of their interaction with one another. The mystery is amplified further because their relationship is in as good a place as it’s ever been: Gretchen feels safe with Jimmy after coming clean to him about all of her problems at the end of “Four Goddamn More Days,” and Jimmy seems to have made peace with these problems, despite the misgivings evident on his face after Gretchen’s revelations. So, just what the hell is going to go wrong?
“We Were Having Such A Nice Day” doesn’t answer any of these questions directly – we’re going to be kept in suspense until the series finale – but it does provide hints, both through the conversations Jimmy and Gretchen have with other characters in this episode, and through a metaphor Gretchen makes about her and Jimmy’s relationship in the first scene, which takes on new meanings as the episode progresses. Gretchen illustrates to Jimmy the “health” of their relationship by intentionally shattering a glass on the floor, intending the act to stand as a metaphor for Jimmy’s acceptance of her, flaws and all, thus making her feel totally safe with him. However, the metaphor is more apt than she realizes, since it’s also a metaphor for how Jimmy and Gretchen each refuse to deal with their problems, and the pain that can result. They argue about it, but neither she nor Jimmy ends up cleaning up the glass, and at the episode’s end, Gretchen steps on it and badly slices up her foot. If the metaphor is that they’re okay with the parts of their relationship that are broken, then this moment indicates that those broken parts can and perhaps will eventually hurt them, pretty severely. We see this metaphor play out in Gretchen and Jimmy’s scenes throughout much of “We Were Having Such a Good Time.”
Gretchen spends much of the episode with her mother, Vanessa, who makes a surprise visit to Jimmy’s house, usurping Lindsay’s plans to spend the day getting pampered with Gretchen. As we’ve been led to believe, both through Gretchen’s descriptions of her and through her brief previous appearances, her mother is terrible: she’s witheringly disapproving of every choice Gretchen has made (including marrying Jimmy), she trivializes Gretchen’s mental health problems and takes zero responsibility for them, refuses to validate Gretchen’s legitimate gripes with how she raised Gretchen, and urges Gretchen to suppress rather than address her problems. When Gretchen does finally badger Vanessa into being “real” with her by talking about all of the messed up things Gretchen’s done in her life, Vanessa imparts what she thinks is good life advice to Gretchen: “No one wants to hear these things. If you insist on sharing them, you’ll just push everyone away.” Vanessa genuinely believes this – it’s why she refuses to listen to Gretchen’s problems, and it’s the key to why Gretchen has so many deep-seated psychological issues. Gretchen’s exhausted response is to cling to Jimmy: he’s the one person who won’t be pushed away by learning the truth about her. Here, then is another way in which the flash forwards have paid dividends in this episode: they make Gretchen’s faith in Jimmy seem misplaced, foreboding, and ultimately tragic, because their romance now appears to be doomed. This foreboding is further underscored when the last shot reveals the shattered glass lying in the foreground.
It’s a great scene, and it’s capped off by another near the episode’s end, where Vanessa ultimately leaves Gretchen with some faint praise, albeit in the form of disapproval: she’s glad Gretchen has found someone who doesn’t push her and embraces her flaws, if that’s what she needs. Vanessa means it as a putdown – Gretchen is disappointing her once again – but Gretchen embraces it as a healing moment. She’ll take what she can get from her awful mom.
Unlike Gretchen’s day, Jimmy and Edgar’s day goes swimmingly, at least initially. Edgar takes Jimmy on a series of adventures meant to commemorate Jimmy’s last day as a bachelor: curling, a “Rage Zone” where Jimmy can let out his bottled up anger by smashing a bunch of objects with baseball bats (something Gretchen might also enjoy, actually), and finally a private club for powerful people. Most of these scenes serve as a throwaway joke delivery system, particularly the montage sequences that turn each scene into a music video (complete with a wider-than-usual aspect ratio), but a bit of poignancy is sprinkled in here and there, like when Jimmy is presented with a dummy outfitted with a photo of his deceased dad. Rather than destroy it, he hugs it and cries that he’s getting married. However, the last of these scenes turns serious, where Edgar tries to force Jimmy to confront some uncomfortable truths about him and Gretchen.
It’s a devastating scene, because it begins by Jimmy being struck by what a close friend Edgar has become, honoring Edgar for his steadfast friendship to Jimmy, even though it took so many years for Jimmy to finally reciprocate it. Jimmy calls Edgar his best friend. It’s the closest the two have ever been, and Edgar burns it all down in the next breath by trying to convince Jimmy not to marry Gretchen.
