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Series / You're the Worst

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Jimmy and Gretchen.

You're the Worst is an American dramedy series, created by Stephen Falk, that premiered on FX on July 17, 2014. Starting with its second season, the show's been airing on FX's sister channel FXX. The show concluded in 2019 after five seasons.

Jimmy (Chris Geere) is a cynical, self-centered struggling writer who believes all relationships are doomed from the start. Gretchen (Aya Cash) is a self-destructive PR executive for a rap group who isn't sure if relationships are her "thing". When they meet at the wedding of Jimmy's ex-girlfriend (the sister of Gretchen's best friend), they are quickly attracted to each other and despite whatever little better judgment they possess, that attraction turns into something deeper. But can these two deeply dysfunctional people find happiness and love with each other? Or are they doomed to heartbreak?

Also part of the main cast are Edgar (Desmin Borges), an Iraq War veteran living with Jimmy who's suffering from PTSD; and Lindsay (Kether Donohue), Gretchen's best friend, a newlywed who can't seem to get rid of her selfish nature at the expense of her husband.

Despite the broad rom-com-esque premise, the show takes its characters' emotions very seriously, giving it a much more melancholic vibe than it first appears.

Now with a recap page in need of love.

You're the Worst provides examples of:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • Edgar dealing with a heroin addiction was dumped in season 2.
    • Also in season 2, Gretchen has her car back and is apparently able to drive legally (she crashed into an off-duty cop and was charged with a DUI shortly before the events of the pilot).
  • Acronym and Abbreviation Overload: How Vernon talks.
    Becca: Vernon left to go do his rotation, or as he calls it, his "rotash."
  • Adam Westing: Ben Folds occasionally pops in, usually as an annoying drunk.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "The Seventh Layer" does this for Vernon and Paul.
  • The Alleged Car: Gretchen's. We don't get a really good look at the whole thing until "Fix Me, Dummy", but it is impressively destroyed. Judging by what was visible in the flashback in "Constant Horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction", it was an alleged car even before she crashed it.
  • And That's Terrible: In the pilot, Gretchen tries to get Ty to tell her the worst thing he's ever done. He says he's trying to avoid negativity, and she continues that she once set her high school on fire to get out of a math test. Ty looks at her like she's grown a second head and says "Why are you telling me this? That's horrible!" It gets even better when she tells Jimmy and he cracks up laughing.
  • Anti-Hero: Every single protagonist, especially Gretchen and Jimmy.
  • Arc Words: "Family" is emphasized quite a lot throughout much of the third season, initially through Lindsay's pregnancy and its effect on her marriage to Paul, all the way up to the finale when Jimmy proposes to Gretchen and she starts becoming excited about her and Jimmy becoming a family, the prospect of which terrifies Jimmy enough to drive off and leave her even after putting a ring on her.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: Shitstain and Honey Nutz are baffled when Lindsay wires her jaw shut to lose weight, asking if her husband is going to mind her losing her best features. When Lindsay points out that Paul doesn't like those features, Honey Nutz asks, "Why did he buy the car if he don't appreciate the features?" Lindsay has no answer, and it begins to make her question her marriage.
  • Artistic License – Animal Care: In the finale of Season 1, both Jimmy and Gretchen refer to themselves as the equivalent of two pit bulls who would kill another dog but are "couch buds" with each other because a fight would result in mutually assured destruction. In reality, if you have two dog-aggressive pits (or any breed), they 100% will fight.
  • Artistic License – Biology: The infamous scene in which Lindsay thaws out Paul's frozen sperm in a microwave until it explodes, scrapes it off the inside of the machine and then inserts it into herself with a turkey baster, scalding herself in the process. It should pretty much go without saying that this would kill off all the sperm, yet she still manages to get pregnant.
    • Of course, this is later discussed and subverted when Paul realizes she got pregnant from his pre-ejaculate instead, which is possible.
  • Art Shift: In "Sunday Funday", whenever the hipsters show up, direction switches to a 2.35:1 aspect ratio and quicker cuts to look like an artsy indie flick.
  • Awful Wedded Life: Becca and Vernon. Not only does one have to wonder why they're even married in the first place, but the third season especially reveals how utterly miserable they are with each other, with their newborn daughter Tallulah being the only reason why they're still staying together.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Gretchen and Jimmy are endlessly snarky, constantly deny and mock the concept of having feelings, and both react to Paul's definition of love (putting someone else's needs above your own) with "ew", but it just makes the sweet moments all the more heartwarming. Possibly the most striking example shows up in "Other Things You Could Be Doing", when Jimmy builds a pillow fort around miserable depressed Gretchen and stays instead of leaving her. The actual words don't make an appearance until the last episode of season 2 and the first of season 3, though.
  • Babies Ever After: A flashforward shows Jimmy and Gretchen had a daughter later on.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Subverted to the point of deconstruction. Lindsay decides to have a baby in order to keep Paul with her, only for Becca to announce that she's pregnant. When Lindsay attempts to overshadow her and announce her pregnancy plans, Paul finally stands up to her and dumps her. Meanwhile, Becca's pregnancy is not happy at all and one gets the feeling that she is officially stuck in her loveless marriage.
    • And then Double Subverted in the second season finale when Paul, learning that Lindsay got pregnant from the one time they slept together, decides to leave Amy and rekindle his relationship with Lindsay. It goes about as well as one would expect, and it's finally subverted fully when Lindsay has an abortion in "Talking To Me, Talking To Me", and when Paul finds out in final episodes of the third season, they're broken up for good. Subverted even further in "No Longer Just Us" when Becca confesses to Lindsay her fears that she's slowly losing her identity and freedom because of Vernon and Tallulah, her newborn daughter. .
  • Beta Couple: Vernon and Becca, Lindsay and Paul, Dorothy and Edgar... This role switches around a lot throughout the series, though Jimmy and Gretchen being the central pairing of the show is never affected or altered.
  • Big Eater: Gretchen, Jimmy, and especially Lindsay. In Episode 4, she gets her mouth wired shut to lose weight.
    Lindsay: I got my jaw wired shut so I don't put anything bad in my mouth.
    Gretchen: But putting bad things in your mouth is kinda your thing.
