Last week’s episode was somewhat unconventional as Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) spent the episode telling a fantastical lie of how they supposedly got together in order to get free booze, but it underlined one of the central themes of this skewed rom-com in that the conventional romances we’re normally presented with on tv are unrealistic and improbable and rely on cliché all too often, when real life is normally far more messy and complicated.
But it does seem that Jimmy and Gretchen are over the worst of their issues and may now find happiness together, with Jimmy finally learning not to try and fix Gretchen’s problems and empathise instead, at least until she asks him to do the former. But when they announce to Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Edgar (Desmin Borges) that they plan to elope rather than having an organised ceremony both are horrified. Mainly out of insecurity, as they worry that they’re being cut out of Jimmy and Gretchen’s lives (whilst screwing, in a beautifully funny moment) and after a brief argument over who’s the hot one and who’s the dumb one they decide to make sure that the a proper marriage ceremony does take place. But it turns out that they didn’t need to come up with any devious plans as both Jimmy and Gretchen miss their appointment at City Hall, as Jimmy was in a bar explaining why he should be the one who adapts his book to the big screen and Gretchen was using her new computerised office toilet to help her masturbate. Which just goes to show that the characters are still living up to the title of the show, and possibly always will do, but the big difference this time around is that they’re appalled by their actions and want to make up for them.
This leads to Gretchen faking a car accident because she’s always up for idiotic schemes, and though Edgar suggests he should beat Jimmy up and claim that he was set upon by ruffians on the way to the wedding Jimmy decides to be honest instead, which again is new direction for the character and one that’s really pleasing to see. At first Gretchen acts appalled and continues lying until Jimmy catches her out, but again instead of it becoming a big argument and the possible end of their relationship they talk things out until they realise that both of them do want to get married in a more traditional manner. This leads to them all viewing a tape of Gretchen as a kid talking about her future hopes in a very cute scene, and it really is heart-warming to see the gang all together gently mocking but also enjoying such a thing.
It’s one of those shows where all the cast are perfect, Geere’s the best lovable bastard currently on tv, Aya Cash portrays the emotionally complex Gretchen with aplomb, Kether Donohue’s superb as the slightly ditzy but caring (if only occasionally selfish) Lindsay, who often gets some of the best lines (“Gretch, has your office gotten bigger or have I gotten smaller?” being the funniest line of the week, though her comment “A bathroom in an office? It’s like inception for pooping” comes a close second) while Desmin Borges as the one character who’s genuinely thoughtful and kind hearted is brilliant too, and proves in this episode that he’s far from being the dumb one in the group. Hell, even the supporting cast turn in memorable performances, with Gretchen’s therapist Justina (Samira Wiley, as great here as she is in everything else) having a hilarious moment when she discovers that Gretchen’s no longer with Boone and is planning to marry Jimmy.
As much as I loved the seasons where are characters were struggling to cope with their fucked up issues it’s great to see them in a far better place, exploring the notion of commitment and how to resolve problems rather than running away from them. Most importantly it never forgets that it’s a comedy and is packed with moments of hilarity from start to finish, and the dialogue shines like a freshly polished diamond. Given that we’re close to the end season five isn’t the best place to begin watching the show so if you haven’t seen it before I’d recommend heading back to the first season, it’s a stunning series that you truly won’t regret viewing.