‘You’re the Worst’: The Real Meaning of Love and Friendship Closes the Final Season

After so many highs and lows one of TV’s most enjoyably contentious couples prepare to tie the knot. But will they actually do it? This is how “You’re the Worst” inevitably had to end. Few comedies charted the rocky road of romance like this FXX gem, which gave us a couple both loving and gloriously flawed. Fittingly the show’s rather sweet send-off is written and directed by creator Stephen Falk, who goes against the grain of the typical wedding episode. It’s romantic to be sure, but with a very sharp edge.

The big day has arrived and Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) are getting ready for their walk down the aisle. But with these two, things don’t just go as planned. As their friends and colleagues arrive for the nuptials, doubts start to creep in. Gretchen isn’t too happy that Edgar (Desmin Borges), who tried to sabotage the relationship earlier this season, is even parked nearby in a jeep in case Jimmy decides to bail. While waiting he puts on a true crime podcast that sounds to him like a good property to option. Everyone else including Becca (Janet Varney) and Vernon (Todd Robert Anderson) are here, attempting to be good, yet dysfunctional, friends and keep everything together. Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Paul (Allan McLeod) also lend support, in their own, colorful sort of way. When Jimmy discovers Gretchen doesn’t even have the courage to write her own vows, it dawns on him that this might be the best idea after all.

In its five seasons since premiering in 2014, “You’re the Worst” always worked as a refreshing TV tonic because of its balance of humor and soberness about romance. It defied the kind of episodic couple where a happy ending is always guaranteed. Gretchen and Jimmy were never freaks or necessarily messed up, they simply dealt with a relationship the way the millennial generation seems to do. So it’s no surprise that their wedding finale doesn’t go the way you expect. The finale, titled “Pancakes,” is not a downer by any means, what it does is celebrate the idea that relationships don’t always have to chart a specific course or find solace in particular labels. Of course Falk does throw around jokes full of blunt acid. Lindsay tells Gretchen she’s written a song in her honor, but it’s a reflection on all the men she’s gone through to get to this point. We get a hilarious point of view moment with Jimmy as he greets all the guests and Gretchen’s father makes it plain he’s responsible for his daughter now.

Like “This Is Us,” “You’re the Worst” also plays with timelines, in this case cutting into the future. As we wonder what will happen with the wedding, the episode shows us life a few years ahead as Lindsay and Paul remarry and look quite happy, Becca and Vernon are still wild and expecting a kid and most surprising, Jimmy and Gretchen have a small daughter. Falk momentarily tricks us into believing a fairy tale ending is in store. Instead he cuts back to the present as Gretchen and Jimmy erupt into another one of their classic fights, with Jimmy bluntly asking Gretchen if she even wants to get married. She’s can’t clearly answer, but does warn that even if they go through with it, she’s prone to one day forget to take her pills and go get hit by a truck. Yeah, it’s that kind of comedy. But at least it’s honest.

But Falk brings it home with a wonderful, almost eloquent closer where Gretchen and Jimmy sit at a diner, munching on pancakes in their wedding clothes. They’re not tying the knot, but not separating either. A pact is made to simply promise to not make promises, and enjoy the idea of waking up together in the morning. It’s beautifully done because Falk goes somewhere else with the material, turning these two into more than just some TV couple, but into a pair of actual friends. When people say friendships make the best relationships, this is what they mean. With all the bumps, hurts and clashes in their journey, Gretchen and Jimmy have grown close as both lovers and companions. They remain real partners, not some idealized version of romance.

“You’re the Worst” ends by teasing us with a wedding, but giving us a final moment more endearing than any exchange of rings. It says goodbye keeping these two restless souls together, and setting an example of what it truly means to care.

You’re the Worst” series finale aired April 4 at 10 p.m. ET on FXX.