“We’ve come to fall in love with these dummies,” You’re The Worst star Aya Cash sighs. She’s talking about why viewers are so very worried about those alarming flash-forwards that popped up throughout the show's fifth and final season. After spending half a decade watching Gretchen Cutler (Cash) and Jimmy Shive-Overly’s (Chris Geere) love story unfold, the idea of them breaking up is too painful.
But, Cash’s sentiment could just as easily apply to Gretchen and Jimmy's respective moods in series finale, “Pancakes,” which aired April 3. For two people who met at a wedding they both hated, shared great drunk sex, and expected to leave each other anyway, as the theme song croons, these dummies came to fall in love.
Then, the twist of “Pancakes” comes. Following a season built around a wedding, Jimmy and Gretchen walk away from their story distinctly, purposefully unmarried. But, they’re also intensely happy, together, and successful, as the flash-forwards prove. They have a baby together, whom they still have sex next to. For Cash, it was the most sensible way to end the show
“I think it’s the most romantic way to end. It’s not the big wedding and the gorgeous wedding album and they walk off into the sunset. It’s a more realistic idea of love and partnership,” Cash tells Refinery29. And, Gretchen and Jimmy’s wedding day detente is certainly less than a fairytale. Moments before the couple is supposed to say, “I do,” Jimmy realizes his bride “farmed out her vows” to her music ex clients. This blow comes after weeks of increasingly distant behavior from Gretchen, who wouldn’t even pick out her own wedding dress. Eventually, both halves of the couple admit they both found writing their vows “phony;” marriage is “novocaine” for the uncertainty of the future.
So, Gretchen and Jimmy choose each other. They leave their gigantic “opiate” of a wedding for a dinner and decide to take their love day by day. They eat pancakes and share promises that are far more honest than the kinds of vows Gretchen sourced from rappers or Jimmy wrote as a fictional character. Jimmy continues to agree to all of this when Gretchen reminds him that her mental illness may force her to leave home one day and “step in front of a train.” Jimmy knows and will move on “really quickly,” he jokes. Back to the pancakes.
“It’s them truly growing up and deciding what’s right for them,” Cash says. “The truth is that relationships take faith. They’re not based in logic. They’re not based in any rationality. They’re based in hope. You’re hoping to be with someone. You can’t guarantee who they’re going to be or what they’re going to be like in any relationship.”
So is all of this thoughtful consideration even more important because of Gretchen’s long history of depression and other mental health struggles? “Gretchen’s mental health may play some part in that question mark [of a relationship], but the truth is, nobody knows anyway,” Cash says.
Although the end of Gretchen and Jimmy’s romance is the headline-grabbing draw of “Pancakes,” the finale reveals those season 5 flash-fowards had nothing to do with either of their future weddings. Instead that honor goes to Gretchen’s best friend Lindsay Cottumaccio-Jillian (Kether Donohue) and ex-husband/reformed meninist Paul Jillian (Allan McLeod). That means You’re The Worst began was a Cottumaccio wedding — Becca (Janet Varney) and Vernon’s (Todd Robert Anderson) — and ended with one as well. You're The Worst Creator Stephan Falk can be spotted partying at the Cottumaccio-Jillian reception.
“I think that’s one of the most unexpected endings for those two. I don’t think I guessed they would end up together and happy … Hopefully we can give hope to incels everywhere that they don’t have to be violent and hateful,” Cash says before, adding, “I’m not sure I want to invite the conversation around it.”
Between the three major brides of You’re The Worst, we have a woman who refuses to apologize for her mental illness, a plus-size woman who loves hookups, sexual exploration, and babies, and a messy type-A blonde with severe mommy issues. Before You’re The Worst’s debut, it’s difficult to imagine such a wild group of of women sharing a single TV screen. Traditionally each one of these lovable weirdos would be relegated to very disparate “kooky best friend” roles.
“I do think [YTW] was one of the first to deal with some really serious issues in a comedy on television,” Cash admits. “To deal with sex frankly and mental health and PTSD. When I was reading pilots five years ago, I was not seeing the kinds of female roles that Gretchen is.”
Now, five years after You’re The Worst brought Sunday Funday-ing onto television, Cash isn't seeing as many women characters go through the “likability” interrogation. “Which is so nice because for so many years, it was, ‘But Is she likable?’ And it just wasn’t a question that got asked about men,” she continues. “Hopefully people will think we’re a part of that conversation that helped shift things.”
While the cable show definitely pushed comedy towards an evolution — the sadcom is currently the norm, but in 2015, Gretchen’s season of depression was a polarizing, painful adjustment — Cash’s parting words are still pure, unadulterated inappropriate-then-sweet You’re The Worst. “Watch it, share it, come back to it in a couple years. Tell your kids,” she jokes, recommending a comedy about binge drinking, drug use, and explicit sex to children.
“No, I’m kidding. Just thank you to everyone for watching.”