Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Summer TV Rewind: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 2.01: "Where is Josh's Friend?"

“I heard what you said, but Rebecca and I know what we’re doing. We’re adults. And she’s definitely not crazy.”

I’ll admit, I’ve been really putting off watching the second season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” The first season was one of those elusive seasons that I would put in my pantheon of favorite television, and it spoke to me at a very particular rough patch in my life. I’m in a much better place now than I was a year ago, but I still had questions. Would returning to West Covina bring back the feelings of that rough patch? How would I feel about the show in my current, healthier (I hope?) state? I think it’s safe to say that “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” season 2 (so far) is more of the same, which is a good thing. I did, however, find myself really, really not liking Rebecca in this episode. I try to give her some grace, since I know she has real, true mental health issues. But in this particular episode, she became so incredibly self-centered that I just couldn’t excuse her. She was terrible to both Greg and Josh, and it was uncomfortable to watch.

If you recall, when we last left our favorite bunch of Californian misfits, Rebecca and Josh had just had sex, after which Rebecca admitted she moved to West Covina for Josh and thought their love story could now begin, and Josh looked horrified. Greg, meanwhile, was home, drunk puking into a bucket and finally admitting he loved Rebecca. On the car ride home, we learn that Josh is still horrified, and Rebecca does her best to deflect. She tries to brush it off as if she really is happy to keep things casual, and Josh is reading way too much into what she said. How she manages it, I’m not quite sure, but Josh buys it, and we learn that a few weeks later, he is staying in Rebecca’s apartment while he tries to get his life back together following the break-up with Valencia. Much to Rebecca’s chagrin, however, he refuses to sleep in her bed with her. They have sex, and then he goes and sleeps on the couch. He is determined to keep things casual.

Rebecca, for her part, desperately wants more from Josh. She wants him to officially be her boyfriend and move in with her. She wants the kind of easy love she sees between Darryl and White Josh (who gets a key to Darryl’s apartment in this episode). For some reason, she’s convinced she can make this happen. Anytime Josh says anything remotely positive to her, she interprets it as meaning he’s in love with her, too. Hence, for our first song of the new season, we get the Lemonade-style artistic production of “Love Kernels.” The idea behind the song is that Rebecca is so love-starved that she’ll take any tiny kernel (or droplet) of positive attention Josh is willing to send in her direction. Man, can I identify with this song. It’s not really my style of music, but as with many of the songs on “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” it hits a little too close to home.

Rebecca does start to succeed in reeling Josh in. She eventually convinces him to keep all his karate stuff in one of her drawers instead of in her car. She goes way too far, though, once Josh agrees to the drawer, by purchasing a fancy musical organizing system for it. She also tries to bring Paula into the whole mess. Paula, however, is beginning to finally question her own high level of involvement in Rebecca’s life. She’s giving her husband the play-by-play and realizing how ridiculous it all is (although at least her marriage is in a better place now). Her husband suggests that maybe Paula, while still being a friend to Rebecca, should focus her energy on other things that make her feel just as energized as meddling in Rebecca’s love life. The one thing that stands out to both of them is the feeling Paula gets when she writes a great legal brief. Only, Paula says, she doesn’t have much control over when she gets the opportunity to work on a brief, considering she’s a paralegal and all.

Before Paula can extricate herself from Rebecca’s shenanigans, however, she gets pulled into one last caper. Josh had a terrible nightmare where Greg, wearing an Emory sweatshirt that is still in Rebecca’s dresser, calls him out for sleeping with his best friend’s girl. Even though this is just a dream, it freaks Josh out, and he decides he wants to minimize contact with Rebecca until they can make things right with Greg. Greg, for his part, has been incommunicado for the better part of a month. Instead of being concerned about her friend and person she thought she was in love with, however, Rebecca just wants to get a hold of Greg so he can give his blessing to her new relationship with Josh. I know this is totally in keeping with Rebecca’s character and how she has treated Greg in the past, but it really bothered me. If someone I was that close to didn’t communicate with me for a month, I would be worried about them, not concerned about how I could get into his best friend’s pants again.

First Rebecca tries talking to people who know Greg, like his coworkers at Home Base, and even his father, but nobody will tell her where Greg is. When that fails, Paula uses her super sleuth skills to figure out, from Greg’s phone data, where he’s been for the past month. They find him at an AA meeting, where he is telling the rest of the group how he got a DUI the morning after Jayma’s wedding, because he had so much to drink that night that he was still legally drunk. Rebecca seems somewhat concerned for Greg, but it’s more along the lines of feeling like revealing the Josh situation right now would be too much for him, so can’t she and Josh just keep boning anyway. Greg, for his part, seems to have reached a point of some self-awareness. He is freely admitting he’s an alcoholic, and he seems to be getting some value out of going to meetings. He’s been hiding out with his dad through all this. He doesn’t realize that Rebecca and Paula are watching him.

After the finding Greg incident, Paula truly reaches her breaking point. She presents Rebecca with a contract restating the terms of their friendship. Paula is willing to listen and offer advice, but no more illegal and/or immoral shenanigans. Rebecca is upset by this, but Paula explains that she wanted a contract not because she didn’t trust Rebecca to respect her boundaries, but because she didn’t trust herself. Rebecca agrees to the terms and compliments Paula on the nice job she did writing the contract. Later, Josh stops by Rebecca’s apartment to retrieve the socks he left there, and a discussion of how they’re going to keep things platonic turns into singing a song called “We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now,” which turns into, of course, actually having sex. As the song continues to play, we see Greg continuing to hang out with his dad, and we see Paula submitting an application to law school. Who would have thought in one episode, I could go from being done with Paula and wanting to shake some sense into Rebecca to applauding Paula and being close to done with Rebecca. How times have changed!

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