Why The ‘You’re The Worst’ Love Triangle Was Actually An Empowering Twist
This season of You’re The Worst has been… one heck of an experience. From Lindsay’s divorce party to the few “Boomtown” moments over the course of the season (blech), You’re The Worst Season 4 has taken some sharp turns. Somehow, though, we’ve ended up back where we started at the end of Season 3. After the You're The Worst finale, Gretchen and Jimmy are engaged (again), and Jimmy is still unsure of their future together. At least this time he didn’t run away. But in choosing Jimmy, did Gretchen abandon herself? At least she's finally making a choice.
Jimmy left Gretchen on top of a hill in the Season 3 finale. He proposed, and then he left to go get a blanket they could fornicate on, and he just… never came back. This didn’t go over well with Gretchen, as one would expect, and they started Season 4 separated from each other. Jimmy took up a residence in a trailer in the California desert, and Gretchen? Well, Gretchen just lived on Lindsay’s couch (seriously, she didn’t really even leave the sofa) in her Koreatown apartment. Jimmy was able to ditch Gretchen because he didn’t think Gretchen would ever really leave him. That’s the thing about Jimmy — he works under the guise of treating everyone like garbage because he thinks that he is not worth leaving. Everyone will love Jimmy because Jimmy is so great. So, when Gretchen decided to say, “Forget you!” and start dating Boone, Jimmy didn’t see it coming.
Gretchen behaves like a self-destructive child, but there were glimmers of hope through the season. One was Gretchen telling Boone she wanted someone to fight for her (and there potentially realizing that she was worth something), and another was Gretchen’s childhood friend, Heidi, telling Gretchen that she was a “shapeshifter” who changed who she was depending on who she was with. The first was an admission that Gretchen had held in for a long time, and the second was an ugly but necessary truth. This whole time, Gretchen has been convinced that she is unlovable, and this carried through into the final moments of the finale, when Jimmy runs into Boone’s house to tell Gretchen he had made a huge mistake. "I couldn’t live one more day if I didn’t at least fight for another chance,” he says. “The three months I spent away from you made me realize exactly what a terrible mistake I made. You don’t know how sorry I am, I’m so sorry.”
Gretchen doesn't buy it. “You don’t get to apologize! I didn’t leave Lindsay’s sh*thole apartment for that entire three months,” she tells him. “I bought in! Finally! After a lifetime of being too goddamn scared, and you punished me for it! It just confirms what I’ve always known — at the end of the day, I’m unlovable.” To which Boone and Jimmy are like, “No, it’s us!” and Gretchen says, “My stupid parents made me feel like I wasn’t enough so I wait around for someone to tell me I’m worthy? That’s insane! I don’t want to do that anymore! Guys, I’m sorry! I choose… myself!"
It sounds like a watershed moment: Gretchen, choosing herself! Freeing herself from the clutches of two idiots! But then she goes outside and gets in Jimmy’s car with him, and boom — they’re back together.
This ending may feel regressive and anti-feminist, but hear me out here — it’s actually not. Gretchen has felt less than for her whole life, and she’s put up with a lot of crap from partners because she thought it was better than being alone. (At least she’s with someone, even if that guy sucks.) Jimmy dumping her was devastating, and Gretchen’s had to do a lot of self-realization in the months following. Being with Boone was a bandage on a bullet hole — Boone liked Gretchen enough to “go down a road,” as she put it, but did she even want to be on that road? Not really. She wanted to do it because Boone wanted to do it, and this is Gretchen falling into her old pattern of shapeshifting. It took being in this weird, crazy love triangle for Gretchen to shake all of the cobwebs out of her brain and realize that she was enough.
Gretchen doesn't take Jimmy back because she thinks that she has to be with someone. She has two options standing in front of her, and frankly, Boone is the path of least resistance. Evenings watching “prestige cable dramas,” as Jimmy put it. But Jimmy is the person who has accepted all of Gretchen. Gretchen chooses Jimmy because she wants to choose Jimmy. You’re The Worst’s biggest success so far is giving Gretchen true agency over her own life. She has come so far in just a few seasons, and now, being in a relationship with Jimmy is what she wants. Their relationship was never going to be perfect, but now she is in it with him not because she is afraid to be alone, but because she wants to spend the rest of her life with him.
Gretchen knows now that she doesn’t need to be rescued — she wants to stand next to her partner, because she alone is enough.