Monday, March 13, 2017

MTVP So Cal Summer: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.15: "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!"

“No, you’d be surprised. You lie to yourself well enough, you can convince other people, too.”

A return to our So Cal Summer series means a return to one of my favorite shows, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” “Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!” was the most experimental episode of the first season at least (I haven’t brought myself to watch the second season yet because of some plot developments I’m aware of, but I’ll rip that Band-Aid off eventually). I’m not usually a huge fan of experimental episodes that are mostly filler, but I really enjoyed rewatching this one, and I think that speaks to the quality of the series as a whole. If a filler episode can have so many nuances and layers and funny and poignant moments, what does that say about the real sweeps types episodes? I think this episode just spoke to me because it’s all about appreciating what you have in life instead of perseverating on what has gone wrong. That’s something I need to work on, and to see it laid out so clearly made me really do some thinking. 2016 was a difficult year for many of us, and I was very focused on things that went wrong. But there are a lot of people right here who care about me and would be upset if I suddenly disappeared, and that’s exactly the lesson Rebecca learns in this episode.

We pick up in this episode after Rebecca has learned that Josh and Valencia are going to stay together and she runs off. She finds herself on a plane next to Dr. Akopian, her (sort of) therapist, who has offered to spend the five hour flight doing some therapy. At first, we think Rebecca is going to Hawaii, because she was originally going to be kind of a stalker and follow Josh there, but instead we soon find that she’s actually on her way to New York. She asked her old firm if she could have her job back, and they were only too happy to oblige. Another important point – the Dr. Akopian that Rebecca is talking to isn’t the real Dr. Akopian. Rebecca took some sleeping pills along with a Bloody Mary and is having a very vivid dream. The Dr. Akopian in the dream says she’s a “Dream Ghost” who is supposed to help Rebecca work out her problems. She is joined by two other Dream Ghosts, played by Ricki Lake and Amber Riley, who sing about their job and how their “union health plan” doesn’t have dental. It’s a pretty great “Dream Girls” pastiche, but the union health plan thing bugged me. People not in unions get way worse benefits. If you want awesome benefits, be lucky enough to get a union job. Unions have been negotiating awesome benefits in lieu of salary increases for decades.

Meanwhile, back in West Covinia, Paula is camped out in Rebecca’s house enjoying a little “staycation” while she thinks Rebecca is in Hawaii frolicking with Josh. She realizes that all is not actually well, however, when Josh stops by to talk about the situation with Valencia. Since he’s not in Hawaii and all. Darryl stops by looking for Rebecca, and so does Greg. Paula decides to take drastic measures and logs on to Rebecca’s computer (because naturally she knows her bestie’s password). She quickly realizes that Rebecca didn’t go to Hawaii after all. She finds a great deal of evidence that Rebecca is actually planning on moving back to New York. This still makes the whole crew upset, and they keep milling about Rebecca’s house. I have a close group of friends here, but if they broke into my apartment and just hung out for a while, I’d be kind of pissed off. Just saying.

Anyway, Dr. Akopian guides Rebecca through a couple different memories during the course of the episode. First there’s the time not long after her parents divorce when Rebecca secretly traveled to Santa Fe to see her father on Spring Break. He acted all happy to see her, and he was accommodating for the most part about doing the things Rebecca wanted to do at first, but after just a couple days, Rebecca’s mom shows up at the door. Present-Day Rebecca is convinced that her mom just wanted to destroy her relationship with her dad, but Dr. Akopian shows Rebecca what really happened (since Rebecca had no knowledge of the ensuing conversation between her parents, I’m not sure how this was supposed to work, but I guess I’ll go with it, since it worked emotionally). Rebecca’s dad had called her mom to come pick Rebecca up because the mere presence of his daughter was interfering with his efforts to “find himself” or whatever. Rebecca’s mom, understandably, is pissed. Not so much at Rebecca, but at her father for being unable to deal with Rebecca for even a few days. Rebecca is devastated to learn the truth, but Dr. Akopian tries to point out how much her mother loves her. Rebecca rightfully counters that a mother’s love is kind of the bare minimum of love one should expect in one’s life.

We next see Rebecca in college, where she’s participating in a really pretentious guy’s student production of a “Moby Dick” musical. She catches the director’s attention, and naturally they sleep together. And of course there’s also a schlubby fellow cast member who is kind to and protective of Rebecca, but she friend zones him. Eventually, the director admits to Rebecca that he’s been sleeping with several members of the cast, and Rebecca, to her credit, is having none of that. She drops out of the production. At first, Rebecca assumes that Dr. Akopian is trying to tell her that she shouldn’t have overlooked schlubby guy. She actually had a different point, though. Rebecca has always had a love for music and musical theater that has sustained her through dark times. Rebecca admits that she does stage musical numbers in her head to try and make sense of the world (it’s the premise of the show, after all!). So love doesn’t necessarily have to come from a person to be meaningful.

Finally, Dr. Akopian shows Rebecca how worried all her West Covina friends have been about her (contrasting her New York coworkers who cheered when Rebecca last impulsively moved). Rebecca, trying to win an argument, speculates that Greg probably wasn’t all that upset. Dr. Akopian tells Rebecca to check Greg’s phone though, where Rebecca discovers that before he realized Rebecca was safe, Greg called all the local hospitals, and even morgues and funeral homes. Rebecca returns home, and the gang is all extremely relieved to see her. She reassures everyone that she’s back in West Covina for good, and she gives Greg a hug and a “thank you” (much to his shock, obviously). For now, at least, Rebecca is content to enjoy the love she has in her life, even if it isn’t perfect romantic love.

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