“It’s not love, my dear. It’s fantasy.” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Will Scarsdale Like Josh’s Shayna Punim?

Source: bunchofbloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 10
“Will Scarsdale Like Josh’s Shayna Punim?”
Posted by Sage

Rebecca and Josh are that couple you hate. They’re the ones who make out during museum tours, text meaningless endearments all day, and won’t stop asking you if they’ve already told you about “that cute thing” the other did last week. They’re certainly the couple that HEATHER hates. But Rebecca has been clawing her way up this mountain for over a season and a half, so I’m inclined to let her enjoy the view from the top for a little while.

Their first two attempts to be together long forgotten by no one but themselves, Josh and Rebecca are insufferably optimistic about their future. Outwardly. Like on their Facebook, Waze, and Open Table feeds. But this precarious couple can’t escape the academic interpretation of the psych student/Vox reader they share an apartment with. And one way to throw the metaphorical cold water on some PDA-loving roommates is to force them to think about where they really stand. “You know, studies have shown that couples who post a lot on social media are often insecure about their attachment,” Heather explains to unconvincing dismissive scoffs. Josh and Rebecca are putting their happy couple face out into the world so that they’ll have no choice but to live up to it. Anyway: “Love fixes everything!”

Source: bunchofbloom
 

The lovebirds sing about their deliberate choice to ignore the differences that’ll probably screw them later in the genre that sounds most like happiness crying on the inside: disco. It’s the first real Josh/Rebecca duet we’ve gotten all season, and though it’s a song about love, it is definitively NOT a love song. (“Do you remember back when we had problems?” “Oh yeah! That was annoying.”) ’70s Heather can’t get through to their matching jumpsuit AU selves either, but she does get to look fabulous in some high-waisted bell bottoms. LET VELLA LOVELL DANCE MORE.

“Fine. I guess I’ll just Soul Train out of here.” Source: bunchofbloom

There’s no singing when Rebecca has a contrite coffee with Valencia, just an overdue talk between two friends who once swore not to fall back in the orbit of the same guy. Valencia doesn’t revert to her season 1 bitchiness; she doesn’t cast Rebecca off. But she doesn’t let her off the hook either, grading the current state of their relationship to “eh.” And because girl groups are forever (zigazow!), Valencia even tries to give Rebecca some advice about wanting too much too soon out of this relationship. “Don’t you see that Josh is like, all over the place and lost?” she asks. But Rebecca is willing herself to NOT see how ill-equipped her boyfriend is to be in a serious relationship. She’s blinded by having a date to take back to Scarsdale with her for her cousin’s bar mitzvah. Normally, she’d be dreading a weekend back in her mother’s house, but “love protects you!” Valencia laughs, bitterly.

Source: crazyexedits

Once of Josh’s more mature qualities is that he (unlike Rebecca) seeks out advice from people he trusts and actively tries to take it. Father Brah can’t reassure Josh that none of Rebecca’s older relatives will call him an “Oriental,” but he can make Josh admit the truth to himself. Josh is feeling the pressure of Scarsdale and reuniting with the woman who once asked him point-blank about the state of Rebecca’s hymen because his life is pretty empty except for this relationship. Father Brah doesn’t explain Josh’s problem to him; maybe because it’s more priest-like to let him figure it out for himself. Or maybe because he’s too busy scanning the trees for his weed stash.

Source: bunchofbloom

Of course, Josh and Rebecca fail to talk to each other about their trepidation, so they show up to Rebecca’s family home in New York equally paralyzed by the prospect of the weekend. And when you’re under Naomi Bunch’s roof, you’re better off if you present a united front. Boyfriend or no, the mortification starts right away for Rebecca. Naomi answers the door in her Spanx and bra, criticisms at the ready and halfway through the process of slathering La Mer over her entire body. (“I know it’s for my face, but for once I’m splurging on myself!”) It’s true, you DO have to let it sink in. And can I just say? Mazel tov, Tovah. Keepin’ it right, keepin’ it tight.

The bra twirling kills me. Source: bunchofbloom

Look, if you don’t regress back to your teen years the second you step into the house you grew up in, you are made of steel. Rebecca’s voice is two full octaves higher in Scarsdale. Her palm is permanently stuck to her face. But Josh doesn’t have the same complicated emotional history with Naomi as his girlfriend does. He finds Rebecca’s mom harmless and quirky, like a traveling show that he doesn’t really need to engage with. Rebecca is less than thrilled that Naomi and Josh are getting along so well. It’s a personal affront to her that they’re collaborating on challah French toast and learning about the problematic connotations of certain words. (“I knew it was racist, I just didn’t know why!”) Rebecca’s definition of the weekend “going well” was for her to have someone to commiserate about her family with, not someone who will challenge her unforgiving view of them. Naomi Bunch is a difficult woman, but she passed many of her traits down to her daughter, including her passion for, YOU GUESSED IT:

Source: bunchofbloom
 

Look at Josh’s face. Get on board or be left behind, buddy.

