Episode Seven, “Equally Dead Inside,” has Jimmy and Gretchen acknowledging that they won’t sleep with other people, but they still don’t think much of whatever it is they have. In fact, Edgar is more ecstatic about this bond than either Jimmy or Gretchen. They aren’t, as Edgar puts it, boyfriend and girlfriend.
They’ve just made a verbal agreement to not sleep with other people. So close enough, but with more words and less lovey-dovey stuff.
Jimmy’s conflict revolves around a jersey he received in the mail. Upon looking at it, his face becomes a mix of disappointment and anger, prompting him to throw the jersey out and leave. Normally, Edgar would give Jimmy a pep talk, but luckily, that’s now Gretchen’s job. Since she’s his lady, she has to get to know him more. That all takes effort, though.
However, Jimmy receives the surprise of his life when he heads to his bookstore and can’t find any copies of his book. He believes that they’ve sold out, but the owner tells him that’s not the case- he’s just been remaindered. Besides, the owner has more important matters to deal with, like the upcoming book reading by Sandra Bernhard, or “the lesbian from Roseanne,” as Jimmy refers to her.
Yes, our witty Brit is in a funk and nothing is cheering him up. Gretchen doesn’t make things better, either. Normally, Jimmy would tolerate Gretchen’s randomness, but when she brings up how someone at her job named Dana liked an Instagram photo she put up, Jimmy just asks why someone else’s internet approval is meaningful. This is something Jimmy would probably say anyway, though had he not been in this funk, I think he’d have been more receptive to Gretchen.
So what’s the problem with the jersey? It’s just a jersey. Well, turns out that this particular Manchester jersey came from Jimmy’s father, even though Jimmy doesn’t even like sports. More than that, Jimmy once sent his father a copy of his book months ago, but got no response…until now. Gretchen, though she doesn’t want to, tries to listen to Jimmy talk about his troubles.
Meanwhile, Lindsay and Edgar wait for Jimmy and Gretchen to join them at dinner. Lindsay apparently doesn’t have many people ask her questions, as she’s surprised when Edgar asks how she’s been. She isn’t well, though, as she’s still upset about cheating on Paul with Aiden- the nice guy from the previous episode. To her, there’s wife Lindsay and Adulteress Lindsay that likes sitting on people’s faces. Personally, I’d rather hang out with Adulteress Lindsay.
Edgar has his own alternate personality: there’s veteran Edgar and regular Edgar. Edgar had a traumatic brain injury, but so did Lindsay. No, really. She stared at a strobe light for way too long while at a rave and now she’s forgotten how to whistle. That’s apparently a thing. We’ll get back to these two in a moment.
Jimmy is still ranting about how much he wanted his father to say he was proud of him, but Gretchen is more focused on the game she’s playing. She explains that she listens better when she’s doing stuff with her hands.
That frozen yogurt Gretchen and Lindsay frequent is still open for business, but the cashier has come up with a new method in order to deal with them: it’s all self-serve. Each patron receives a sample cup and only one free sampling is allowed. Most people would probably abide by this, but it’s still faulty design, as Lindsay and Gretchen just sample one flavor after the other. Can’t really fault the two for taking advantage of the system.
Anyway, Gretchen isn’t a fan of Jimmy’s moodiness, but also isn’t ready for this part of a relationship. Lindsay’s not happier due to her infidelity, but Gretchen isn’t listening. She listens better when she has something in her mouth. I sense a theme here.
Either way, Gretchen is feeling abandoned by Lindsay, even though Gretchen is the one not paying attention to her friend. Not seeing the hypocrisy in this, Gretchen leaves with her work wife, Dana, played by Jeanine Mason.
Once again, Edgar and Lindsay wonder why Jimmy and Gretchen are flaking out on them. But then it finally hits Edgar: he and Lindsay are sidekicks. How meta. Lindsay is absolutely aghast! She’s Beyonce, not Kelly Rowland. She’s a motorcycle, not that shitty little side seat next to the motorcycle!
Gretchen is still unable to shake Jimmy out of his funk. She tries the obvious methods, like playing something sad and English. When that doesn’t work, she realizes there’s just one solution: they have sex backwards while Jimmy watches foot fetish anime. I did not know this was a thing, but Jimmy isn’t feeling this, so Gretchen leaves.
However, Jimmy does find something to occupy his time when he attends Sandra Bernhard’s book reading. He wants to heckle her, but he’s so captivated by her work that he can’t make fun of her anymore.
When he meets her, she then asks for some of his heckles. They aren’t that impressive and Jimmy is probably better off having not said them. She does think that Jimmy being remaindered is a waste of money, though. It’d be much better to just take all of his books and throw them into a hobo trash can fire. That would save you a few bucks, I’m sure. Jimmy decides he’ll take the life-size cardboard cutout of Sandra Bernhard as his consolation prize.
I’m not a fan of characters delivering words of wisdom that just happen to apply to one of the protagonists, but as Gretchen and Dana bond over drinks, Dana asks Gretchen if she can imagine not being able to experience emotions. And, of course, Gretchen’s response is no, she can’t.