  • Bland-Name Product: In "Equally Dead Inside", Jimmy gets a "Manchester FC" football jersey from his father.
    • There's also the Zoiddle car, Blue Cube DVD rental kiosk, Eurotune song contest, and Red Napkin pre-portioned meals.
  • Blatant Lies:
    Gretchen: So what, are you one of those creepy foot guys?
    Jimmy: No. I have nervous hands and they need to stay busy.
    Later, on the phone
    Jimmy: I lied to you earlier, I do have a foot thing.
  • Bottle Episode: "There Is Not Currently a Problem", in which the LA Marathon is keeping the group inside Jimmy's house from driving. And, of course, they all scoff at the idea of walking to wherever.
    • "You Knew It Was A Snake" is also predominantly set in Jimmy's house, wherein three of the show's couples are all facing hard decisions regarding their relationships and confronting one another about them.
  • Break His Heart to Save Him: In "Other Things You Could Be Doing", Gretchen tells Jimmy that she's permanently broken, he shouldn't be okay with that, and he deserves to go be happy with someone else. It's not a lie that she doesn't feel anything (depression does that), but her tearful "You stayed" when she wakes up to find him in the pillow fort with her at the end makes it clear she didn't really want him to leave forever.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Jimmy's agent mentions a job writing for a popcorn catalogue. An episode later, Vernon gets very excited about said catalogue.
    • Early in Season 2, Jimmy watches videos online and snickers, "dogs don't eat nachos." Gretchen later feeds nachos to a neighbor's dog and quietly says, "dogs do eat nachos."
  • British Stuffiness: Enthusiastically defied in the case of Jimmy and his family.
    • In "Insouciance", when Gretchen walks back into the room to find Jimmy busy:
    Gretchen: I thought all Englishmen were sexually repressed.
    Jimmy: No, you're thinking of the Welsh.
    • And in "A Right Proper Story", Lindsay's observation of Jimmy's father and older sisters:
    Lindsay: I thought all English people were fancy, but these are like... Alabama English people.
  • Broken Bird: From "There is Not Currently a Problem" onward, Gretchen is portrayed as this.
  • Brother–Sister Incest: Simon and Kitty, the main characters of Jimmy's new book project in Season 3.
  • Brutal Honesty: Jimmy.
    Gretchen: You're always so honest. I admire that. I'm a giant liar, always have been.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Jimmy told Becca "We haven't made love for the last time", at her own wedding. During the season Becca struggles with her feelings for Jimmy (and her being annoyed by Vernon), which culminated in her going to Jimmy's place to have sex. Jimmy's reaction when she reminded him of his words:
    Jimmy: That was quite the heckle.
  • Butt-Monkey: Edgar and Paul.
  • Call-Back:
    • In the season 2 finale, Gretchen mentions the toy helicopter that Jimmy bought and immediately broke in "Crevasses".
    • In "The Last Sunday Funday," a clue uncovered during a scavenger hunt requires knowledge of ragtime, which leads Gretchen to think of Sam, who complained to her about having to learn the Maple Leaf Rag in "What Normal People Do."
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Jimmy calls out Gretchen's parents in season 1 and then his own father in season 2. Gretchen is mortified and does not appreciate his Brutal Honesty in that particular situation.
  • Calling Your Orgasms: Played for Laughs in the season 3 premiere. Surprisingly, the scene even ends on a somewhat heartwarming note.
    Jimmy: Why do you always announce it?
    Gretchen: What?
    Jimmy: You always announce it.
    Gretchen: I do?
    Jimmy: Always.
  • Career-Ending Injury: Nina skied professionally and won a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics before she had a horrific crash and snapped her leg in multiple places.
  • Catchphrase: Jimmy's cigarettes. "They're pretty expensive".
  • Character Development: The four leads begin to show signs of this throughout the course of the second season.
    • Jimmy, through learning of Gretchen's secret, as well as finally getting to confront his messed-up family (and particularly his emotionally distant father), starts to act less like a Control Freak and learns to better appreciate the people he has in his life. He also realizes his writing doesn't need to be fueled by sadness and heartbreak thanks to Gretchen appreciating the "erotic tales" he wrote in his teens.
    • Gretchen starts to open her heart more when faced with Jimmy deciding to stay by her side in spite of her depression. She's even started taking medication, and is starting to address her problems in therapy despite extreme resistance at first.
    • Edgar becomes more confident once he discovers that he has a knack for improv comedy, and through Dorothy, his mentor (and later girlfriend), realizes how one-sided his friendship with Jimmy actually is.
    • Lindsay starts becoming more independent and assertive, and also realizes how harmful her constant immaturity has been to herself and everyone around her.
  • Character Filibuster: Jimmy tends to do this a lot.
    • Gretchen gives an epic one in "There is Not Currently a Problem."
  • Chekhov's Gun: The gun Jimmy's father bought and left at the house in "A Right Proper Story" resurfaces in "A Rapidly Mutating Virus" when Gretchen uses it to threaten the gangsters attacking Sam's group and Lindsay.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Jimmy's massive flip-out in "A Right Proper Story" after the realization that his family is coming to LA.
    Jimmy: I cannot have these lunatics in my house! Gretchen please say you'll help me.
    Gretchen: Can't.
    Jimmy: Jesus, you said you were better!
    Gretchen: I lied.
    Jimmy: Well fake it and help me!
    Gretchen: Don't wanna.
    Jimmy: You think I wanna? NOBODY WANNA!
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • In the pilot:
    Jimmy: Enjoy your sham of a marriage!
    Vernon: I will!
    • Episode 2:
    Gretchen: I just got my period 2 days early.
    Jimmy: So, see you in five days or so.
    Gretchen: Seriously?
    Jimmy: What, do yours last longer?
    • In "Fix Me, Dummy", Gretchen's first therapy session walks the line between comical and sad:
    Therapist: Talk therapy along with with medication is the best long-term approach to managing depression.
    Gretchen: You mean beating depression.
    Jimmy: Winning depression.
    Gretchen: I like that!
    Therapist: That's not a thing.
  • Consummate Liar: Gretchen. Lindsay to a lesser extent.