Edgar’s intentions are pure: he loves both Jimmy and Gretchen, but fears the harm they’ll do to one another because they refuse to address their underlying problems and act on what they each need from the other (like cleaning up a broken glass). Edgar’s concerns have been long in the making; his confrontation with Gretchen about her stealing Edgar’s pills is a good example, but so are a lot of his scenes with Jimmy in previous episodes, especially in “Magical Thinking,” where he tries to get Jimmy to see that Gretchen is on the verge of a breakdown, but Jimmy’s response is denial and selfish rationalization for his disinterest in Gretchen’s mental health. Jimmy’s response to Edgar’s plea is predictably defensive: he angrily reverts back to condescension and disparagement in order to defray the pain of Edgar’s truths, his denial utterly transparent since it comes directly on the heels of his telling Edgar how much his friendship means to him now. It’s a tough scene, because it seems to end their friendship – Jimmy tells Edgar he never wants to see him again – and it also seems to magnify the serious doubts Jimmy has had (and quelled) repeatedly over the course of the season.
We’ll have to wait for the series finale to see if or how, precisely, the flash forwards come to pass, since “We Were Having Such a Good Time” leaves us in suspense over what will lead to them. I sincerely hope the resolution of these outstanding plotlines is as satisfying as most of the lead up to it has been.
Other thoughts: – Lots of funny jokes in the margins of “We Were Having Such A Nice Day”. One of my favorites is that Jimmy gives himself an author’s credit for their wedding to-do list. Also, some of the list items contain jokes, like the one that reads, “Learn which knife does what (Gretchen).”
– Lindsay’s newfound bisexuality provides more comedy fodder, particularly when she changes from chanting “Kiss!” at Jimmy and Gretchen to chanting “Have sex!”
– Some of the things Jimmy lists as he smashes objects in the “Rage Zone”: the studio system, signature cocktails, vendors, caterers, and depression. Some of these are funny, but some, like depression, are genuine, and are tied to what he and Gretchen have gone through.
– Edgar and Jimmy’s montage sequence in the private club features a cameo from Thomas Middleditch, who reprises his role as an unnamed hipster ringleader from season one’s “Sunday Funday.”
– Ha, Jimmy and Gretchen never figured out where to seat Paul in the wedding reception.
– Speaking of Paul, the C plot of “We Were Having Such A Nice Day” involves Becca and Vernon trying to extort Paul for more money by threatening his unborn child. I’m long since past the point of caring about this, and I only mention it because it sets up another groan-inducing development: Lindsay and Paul become romantically interested in one another again. This is the third go-around for them, and the most inexplicable, given how thoroughly the first two established their incompatibility. Stephen Falk seems not to have had many good ideas for what to do with Lindsay this season, and this development seems like it’s only being shoehorned in here to motivate the flash forwards. I strongly suspect that the wedding in the flash forwards is Lindsay’s (it would explain the presence of the three other main characters at this wedding, given Edgar and Jimmy’s falling out in this episode, and what seems to be Jimmy and Gretchen’s inevitable breakup). However, it’s lazy writing, because seems like Lindsay and Paul have forgotten their own histories. I’d be more forgiving if their resumed interest seemed to have something to say about toxic relationships having a cyclical nature, or if it served as some sort of point of comparison with Gretchen and Jimmy, but it just seems like a contrivance.
– At least the Lindsay/Paul/Becca/Vernon scenes yield another Vernon laugh line, directed at Paul’s concerns about Becca imperiling their unborn child with wine, unpasteurized cheese, and raw fish: “Chillax dorkus, it’s good to challenge babies’ immune systems. It’s how you make an X-Men.”
– The flash forward at the start of this episode does answer at least one lingering question: Edgar’s panicked dash through the woods in “Bachelor/Bachelorette Party Sunday Funday” is revealed to be him simply playacting during a game of hide and seek with a kid at the mystery wedding (perhaps Becca and Vernon’s, which would make the wedding take place four or five years later, given the age of the kid).
– Lots of horror film allusions in this episode: before revealing that he’s playing a game of hide and seek, Edgar’s panicked dash through a jungle resembles the 1987 Predator: he first appears camouflaged by leaves, he seems to be pursued by an out-of-focus monster in the background, and is even wearing striated face paint. Later, when Lindsay is ousted by Gretchen’s mom, she returns to her apartment and is greeted by more horror sound cues, and a silhouetted figure waiting for her, one that appears to be her doppelganger (it’s Paul, which makes Jimmy’s earlier joke mistaking Lindsay for Paul even funnier, because here even Lindsay makes the same mistake herself). The horror allusions seem somewhat appropriate, given the suspense of whatever impending tragedy might befall Jimmy and Gretchen’s romance. However, these allusions are never carried to the reflexive extremes of the romantic comedy spoof in the season premiere, “The Intransigence of Love.”
– I love the silent exchange of nods between Gretchen and Lindsay as the two agree to Lindsay’s plan to beat Gretchen’s mom with a chair while her back is turned.
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