Thursday, July 28, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.07: "I'm So Happy that Josh is So Happy!"

“Everyone should feel their feelings. Everyone should always feel their feelings.”

This particular episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” was kind of a mixed bag for me. There were some aspects of the episode that really worked for me, and there were some aspects of the episode that made me a little too upset. That’s kind of representative of the show overall, though. It’s a brilliant show and the characters are so well drawn, but it’s also not afraid to make viewers uncomfortable. Rebecca’s mental health issues really take center stage in this episode. She’s done some impulsive ridiculous things in previous episodes, but she really loses it this time, and she starts hallucinating Dr. Phil of all people. On the more positive side, we explore Paula’s character in this episode and get a fabulous song from Donna Lynne Champlin, and we also get some fun bro time with Josh and his buddies. That fun bro time also clearly shows how Josh’s friends feel about Valencia, which I found pretty interesting.

Josh and Valencia are moving it in together, and of course Rebecca and Paula are watching while parked down the road. Rebecca wants to give the couple a rice cooker for a housewarming gift because rice is important to both their cultures (Filipino and Mexican), but Paula of course thinks that’s a horrible idea. Anything that encourages Josh and Valencia is not a good thing in her book. Rebecca has some good sense for once and decides to give Josh some space, letting him tell her when he’s ready to get together. That’s when she’ll give him the rice cooker. Seeing Josh and Valencia moving in and making out throws Rebecca for a loop. It’s bad timing for Rebecca to be preoccupied with Josh, though. Darryl is trying to attract a new client to Whitefeather, a medium (but big time in West Covina) real estate guy named Calvin Young. Rebecca is supposed to take a key role in landing Calvin as a client, but she’s a mess. She drinks vodka out of her pen cup and ends up with ink-blue teeth. Darryl can tell Rebecca’s not doing well, so he tells her to go home and rest up so she can kill the big presentation to Calvin on Monday.

Instead of working on her presentation, Rebecca wallows, watches some Dr. Phil, and fantasizes about how the French make depression seem sexy. “Sexy French Depression,” the song that explores the later topic, is one of the better songs of the series, I think. It’s basically a little art film, and there’s a lot of French spoken in it. Soon enough, Rebecca is having full-on conversations with imaginary Dr. Phil, and she realizes that she probably needs some help. One thing I do appreciate about “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is that while it is at its heart a comedy, Rebecca’s mental health issues are taken seriously. You might remember that when she first moved to West Covina, Rebecca triumphantly threw away all of her meds. Now she frantically looks for any pills she might have left behind. Not finding any meds, Rebecca goes to see a real therapist, Dr. Akopian. Dr. Akopian is horrified at the list of meds Rebecca was on in New York, and she wants Rebecca to try some real therapy. Rebecca has rehashed her childhood countless times to therapists, and she’s not keen to do it again. Instead she finds a pill on the bathroom floor at Dr. Akopian’s office that turns out to be an ADHD medication. Rebecca thinks she found exactly what she needs.

Meanwhile, Valencia has complained that they have no furniture for their new place, so Josh buys an Ikea-style dining room table and enlists Greg, Hector, and White Josh to help him build it. The guys help even though they know Valencia won’t like it since she didn’t pick it out. They allude to their dislike of Valencia by saying things about the dining room table that they actually feel about Valencia. Greg even goes so far as to say Josh will ruin his life if he sticks with “this table.” Josh isn’t hearing any of it, though. Eventually, after pulling an all-nighter, the table is finished, and it doesn’t look half bad. It’s actually surprising they got the thing together, really. Valencia, of course, hates it when she sees it. She says it’s not what she would have picked out, and she asks Josh to return it. There are times when I have some sympathy for Valencia, but now is not one of those times.

Anyway, since Rebecca is out of commission, Paula has the responsibility of entertaining Calvin for the weekend. The weekend starts with a dinner at Paula’s house for Calvin and Darryl. Paula’s husband is off barbershopping, and Darryl leaves pretty quickly after he sees that Calvin and Paula are just going to flirt all evening. Calving invites Paula to a jazz club, and she accepts. She has a great time at the club, since she actually feels appreciated, and she sings a gorgeous jazz tune about it called “His Status is Preferred.” It’s a great song, and Donna Lynne Champlin kills it as always. As the evening continues, Calvin invites Paula back to his hotel room, and Paula accepts that invitation too. Calvin is a widower, and Paula is the first woman since his wife that he really feels a connection with. Paula’s marriage is a mess, and she really just wants the kind of attention Calvin is offering.

The ADHD pill turns out to be a bit much for Rebecca, so she calls Heather to ask if she has any downers. Heather stops by with some weed, and once she’s high, Rebecca has the bright idea to break into Dr. Akopian’s office to try and find more pills. Instead, Rebecca and Heather see that Dr. Akopian left her prescription pad out. Rebecca now has a new plan – steal the scrip pad. She tries to fit in through the doggie door and gets stuck, and Dr. Akopian catches her and Heather. She makes Rebecca realize just how far she has fallen, but she tells Rebecca she won’t press any charges for the breaking and entering if Rebecca agrees to do some real therapy.

What really brings Rebecca back, however, is when she calls Paula and finds out that Paula is in Calvin’s hotel room, about to have sex with him. She marches right to the hotel and tells Paula in no uncertain terms that what she’s about to do is a very bad idea. Rebecca says she has now realized it’s okay to feel your feelings, and she, Paula, and Calvin all end up crying together. Calvin acknowledges that this sort of thing would usually destroy a business deal, but he appreciates Rebecca’s no-nonsense attitude, and he’s willing to do business with Whitefeather. Rebecca does indeed go for a session with Dr. Akopian, but as you might expect, it’s cut short when Josh texts her to ask if she wants to get boba. Rebecca of course immediately makes her excuses and goes for boba, where she finally gives Josh the rice cooker. Two steps forward, one step back, I suppose.

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