  • Conversational Troping: Jimmy and Edgar discuss Ferris Bueller's Day Off:
    Jimmy: Edgar, I think I know a little something about Campbellian storytelling. Ferris is the hero. Jennifer Grey is the foil. Principal Rooney is the fool. Sloane is the sidekick. Cameron's the villain.
  • Creator Cameo: Stephen Falk voices the radio DJ Edgar calls in episode 6.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Jimmy.
  • Despair Event Horizon: Gretchen appears to hit it in "Other Things You Could Be Doing", convinced she's permanently broken.
    Gretchen: I'm scraped out. I'm that car we put on Mars, flipped upside down so the sun can't reach my solar panels. I've always been able to flip myself back over before, but I ran out of time. This is how I am now.
  • Didn't Think This Through: Jimmy wrote a magazine article about sleeping with Megan Thomas in season 1, and his agent informs him in season 2 that he can't get magazine work anymore because Megan Thomas tried to sue him over it.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Lindsay apparently spray-painted the word "pedophile" on her neighbor's garage door because they left their Christmas lights up too long for her liking.
  • The Ditz: Lindsay. At one point she forgot her fiancé's name.
    Lindsey: You have to sleep with someone else too or you'll resent him forever. That's feminism, Gretch. That's what Susan B. Anthony died for.
    Gretchen: Do you even know who Susan B. Anthony is?
    Lindsey: She made an airplane disappear.
    Gretchen: Nope, what? That's Amelia Earhart, and she didn't make an —
    Lindsey: Whatever, history, you happened already. Let it go.
  • Divorce Is Temporary: The flashforward in the final episode shows that Lindsay and Paul remarry after building a genuine relationship each other.
  • Double Standard Rape: Female on Male: Lindsay sleeps with an young aspiring screenwriter who has just moved to LA from Ohio. He is extremely drunk, and he says "I don't know" in a very uncomfortable tone when she asks if he likes it. There is a brief scene at the end of the episode showing that he has a boyfriend, but is leaving him and going back home because of the trauma. So the show acknowledges (kind of) that Lindsay's actions were awful and destructive, but no characters ever do and the incident is immediately forgotten.
  • Drunk Driver: The reason Gretchen is not allowed to drive in season 1: she got a DUI shortly before the events of the pilot. The incident is shown in the flashback episode "Constant Horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction."
  • Emotionless Girl: Gretchen in "A Rapidly Mutating Virus", who casually lets Sam, Honey Nutz, Shitstain and Lindsay be beaten up by three female gangsters before pointing a gun at one of them and apathetically saying "Run" without a single shift in her utterly stoic expression. She later admits that all she felt during the whole altercation was "bored."
  • Establishing Character Moment:
    • Jimmy taking pictures of his dingus (Vernon's words) on all the disposable cameras at Becca's wedding.
    • Gretchen trying to steal a food processor at the same wedding.
  • Everyone Can See It: Edgar can tell right from the pilot that there are feelings involved in this thing between Jimmy and Gretchen. Many, many other characters figure it out before Jimmy and Gretchen themselves admit it.
  • Flash Forward: Used in season 5 for dramatic ironic effect about whether or not Jimmy and Gretchen end up figuring out their relationship and actually going through with their marriage. They don't end up getting married on their wedding day, but they are happily together in the future, with a daughter named Felicity.
  • Food Porn: Courtesy of Edgar on a regular basis.
  • Foolish Sibling, Responsible Sibling: Deconstructed with Lindsay and Becca - on first glance, Becca seems the more responsible sister and Lindsay the foolish one. However, Becca really only has a shallow image of responsible going for her and she's revealed to be incredibly miserable with her life, having done everything she did for the sake of just wanting to show her mother (a terrible negligent parent) that she had her life "all figured out". Lindsay, on the other hand, took "foolish" to the extreme, getting married to a guy she was ridiculously incompatible with simply to beat Becca to the altar and it's shown that she has no idea how to actually act like a functional adult in any capacity (until she was forced to do a bunch of growing up when she separates from and ultimately divorces her husband).
  • Foreshadowing:
    • At Becca's wedding, Jimmy says "Sometimes, you just want to witness the beginning of a disaster, so later, when the house is engulfed in flames, you can say, 'Yep, I was there when they installed the faulty wiring.'" In "What Normal People Do", Jimmy visits Gretchen's apartment and notes her shoddy hack of using Christmas lights as an extension cord. Guess what happens to Gretchen's apartment in the first season finale?
    • Gretchen's comment regarding Jimmy's Brutal Honesty subtly foreshadows her dysfunctional relationship with her parents, to whom she prefers to keep lying to rather than be true to herself. Naturally, Jimmy very much disagrees with this attitude, resulting in a massive fight between them.
    • Gretchen tells Jimmy that she's probably broken in "What Normal People Do", and the state of her apartment is pretty common for people who suffer from depression. The Reveal doesn't come until season 2, but in retrospect, there had been signs for a while.
    • Jimmy's dad violently coughs a couple of times and is easily tired during his visit in "A Right Proper Story". In "Fix Me, Dummy", Gretchen opens an envelope containing his obituary, and a Freeze-Frame Bonus reveals he died of a lung condition resulting from years working in lead mines.
    • In the Pilot, Jimmy tells Vernon to "enjoy [his] sham of a marriage" with Becca. In Season 4, Becca admits that her and Vernon's marriage is a sham and she only really married him for the sake of appearances.
  • Formula-Breaking Episode:
    • "LCD Soundsystem" is a total outlier among the show's episodes, almost completely devoid of the show's usual humor, instead using a couple that looks like a more grown up version of Jimmy and Gretchen to emphasize the magnitude of Gretchen's insecurities and dysfunctional state of mind.
    • "Twenty-Two" in Season 3, doubling as A Day in the Limelight episode following Edgar's ongoing struggle with PTSD and how it affects his everyday life.
    • "The Seventh Layer." None of the main cast feature in the entire episode (save for one phone call with Lindsay). Instead, the episode follows Vernon and Paul as their car breaks down in the middle of a trip and they have to survive the night together.
    • "The Intransigence of Love" starts off Season 5, and none of the main cast appear in the first half of the episode, as it's a story Jimmy and Gretchen are telling.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The posters at the movie theater.
