Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 12
“Is Josh Free in Two Weeks?”
Posted by Sage
There’s an episode of Friends where Joey and Phoebe argue over whether there is any charitable deed that can be done without the doer gaining something for themselves, even if it’s just a sense of satisfaction. (“I WILL find a selfless good deed. Because I just gave birth to three children and I will not let them be raised in a world where Joey is right.”) In this week’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, various friends and one stranger pitch in to save Rebecca’s whirlwind wedding. And even if their actions are tinged with a little selfishness, they still make Rebecca feel like what she’s always wanted to be: a normal girl. Like you see on Pinterest.
Let’s talk about the four patron saints of the #bunchofchans nuptials, starting with a protective best friend:
Rebecca’s wedding couldn’t have come at a worse time for Paula. She and her classmates are consumed with prep for finals, and Sunil is not pleased that Rebecca dare show her vulnerable face at Paula’s house. The resentment over someone else thinking that your best friend is THEIR best friend is so real. Sunil and Rebecca are never going to get along. But Rebecca has grown enough to know what would happen if she showed Paula how desperate she is: Paula would spring into action, like she always does, and possibly sabotage her own chances for success in the process. Rebecca puts on a brave face and keeps her mouth shut. For Paula’s sake.
It’s not until later when Paula drops by to check in on Rebecca’s progress that she sees what her friend has been keeping from her. Dustin and Sasha’s DIY wedding page only shows the final product of the Nova Scotian couple’s labors: the twinkle lights, the expensive pussy willows, and every possible size of mason jar. I look at a site like that and think, “I wonder how many times Dustin cried from stress” and “I bet Sasha wish she’d never heard of Etsy. Rebecca sees only what’s in front of her: another test on the subject of being a functional adult. Even though she does’t actually know what a DIY wedding entails or even is (“Do I why wedding? Because I love Josh!”), she gets in over her head by trying to prove something to herself. And the insecurity train has gained too much speed for Paula to put a stop to it now. She does her best, asking a near-hysterical Rebecca to make eye contact with her, then pleading for her to postpone the wedding. Rebecca can’t, not with her elevator transgression hanging over her and not when rescheduling would mean admitting to her guests that she couldn’t pull it off. So, Paula changes tactics and tries to take one item off of Rebecca’s plate. But her Canadian wedding gods didn’t have a sheet cake from Costco; they had whimsical bride and groom cake pops. And Rebecca is going to have them too, even if it kills her.
Paula’s real contribution to the wedding happens outside of Rebecca’s notice. Because Paula is a protective Mama Bear, she can’t comprehend the idea that a mom who’s perfectly able wouldn’t drop everything to come help her only daughter get married in some semblance of style. Why is Paula’s act of charity not entirely selfless? Because I think Rebecca’s bestie has been waiting to unload on Naomi for A LONG time. I think Naomi prides herself on being intimidating. But Paula isn’t afraid of her, and by god, reading her the riot act works. Rebecca gets the normal wedding dress of her dreams, and we get another reminder that Donna Lynne Champlin is in a comedic class by herself.
Seth Green’s guest spot is an exercise in restraint. And some of the episode’s sweetest moments came when Patrick’s quiet bewilderment at being on the receiving end of Rebecca’s nervous breakdown would melt into fondness. He’s on the front lines of the disaster, delivering wedding dress after wedding dress and serving as the bride’s sounding board in the absence of her friends and family. (“I don’t know, I wear the same outfit every single day.”)
Rebecca is piling her planning stress onto the unassuming delivery guy, but she’s also using him to air out some guilt. The only three people who know about Rebecca and Nathaniel’s elevator kiss are Rebecca, her “foine” boss, and now, Patrick. She can’t tell anyone else lest they try to make her see reason and cancel this misguided attempt to love Josh more than she does. Patrick can be objective. Patrick can tell her she’s going to be fine. “Tell Me I’m Okay, Patrick” is a song that wouldn’t sound out of place in the score of Promises, Promises and speaks to any of us who have looked for validation in strange places because we don’t dare asking the people we should.
*I don’t know why men in shorts are so funny, but they are.
We find out later that Patrick also delivers to the law office, so he knows right where to go when Rebecca’s problems become too much for him. He’s the messenger who tells Paula that her friend is afraid to tell her how overwhelmed she is. He needs relief, but also it’s an act of kindness. And Paula’s reaction tells Patrick he did the right thing. Mama Paula always makes it better.
Meanwhile, the lead-up to this wedding is beginning to resemble the last throes of Valencia and Josh’s relationship. The church basketball league has become an unexpected source of temptation. Josh is hitting it off with a fellow coach, who eats up his stories about how he’s being mistreated by his fiance. Josh likes to curry sympathy by eliminating the parts of the narrative where he screwed up. So Josh tells Sara that Rebecca is boxing him out of the wedding (hey, basketball metaphors!) and leaves out the part where he fell asleep when they were supposed to be making the paper crane decorations that HE requested. Sara pats him on the head and tells him what he wants to hear: that he needs to assert himself and demand to be a part of the planning. Josh dubs her “chill.” It’s the same distinction he made between Valencia and Rebecca right before he left the former for the latter. Ruh roh.
