This week CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND forces Rebecca to ask the all-important question: “Josh is the Man of My Dreams, Right?” That is to say, she asks exactly the question I wanted her to ask and the whole episode delivers on that promise. Rebecca is suddenly in doubt about what she wants, when she wants it, and how to get it. The majority of the episode is taken up with Rebecca’s delightful existential romantic crisis, but Paula and Darryl deal move through their own character arcs and resolve some of their own personal problems.
By far, the best part of this episode was the Santa Ana winds song which threaded through the whole story as “a sort of narrator.” Personifying the Santa Ana winds as a trickster is perfect for this show. It provides structure for the entire episode, allows the magic that usually only happens in Rebecca’s head to escape into the world at large, and it’s a marvelously catchy song in just the right style. A weird Southern California phenomenon would exist as a Beach Boys-esque song. I’ve seen people get clocked by entire tree branches just casually waiting at bus stops during the Santa Ana winds. They’re a force of nature that I have no problem believing has agency. The song even hints at the proposed scientific reasons why the winds seem to work devil magic on people. The musical number as an integral element of the episode’s magical plot structure is the best way that I’ve seen them write the music and the magic into the show to date.
Speaking of music, there were a ton of numbers in this episode, all great in the exact ways that they’d need to be. I love how the wooing songs in this show are not romantic at all but Rebecca always imagines them with the trappings of romantic convention. “Let’s Have Intercourse” is hilariously blunt. It reminds me a bit of Mr. Darcy’s insultingly honest love declaration in Pride and Prejudice. Now, nothing will ever beat “Settle For Me” with me but that’s because I adore Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers movies. However, the pop ballad, weird music video nature of “Let’s Have Intercourse” is basically the modern equivalent of an Astaire-Rogers number and they pull it off well. I also loved the deliberate contrast between Nathaniel Plimpton and Josh. Nathaniel shares interests and level of analytical intelligence with Rebecca while Josh is just kind of a ditz. The deeply nerdy debate about Hogwarts houses was the perfect contrast to Josh’s newly re-awakened spirituality and his love of terrible movies. Rebecca seems deeply uncomfortable with Josh’s love of church, and just keeps laughing off the things he says while she ignores that they’re all wrong for each other. Rebecca getting the hots for Nathaniel was something I wanted so much and this episode pulled it off so well. I enjoyed her relationship with Gregg because they were both screwed up, but Nathaniel is an infinitely better contrast to Josh. Her attraction to Nathaniel also gets to play with the antagonism-as-sexual-attraction tropes that are just as ridiculous as fairy tale romances. So far, the way he directly addresses their mutual attraction already undercuts those tropes quite a bit and I’m excited to see where they take it.
Darryl continues to be the sweetest character in this show. He’s something like the good spirit of the story’s universe, but he exists on the fringes of Rebecca’s romantic plots. He mostly makes the lives of everyone else better because he’s so eager and earnest that all he’s ever trying to do is help. I keep calling him “nice dad” because he goes around nurturing everyone who needs it. This is like three weeks in a row that Darryl has been so heartwarming that I legitimately feel warm fuzzies. He really did overstep by inviting Scott to his and Paula’s dinner when she said that she missed him, but Darryl meant well. His motivations are always selfless and kind so it’s almost impossible for me to feel off about anything that he’s done. When he messes up he owns it and he apologizes. Darryl is nice dad, but Paula’s husband Scott continues to be sweet as well. He’s grown from a disaffected jerk to a kind and caring husband and I love that Paula has forgiven him and taken him back. Her drastic reaction when he told her he had cheated on her was justified, and it’s refreshing that they gave her time to work through how she felt before she asked him to come back. It’s also wonderful because he is repentant and understands that he has to work for forgiveness rather than that just being the default choice of the narrative.
Other fun bits include Mrs. Hernandez and her snide remarks, George finally breaking over the fact that no one knows his name, and Karen loving her snake just a little too much. The minor characters in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are so well done. They all have their own quirks and defined personalities which effectively builds out the world of the show and adds humor to even small moments. George, for example, has only been in this show since it came back from winter hiatus and I love him already. They make the entire thing that much more fun.
This episode used every element of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to its full potential. The structure combined both the musical conceit and Rebecca’s magical worldview, Rebecca had to deal with her fantasies hitting hard reality, and all the other character arcs were moved forward a satisfactory amount. It was as goofy, catchy, and introspective as you could want.
Season 2, Episode 11 (S02E11)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Fridays at 9PM on The CW
Dana is a digitization archivist by day and a masked pop culture avenger by night. She spreads the gospel of science fiction and fantasy wherever she goes.
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Dana Leigh Brand | Contributor