By the time we get to the third episode, “Keys Open Doors,” Jimmy and Gretchen’s thing has developed to the point that they’re sleeping outside in the nude.
I won’t even begin to question how that happened, but this episode pushes their thing forward all through one simple question.
First off, it’s worth noting that Gretchen and Jimmy are now comfortable enough around each other to be in the bathroom at the same time. Even though Jimmy is in the shower, the two talk about their days back and forth like an actual couple. For them both, that involves having tedious interactions with awful people, which they both are. We also learn that Jimmy sits whenever he heads to the bathroom for any purpose. Sitting is in his top five favorite activities. Other ones include eating, shutting stupid people down verbally, bubble baths, and masturbating. There’s also sex, sex with Gretchen, and sleeping.
But if you’ve ever been in a relationship to the point where you spent a considerable amount of time at the other person’s house, chances are that you’ll eventually want a key so you can come as you please. It’s only natural, right? Well, that’s just what Gretchen wants- a key to Jimmy’s place in the event that she needs to stop by and pick up her clothes.
Jimmy, however, is completely shell-shocked by this proposal and only after Gretchen asks does she realize what she’s just done. She’s quick to clarify that a key does not mean that their thing is progressing or becoming even more of a relationship-type thing. She only wants it for her stuff.
Despite the clarification, Gretchen and Jimmy still have an awkward moment, but it makes sense for Gretchen to have a key. The two have spent the past five or six nights together, but that’s only because, as Jimmy points out, Gretchen falls asleep after sex. What should be a simple yes or no answer turns into a sort of argument as the two debate the merits of having a key. Gretchen figures it’s not that special, though Jimmy says that a key is a sign of freedom. Something suddenly hits Gretchen and she realizes that she has a lapse of sanity, so she leaves.
If Jimmy didn’t have any feelings for Gretchen, he should have been able to let this go altogether and go about his business, but because he does care- but dare not admit it- he ends up spending the episode with this on his mind, starting with Edgar. Edgar sees no issue with it. Keys open doors. Subtle. Jimmy, though, sees keys as a symbol of unceasing, inexorable march of everything towards predictability, blandness, mediocrity. Once Gretchen gets a key, the two of them will become bland, boring, and need things like emotional support. Edgar figures that such things are worth enduring if you like the person, but there’s Jimmy’s problem: he doesn’t know how to like people.
Again, it’s a very small thing, but giving Gretchen a key would be a big step forward because she would always have a way in. It shows that there’s a new level of trust between two people. It would be a joyous occasion except Jimmy and Gretchen are about as anti-relationship as you can get, so they try to downplay the symbolism. Problem is that the thought is stuck in their heads all day. Edgar has a more practical reason as to why Gretchen may have been emotional: it’s her birthday.
And here’s the second thing that gets at Jimmy all day: sure, he and Gretchen acknowledge that their thing won’t work and that they are not in a relationship, but the fact that he wasn’t told about her birthday irks him. He even sounds offended when he realizes that Gretchen didn’t tell him about her birthday. But because Jimmy needs something to do this week, Gretchen left her phone at his place. He offers to return it, while also doing snooping, though Edgar has a foolproof solution that I still find odd: he puts Gretchen’s phone in a brown bag and staples it.
Gretchen, meanwhile, gets to catch up with Lindsay, who is desperately trying to lose weight since the other women at Paul’s job are thin. Gretchen’s solution is simple- don’t try. Lindsay is trying too hard to be someone that she’s not, even though she has a husband who loves her and no reason to change her appearance. Despite this, Lindsay sees her life as boring. Gretchen, though not grounded, is having more fun with someone like Jimmy.
The difference between the two is that Lindsay is constantly trying to better herself and move forward. Gretchen, by comparison, is fine the way she is. That’s not to say she’s against developing, but the fun she has with Jimmy is enough without any strings attached. She wants things to stay the way they are and even wants Lindsay to regress. Gretchen is afraid of growing up, we learn, as she tells Lindsay to divorce Paul, move back to the east side and start being interesting again. Lindsay may not be as fun as she once was, but she’s at least growing up. And yet, she still wishes for a more exciting life like Gretchen has.
Like Jimmy, Gretchen speaks of Jimmy as if they’ve known each other for years, but when Lindsay asks about the director, Gretchen simply says that “It’s complicated.” No, what Jimmy and Gretchen have is complicated, but Gretchen is completely devoid of emotion when talking about the director.
