This week on CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND, “Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group?” sees Rebecca finally not obsessing over a boy and instead funneling all that frantic energy into her female friendships with predictable results. Josh and co. are “infiltrated” by Rebecca’s former fake boyfriend Trent, and Maya and Darryl plan their own infiltration of Rebecca’s cozy new friend group. It’s the kind of honest, awkward, charming brilliance I’ve come to expect from this show. All that said, this is the first episode of the season I’m going to give an A- (?). I know! What? Well, I just didn’t find the songs up to snuff this episode and that’s probably the only reason I could ever find to ding this show for anything. The plot and characters were just as great as ever, and stylistically the numbers were funny. They just weren’t my speed.
Most of the episode focuses on a two-fold solution to the problem that Rebecca is no longer obsessing over Josh—i.e. the whole point of this show—and both sides are hilarious, pitiful, and perfect. The first is that, now that Rebecca doesn’t have a romantic relationship to idealize, she’s doing the same thing to Heather and Valencia in their newfound friendship. The problem is that she then tries to force an uber-upbeat weird “special” party so that Paula can be included in the gang because, with Rebecca, every gesture must be huge or she considers it meaningless. The irony, of course, is that just having a normal get together would probably have done exactly what Rebecca hoped and strengthened all of their friendships. Instead, everything is awkward and Rebecca screws it all up. I was glad to see that Paula finally confronted Rebecca about her selfishness and told her all the things that had been going on in her life. It all came out in a fight, but this was a place in the story where conflict was the only way to really address the issue. It fit, and I appreciated it. I also liked the weird background details of Rebecca’s new apartment being both terribly constructed and a former crime scene. I haven’t been in L.A. that long, but that definitely rings true as a local joke. I’ve heard some interesting stories and had some interesting experiences out here.
The second part of the plot related to Rebecca not chasing any boys is that Trent, the wonderful one-off weirdo from last season, has returned to obsess over her in turn. Trent is to Rebecca as Rebecca is to Josh which she is incapable of seeing, but it provides both levity and narrative perspective to see how Rebecca treats the guy who is literally crazy about her. Paul Welsh plays Trent with just the right amount of creepiness to make him off-putting and amusing at the same time. When we see Rebecca do the same sort of nutty things we see them all from her perspective. Trent is just wildly out there and I love it. His inappropriate behavior definitely plays as such. She constantly tells him not to expect more and not to read into her actions but he never actually listens to her. The beautiful irony is that she will probably never see that she behaves the same way towards Josh in particular, but also towards most of the men she is attracted to. I like that juxtaposition. His absurdly elaborate plan to “infiltrate” Josh’s circle of friends is the perfect level of bizarre, and it’s made even better when White Josh and Hector are so creeped out by their interaction that they won’t even stay for free food. Overall, I’m glad Trent is back because having him in this particular spot in the story keeps things fresh and funny when it would be so easy for the story to go stale.
Another thing that I was so glad they addressed was Darryl being so mean to Maya. It’s the kind of thing that for the longest time seemed like a lazy trope taken from modern sitcoms where there’s always one character that’s the butt of every joke (Jerry from Parks and Rec is the best example I can think of.) But having Maya always look so hurt by his comments made them incredibly mean rather than funny. With Maya I was almost to the point where I wanted to be like “hey, now. Could we not?” Then Maya stood up for herself and Darryl, in precious Darryl fashion, opened up immediately and candidly about why he was so cruel to her. I hope that they stay friends because that would be adorable and then they wouldn’t have to beg after all the other characters for affirmation and friendship. Yay! Only tangentially related, but where is Mrs. Hernandez anyway?
Now regarding those songs I took a letter grade off for. I liked the Spice Girls style and I loved that for some reason the song was about a weird dystopia run by Rebecca, Heather, and Valencia. But something about it didn’t work for me. Maybe the lyrics don’t scan right? It’s not very catchy? It’s easier for me to figure out why I like things rather than why I don’t. The other song was Heather’s narrative “Stuck In the Bathroom” which was plenty funny but a.) I have no idea what the stylistic reference is; like literally none, and b.) it didn’t stick with me either. Neither one is something I’m going to go around singing. Which, let me tell you, singing things like “We Tapped That Ass All Over This House” in public is mighty hilarious once you realize people are listening. It’s not that the songs were awful, and the staging of them was just as great as always. I just didn’t feel them this week.
I love this show so much. I just feel the weird compulsion to give it a hug. How do you hug a show? If you figure it out, let me know. Even when I give an episode an unthinkable A- it’s still a weekly treat that always gives me a much-needed lift. I appreciate you, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. You get me.
Season 2, Episode 2 (S02E06)
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