Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 7
“Who’s the Cool Girl Josh Is Dating?”
Posted by Sage
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a pink-frosted cupcake of a show with a streak of dark ganache running through it. And the midseason finale didn’t send all of its characters into the show’s short holiday break in the best place. It did, however, wrap up the first half of its second season with a showstopper of a closing number. CXG will give you deadass sadness, but it’ll entertain the hell out of you while it does. So, in the words of Ron Weasley: “You’re gonna suffer, but you’re gonna be happy about it.”
The first seven episodes of this season ran through plot like it was Alexander Hamilton with his morbid commitment to productivity. Rebecca/Greg and Rebecca/Josh were dealt with quickly. Rebecca lost her house and got a new one. She picked up Heather as a for-real friend and Valencia soon after. But if you came to this episode looking for some closure between Paula and Rebecca, you were definitely disappointed. Their friendship is too big to be patched with a Band-Aid, and the show is going to ride this rift out until there’s no reasons left to keep them apart.
If Paula were just her enabler, Rebecca wouldn’t be missing her so much. Not when she’s finally seduced Valencia into the wide world of stalking. Those two are the sneaky Petes in this episode. And this time, they’ve both got skin in the game. Brittany Snow is back as Anna Hicks (“That’s the romantic lead in an Adam Sandler movie.”), the festival fairy princess Josh met at Electric Mesa. Rebecca and V find out that she’s exist via Josh’s Instagram, which they both claim to be through with checking.
Anna is a full-blown nightmare for both of them. She looks like she floats through life on a cloud of Tocca perfume, effortlessly lovely and pure-looking. She drinks ludicrously fancy coffee topped with Frida Kahlo latte art, but she’s so unaware of her own pretentiousness that her pretentiousness is negated. The celebrity eyebrow stylist also claims to be an ancillary member of Taylor Swift’s squad, so it’s fitting that Anna’s song is very 1989. She sings it over a clever slideshow of her own Instagram photos, which reminded me of a recent interview with Rachel Bloom that touched on how the show saves money by redressing existing sets for its music videos.
“Research Me, Obsessively” is happening in Rebecca’s head, of course. All that stuff about requesting access through dummy accounts, tracking homes through Google Street View, and wasting hours while doing so comes straight from her twisted mind. Rebecca pulls back – just for a second – but with Valencia sitting next to her and nodding her head emphatically, the outcome is predetermined. Heather comes back to the house later to tell her friends they’ve spent days compulsively seeking out information about their ex’s new girlfriend. But over that time, they’ve convinced themselves that Josh is being held by this person as some sort of sex slave. Good people that they are, they have a DUTY to find out what Josh has gotten himself into. A duty that CERTAINLY has nothing to do with the fact that they both get all dreamy when they talk about him for too long. (“Well, you guys just did like a whole loop-de-loop there.”)
Anna’s Swiftian influences extend to her relationship with her cat, Gravy. And Josh’s first gift to Anna is a sweet one. He gives her a bedazzled collar for Prince Gravy and is visibly still in awe that a girl like this wants to spend time with him – a electronics store employee who’s never heard of single-source coffee. Anyway, Gravy has a spot of honor at Anna’s salon, from which he can survey the whole bougie block. He sneaks out while Anna is on a mysterious phone call about sourcing product from Mexico and Valencia and Rebecca are casting her in the Scarface remake. (“Can’t pay gentrified commercial rents by plucking forehead hairs.”) Neither wants to accept that Josh is moving on with a perfectly nice woman. No: those little bags of powder she’s handing out must contain cocaine, and Anna’s salon must be a front for her “stone-cold narco” drug-running business. Impressed by her anyway (“Her eyebrows are staggering, of course.”), the girls get in Rebecca’s car to go warn their innocent lunk of an ex about Anna.
There’s no victim but Gravy, however. Their no-contact stalking mission is compromised when Rebecca runs over the cat. Since the pirate man who hit him took off, Valencia and Rebecca offer to take Anna and Gravy to the vet themselves. Fortunately, this show is not dark enough to kill a cat – just to rip off and then reattach his tail. While they wait for the vet’s diagnosis, Rebecca (excuse me, MADGE) uses this unexpected face time with Anna to get her to cough up some personal information not available online. Anna is patient and not at all suspicious of the most invasive veterinary questionnaire ever. “Madge” and her friend “Allegra” aren’t able to squeeze out any evidence of Anna’s dirty dealings. Instead, she expresses two things they didn’t want to hear: First, Anna really, really likes Josh. She likes the parts about him that we do. He’s easy to get along with, giving, and uncomplicated. Second, Josh has been talking shit about both them to New Girl over here. (“He’s had some toxic relationships in the past.” “Your word, his word, or Britney’s word?”) In the manner of all weak men, Josh frames himself as the victim of his failed relationships. And I’m sorry, but any good will he mustered up with me over the past few weeks was gone when he characterized Valencia – the MOST loyal – as a controlling bitch and Rebecca – who he never gave a chance – as a “psycho.” Josh is the woooooooooooooorst. And Anna seems nice, but at least Rebecca can say “period sex” without whispering it like a Victorian maiden.
