(The following story features spoilers from Wednesday’s premiere episode of “You’re the Worst” Season 5)
Over its first four seasons, “You’re the Worst” has simultaneously made fun of, and paid homage to, the romantic-comedy genre. But during Wednesday night’s season premiere, the FXX comedy kicked off its final run by leaning fully into the “paid homage” part.
And to do so, “You’re the Worst” used a completely different couple from Jimmy Shive-Overly (Chris Geere) and Gretchen Cutler (Aya Cash) to tell its version of a cheesy, 1990s-set rom-com story. “We just thought it would be really fun to do a real, pure ’90s rom-com homage,” series creator Stephen Falk explained to the TheWrap. “What would be a very Jimmy and Gretchen way into doing that?”
By having them craft their own (completely made-up) origin story, of course.
Halfway through the premiere, it’s revealed the story of “Gemma” (played by Caitlin McGee) and “Jake” (Morgan Krantz) is part of a made-up story that Jimmy and Gretchen are telling to a prospective wedding planner. Replacing the two with other actors was just a fun, physical way of showing the audience that the story is just what Jimmy and Gretchen want the wedding planner to believe about them.
But not because they’re embarrassed by their actual love story — they first hooked up while drunk at Jimmy’s ex-girlfriend’s wedding — but because it ties into their own ability to scoff at the stereotypical love stories portrayed in rom-coms. “By having them vet these wedding planners, but making up an origin story, it both sort of works thematically — tying into the bigger story of their relationship — but also allowed us to really travel somewhere else and explore something else in a fun, creative, unexpected way,” Falk says.
Once the ruse is revealed, the rest of the “story” that Jimmy and Gretchen are telling this wedding planner puts them, and their names, back on the screen. And that’s where they go fully into the tropes that “You’re the Worst” has spent its entire run making fun of, including Jimmy doing a big, romantic gesture to win Gretchen back (because of course, every rom-com has the main couple split up to kick off the third act) and professing his love in front of a room full of strangers, who happily cheer.
“The show has always been a way to sort of subvert the rom-com genre while actually existing inside of it at the same time,” said Falk. “Doing an homage, but finding an integrated way to do it, was really satisfying for us.”