CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND stops taking field trips and brings its winter finale back to the main business at hand in “Who’s the Cool Girl Josh Is Dating?” The episode manages to give a balanced look at the two most important relationships in Rebecca’s life, with one half of the plot focusing on her continuing argument with Paula and the other dealing with her obsession with Josh. Those are the two pillars of this series so it was ideal to end the first half of the season by bringing the story back around to them.
I enjoyed the way that they handled Paula in this episode. For most of this season she’s been on the receiving end of Rebecca’s selfishness. This time she was so absorbed in her own problems and interests that she alienated all of her friends and disappointed her husband by not showing up to the one thing that meant something to him. It was even better given that the things Paula was geeking over were all things that she shares in common with Rebecca. Their hair ballad about missing each other but being too stubborn to apologize captured their current situation perfectly (and was also very well done.) I liked that, rather than Paula constantly being portrayed as the victim, this episode took pains to emphasize that she can be in the wrong as well. It’s also nice because her pursuing a law degree gives her something of her own to be interested in and hence to be selfish about. Paula wasn’t wrong when she said her entire relationship with Rebecca was founded on Rebecca taking and Paula giving. I like that the character is getting a chance to grow beyond the sassy best friend role that the original romcom premise prescribed for her. This show continues to exceed my expectations when it comes to storytelling tropes.
I am so glad that Rebecca and Valencia are such good friends at this point. Valencia was always the character who bought into the patriarchal myth that women are in competition with each other for male attention. Having her come around to having girl friends and scouting out prospective sexual partners in a bar is a great way to humanize a character who was once a one-dimensional villain. I feel vindicated because Valencia was one of those characters who I found fascinating but wouldn’t want to hang out with in real life. They’ve really followed through on her potential. The two of them stalking Josh’s new girlfriend is the perfect way to show their newfound friendship. They’ve stopped fighting over him and share that common interest. Speaking of girl gangs, I loved Valencia, Rebecca, and Heather just sitting around each on their respective computers. Oh, how many times I’ve done that and pawned it off as “being social.” Also, it’s so funny to analyze this show because it’s so self-analytical that I feel like all of my reviews are partially parody. I don’t mean for them to be, that’s just the nature of this show.
As for Josh’s girlfriend Anna, I can’t decide if she’s just a normal person or if there’s something too perfect to be true about her. What I do enjoy is that she’s not at all presented as a figure that we’re supposed to hate. Josh is a ditz and in over his head with all of Anna’s metropolitan Los Angeles ways, but Anna is shown to be intelligent if a little shallow. She runs a brow tweezing shop for celebrities, though. You’d expect her to be shallow. I also loved her pop Selena Gomez-style song performed through social media imploring Valencia and Rebecca to stalk her. That played so well into sitting around scrolling the internet as a kind of social bonding activity just because it’s so on-point with its presentation of modern life. I’m not even going to say “with my generation” because I know many older people who are more addicted to social media and more prone to stalking people on it than I am. The song was great, the tone and style were perfect, and it managed to keep her as a figure deserving of the audience’s sympathy rather than someone we’re supposed to hate. Additionally, the two of them thinking that this new girl sells drugs is classic catastrophizing. Looking for the absolute worst in people is exactly how Rebecca would handle that situation.
I think the neatest thing about this episode is how Josh is barely in it at all. It’s all about how these women are all affected by Josh but his absence underscores how they’ve all projected something onto him that isn’t really there. I also loved how central Anna’s cat was to the plot. Gravy is the thing that Josh keyed in on to get himself in with Anna and Gravy is the thing that brought Rebecca and Valencia closer to her as well, in a completely different way. The detail that they had to reattach the cat’s tail was just bizarre enough to be hilarious rather than traumatizing.
Anyway, as usual, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend juggled its storylines with self-awareness and empathy. I always consider it a treat to watch and I look forward to its return.
Season 2, Episode 7 (S02E07)
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