    • Jimmy's wedding heckles.
    • The flood of angry responses Jimmy gets when he group-texts his exes in "PTSD".
    • A less pleasant one: pausing on Ronald Overly's obituary reveals that he died of a lung condition related to lead poisoning.
    • The DVD rental machine Jimmy and Gretchen somehow steal in the season 2 premiere shows up two episodes later in their backyard.
  • Friends with Benefits: Jimmy and Gretchen at the beginning, until they agree to be exclusive at the end of "PTSD".
    • As of Season 4, Lindsay and Edgar have become this.
  • Fun with Acronyms: PTSD apparently means something completely different to Lindsay.
  • Funny Background Event: After giving a generous handout to Killian, who turned up in an unexpected place, Jimmy is distracted by Edgar's arrival, while behind him, the money is promptly stolen from Killian with little effort by a homeless man.
  • Gilligan Cut: Played for Drama in "PTSD".
    Gretchen: Can you believe Becca and Vernon said we were toxic?
    Jimmy: What a joke!
    (cut to everyone Jimmy and Gretchen interacted with during the episode, about to have their hearts broken/lives ruined.)
  • Girl on Girl Is Hot: Jimmy certainly thinks so, most obviously in "Equally Dead Inside". The following exchange takes place in the season 2 finale.
    Gretchen: I tried to kiss Nina and she kicked me out of her bar.
    Jimmy: (absolutely plastered) But you're so hot.
    Gretchen: I am so hot.
    Jimmy: Did you wear your boobie shirt?
    Gretchen: Of course I wore my boobie shirt!
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Lindsay and Becca will take care of each other in their times of need, but not without a load of passive-aggressive remarks about why one is superior to the other.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Weird in a show this heavy on the profanity and sex, but Lindsay's response when she finds out she's pregnant is to mutter "farts".
  • Growing Up Sucks: A major theme of the series, where each of the main characters has to deal with the trials and tribulations of adulthood and adult life in general, from marriages and relationships, divorces, kids, responsibilities, etc. This also plays a big part in Jimmy, Gretchen and Lindsay's own Character Development arcs.
  • Hand-or-Object Underwear: Characters can have sex on late-night television, but there are no female nipples allowed. It's very conspicuous in the opening scene of "Try Real Hard", in which Jimmy and Gretchen are having sex and his hand is always covering her breast when one is on camera.
  • Hard Truth Aesop: In the third season finale, Dorothy decides to pack up, leave LA, and return home to Jacksonville, telling Edgar that "not everyone gets their dream" as the reason why.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Jimmy and Edgar, and Gretchen and Lindsay.
  • He Is Not My Boyfriend: In "PTSD", Gretchen says that she and Jimmy are not a couple, looking deeply offended that Becca would suggest such a thing. Even after they agree to be exclusive, they avoid the boyfriend/girlfriend label for a while.
  • Hidden Depths: A few of Gretchen's less-obvious talents are revealed in "Try Real Hard" when Jimmy realizes he doesn't actually know that much about her and starts asking questions. She competed in the US Teen Nationals for showjumping (yes, Jimmy, in "horsery"), did ink work for a professional counterfeiter for ten months, is "generally spiritual" (not religious), and speaks Spanish.
  • Hipster: A bunch of them follow the gang in "Sunday Funday".
  • Hypocrite: Becca yells at Lindsay for cheating on Paul but tries to sleep with Jimmy shortly afterward.
    • She also dissuades Vernon from sex during the late stages of her pregnancy, fearing it will harm the baby, but has absolutely no compunctions about continuing to drink alcohol.
    Becca: What? I can have one.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Every episode's title is taken from the (usually Buffy Speak) dialogue of that episode.
  • I Have This Friend: Edgar uses this to ineptly disguise his request for advice about his attraction to Lindsay. Jimmy sees through it immediately and flatly refuses to advise beyond saying, "there is no 'you and Lindsay'."
  • The "I Love You" Stigma: In "Try Real Hard", Jimmy admits he's not comfortable saying "I love you" because he associates it with a promise/verbal contract that he's not ready to make. In the end though, he admits he does love Gretchen.
  • The Immodest Orgasm: Gretchen in "Try Real Hard". Her "you were so quiet" comment suggests that she's not always alone in this tendency.
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: That's what Lindsay thinks of Paul's pretty nerdy hobbies, which include competitive birdwatching, recliner bicycling, grave rubbing and home brewing.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Gretchen in "Fix Me, Dummy", when she's mad at her new therapist.
    Gretchen: You said there were things I could be doing, insinuating that I could have fixed myself at any time. That is invalidating my story, it is tired, it is patriarchal, and it is rape-culturey! You are basically a rape apologist.
  • Insistent Terminology: Gretchen is generally spiritual, not religious. And in "Born Dead", she is throwing a party, not a get-together.
  • In Vino Veritas: "Level 2 drunk" Jimmy is angry and possibly even more brutally honest than regular Jimmy. He also first tells Gretchen he loves her while blackout drunk, but vehemently denies it for most of "Try Real Hard" because he's terrified of the verbal contract he associates with the statement.
  • Irony: Edgar spends the entirety of "PTSD" agonizing over whether or not to tell Gretchen that Jimmy slept with Megan Thomas because he thinks Gretchen will be upset, but Gretchen has known the whole time (Jimmy sent her nudes, which she kind of dared him to get).
    • Gretchen Cutler speaks Spanish and Edgar Quintero does not (though it's entirely possible that Edgar does and Jimmy has simply never paid attention).
    • Becca is worried that having sex while pregnant will make her baby come out weird. She also has 'The Anti-Vaxx Mommy Handbook' around. Vernon is a doctor.
  • I Shall Taunt You: Gretchen notices that Lindsay and Edgar's ditzy answers in a Trivial Pursuit game are annoying Jimmy (who is sitting on the other side of the room with his laptop), and she deliberately turns it up to eleven during her turn.
    Lindsay: (reading from card) Who was the first man in space?
    Jimmy: (muttering) Easy.
    Gretchen:: Hmmm... I know Louis Armstrong... Buzz Lightyear... for some reason Kurt Loder is coming to mind...
