Saturday, June 25, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.03: "I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!"

“You know, the world doesn’t revolve around Barbershop. Nothing revolves around Barbershop!”

This particular episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” really tapped into one of the more damaged areas of my psyche. Paula has the great idea that Rebecca should host a big party as an acceptable-to-Valencia pretense for spending more time with Josh. Rebecca is petrified of the idea of hosting a party for very good reasons that we’ll get into later, but Paula convinces her to go through with it. Rebecca grapples with the fact that she didn’t have many friends when she was a child, and she doesn’t have many friends yet in West Covina, yet she needs to host a party. This episode really started to make me feel conflicted about whether I would prefer to see Rebecca with Greg or Josh long-term at some point in the series. Greg and Rebecca both have major issues they need to work on, but maybe working on those issues will help them understand and appreciate each other. This was more Josh’s episode, though, and he easily helped Rebecca overcome her party fears and saved her party. I have a feeling this competition will continue for quite some time!

At the beginning of the episode, Rebecca is in the middle of her own misguided scheme to spend more time with Josh. This one doesn’t involve a party, though. It involves stuffing her garbage disposal full of chicken to the point where it breaks, then telling Josh she has an emergency. Josh smartly (and much to Rebecca’s chagrin) brings White Josh with him to handle the emergency. White Josh actually fixes the disposal while Rebecca and Josh talk awkwardly. Rebecca tries to play off the kissing Valencia incident as if it happened long ago, but Josh reminds her it was only a few days ago. Even though the disposal is fixed quickly, Rebecca tries to convince the guys to stay a little longer. Josh, however, is insistent that they need to go. It’s Weekend Tuesday at Whitefeather and Associates (an excuse Rebecca gave Josh for why she was home that actually turned out to be true), but Rebecca calls in sick because she’s just so upset over how her non-relationship with Josh is progressing.

Paula immediately knows that Rebecca’s real ailment is “Chanitis,” so she stops by Rebecca’s house (I don’t know why they keep calling it an apartment…it’s clearly a townhouse) to give her a pep talk. Paula has the perfect idea for how Rebecca can spend some time with Josh without making Valencia too upset. She needs to throw a housewarming party. Rebecca is petrified at the thought. We learn through flashback what happened the last time she through a party. She was a tween who invited her whole class over to watch her favorite boy band give a concert on pay-per-view. Only a few people showed up, though. To make matters worse, Rebecca’s parents can be clearly heard arguing outside, and Rebecca’s father leaves the family right then and there. Even Paula is surprised at how bad Rebecca’s last throwing a party experience was. Paula sings a song called “Face Your Fears,” however, and Rachel is convinced to give the party a try. The song itself is mostly Paula saying not to be afraid of doing really stupid things like running with scissors, but Donna Lynne Champlin kills it because she’s a pro.

Both Paula and Rebecca set to party planning in earnest. Rebecca makes some flyers for her party that inadvertently make it appear that she’s going to burn down her house. She also has to find people to invite. There’s a great song that really cuts to the heart of this called “I Have Friends.” We see little Rebecca sing about her elementary school friends, who include the janitor who lives in the RV behind the school. This is contrasted with adult Rebecca, who has managed to round up, other than her coworkers, a woman who hit her car and a grocery clerk with half an eyelid. It’s really a very catchy song, and it captures exactly how I have felt at several points in my life. Rebecca desperately wants to have a lot of people come to her party to impress Josh, but that’s going to be easier said than done. Rebecca does manage to recruit her perpetual student neighbor Heather, mostly because Heather is taking Abnormal Psych at the local junior college, and she wants to write a paper about Rebecca. Then Rebecca heads to Home Base, clearly hoping to find Josh. Instead, she finds Greg behind the bar. Greg makes it very clear that he has no desire to attend Rebecca’s party. Lucky for Rebecca, Josh chooses that moment to make an appearance, and he says he’d be happy to go to the party.

Paula is supposed to be helping Rebecca set up for the party, but after dropping off the decorations that represent a wide variety of holidays and special occasions (Rebecca is cool with this because it seems ironic), she has to go tend to a family issue. We do learn a little about Paula’s home life in this episode. She has two sons, one who regularly brings a katana to the kitchen table, and the other who has a litany of behavioral health diagnoses. Her husband is pretty disengaged from everything not his barbershop group, including his family. Anyway, Paula gets a call from her younger son’s school and has to bail on the party prep. The very mean school principal tells her that her son stole the answers to a test (Paula had told him to face his fears, and cheating on the test was what he feared). The principal has scheduled a hearing to decide on transferring him to another school. Later in the episode, Rebecca ends up coaching Paula in special ed law, leading Paula to remind the principal that the school district would be liable for her son’s educational costs if they transferred him. I actually used to practice special education law, and while this sequence wasn’t exactly right, it was close enough to not make me angry.

The party itself gets off to a rather slow start, but things pick up once Josh arrives. He reassures Rebecca that it make sense she wouldn’t have many party guests, and since she hasn’t been in West Covina that long, he would have found it weird if there were a ton of people at the party. If lots of people is what Rebecca wants, though, Josh says he can make that happen. He has the few guests who were there take some awesome party selfies, and that combined with Paula bringing along a Gambler’s Anonymous group makes the party a jumping place pretty quickly. Rebecca has a vision of Josh as a boy band quartet singing about how they’re going to solve all her psychological problems. It’s really a pretty ingenious boy band parody. Greg stops by because he was hoping for some schadenfreude, and he’s pleasantly surprised with how awesome the party is. Valencia returns home from a yoga retreat and texts Josh asking where he is. Josh tells her he’s out and will be home when he’s ready, and he credits the confidence to face that fear to Rebecca. Greg, surprisingly, is the last person to leave the party.

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