The show reminds us that Gretchen does still have a job when she’s called into her office because of a problem: Sam was interviewed by the president of a local LGBT student union and called him a faggot. Sam doesn’t see this as a problem, though. He knew the guy was gay, said he was ‘hella fruity,’ but his generation sees no need to have fake personalities. They accept everyone. Well, almost. Shit Stain doesn’t like Koreans for two reasons: their manipulative currency devaluation…and their eyes. Ha.
Although Jimmy tries to tune out Gretchen’s continually buzzing phone, curiosity gets the better of him and he tries to unlock. Again, if Gretchen were just a one-time thing, I doubt he’d even be trying to do this. But it turns out that Edgar’s stapled bag proved more durable than Jimmy expected, as he’s unable to rip through it as quickly as he had hoped. His reaction to a text from Ty- the director’s full name is Ty Wyland- is one of immediate surprise and a hint of jealousy.
But ever faithful Edgar knew his friend would crack. The look he gives Jimmy after seeing that he snooped on Gretchen’s phone still makes me laugh.
After an awkward encounter where Jimmy tries not to ask about Gretchen’s plans, he and Sam talk outside. He says to Sam that he and Gretchen were never a real thing, but doesn’t have a reason for it. The practical reason would be fear, but Jimmy wouldn’t admit that. What he does realize, however, is that he and Sam have something in common when it comes to Gretchen: they would not let any other woman talk to them the way that she does. For as rude and arrogant as Gretchen can be- and believe me, Jimmy is just as much of an asshole- Jimmy and Sam have a special bond with her that isn’t shared with any other woman.
Gretchen ends up meeting with the man that Sam offended: Darren Kaplan, played by Trey Gerrald. Not a whole lot happens with this scene, aside from Gretchen getting off one great line about Sam’s use of the word faggot. She says “I love my client like the Black son I aborted in high school, but maybe you’re right. Banning words is always the misguided byproduct of good social movements.” She’d attempt hitting on Kaplan if he wasn’t gay.
In the first of many instances, Jimmy stalks Gretchen to a bar where she celebrates her birthday with friends. Once again, if he doesn’t like her, don’t pay this any mind. He even admits this to himself out loud when he says that she can do whatever she wants, but then he says what he wants to hear and heads in so he can ruin her date. However, it turns out that it’s not a date, but just a gathering that didn’t include Jimmy. He’s still upset that he wasn’t invited, but Gretchen has a reason for it.
That comes in the form of the director, Ty, and his girlfriend, Element, played by Kalia Prescott. Element, like Hydrogen or Oxygen, or as Jimmy suggests, Arsenic or Radon. Ty doesn’t find that very funny, yet Gretchen does. And though Jimmy admits that he wouldn’t have come if he had been invited, the two manage to make up. Gretchen even casually announces to everyone at the party, including Becca, that Jimmy is the guy she’s sleeping with, much to everyone’s surprise.
Becca tells Jimmy that this will never work because he and Gretchen are poison for each other, but Jimmy actually agrees with that. In fact, he sounds overjoyed at the idea.
If I had any negatives about the episode, it would be that the ending is sort of a repeat of “Insouciance,” where the two make up their differences and realize that they don’t know what they’re doing in this thing they have. The slight difference, and this may have to do with Gretchen being a tad bit drunk, is that she admits Jimmy is growing on her. After all, Jimmy did decide to give her a key. But then, he also gave Sam a key to give to Gretchen…
Yeah, this happens. No, Sam’s not gay, but he does admit that Darren sucks pretty good dick.
So Jimmy and Gretchen’s friendship took a step forward, even if they didn’t want to admit it. They said before that it couldn’t work out, yet they always seem to talk about one another when they aren’t around. Gretchen found herself embarrassed at asking for a key when she had no reason not to. She even tried to mask it when she left that morning, saying that it’s only a walk of shame if you’re capable of feeling shame.
The fact is these two can’t deny there are genuine feelings between them, but they won’t admit it because it proves their entire idea of love wrong. It’d be great to stay young and carefree forever, but right now, Jimmy and Gretchen still have a lot of growing up to do.
Whereas someone like Lindsay, who longs for that carefree life, does have a good life right now, but doesn’t appreciate it or her husband. I should note that Lindsay and Edgar don’t have that many scenes early on and the show does make a point of addressing this soon, but I do like what material they’re given right now.
One of the issues I’ve heard when it comes to You’re the Worst is how little actually happens. To be fair, that’s true. The episode boils down to Gretchen wanting a key and having to do damage control at her job, while Jimmy just obsesses over the idea of a key and whoever Gretchen might be seeing. Like Seinfeld, not a lot happens or gets accomplished, but it’s mostly setup to developing Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship. Let’s move on.