Gravy is going to be fine, but the girls are not in the clear. They learn that the salon has security cameras that certainly caught them (and not a fictional pirate) hitting Anna’s pet with their car. Valencia’s true sketchy colors are exposed when she produces Anna’s keys, which she slyly pocketed. Once inside, the plan is twofold: to find and destroy the incriminating video and to see if they can find any hard proof that Anna is the blow hookup for the stylish millennials of Silver Lake. They achieve their first objective. But that white powder is merely a tool for Anna’s clients to achieve the Eugene Levy look more quickly. And Rebecca’s right: curiosity doesn’t always kill the cat. Sometimes it makes the cat a little heartsick. On the salon footage, they see Josh arrive with flowers to tell Anna MANY times over that he has never (like never ever) felt about anyone the way he does about her. It’s the kick-you-when-you’re-down phase of the break-up for Rebecca and Valencia. You can see their wheels turning. They’ve lost DAYS and expended so much energy on this, because Josh is still in both of their systems. Meanwhile, he’s only thinking about them as mistakes, if at all.
It’s always half a step forward and three back for Rebecca. But Paula is struggling with the new normal too. She hated herself for how deep she got lost in Rebecca’s drama. And certainly, Constitutional Law is a much more respectable project to take on. But in Paula’s efforts to redefine herself as a very serious law student, she gets lost again. She can’t even focus when Sunil talks about his dead wife and his motherless children. And what does that tell us? Rebecca isn’t the only one to blame for Paula’s spiral into Big Brother madness. Paula has an addictive personality. She can’t hold herself in check, even to make it to her sweet and supportive husband’s most important day of the year. And listen to me, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: I CANNOT TAKE Scott having an affair right now. Not when Rebecca and Paula are still on the outs. (Or ever, but I suppose you’re in charge.)
Scott has proven himself over this season to be the most sensitive and mature character. And cheers to him for expressing to Paula exactly how he feels when she stands him up at the West Brovinas holiday showcase. “I have been so supportive, and I think what you’re doing is great, but I feel left out. You’re so distracted lately,” he says. “I was great out there, Paula.” Scott loves that Paula has big dreams. But he has small ones, and so what? So he’s proud to sing with his friends in a shipping warehouse. That should be as important to his wife as her law degree is to him. We did the marital strife thing last season. Paula has some groveling to do, and I hope that she fixes this one fast.
For now, both she and Rebecca are resisting fixing themselves. For women who have no shame, they sure do have a lot of pride. Everyone in their lives is telling either Paula or Rebecca to make the first move. It doesn’t matter who does, not to anybody but them. It’s obvious that they’re miserable without each other. But they’re in a stalemate. (“Paula, we’ve got to find a way to make this better.” “I know, but I don’t know how.”) And because I watch a lot of TV, I worry that only something terrible happening to someone will break them out of it. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend tends to stomp all over well-worn storytelling devices though, thank god. Like when they sent us all home to ruminate over female friendship with this incredible ’80s power ballad. Donna Lynne Champlin and Rachel Bloom sing the SHIT out of it, naturally.
Friendships DO feel that dramatic sometimes. Like you’re backlit at rainy window and a spandexed dancer is kick-ball-changing behind you. And again, if we go off of the sheer amount of story Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is putting into this fight, Paula and Rebecca are the show’s primary pairing. Now, one of you: please go first.
It’s a Lot More Nuanced Than That:
- “Honk if you’re horny, Paula Proctor is 40.”
- Don’t say the name Ichabod in front of me. I’m still in mourning.
- “Sometimes it’s about not tweezing.” Okay, TRUE.
- “I’m sorry, you guys MISS Coolio?”
- The return of Valencia’s “I’m So Good at Yoga” theme!
- I know it’s a joke but also: Rebecca and Paula are SO Avon and Stringer.
- Related: “You haven’t seen The Wire??” “Am I supposed to?” That’s the response of a woman who gets laid when she’s sad instead of bingeing prestige TV.
How did you feel about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s midseason finale? Let us know in the comments, and we’ll see you back here in January for a two-episode spring premiere!