They say love makes you crazy, therefore you can’t call her crazy, cause when you call her crazy, you’re just calling her in love!
Greetings lovely readers, and welcome to our coverage of the best show that nobody watches. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the passion project of the unfairly talented Rachel Bloom, is one of the most pleasant surprises of my TV watching career. It’s a one of a kind musical romantic comedy that delves into surprisingly dark themes without losing track of its gonzo humor. Bloom’s certifiably cute and adorably obsessed Rebecca Bunch is one of the most compelling characters on the air right now.
But you all knew that. Why else would you be here? You’re probably still shaking off the cringes that came from Rebecca’s season one finale confession to dream man Josh Chan, where she moved to West Covina, California for him. Oh, Rebecca, you finally got what you wanted, and you messed it up.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing yet…
The story picks up a mere fifteen minutes from where we left off. Josh finds himself quickly regretting breaking it off with long term girlfriend Valencia, while Rebecca does some BMX level back-peddling. See, all that stuff she said about their love story beginning, Josh said that. In fact, she claims that Josh either said or overthought everything that happened that night. At the smallest sign of Josh questioning the story book ending Rebecca planned for them, she finds herself back in full pathological liar mode. Bringing us into…
I’m Just A Girl In Love: As much as I love the theme song for season 1, I’m overjoyed that Bloom has decided to change it this season. Considering how quickly Rebecca’s sanity flips, keeping her, as Bloom puts it, “emotional thesis statement” the same would have seemed out of character. This new intro tune is part Busby Berkeley, part American Psycho and it works like a charm. In fact, it was the best song of this episode.
The main arc of the episode concerned Josh figuring out exactly what is happening with Rebecca. They have wild sex, and they get along well, but he’s quickly realizing how unhealthy this is. In fact, he’s so uncomfortable that he can’t even share a bed with her, opting to sleep on the couch due to his lack of apartment. It certainly doesn’t help that Greg, his best friend, and Rebecca’s previous squeeze, has been M.I.A. for the last month. Meanwhile, our lovely wacko remains blissfully unaware of it all, proudly buying Josh an Apple Store-esque bedroom drawer for her room. In fact, she’s so drawn to every little bit of affection that she can’t help but sing about them.
Love Kernels: Let me preface this by saying that I adore Bloom’s songwriting in general. She attacks every genre, takes risks, and is consistently clever. That said, this song fell really flat. A parody of Beyonce’s “Lemonade,” the number had Rebecca over analyzing the smallest bits of affection from Josh. Anything from a 3 AM text to an invite to the movies after a friend bails. A clever concept, but not well executed. While she’s wonderful at singsongy verses, Bloom has a tendency to fall back on very blunt, silly lyrics when she’s in a hurry. There’s also an odd meta joke about spending the production budget at the end, which is the first time Rebecca has acknowledged that we are in a TV show. It feels like a song desperate to impress new viewers as opposed to remaining authentic to what came before. I admire Bloom and director Marc Webb for trying something vastly different from their spectacular season one opener, “West Covina,” but it was definitely a miss.
All of Rebecca’s pals are beginning to have lives beyond her. Paula (her best friend and co-worker) is realizing just how symbiotic their relationship is. In fact, she’s become so over it that she makes Rebecca sign a friendship contract entailing no more illegal shenanigans. It’s a sudden but understandable gear shift from her, considering how insanely obsessed she was with Rebecca and Josh getting together last season. Despite all this turmoil, the dialogue between these two was categorically excellent. In fact, all of the banter in this episode was fantastically written, holding up the weak music with great character beats. However, Rebecca’s overcompensation does make me a little worried. Sure, she’s insane, but she’s also a very intelligent woman. Bloom dialed up the cartoonishness a hair too much in this episode, but that will change in time, I’m sure.
However, as per usual, it was Santino Fontana’s Greg who provided the heart and soul of the piece. After Rebecca and Paula track him down through some sketchy methods, they find that he has been in Alcoholics Anonymous this whole time. Rebecca never knew he was an alcoholic, but realizes it quickly at a moment’s thought. They catch him in the middle of a speech about how mad his is at himself (and men who wear skinny jeans) for his behavior after being arrested that fateful night at the end of last season. Despite everything that happened, he’s realized that healing and moving on is what matters, not Rebecca. He describes an “exploding glitter” feeling while drinking that made him so upsettingly happy. It quickly settles in that this is the effect Rebecca has on everybody around her. She gives them a fun high but constantly pulls her back into her deeply insecure world. It was a brilliant bit of writing and acting that raised the grade of this episode significantly.
Unfortunately, we had to go back to Josh after, who returns to “collect his socks” after deciding to move in with his parents. However, these socks go uncollected as he and Rebecca fall into – –
We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now: This was another fairly unimpressive song. There have already been plenty of sex songs on this show, and this one did nothing to stand out. It was a very plain “no we shouldn’t…yes, we should” affair, with one cute quip about how their sex was like a “ one last heist” movie. There was an interesting tropical jazz accompaniment, but nothing to really back it up.
If Season 1 of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was about getting Josh, Season 2 is about keeping him. However, Josh continues to be the least interesting part of the show, so I’m unsure how compelling that arc will prove to be. In the meantime, it was great to see everybody back, as the humor and underlying depth of the show clearly hasn’t lost a step. Hopefully, the lackluster music improves next week, but there have always been peaks and valleys with the songs. That’s what you get when you have to make 13 episodes per season, but when Rebecca Bunch is at the center, all of those will be wild rides indeed.