    Jimmy: (standing up) Yuri Gagarin! It was Yuri. Gagarin. Louis Armstrong was a jazz trumpeter, Buzz Lightyear is a cartoon, and Kurt Loder was a VJ for MTV, about whom the only connection to space travel is the fact that the network's logo was a man in a space suit!
    Edgar: I dunno Jimmy, that doesn't sound right.
    (Jimmy sits back down, game continues)
    Edgar: Charles Dickens wrote this classic novel about the plight of street urchins.
    Gretchen: (staring directly at Jimmy) Annie.
    Jimmy: Wow! (slams laptop shut, stomps out of room)
  • It's All About Me: Jimmy is incredibly self-centered and borderline narcissistic. In the Pilot, he assumes that Becca only invited him to her wedding to passive-aggressively rub his nose in her happiness (at least he'd have the decency to rub her nose in it directly!) when in truth, it was Vernon who invited him. In fact, Jimmy assumes that many events have been engineered specifically to aggravate him.
    • So far, Season 4 seems to be deconstructing this, as it's shown that Jimmy honestly does not consider how his actions affect (if not downright hurt) others, and his apologies for disappearing for three months and abandoning his friends and girlfriend may be sincere but are still rather self-centered and self-serving.
  • Jerkass: Aside from mature humor, the show devotes itself to heavily deconstructing this trope through the main characters. For example, Jimmy acts like he's constantly Surrounded by Idiots, but it's only because he puts a very high premium on emotional honesty and integrity, which he believes is a rare quality.
    • Jimmy's older sisters (especially Di) play it completely straight.
  • The Knights Who Say "Squee!": Jimmy when he is offered the chance to write a novelization of NCIS: LA. And then he realizes that the plot is way too convoluted to convert into book form.
    • Gretchen outright screams about the "Pets of Instagram" cruise that Jimmy has found online.
  • Lethal Chef: Jimmy, though he's more useless than lethal. At the end of "Finish Your Milk", Edgar comes home to find Jimmy at the stove and is shocked to see him cooking. Jimmy then admits that he has no idea how to cook and he's just stirring ketchup in a pan.
  • Line-of-Sight Name: In "Finish Your Milk", Gretchen makes up an excuse that way to prevent Jimmy from meeting her parents, as a clear Shout-Out to The Usual Suspects.
  • Little "No": A series of them when Jimmy gets an email regarding a plane from Heathrow to LA with his family on it. Followed by a Big "NO!" and some scenery-chewing when he realizes that Gretchen has mailed the "threat" letters that she was supposed to mail on specific dates if he didn't follow his writing deadlines.
  • Loophole Abuse: Lindsay and Gretchen love abusing their local fro-yo shop's free sample policy to eat lots of yogurt for free. The shop later changes policy in reaction, which doesn't prevent Lindsay and Gretchen from straight-up disobeying the new rule.
  • Love Makes You Stupid: Or, as Gretchen puts it, "The heart is a dumb-dumb."
  • Love Triangle: Gretchen choosing between Jimmy (fun kindred spirit) and Ty (rich and famous) barely counts as a love triangle, considering that Gretchen doesn't even like Ty much and isn't even considering the concept of loving Jimmy. Whatever it is, it's very short-lived and officially over at the end of "Sunday Funday" when Jimmy outright asks her not to go to Tribeca with Ty and she doesn't.
    • In Season 4, Gretchen is pursuing a possible serious relationship with straight-talking divorcee Boone, and Jimmy (who she's still bitterly enraged with for what he did to her on that hilltop) has to fight to win her back. She ultimately chooses to get back with Jimmy after he showed he was willing to fight for her rather than bail out again.
  • Lower-Class Lout: Jimmy's family.
  • Manchild: Vernon. He spews juvenile humor, makes "trash juice" punch for parties, and otherwise displays constant immaturity.
    • Jimmy is less obviously childish most of the time and at least speaks like an adult, but Nina and Gretchen do spend some time commiserating about how immature he can be. Highlights include talking about treehouses for an hour (apparently Nina got off easy) and hiding in the bushes instead of telling Nina he's not going to the cabin (culminating in "new phone who dis"). He also purchased and then immediately broke an $80 toy helicopter at the mall, and once spilled a bowl of cereal while Edgar wasn't home and then hid under his bed for two hours until Gretchen cleaned up the mess.
  • Metaphorgotten: Jimmy in "Sunday Funday", after spending all day trying to get Gretchen to choose between various "diametrically opposed" things. Gretchen figures it out and tells him at the end that if he doesn't want her to go to Tribeca with Ty, he can just say that.
    Gretchen: So on one side, it's eggs, Peter Gabriel, and you. And on the other side is pancakes, Phil Collins, and Ty?
    Jimmy: I've been drinking all day, I'm not even sure anymore.
    • He does it again in "Try Real Hard", while insisting that he and Gretchen barely know each other.
    Jimmy: It's actual madness. Willingly living with a wild animal, only one with thumbs, that can steal your money and hurt you emotionally.
  • Mistaken for Gay: In "A Right Proper Story", Gretchen flees right before Jimmy's family shows up, and they meet Edgar first. They do not need any more provocation to make gay jokes at Jimmy's expense, and he drags Gretchen back upstairs to prove that he does have a girlfriend.
    • Played with in "Keys Open Doors", when Jimmy and Gretchen get back to his house to find Sam there with the male president of a local Gay and Lesbian Student Union, both in their underwear.
    Gretchen: You're gay?
    Sam: Nooo. But this n***a sucks really good dick.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end of "Fix Me, Dummy". Gretchen defies her apathy and starts opening mail with entertaining enthusiasm, until she reaches an envelope for Jimmy from his sister, containing a newspaper clipping from the obituaries and a Post-It note: "Shitty Jimmy. Dad's dead. Sorry :(". It's even worse because right after this upsetting reveal, Jimmy runs up the stairs, ecstatic about his book proposal being accepted.
    • Jimmy In-Universe in the next episode. He calls his father and leaves a message that starts off mean but ends with an emotional "I sold a book, Daddy." When Gretchen walks in, he claims he just gave his dad a vicious heckling. And then Gretchen tells him Ronnie has died. Jimmy doesn't believe it for a second, and then his face just goes blank.