Continue Reading

“It’s like, could he be more of a white?” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy? & When Do I Get to Spend Time with Josh?

Source: bunchofbloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episodes 8 & 9
“Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy?” and “When Do I Get to Spend Time with Josh?”
Posted by Sage

How’s this for a meaningful coincidence? The sort-of hardworking employees of Whitefeather & Associates got their reprieve the very same week that the CW announced that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will be back for season 3. Here in 2017, that feels like a political statement. That heat map that’s going around says that CXG is the Netflix show most popular in the liberal hotbeds of New York, California, and Oregon. Its ratings are minuscule in comparison to CBS’s block of comedies designed to bring out the very worst in your parents’ friends. But the CW doesn’t care that middle America isn’t tuning in to watch a size 8 Jewish woman sleep with a Filipino man and sing about her clinical depression. That’s one vote in favor of quality over quantity. Congratulations, you crazy weirdos. You deserve this.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend came back from its brief winter hiatus with a double-dose of episodes that did feel like two halves of a whole. “Who Is Josh’s Soup Fairy?” and “When Do I Get to Spend Time with Josh?” resolved the argument that’s been keeping Paula and Rebecca apart for weeks. It had to, because that storyline hit its highest point with their epic ’80s love ballad, “You Go First.” But what I wasn’t expecting quite so soon was another reconciliation between Rebecca and Josh, this time with Josh as the pursuer.

But first: the ladies. What really destroyed me about Scott’s confession is that it happened in a moment of imperfect domestic happiness. The Proctors don’t know how to send their delinquent children out into the world with a normal bagged lunch, but they’re up every morning doing their best. And Paula seems content with this life, as madcap as it is. And then it blows up, right in her face. It hurts too because Scott DOES love his wife, and more than that, we’ve seen this season how much he respects her. He stood by her decision to go to law school. He stood by her decision to terminate her pregnancy. But Scott is evidently feeling the strain more than she is and makes a really thoughtless, awful mistake. Paula kicks him out because she can’t see any other option. And then she brings all that baggage with her to work and has a meltdown over her daily iced mocha. I don’t think I’ve ever identified with Paula more than when she’s shaking empty ice trays at her coworkers and bellowing, “What MAN did this?”

Source: thecopyleftist
 

When Rebecca spies a weakness in another person, she performs some quick mental calculus on how to use it to her best advantage. The standoff doesn’t stand if Paula’s in crisis; Rebecca can only apologize while under the impression that she has the proverbial upper hand. As her best friend cries, Rebecca simultaneously sees her chance to finally make things right AND misjudges the situation completely. Her dramatic display of being the bigger person doesn’t go over well, but it DOES pull a lecture out of Mrs. Hernandez, who evidently talks “all the time.” Never forget that Rebecca Bunch is one hell of an unreliable narrator.

Source: bunchofbloom
 

The shaming doesn’t put her off though. Rebecca shows up to Paula’s house offering her unsolicited nannying services so that Paula can go on her “weird adult field trip” with her law school classmates without her house spiraling into the final act of a Hunger Games book. (“Just a dystopian nightmare. Children fighting for food, trying to kill each other…”) It’s a show of solidarity, and Rebecca legitimately wants to help Paula out. But it’s also a chance for her to try on motherhood for a weekend and prove that she’d be better than all the other moms. (“I could be a good mom if I wanted to be a good mom.” I MISS GREG.) She’s a philanthropist in the way that Cher Horowitz is a philanthropist: being nice to prove a point about how good she is at being nice. (“You know, if I ever saw you do anything that wasn’t 90% selfish, I’d die of shock.”) Paula tries to warn her that she’s volunteering for a suicide mission. (“Parenting turns you into well, me.”) But Rebecca has listened to half an episode of a child-rearing podcast and she won’t hear it. She sends Paula out the door to some New Jack Swing.