Joke’s on Sara, because Josh is wearing that forest green tux over Valencia’s dead body. (“What are you wearing, by the way? You look like the guest of honor at a park ranger gala.”) Heather inadvertently alerts Valencia to the tragic situation over at their house when she comes over seeking “wines.” A visit to check on Rebecca’s progress calls to Valencia’s organized soul. (“Did you murder a wedding?”) As a Monica, she cannot let this happen. And thus Rebecca’s predicament becomes the purpose that pulls Valencia out of her rut. Unlike those wussy wedding planners who told Rebecca that two weeks wasn’t enough, Valencia calmly takes the reins of Rebecca and Josh’s special day and fairy godmothers the shit out of it, under a very tight schedule. She looks like a woman who’s found her element. I don’t know how many weddings there are to plan in West Covina, but V made have found her new career. And she would ABSOLUTELY crush that J. Lo black pantsuit look.
Again I ask, can we keep him? Scott Michael Foster fits so perfectly into this ensemble, it feels like he’s been with us forever.
Nathaniel learned another lesson about tolerating personal weakness in this episode. And we’re in a time in American history where most of us couldn’t be less interested in the problems of privileged straight white men, so my boundless sympathy for Nathaniel is a credit to the writing and the performance.
He calls them weirdos, but Nathaniel has as many quirks as his employees do. They’ve been exposed to a lot of them by now, so Maya is the only person there who’s still a little scared of him. Nathaniel finds out for certain that he’s one of the freaks when a homemade broccoli/cauliflower/Thai mung bean smoothie does something nasty to his bowels. But he doesn’t believe in sick days, even for the most serious maladies. (“In fact, most cancers are half-day.”) From the show that brought you “Period Sex” comes hot guy in a suit shitting his pants in front of two female coworkers. Nathaniel’s determination to be the paragon of manliness and discipline that his father is leads to utter humiliation. But now he’s in a place where humiliation is kind of the standard. Nathaniel pooping at his desk may not even be the most insane thing to happen at the office this WEEK. And though Paula, Darryl, and the rest of them have every right to hold a grudge against this guy, they do what they can do help him out. Paula even offers to roll him to the bathroom. That’s a friend.
Darryl comes through with the best possible idea though. If Nathaniel won’t go home like he should, he can take a little rest on his office couch. Nathaniel tells him about his father’s decree against naps, and Darryl is like, “Offense! That’s rude.” The boss is all about health, but he’s running his body into the ground to fit this masculine workaholic mold. (“If you’re not missing a leg, you walk it off. And if you are missing a leg, you limp it off. And if you’re missing two legs, thank you for your service, here’s a quarter.”) That’s ridiculous, Darryl tell him. “Your dad’s not here, and we are.” Naps are for men. At least when they come in the darker packaging, with “Nitro” or “High Octane” on the label. This song is pretty pointless in comparison to the rest of the Season 2 soundtrack. I’ve watched it half a dozen times.
The elder Plimpton picks the worst possible day to drop in on his protege. He’s hardass and mocks them, but Nathaniel is THEIRS, so Paula intercepts Mr. Plimpton and tries like hell to warn her boss of his arrival. It’s too late. His father catches Nathaniel napping and is disgusted by what he sees.
That’s what in Nathaniel’s heart when he hears that Rebecca’s dad isn’t making the trip to see her get married. When someone so close to you is that withholding, it can be a never-ending struggle to let go of your need for their approval. (“I only invited him to feel bad about myself.”) Nathaniel hears the way Rebecca talks about her dad: with high hopes and low expectations. She makes excuses for him when other people judge. This is all very familiar, so Nathaniel goes and does a wonderful, wonderful thing. He sends a private plane for Rebecca’s dad and stands silently behind her while she greets her deadbeat father like he’s the best guy she’s ever known. She’s stunned by the gesture. (“I know what it’s like to care about your dad and what he thinks. Even if you wish you didn’t.”) Talk about taking your own pain and making something beautiful out of it.
Friendly reminder that Nathaniel and Rebecca still haven’t gotten each other out of their systems and this little stunt just makes it worse. If Greg doesn’t show up tonight, I hereby give Nathaniel full permission to pull a Ben Braddock in the middle of this wedding instead.
The Situation’s Actually A Lot More Nuanced Than That
- “So open source. Thanks Dust and Sash.”
- “I mean, that’s a good-ass hashtag.”
- Nathaniel’s reaction to Maya’s psoriasis was inspired.
- I thought the green tux was pretty cute, but what do I know?
- A Sugar Ray cover band called Splenda Ray.
- My heart grew half a size when Patrick covered a sleeping Rebecca with a stray wedding gown.
- “Don’t forget: I know what gluten does to your face.”
- “You’re the Labrador. And he’s the owner.”
IT’S FINALE TIME, YA’LL. What do you think is going to happen? Will Josh and Rebecca go through with it? Who will Trent murder? Can Darryl and White Josh please make it official? Please, let’s talk about it all in the comments.