However, because Dana is fun and spontaneous, Gretchen brings her to Jimmy’s so he can finally experience a threesome. Apparently it’s a thing to have a threesome when you’re in middle school. I missed that notice.
While a threesome with two women sounds amazing, turns out that Jimmy already shot his load. It’s possible that he premature ejaculated from excitement, but he says that it’s from earlier, starting from when he went downstairs to his room. Apparently that’s where he started and he just likes to bathe in the afterglow. Eww. You get all sticky that way. Despite Jimmy’s current state, he calls Dana of all people weird, causing her to storm off. Never mind that Jimmy has a life-size cutout of Sandra Bernhard in his room.
After this, though, Gretchen is in her feelings about how she made a friend and just alienated her by asking her to participate in a threesome. Completely skipped taking her to dinner and everything, too. As Gretchen talks about her life, her past problems, and the sad little 10 year old girl she is, she’s looking for someone to hear her out. Jimmy, however, is not that person and quickly tells Gretchen to stop emoting because she’s making his skin crawl.
Jimmy fails to see the irony, though he correctly points out that Gretchen didn’t listen to him, either. The two wonder just what in the hell is wrong with them. However, they can take solace in the fact that they’ve found someone who is as equally dead inside as the other. The two vow to never feel anything around each other ever again.
“Equally Dead Inside” takes time to slowly develop Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship and doesn’t throw it in your face that the two are, in almost every sense of the word, ‘official.’ But then, like the previous episode, they still despise those cute little buzzwords. To them, little has changed, but they’re still of the opinion that this could go south any time.
The problem is now that they’re an item, their bond has to go beyond sex. Once you commit yourself to someone, conversations won’t always be about sex and your day. You start digging deeper and talking about your feelings. Your emotions start pouring out and you hope that certain someone will be there to be a shoulder to cry on and comfort you in your time of need.
And that’s not what Gretchen signed up for, as she’s not ready to commit to this. As she tells Lindsay, she’s not equipped to handle this part of a relationship. She doesn’t want to get to know Jimmy or his daddy issues because that takes the fun out of their little thing. Knowing him on a deeper level would require her to put forth effort and step outside of herself but, as we’ve seen, Gretchen is a very self-consumed person.
She’d like to get to know Jimmy on a deeper level, sure, but once that happens, they stop being two people just hanging out and actually become boyfriend and girlfriend. Gretchen isn’t ready to take that step, which is why she finds it so awkward for her to deal with a moping Jimmy.
Her priority is still having as much fun as possible and she hopes that will snap Jimmy out of his funk, but you can’t always solve a problem with fun, sex, or foot fetish anime. Taking Jimmy’s feelings seriously would mean she sees him as more than just a guy she hangs out and has sex with. The two would become something more, which isn’t what they want. However, the more they start to learn about one another, the more inevitable it is before they start talking about their feelings. That’s hard to do for two emotionally detached cynics.
If Jimmy and Gretchen were completely open with one another and accepted that right off the bat, there would no conflict. We’ve known since the beginning that they reject the notions of traditional romance, and that includes emotional attachment. They make a pact to never feel around each other again because they’re not like other people, and that makes them perfect for each other, but no one else.
This includes their friends, as Lindsay and Edgar get to spend more time together and have the sudden realization that they’re being sidelined. Luckily, the two aren’t just here to fill up time. I mean, they sort of are, but it’s not without humor. Edgar tries to compare him and Lindsay being sidekicks to Mary Tyler Moore or Rhoda, but since Lindsay doesn’t know who those two people are, Edgar is forced to go with a more contemporary example: Jeff Lewis or Jenny from Flipping Out on Bravo.
It would be easy for the two to just talk about how they have nothing to do, but Lindsay and Edgar do have very good chemistry together. They have their fair share of complex issues and I like that the show is building off of character traits and quirks established in previous episodes, such as Edgar’s war memories or Lindsay’s serial cheating.
As much as Gretchen talks about needing a friend and feeling abandoned, neither she nor Jimmy realize yet what they’re doing to Edgar and Lindsay by always leaving them to fend for themselves.
We haven’t learned much about Jimmy’s past, so it was a refreshing change of pace to hear him talk about his failed relationship with his father. And I’m glad he snapped out of his funk quickly enough. His reaction during the threesome was priceless and I enjoyed how he was so focused on the fact that Dana and Gretchen’s boobs must have touched when they hugged. Priorities, this guy.
Sandra Bernhard is fine in her appearance, but she doesn’t really get much to do aside from put down Jimmy’s heckles and take him down a peg. For someone as cynical as Jimmy, it’s nice to see someone throw his sarcastic wit right back at him.
“Equally Dead Inside,” in my opinion, isn’t as strong as “PTSD,” but it did show the kind of progress and changes that Jimmy and Gretchen are slowly making as their…thing slowly develops into a relationship where they’re forced to open their hearts to each other. Perish the thought, they say, as they vow to never feel around each other again. They’re just not ready.