Rebecca’s plans for a quiet Netflix Saturday with Tommy are shot when they run into Josh “ohmigod it’s my ex” Chan, getting some supplies for his incoming cold. He wants to be in tip-top shape for a mysterious gig at a sponsored party at Spider’s, even though his lady won’t be able to make it. (“Let’s just say I’m ‘in-volved.'”) Another imperfection? It’s Rebecca’s kryptonite. The story of Josh’s sniffles prompts the most poetic chicken soup delivery of all time. (I love her Jewish rage at the lack of matzoh balls in West Covina.) In doing something nice for Josh, she sees her chance to give something to him that Anna isn’t. Rebecca’s professional ability to hide her own intentions from herself are on full display. But hey, a sick guy got his soup.

He’s so happy, too. Josh wants to be mothered. (Not like Hector wants to be mothered, but still.) He’s not wild about commitment, but I think that’s because he’s always had the power in the relationship. He’s very aware that Anna is cooler, richer, and more cosmopolitan that he is, so despite how freaked out he was playing house with Rebecca, here he’s grasping for some proof that Anna really is into him. So when the note gets ruined by some leakage, he assumes that Anna is his benefactor. Rebecca cannot deal with the idea that Josh be ignorant of who really gifted him that warm, broth-y goodness, so she drags her young charge to the club to take the credit.

Source: bunchofbloom
 

Rebecca is the kind of person who would get a child a fake ID so she can take him to a bar. But this town is the kind of place that would let that kid into the bar even though he’s clearly not an adult named Manuel. It’s a bonkers plan that’s obviously going to end in disaster, but Rebecca can’t stand being an anonymous donor. Unfortunately, when she and Heather are looking all over Spider’s for Tommy, they miss Josh’s big “career move.” This scene is a triumph in the telegraphing of secondhand embarrassment. Erick Lopez and especially David Hull are magnificent here as two friends looking on in horror as their bro takes his male mall modeling debut with stone-faced seriousness. (“I’ve left my body. I’m floating above this room looking down.”) What I would give to have seen Greg’s reaction to this.

Source: bunchofbloom
 

The display bursts Anna and Josh’s sex bubble. In the break-up, he realizes that she wasn’t his generous “soup fairy.” Hector (A PAL) calls the diner to see who the sender really was and everyone but Josh figures it out easily when they hear that the note quoted Shakespeare. He’s just been rejected by someone with more social capital; Anna’s not cruel, but she comes right up to the line of laughing in his face. (“It might have been when the sleeves came off? Oh my god, this is bad.”) So Josh ping-pongs BACK over to the one person who thinks he can do no wrong – that everything he does or says is worthy of worship: Rebecca. Is it healthy? Fuck, no. But his realization leads to another inspired Josh number: the Bieber-like “Duh.” (“It’s like, HELLO?”)

Rebecca arrives back at Paula’s defeated and less one preteen. Paula came home early, and Rebecca is prepared for her to sever all ties between them when she finds out she lost Tommy. But Tommy is home and he ain’t no snitch. Why would he rat out a babysitter who hands out hundos like they’re Monopoly currency? (Wow, Rebecca REALLY has a money problem.) Then Josh shows up and Rebecca has a way out. It’s finally happening. She can stop chasing him. And Paula gives her full permission to go. But Rebecca can’t walk out knowing that she very nearly lost Paula completely. She sends Josh packing for the time being and ‘fesses up to Paula. Paula’s like, bitch, I TOLD you being a mom was hard. (“Honey I lost him for an entire weekend at the mall once.”) No one knows better than Paula how Rebecca can turn off her huge brain and small amount of decency whenever Josh wants her. But she postponed their reconciliation to be with Paula, and that means everything.

Continue Reading

The Best Performances of 2016

Posted by Kim and Sage

We’ve discussed the best TV moments of 2016 (you can find those here and here), so now we turn to the individual performances that brought us the most joy this year. These are the performances that inspired us, that stayed with us, and drove us into many a social media fight defending their worthiness. (Note of warning: if you come at Ryan Gosling, we WILL fight you.) I love everything we do for this website, but I have to admit that our annual “Best Performances” holds a special place in my heart, especially when I go back and re-read them when they pop up in our Timehop. These posts are like little time capsules of OUR year in entertainment; they reflect our crushes of the moment, our long-standing love affairs with performers that can do no wrong (Hey Eddie Redmayne), and a scrapbook of all the TV and Movies that we saw throughout the year. Some of these are the performances EVERYONE is talking about, whilst others are the ones that we think you all should be paying attention to. (ARE YOU ALL WATCHING SPEECHLESS BECAUSE YOU SHOULD BE.) Thus we present to you our 18 Best Performances of the year plus four Honorable Mentions. Because it’s our blog and we can’t be limited to our normal 20 shout outs. We hope you love them as much as we do.  — Kim

1) Millie Bobby Brown – Stranger Things

I obviously follow many celebrities on Instagram who are on the convention circuit. And I’ve noticed a pattern over the last few rounds of cons. All of these icons who themselves draw fans by the droves to their photo ops were all geeking out over one of their own. I can’t tell you how many backstage selfies I’ve liked of some famous fan cheesing like mad with Millie Bobby Brown.

