Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – A
Moments of revelation can come in all shapes and forms: it could come when an alcoholic hits the metaphorical (or literal) gutter of rock bottom or the sight of the simplicity of nature washing one’s perspective back to normal. For Rebecca Bunch, of course it is a gaggle of “Dream Ghosts,” the lead one in the appearance of the therapist she’s been avoiding — the one who’s coincidentally seated next to her on a trip to Haw…New York. Turns out the show faked us all out and she’s cashed in the ticket with which she was going to follow Josh to Hawaii for one that would whisk her back to her old busy, restless life, resetting her West Covina sojourn as a fond dream of a mistake she once made egged on by an advertisement for butter spread (what an odd campaign!).
When I read this episode’s title, “Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!,” I’ll admit to heaving a sigh of relief at the break from her constant pursuit of her sweet, but unhealthy and otherwise engaged, crush. But no one needed a reprieve from the chase more than Rebecca herself, and the show’s second feign is the reveal she’s not actually chatting with Dr. Akopian, but exploring the depths of her own damaged psyche after downing “SO MANY” sleeping pills with a bloody mary. Meanwhile, her friends have slowly dribbled into her condo — already occupied by a passively squatting Paula — and the worry is building.
It’s not all that surprising that a woman in the midst of a nervous breakdown — not to mention one who’s often self-absorbed to the point of transforming her life into a musical with her in the center — would attract genuine friends (see the second verse of this song and life in general) as there’s a distinct allure of madness, particularly to her manic variety, as the passion is infectious (just see how absolutely stung Paula has become). Plus, at heart, Rebecca is a truly benevolent person, as witnessed by her actions in the water trial. All of her West Covina friends have been affected by her, and its a sign of her less-better angels in her ardor that she would abandon them without a note (just like her father, but if we start on that we’ll be here all day), oblivious of how it would impact them. Greg, who’s scouring hospitals in spite of it all, is one person who knows the true wrath of Hurricane Becca, but he’s got his own issues, and besides is being buttered up with backhanded comments about his “hotness.”
In any case, the audience probably needed to be reminded as much as Rebecca herself, about her own true nature, especially the more positive aspects. When her father gasps in astonishment to the 13(?)-year-old Becca “wow, I knew you were bright, but…” those at home likely feel the same. If she continued her unhinged, Josh-centric path, it will lead to mental ruin and certainly ultimately hurt all her new friends, and at the end of her fever dream, she sort of gets that. However, her last slight head-turn to Greg might reveal that while she might have somewhat seen the light on Josh, she didn’t quite soak in the main theme that it’s quite possible she’d be better off focusing her boundless passion on something beyond boys.
This is the sort of episode that reminds why this is such a special show — besides the unique format and deft song parodies that actually might turn off some potential viewers. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, for all its goofy veneer and surreal pageantry, is populated by such rich, conflicted, complicated characters caught in a whirlwind of change and emotion that when their genuine goodness is revealed, it’s a powerful thing capable of moving the viewer in a manner few shows can (and making it hard to stop talking about it).
Oh, on that note, one last thing. The parallels between Liz Lemon and Rebecca Bunch (two messed-up, professionally together ladies trying to have it all) have been so plentiful, it’s hard to not see this episode as an h0mage to this one — airplane, drinks, sleeping pills, knowing dream guide, revelations.
– Jason Thurston