  • Motor Mouth: Gretchen in "Crevasses", when a department store employee asks what she needs to buy.
  • No Accounting for Taste: Lindsay and Paul, Becca and Vernon.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Sam is apparently based on Tyler, the Creator.
  • No Medication for Me: Deconstructed.
    • Combined with Therapy Is for the Weak, Gretchen has clinical depression but has never gotten treatment because she "doesn't want to lose her edge", despite the fact that she becomes entirely nonfunctional when it flares up. Refreshingly, antidepressants are treated as neither evil nor a magic cure-all, and continued therapy is the main avenue needed to effectively manage it.
    • Edgar dumps out his PTSD meds in "Try Real Hard" because their side effects are interfering in his relationship with Dorothy (who tried to dissuade him from doing so, stating his health should be the priority). This very quickly starts to affect him negatively, at least before he discovers marijuana as an effective alternative.
  • Noodle Incident:
  • No Pregger Sex: Invoked; Becca won't have sex with Vernon once she's reached a certain stage of her pregnancy because she thinks the baby might come out weird.
  • Oh, Crap!: Jimmy at least twice.
    • In "Fists and Feet and Stuff":
    Vernon: I was gonna invite you into the man cave!
    Jimmy: I barely know you!
    Vernon: Well now you're gonna know my... fists and feet and stuff!
    Jimmy: Oh shit.
    Vernon headlocks Jimmy, who needs to be rescued by Edgar
    • Again in "There Is Not Currently a Problem", when he laughs at the vicious speeches Gretchen has just unleashed on Edgar, Lindsay, and Dorothy (Vernon wasn't even worth a speech). And then she turns her vitriol on Jimmy. "Oh shit" indeed.
  • One Head Taller: Chris Geere (Jimmy) is 6'1", and Aya Cash (Gretchen) is 5'2". At the end of "Try Real Hard", he has to lean down to put his arm around her shoulders.
  • The Oner: The majority of the episode "The Inherent, Unsullied Qualitative Value of Everything" is shot this way, where each subplot is framed around the elopement party of Shitstain and Jaclyn.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Jimmy's hat and Super Mario mustache.
  • Piss-Take Rap: In the flashback of episode 9, Sam's rap is terribad. Fortunately though, present-day scenes later in the episode show he's improved a lot.
    I'm here
    I think I saw a deer
    I'm about to kill the deer
    And get some meat
    'Cause I'm hungry.
    Everybody talking 'bout they homies
    My chain bling, bling!
    Now these girls owe me
  • Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure: Lindsay and Edgar have vastly different reference pools.
    Edgar: In your relationship with Gretchen, are you the Mary Tyler Moore or the Rhoda?
    Lindsay: Who are those people? They sound ugly.
    Edgar: Okay, uh, "Flipping Out" on-on Bravo... are you the Jeff Lewis or the-the Jenni We-Don't-Know-Her-Last-Name?
    Lindsay: Oh, my God! I am totally the Jenni We-Don't-Know-Her-Last-Name. Actually, I do... it's Pulos. I'm a big fan.
    • Apparently Jimmy hasn't seen The Lion King (1994). Gretchen amuses herself trying to make him say song lyrics.
    Jimmy: Hakuna matata.
    Gretchen: Did you just quote The Lion King to me?
    Jimmy: The Lion what? No, it's a, it's a Swahili phrase.
    Gretchen: No, I know tha—Are you sure you're not quoting something?
    Jimmy: Just Khalid, the kebab shop owner in my old neighborhood. I mean, the phrase doesn't translate easily to English, but it means... that there is not currently a problem.
    Gretchen: So would you say... it's a problem-free philosophy?
    Jimmy: That's a tad simplistic, but—
    Gretchen: Okay. So, it's like, no worries for the rest of your days?
    Jimmy: Oh, Gretchen, Gretchen. The East Africans live very much in the moment, so it's not a guarantee of smooth sailing forever; that's just childish. But you know what? If you'd like to be really positive about it, sure. Hakuna matata for the rest of your days.
  • Potty Failure: Gretchen drinks a disgusting health-food smoothie and then goes jogging, to which her stomach objects. The next time we see her, she's hosing off her legs in a garden. Still not as humiliating as realizing that Jimmy wasn't actually intending to propose to her, which was the only reason she broke up with him.
    Gretchen: I shit myself earlier, and that is only the second most embarrassing thing that has happened to me today!
  • Putting the Band Back Together: Subverted in "Born Dead". Gretchen invites four of her friends to a party, expecting to have crazy irresponsible fun like they used to. One has a baby, one is pregnant (Gretchen makes exceedingly unwelcome jokes about "getting rid of it" before being informed that this is an intentional pregnancy), and one is a born-again Christian and member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The only one who is anything like they used to be is a total trainwreck and steals Jimmy's stereo when she leaves.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: A minor case wherein some of the events of "Men Get Strong" are reprised a few times in the following episode "Twenty-Two" from Edgar's perspective, while he's off his medication and struggling with the various symptoms of his PTSD.
  • Really Gets Around: Lindsay. She blew four guys at her 5-year high school reunion. Though she managed to remain faithful to Paul for at least a couple of years. Her sister Becca calls it "cock-aholism". In season 3, she even manages to convince Paul to agree to let her sleep with other men.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Gretchen to Jimmy in the pilot.
    • Edgar to Jimmy in "Constant Horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction".
    • Gretchen to the entire cast in "There is Not Currently a Problem".
    • "You Knew It Was A Snake" basically has three of the show's main couples go back-and-forth using this trope with one another.
  • Remember the New Guy?: Done In-Universe with Gretchen's friends, who Jimmy (and the viewers) has never heard of.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: inverted in "Constant Horror and Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction":
    Edgar: Are you sure... it's even a good idea that you go?
    Jimmy: What's the worst I could do?
    Edgar: Okay, fine.
    Jimmy: No, seriously, what is the worst I could do?
  • Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick: If Jimmy can be classified as a hero, Edgar is definitely his nice sidekick.
  • Running Gag:
    • Jimmy likes to prepare (lame) heckles in advance.
    • Jimmy and Gretchen stealing booze from places they crash.
    • Gretchen writes absurdly long texts.
