Sunday, August 20, 2017

MTVP So Cal Summer 2016: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 1.18: "Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!"

“No, this balloon is not stupid. It’s genius. The Messiah is riding a unicorn over a rainbow. It’s like the Turducken of sympathy balloons.”

It’s been a while since I last watched this episode, and boy do I have thoughts. I remember not long after I first watched it, one of my friends who also watches “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” asked me what I thought about it. I told him that I pretty much wanted to slap all the main characters for their poor decision-making, but if they didn’t make poor decisions all the time, I guess there wouldn’t be much of a show. I deeply wanted to root for Greg and Rebecca to make it, but Greg (and Rebecca, too, although she’s really trying to connect in this episode) is such a mess. Josh and Paula are also rather ridiculous in this episode. Really, this episode is everyone at their worst. I generally like spending fictional time with these characters, but damn do they do some messed-up shit in this one. It almost makes it a little too real, and I had to take some time to get my head back on straight after watching it.

One thing this episode does is provide a rather scathing (but in a low-key kind of way), of the Disney Princess socialization of girls. Right from the beginning of the episode, we see a young Rebecca trying to play Prince and Princess with a boy, who just wants to play with some dump trucks. Rebecca insists that they have to have a moment where music starts to kick in. Specifically, she’s thinking of her favorite movie, “Slumber,” the hit song from which is “One Indescribable Moment.” We hear this song several times throughout the episode (including a fantastic rendition by Disney Legend Lea Salonga herself), and it really is, from a technical stand point, a pretty fantastic Disney song pastiche. Rebecca has taken this princess mindset into adulthood, too. When her relationship with Greg starts to get a little rocky, she convinces herself that if she can orchestrate a “moment” between them, all will be well. In addition, she keeps being affect by “moments” she has with Josh. She really wants to try to make things work with Greg, but he’s a complicated guy, and manufacturing a Disney moment isn’t going to suddenly make Greg more self-assured.

As for Greg, he convinces himself that Rebecca is only interested in him now because he got over her and acted like he didn’t care for a little while. So while Rebecca is ready to talk life plans and all, Greg is doing his best once again to play it cool and keep it casual. There is a rather adorable moment near the beginning of the episode where Greg brings Rebecca a “She’s with Jesus Now” balloon while she’s still in the hospital recovering from her UTI, but it all goes downhill from there. He runs into Josh while at the hospital, and all the memories of Rebecca choosing Josh over him just start taking over. Rebecca wants to spend quality time with Greg, but Greg suggests just watching television. While he’s in another room, Rebecca sees an invitation to Josh’s sister’s wedding, and she has the perfect idea for how to create their moment – they are going to go to the wedding together.

Paula spends most of this episode really pissed off at Rebecca, both for sleeping with Greg, and even more, for lying about it. She has a show-stopper of the song near the beginning of the episode called “After Everything I’ve Done for You (That You Didn’t Ask For”). She goes full-on Mama Rose from “Gypsy,” and we learn the true depths of crazy to which Paula has gone to bring Rebecca and Josh together. She put a tracking car on Josh’s mom car, and she blackmailed Valencia’s boss in order to have the power to set Valencia’s class schedule. She’s pretty cray cray, and this is when Rebecca realizes it. Instead of cutting Paula out of her life, however, Rebecca tries to mend fences (although not by picking things back up with Josh). She uses the tracking device to find Lourdes and talk to her about getting invited to the wedding, and he happily reports back to Paula about it, thinking it could show Paula that using her powers for Greg could be fun too. Paula’s not buying, it, though.

Josh is also being rather asshole-ish in this episode. He’s rude to Greg about Rebecca, even though he is supposedly committed to Valencia (Greg calls him on that before he has a complete meltdown of self-loathing, at least). He also tells Valencia, even while he’s still clearly hung up on Rebecca, that he’s planning to buy a ring, but he needs to do the proposal his own way in his own time. The final straw for Josh comes at his sister’s wedding. His Aunt Myrna (Lea Salonga) gives Josh a family heirloom ring, and Josh immediately knows this is Valencia’s idea. Valencia says she just wanted the ring before one of Josh’s cousins could claim it. This is the final straw for Josh, and he finally breaks up with Valencia. He should have broken up with her long ago, really. They weren’t good for each other at all. Valencia was controlling, and Josh felt belittled. That’s not a healthy relationship dynamic. At one point, Josh warns Rebecca basically that Greg is dark and twisty, and Rebecca is bright, so he’s going to hurt her. It shows how Josh doesn’t really know Rebecca at all. She says pretty things to him, but she really has deep issues of her own.

The wedding itself is a complete shitshow for our main characters (although it seems to be quite nice for the actual couple that’s getting married). Rebecca is overly dressed in a sparkly teal gown that is supposed to evoke Princess Jasmine. Greg, however, decides to wear a flannel and some Chucks. He’s trying to play it cool, but he’s completely dismissing the importance of the occasion to Rebecca. As soon as the reception starts, he gets completely plastered. Rebecca, God bless her, still tries to have a serious relationship talk with him. Exposing just how little self-confidence he has, when Rebecca tries to start telling him she has real feelings for him, he immediately assumes she’s breaking up with him. Eventually, Greg completely passes out, and White Josh, who says this is a classic Serrano move, puts him in an Uber to go home. Darryl also goes and gets Paula to come to the wedding to cheer up a devastated Rebecca, and their reunion would be sweet if I still wasn’t so creeped out by Paula’s actions. May I take a moment to say here that Darryl and White Josh were a complete delight in this episode and are pretty much the only functional couple? They got fancy for the wedding and owned it!

The ending of this episode (and the season) always leaves me a bit of an emotional mess. While Greg is home puking his guts out (where he finally confesses his love for Rebecca…and then promptly spews into a bucket), Josh texts Rebecca to meet him outside. They steal the convertible that is supposed to be the getaway car for the newly married couple, park in a scenic spot, and do what couples in this sort of scenario do. Post-coital, they cuddle in the back of the car, and Rebecca admits that she moved to West Covina for Josh, and he’s going to solve all her problems. It’s bad enough that she moved to West Covina for Josh, but when she starts going on about how everything is going to be perfect now, he looks downright horrified.

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