Sunday, July 3, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.04: "I'm Going on a Date with Josh's Friend!"

“I make no sense, and you shouldn’t waste time on me. Can’t you see that?”

“I’m Going on a Date with Josh’s Friend!” is one of the more painful episodes of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” to watch. Rebecca makes such a ridiculously bad and hurtful decision out of fear that I just want to yell at her to stop the whole time it’s happening. And this is coming from a person who literally ran out of a formal event due to fear of hanging out more than she already had with a guy she was into (who later joined a religious order, so perhaps that was for the best after all…it’s a long story). I’ve had times when I was pretty hurt by the actions of people I cared about, but what Rebecca does in this episode is beyond the pale, and even though she continues to make terrible decisions, it’s probably the worst thing she does this season as far as inflicting real damage. That being said, even though parts of this episode set my anxiety and embarrassment squick into overdrive, it has one of my very favorite songs of the show thus far: the Cole Porter homage “Settle for Me,” performed by the always fantastic Santino Fontana (I swear I can’t hate Hans in “Frozen” anymore now that I know who he is and how crazy talented he is!).

An Instagram update from Josh is what sets off Rebecca’s downward spiral this particular time around. Rebecca and Paula had been goofing off at a skate park hoping to catch Josh skateboarding with his nephew (stalker, much?), when Rebecca starts seeing pictures from Josh and Valencia’s long weekend in Napa. This seriously bums her out, so she decides to go home and sulk for a while. Heather stops by and offers up a suggestion for what she does when she’s feeling sad – hunt Tinder for a booty call. Heather picks out a nice video game enthusiast with carpel tunnel named Jason, and she accompanies Rebecca to the bar where he is hanging out for moral support. Jason tries to be nice and offer Rebecca a beer, but Rebecca drags him back to her place for sex immediately (with no protest from him, I might add). We get an entertaining musical number called “Sex With a Stranger” about how Rebecca hopes her random hook-up isn’t a murderer. Rebecca finds herself downstairs watching yet another butter commercial, this time one that urges her to “make healthy choices.” She immediately throws Jason out and reevaluates her life (again).

The next morning at work, Rebecca is green juicing it and refusing to eat the delicious-looking s’mores donuts that have appeared at the office. I do have to applaud Rebecca for this, even if it’s clear that she’s taking big steps to change her life that won’t last, and Paula keeps giving her crap about it. There was a time in my office where donuts seem to appear every day, and it got to the point where I had to just take one home to eat for the next day’s breakfast because, you know, I am not a Hobbit (even if I may have played one in a game of Dungeons and Dragons once), and if you’re not a Hobbit, you shouldn’t be having a second breakfast. Or Elevensies. But enough about that. Anyway, Paula believes emphatically that even though he seems to be a “healthy choice” type (we later learn that he’s damaged enough that I’m not sure he qualifies for this label), Rebecca should under no circumstances consider dating Greg. If she did, then the Bro Code would keep her from Josh forever, you know?

Speaking of Greg, at Home Base, Greg is talking to the frequent patron sassy kid whose name I can’t remember about how they had a deal where they would each ask out the women they’ve been pining for. The kid kept up his end of the bargain, but Greg hasn’t asked out Rebecca yet. Of course Josh also has to pick this time to step up to the bar. And Rebecca arrives too, going on and on about how she’s making healthy choices now. Greg sees this as his in, and he asks if they can go talk privately. What follows is one of my two favorite musical numbers of the first season, “Settle for Me,” filmed in glorious Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers style. It’s a kind of raunchy take on this type of classic song, which fits the ethos of the show well. I also think Greg’s sentiment that he knows he’s in second place to Josh, but he’s the more realistic choice speaks quite a bit to his character. Greg Serrano doesn’t really have much self-esteem, and he’s not as well-adjusted as he seems in the very early episodes. Maybe that makes Greg and Rebecca good for each other, but in a different way than we first thought they would be? The upshot of the song is that Greg asks Rebecca out on a date, and eventually, after a lot of dithering, she accepts.

Meanwhile, Josh is feeling rather aimless, and he’s broke after that trip to Napa. His father wants him to come work at his radiology center, but Josh feels like that would be soul-sucking. He decides to go to the Aloha Tech Center, where he gets to eat poke and play the newest video games. Going there always makes him forget his problems and feel better. On this trip, he sees a help wanted sign for an assistant manager position, and he decides to apply. He finds the application confusing, though, so he asks for Rebecca’s help on the personal essay portion. She quickly pens off some thoughts on Harper Lee and “Go Set a Watchman” and sends Josh on his way. The interview, as you might expect, doesn’t end well. The store manager thinks Josh is overqualified for the job and shows no passion for technology or video games. He ends up working at the radiology center after all. Near the end of the episode, when Rebecca learns that this happened and why it happened, she marches Josh right back to Aloha Tech and gives an impassioned speech on Josh’s behalf. Josh gets the job, and he’s incredibly grateful to Rebecca and so glad that she moved to West Covina. It’s very much at odds with what Rebecca does to Greg (which we’ll get to momentarily).

Rebecca and Greg go to the West Covina taco festival for their date. It happens to be one of the few rainy days in a drought-prone area, and Rebecca is still trying to be vegan as part of her new “healthy choices” kick, but they manage to actually have a pretty good time and enjoy each other’s company. Greg is charming, and Rebecca keeps the crazy to a minimum. Rebecca is still quite prone to self-destruction, though, as we will soon see. Greg asks if they should go back to her place, and this freaks Rebecca out. She decides they should go watch a guacamole competition first. At the competition, she meets a guy who works at a very hipster taco place. After the competition, Rebecca tells Greg she needs to make a quick visit to the port-a-potty before she heads out, and in a reprise of “Settle for Me,” she contemplates whether she should “settle” for Greg, since he’s nice and they get along.

It seems like she’s going to choose Greg, but when she walks out of the port-a-potty and sees him standing there, she freaks, texts him that she doesn’t feel well and she’s going home, and goes home with hipster taco guy instead. Right after having sex with hipster taco guy, Rebecca realizes it was a mistake and kicks him out. Unfortunately, Greg sees him leave the apartment and confronts Rebecca. Rebecca says this is a perfect example of how messed up she is and how she’s not deserving of someone like Greg. Greg is still very angry, but he has a biting comeback. He doesn’t think he was wasting time with Rebecca – he’s thinking of what the evening could have been. And then he slams the door. Rebecca realizes she's made a horrible mistake, and she sits in her back yard wallowing. Heather stops by, Rebecca explains a bit of a situation, and all Heather can do is give her a "there, there" pat on the head.

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