    • Jimmy not knowing who Paul is.
    • Jimmy completely forgetting Killian's existence.
    • Jimmy forgetting or not believing that Edgar has a job.
    • Anytime someone asks Jimmy if they can bum a smoke he says "They're expensive." Later, Becca does the same when Vernon asks for one.
    • Jimmy constantly putting drinks on coasters when people aren't watching.
    • Edgar's "I didn't know it was a school" Noodle Incident.
    • Starting from "Try Real Hard," Jimmy's disgust at learning that Gretchen doesn't wash her legs in the shower.
    • Another Season 3 recurring joke: "Name one family that's only X people."
    • The guy working various menial jobs appears once a season with a different job (pizza delivery guy, mall janitor, office receptionist), talking to a different character (Gretchen, Jimmy, Edgar), and hilariously sabotaging his employment based on a misunderstanding with said character. "Why does this keep happening to me?"
    • Vernon Comically Missing the Point.
  • Sarcastic Confession: Played with at the end of "PTSD" when Jimmy and Gretchen snark that they should just be exclusive if they're both so bothered by each other sleeping with other people. Gretchen has to clarify that they actually are both saying they want this and are not just being sarcastic anymore. Jimmy admits he lost track.
  • Sentimental Drunk: Levels 3 and 4 "Jimmy drunk". Level 3 is happy, Level 4 is dramatically sad.
  • Serious Business: Gretchen and Jimmy have a screaming meltdown when they come upstairs in the morning in "Crevasses", because Edgar has left the house without setting up the usual Sunday Bloody Mary bar. Edgar gets severely scolded upon his return.
    Jimmy: You have one job on Sundays, one!
    • Gretchen on the subject of going out for breakfast in "What Normal People Do"
    Gretchen: This could end tomorrow, who knows. But until then, if there is any chance of breakfast and you do not wake me up? I will never touch your dick again with any part of my body.
    • Also Gretchen in "Side Bitch" when Jimmy accidentally takes her to a water bar, the concept of which offends her on a very personal level
    Gretchen: I am going to go to the bathroom, and when I get back you are going to take me to a real bar and give me cheap whisky until I forget about that time I became unable to have sex with my boyfriend because he took me to a bar that only serves water.
  • Sexual Karma: Played With. Jimmy and Gretchen aren't exactly "good people", but they are the protagonists and their sex life is portrayed as healthy and positive (even if the actual relationship can be dysfunctional). Just about every sexual encounter that isn't between the two of them is awkward or unpleasant in some way.
  • Shell-Shocked Veteran: Edgar suffers from PTSD after a stint in Iraq. Refreshingly, it does not make up the entirety of Edgar's character. Though "Twenty-Two" takes a very uncompromising look at Edgar's struggle with this.
  • Shipper on Deck: Edgar actively ships Jimmy and Gretchen. Lindsay gets on board a little later.
    • Jimmy and Gretchen say they're "totally invested" in the Edgar/Lindsay ship, but they just think it's going to be hilarious no matter how it goes.
  • Shout-Out:
    Gretchen: Seriously! I spend all day dealing with my dumb rapper babies and when I get home there's Jimmy and Edgar and the one chance I get to sneak away for a quick hang with the Louise to my Thelma
    Lindsay: Who are they?
    Gretchen: —and all we talk about is men.
    Lindsay: I know!
    Gretchen: We are complex women with rich inner lives! For God's sake, let's act like it and let's discuss something other than dicks and the dildos they hang off of.
    Lindsay: I'm in!
    (Cue awkward pause. Chirping Crickets previously only faintly in the background are suddenly extremely audible.)
    • In "Finish Your Milk", Shitstain and Honey Nutz suspect that Gretchen is hiding Jimmy from her parents because she doesn't want them to know that she's dating Draco Malfoy.
    • During "No Longer Just Us", Jimmy describes a picture of Vernon and Becca's crying newborn daughter as looking like something out of an Aphex Twin music video.
  • Sleep Cute: Gretchen and Jimmy after the opening scene of "Try Real Hard". The moment is ruined (after the title sequence in between, for what it's worth) because Jimmy fell asleep holding his phone and it slips out of his hand onto Gretchen's head.
  • Smoking Hot Sex: Gretchen and Jimmy a few times, but the post-coital cigarette-sharing tends to be out on the steps rather than in bed.
  • Sophisticated as Hell: Sam. He swears and is vulgar nonstop, but he's deceptively intelligent and insightful. He's also read Jimmy's book ("You clearly used to jack off to Hemingway in high school, but your prose was good"), and scoffs at the idea of being Gretchen's "side bitch" because she eats floor candy and hasn't seen a foreign film in years.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Jimmy's heckles. Calling Sandra Bernhard "Man-dra Butt-Fart" for instance.
  • Stepford Smiler: Lindsay is a type A.
  • Stranger in a Familiar Land: In the episode, "Not a Great Bet", Gretchen returns to her old hometown to visit her family and sees how much things and the people she'd known have changed over the years.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: In a promotional ad (not in the actual show), Jimmy and Gretchen are out walking and become personally offended by the existence of a minivan with stick figure family decals. They smash the shit out of it and set it on fire (complete with death metal soundtrack), and then Gretchen jumps onto Jimmy's back and he walks away as the minivan explodes.
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Jimmy thinks this of himself but he's actually just a horrible person.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: In "Fists and Feet and Stuff", Edgar introduces Jimmy to his new roommate "Nigel", and Jimmy skeptically remarks that Edgar "just happened to find another English roommate." He didn't. It's the same NCIS: LA actor from "What Normal People Do", just doing a favor for Edgar in apology for impersonating a wounded veteran.
  • Tag-Along Actor: At one point, Edgar meets three friendly veterans who turn out to be actors researching a role.
  • Tag Along Kid: Killian. The third season shows that he has his own problems to deal with (he literally lost his dad, and begs Jimmy and Edgar for food at least a couple of times), but the cast are too self-centered and burdened themselves to even notice.
  • Take a Third Option: In "Magical Thinking", when faced with the choice between protecting Sam's ego and allowing Nock-Nock to outshine him in their new track, Gretchen instead sets off the sprinkler system at the venue of the listening party. This breaks up the party before anyone has a chance to hear the track with or without Nock Nock's verse. Unfortunately, unlike most third options, this one doesn't exactly pay off.
