Saturday, August 6, 2016

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.09: "I'm Going to the Beach with Josh and His Friends!"

“Oh my God, who pole dances for male attention? Do you know the name of the class I took in New York? It was feminist pole dancing!”

This is another one of those episodes of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriends” that just strikes at the heart of my own anxieties and hang-ups. All her life, Rebecca has wanted a real friend crew, and when Valencia invites her on a beach day with the gang, Rebecca jumps at it, even though she knows full well that Valencia probably has ulterior motives. Instead, she ends up being a seventh wheel, making a fool of herself, giving up one of her big secrets (the partial truth of why she moved to West Covina), and playing right into Valencia’s hands. Even though she does have her Josh obsession, which Paula (for her own reasons) tries to force Rebecca to confront in this episode, I feel like Rebecca does genuinely want friends too. It plays right back into the whole “I Have Friends” theme in the episode where she throws a house party. In fact, Rebecca even sings a few bars of the song early in this episode when she’s feeling especially lonely.

The episode begins with a scene that I feel like could be ripped right out of certain phases of my life. Rebecca has gone to see a movie called “The Cancer Crew” by herself, and we see her chowing down on popcorn. After the movie, she sees all the friend groups chatting and having fun, and she feels very lonely. It turns out that Josh, Greg and crew have also gone to see the movie, and Rebecca spots them hanging out outside the theater. They’re talking about their plans for an upcoming beach day. Josh wants to do everything exactly as they always do for a classic beach day. Greg would rather do something more cultured like go visit the Getty in LA, and he’d also like to bring Heather along. Josh vetoes all of this. Valencia spots Rebecca, and once she remarks about how weird it is that Rebecca is always around, Josh calls her over. Valencia, clearly with a scheme in mind, asks the very eager to be friendly Rebecca if she’d like to join them for the upcoming beach day, and of course Rebecca says yes. Valencia sings a very passive aggressive song called “Women Gotta Stick Together” where she mixes female empowerment with put-downs.

The next day at the office, when Rebecca tells Paula about her plans, Paula is not enthused. She sees that the beach day can only end in tears. She wants Rebecca to stop living in denial and admit her feelings for Josh. Rebecca, of course, refuses to do that, and she refuses very loudly. She’s loud enough that Darryl asks if he can join Rebecca and her friends on the beach day, and Rebecca has to tell him no. He even offers to rent a party bus for the whole crew, which Rebecca dismisses as trying way too hard. When Rebecca pulls up to Josh’s place on beach day, though, she’s in a party bus. The whole crew doesn’t really know what to make of this, but they go with it. Valencia says it’s perfect for being able to sit on Josh’s lap the whole way to the beach. Josh and Greg are busy just generally fighting. Greg wants to bring craft bear and listen to new music, and Josh hates both of those things. Greg thinks Josh is controlling, and Josh thinks Greg is a misanthrope who isn’t very fun to be around. They’d both be right, I suppose.

At first things are mostly okay. Josh and Rebecca robot dance to some music, but Valencia has to put the kibosh on that right away. Defeated by Valencia, who is now grinding with Josh, Rebecca talks to Greg for a bit. Then Greg asks the bus to stop to pick up none other than heather. Nobody knew Greg was dating Heather until now, and Rachel seems mildly upset about it. Greg turns all his attention to Heather (as he should, if she’s his date), so Rebecca tries to strike up a conversation with White Josh, who only wants to talk about working out and dieting. Rebecca sees Darryl stranded by the side of the road, so she begs the gang to stop the bus for him, thinking she’ll finally have someone to talk to. Unfortunately for Rebecca, though, White Josh is a trainer at Darryl’s gym, and Darryl is kind of obsessed with him, so Darryl immediately wants to only talk to White Josh. White Josh is very sweet about the whole thing. Now essentially a seventh wheel, Rebecca does the only thing she can think to do to regain the attention of the group. She starts pole dancing. The rest of the group is kind of horrified at the sight, and Rebecca quickly realizes she made a mistake. She goes into the bathroom and asks Paula to come pick her up at the beach. Paula says she only will if Rebecca admits she loves Josh, and Rebecca continues to deny it.

When Rebecca reemerges from the bathroom, the bus has arrived at the beach. Valencia decides to press Rebecca on why exactly she moved to West Covina. Rebecca starts to say she got a really good job offer, then Darryll blabs that Rebecca actually called him begging for a job at Whitefeather. Rebecca is forced to tell the partial truth. She was very unhappy in New York, and it was her brief conversation with Josh that led her to believe West Covina was a place where she could start over and be happy. The rest of the group is kind of sketched out by this, and Valencia feels vindicated. Josh tries to act reasonably upset, but he asks Valencia if he can talk with Rebecca privately. She thinks he’s going to tell her off, so she’s cool with it. Instead, in “West Covina (Reprise)” Josh sings about how proud he is that he introduced Rebecca to his favorite place, and he’s very happy she moved there. When Rebecca exits the bus, Paula is there, and she finally admits her feelings for Josh.

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