“A Bunch Of Hornballs” might be a noisier episode of You’re The Worst than usual—a $6,000 lavish divorce party and a gaudy erotica convention doesn’t add up to “quiet”—but make no mistake, it tracks the muted moment following a major realization when you have nothing else left to do but take the next logical step. This season of You’re The Worst has been kind of like a heavy hangover after a glorious bender, complete with the requisite denial, exhaustive rage, and, yes, suffering. It doesn’t have a strong central focus like previous seasons, and some of the series’ most winning traits might have run their course, but it’s nevertheless digressive and “difficult” by design. Coming to terms with oneself is a stop-start, push-pull, one-step-forward-two-steps-back process, and “A Bunch Of Hornballs” neatly encapsulates that feeling of getting back on solid ground.
After returning from her hometown, Gretchen agrees to throw Lindsay a “divorce party” after she receives her license in the mail. She even agrees to blow off a night with Boone, but lies to him about falling ill because a) she wants to protect her feelings, and b) she’s afraid they’re going down “a road” that will lead to a serious relationship. Gretchen does the Gretchen thing and pawns off the party planning onto Edgar, who himself pawns off the work to an expensive catering company at the behest of his new friend Max (Johnny Pemberton). The result is an over-the-top affair at Jimmy’s place that features a signature drink called a “Mezcalimony,” a cake topper with a plastic Lindsay holding Paul’s plastic severed head, and an assortment of other divorce-themed apparel.
Meanwhile, Jimmy is at the Romance and Erotica convention, both appalled and befuddled by the rabid fans that populate the center. For Jimmy, a person who views himself as a prestige writer, a fandom-filled weekend isn’t exactly his idea of a “good time” or career achievement (“Michael Chabon isn’t hyping Moonglow at the Gilroy Garlic festival,” Jimmy snarks). But later he goes out for a smoke and talks with fellow erotica writer Adrienne (Amy Pietz) who convinces him to try to embrace the vibe, especially considering that he’s young and single and could really clean up at the convention.
The episode cuts back and forth between Lindsay’s divorce party and Jimmy’s experiences with the erotica crowd, but neither event turns out well. Lindsay initially agrees to the party so she could befriend her work colleagues, but she quickly discovers via Carl, the office lackey, that they truly dislike her and were never planning to attend. She then has to endure abuse from her abominable sister Becca, now a full-blown alcoholic who openly kisses her gay best friend Walter in front of her husband Vernon, as well as a villainous Paul, who crashes the party to hurl insults at her. All the rejection and cruelty from family, peers, and ex-husband sends her into a depression and wondering if she blames herself for her problems.
At the same time, Boone busts Gretchen in her lie. She confesses that she’s afraid that things are moving too quickly, but Boone reassures her that he doesn’t even want to meet his daughter Olivia, who’s sitting in his car. Gretchen, flummoxed by Boone’s quick dismissal of Gretchen’s ability to handle children, first invites Boone inside for a drink and then later brings Olivia inside, claiming that the otherwise safe neighborhood is overrun with thieves and pot smokers. Furious at Gretchen for overstepping her boundaries, he informs her that he didn’t want her to meet Olivia because he has a responsibility to keep her from getting attached to new lovers in case it doesn’t work out.
With Lindsay’s existential crisis, Gretchen’s stumble with Boone, and Jimmy’s own adventure (not to mention Edgar’s own C-story with his new friend), there’s a lot going on this week. Credited writer Alison Bennett keeps the action moving at a brisk pace, to the episode’s great benefit, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that all the emotional content gets the development it deserves. Putting aside the fact that Gretchen and Boone’s relationship has gone from 0 to 60 in the span of a few episodes, their decision to move forward with their relationship also feels especially rushed. Cash and Ferguson really sell the writing, so the narrative hiccup isn’t felt that strongly, but the character shortcuts are still present. Lindsay’s plot this week feels especially truncated—after a brief, sweet conversation with Gretchen, she realizes that Becca’s lifelong treatment of her might be the source of her problems—but it’s bound to happen in an episode like this.
Still, the episode ends on a high note with the phone call between Jimmy and Gretchen that specifically recalls the pilot. Gretchen, having fully moved on from Jimmy, opens the door for reconciliation by calling him, initially for an innocuous request and then finally an old school shit-talking session. Jimmy, who awkwardly hooks up with Adrienne only for her to drunkenly vomit red wine everywhere and then confess she’s never had an orgasm, is thrilled to receive the call. The two talk about werewolf erotica and the horrifying prospect of a hot Paul, and it feels just right. Miles apart, physically and emotionally, the two somehow find solid ground. Jimmy and Gretchen still have palpable charge, and Falk and co. have understandably denied the audience that thrill for most of this season. However, this phone call indicates there’s still hope that they can find a way to come back together, even if it’s just as friends.
- Edgar’s story this week involves his new friendship with Max, a typical Los Angeles douchebag with deep pockets. Max pressures Edgar into spending over $900 on sneakers designed by Kanye West, and then over $6,000 on the party. Max talks Edgar down by saying they’re going to be rich someday, but his behavior spells trouble.
- Max’s previous best friend moved to Boulder to work for “Snuber,” an app that’s like Uber, but for snow. When Edgar pushes back on this idea, Max counters, “It’s like Venmo, but for mountains.”
- Jimmy decides between two pay-per-view porn flicks in his hotel room: Cankle Action (33 minutes—filmed 1999) and Denise Makes a Mess (61 minutes, filmed 2013).
- One of Lindsay’s colleagues says she’s “the worst person I’ve ever met and I once toured with Ted Nugent.”
- Jimmy on orgasms: “Well, I don’t wanna rub it in, but they’re kind of the only truly transcendent thing in this world.”
- “I really need to stop buying window drugs from that homeless guy.”
- “It’s also a Dickensian exploration of the long shadow cast on British progeniture by the second World War, but thank you.”
- “Remember, the theme is Your Previously Secure Future Is Suddenly a Giant Scary Question Mark, but fun.”
- “You gotta honor the end of the relationship. When my pops and stepmom split, me and dad bro’d out in the Maldives for like a month. Had too much Prosecco one night and things got a little weird, but all in all, a great trip.”
- “Anyway, so Paul comes in cackling like a supervillain…”