  • Take That!: Following his divorce from Lindsay, Paul becomes involved in some "men's rights" groups that have more than a few hints of Neo-Nazism to them (complete with him adopting a look rather similar to infamous American Neo-Nazi Richard Spencer). It's not a flattering portrayal (aside from Gretchen calling Paul's new look "oddly hot"), and being involved in this stuff ruins his chances of being able to adopt a child.
  • Tempting Fate: Becca insisting that Jimmy finish his insult at her wedding.
    • In "Fix Me, Dummy", Gretchen apologizes for swearing in therapy. Her therapist says it's okay and Gretchen can say whatever she wants. Cue a veritable flood of insults, expletives, and vulgarity.
  • Time Skip: Three months have passed between the Season 3 finale and the Season 4 premiere
  • Title Drop: In the pilot, Jimmy and Gretchen talk about being called "the worst".
  • This Is for Emphasis, Bitch!:
    • Practically a Verbal Tic for Sam.
    • Edgar also does this in a flashback:
    Edgar: (punches a dude wearing a t-shirt saying "America is Scary") How scary, is America now, bitch?
    • Paul gives one to Lindsay at the end of "You Knew It Was a Snake" when she asks if he'll get rid of their prenup:
    Paul: You stabbed me. You cuckolded me. You ruined my life. Better lawyer up, bitch. (lights up a cigarette)
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Gretchen in "Fists and Feet and Stuff", after Jimmy's speech in her apartment about how important she is to him.
    Gretchen: Shit. We're gonna do this.
    Jimmy: Shit.
    Gretchen: Even though we both know how this ends. Whether in a week or twenty years, there is horrible pain and sadness coming and we're inviting it.
  • Trash of the Titans: Gretchen's apartment is a complete mess.
  • The Un-Smile: Gretchen pulls a particularly disturbing one at the end of "Zero Eggplants."
  • Unusual Euphemism: Gretchen and Jimmy's conversation at the communal table of the restaurant in "Insouciance":
    Gretchen: Shouldn't have told you about the... Detroit Red Wings. How they're in town for a five-game series.
    Jimmy: I don't know anything about sports. You mean... do you mean your period? Wait, did I do something wrong?
    Gretchen: Yes! You were so weird about it. "See you in five days"?
    Jimmy: How is that weird? When your... the series is over and the Red Wings leave town to go and play more...
    Gretchen: Hockey.
    Jimmy: Hockey, elsewhere. The ice will be cleared to play on.
    Gretchen: That's not the point. That's a dick move.
    Jimmy: That's exactly the point. Look, if my favorite pinball game... is out of order, I'm going to wait to come back to the arcade when it's working again.
    Gretchen: There are other games!
    Jimmy: Do you mean your butt?
    • Earlier in the same episode:
    Gretchen: Your fault, bud, you're the one who smacked the side of the ketchup bottle over and over.
  • "Well Done, Son" Guy: Gretchen behaves completely differently around her parents out of fear of disappointing them. She even goes to great lengths to prevent Jimmy and her parents from ever meeting, and when they do, Jimmy tells them how much in the wrong they are about her. Sadly, she doesn't take it well, and prefers to keep lying to her parents rather than realize that Jimmy accepts her just as she is.
    • In "A Right Proper Story", we learn that Jimmy desperately sought his father's approval during his childhood, but their differences made it impossible for them to connect with each other:
    Jimmy: Well, maybe that's because whenever I tried to talk to you, you'd just turn on a football match.
    Jimmy's Father: Well, I didn't know what to do with you. I put a ball down in front of you, and you'd sit on the ball and read a book.
    • Following his father's death in Season 3, Jimmy realizes how much of his life has been a direct result of this, and begins to reevaluate his whole identity afterward.
    • Both Lindsay and Becca, whose bitter sibling rivalry was a result of constantly vying for their mother's limited attention.
  • Wham Episode: "There is Not Currently a Problem", which reveals Gretchen's ongoing struggle with depression.
    • "No Longer Just Us," the season 3 finale. Dorothy leaves Edgar because she can't deal with his career overtaking hers. Paul and Lindsay finalize their divorce while Becca and Vernon celebrate their newborn daughter. Jimmy proposes to Gretchen, who gladly accepts, but becomes scared when he realizes this means they'll become a family and leaves her after putting the ring on her.
  • Wham Line: In "Fix Me, Dummy", Gretchen finally gets to the task of opening mail. The last piece she opens is a newspaper clipping of an obituary page and a Post-It note from Jimmy's sister. "Shitty Jimmy. Dad's dead. Sorry :(".
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In "A Right Proper Story", Jimmy discovers that Gretchen mailed all three of the letters he set up as threats for himself, only to be mailed if he did not meet his word count goals. The consequences of two of them show up in that very episode, but the love letter to Becca is never mentioned again.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: The first two thirds of "Constant Horror And Bone-Deep Dissatisfaction". After that it picks up in the present day.
  • Worthy Opponent: The mouse in "There Is Not Currently a Problem". After Gretchen drops a copy of Jimmy's book on the mouse and cripples it, Jimmy stops Dorothy from stomping on it because it put up a good fight and deserves to die with dignity. They stick the mouse in a box, write "Rocket Ship to Heaven" on the outside, and duct tape it to the exhaust pipe of Jimmy's car.
  • You Are What You Hate: Gretchen is worried that maybe only people who are actually sweater people deep down fear becoming sweater people. "Like how homophobes actually want all the dicks in their mouths."
  • Younger Than They Look: Talked about In-Universe with one of Jimmy's sisters, who is 36 but looks older and laments that she has "destroyed her body".
  • You're Insane!: In both of the existing finales, someone asks what is wrong with Jimmy and Gretchen.
    • In "Fists and Feet and Stuff":
    Jimmy: It was part of this thing where we were competing to bang our exes.
    Becca: What is wrong with you two?!
    • In "The Heart is a Dumb-Dumb":
    Gretchen, chasing Nina around her bar: You kiss me, girl!
    Nina: What's wrong with you people?! I'm a real person!