And why shouldn’t they be starstruck over her? Millie burst onto the pop culture scene in the role of Eleven on Stranger Things in a striking performance reminiscent of Drew Barrymore in Firestarter. Eleven is a scientific marvel and a weapon, but she’s also a child – a child who was stolen from her family and exploited by the only “Papa” she’d ever known. Millie can do a thousand-yard stare like nobody else, but my favorite moments in the series are the ones where Eleven grasps for a sense of normalcy and belonging with the boys who find her. (“Still pretty?”) This young actor’s work warrants those deep reads of Stranger Things as an allegory about puberty, child abuse, or just being a kid in this big, bad world. 2016 will always be her breakthrough year, and we can’t wait to see how Millie’s career unfolds. –Sage

2) Kylie Bunbury and Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Pitch

The success or failure of Pitch as a show depends entirely on the woman playing Ginny Baker. If the audiences don’t connect with Ginny and her journey as the first woman to play professional baseball, the show never gets out of the dugout. (BASEBALL METAPHORS.) Lucky for the creators of Pitch and the television audience at large, we’ve got Kylie Bunbury carrying the entire show on her (very toned) shoulders. And the thing is, Kylie makes it look easy. Ginny Baker is an incredibly complex character and Kylie is tasked with a LOT. She’s got a spine of steel yet she remains incredibly vulnerable. (If you weren’t moved by her breakdown in the bathtub during her Almost Famous-esque “fuck everything” night, you may want to make an appointment with a cardiologist.) She’s been hurt and taken advantage of by so many people, yet she constantly puts herself on the line in the name of pursuing her dream. She fights to be treated as an equal in her workplace. (The episode where she blatantly refuses to back down from the “Beanball” war because she is a woman is SO IMPORTANT.) Kylie makes Ginny wonderfully human; she is flawed and complicated and she struggles being considered a role model when all she really wants to do is just play baseball. She’s the most important female character on TV right now, for so many women, and I PRAY that Fox does the right thing and picks up the show for season two.

gifs vis ginnyspitch.tumblr.com

And in the other corner, we have Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the aging All Star catcher Mike Lawson. Listen, it’s not like this is an out of nowhere comeback for the erstwhile Zack Morris. Mark-Paul has worked steadily since his Saved By The Bell days, but something feels DIFFERENT in this performance. He brings a “seen it all” attitude to Mike. He has a weariness that could easily be seen as a disillusionment towards the game when really it’s a career ballplayer being painfully aware that he’s coming to the end of his time in the sun. It took me about 75% of the pilot episode before I realized that I was watching Mark-Paul Gosselaar on my TV screen and it’s NOT just because of his GLORIOUS mountain man beard. Mark-Paul completely disappears into the character and brings a very Coach Taylor-esque quality to the Padres captain. It’s the speeches and the eye crinkles and the bone deep love of the game. Come on, you KNOW Mike Lawson would bust out with “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.”

So what happens when you put these two incredibly dynamic performers opposite each other? Fireworks, naturally. Kylie and Mark-Paul’s chemistry is SO PALPABLE and has so many levels. For Mike, Ginny serves as an inspiration and a reminder of why he loves baseball in the first place. In Mike, Ginny finds a true teammate who will stand up for her and not treat her with kid gloves. There’s a definite mentor relationship between them but there is also an undeniable sexual chemistry. Bawson is the slowest of slowburns, with their attraction building through lingering looks and late night phone calls. It’s the most DELICIOUS kind of tension and it’s one they are both incredibly aware of. Mike and Ginny are like magnets, pushing against each other, challenging each other, and eventually, falling into each other. To quote my boo Kate Moseley, “all they needed was a little flip.” — Kim

3) Joshua Sasse – No Tomorrow

As the meteor he believes is hurtling towards Earth inspires Xavier Holiday to live his life to the fullest, so does the uncertain future of the CW’s apocalyptic romantic comedy No Tomorrow inspire us to recognize it while we can.

Bearded, beanied, and tattooed Xavier is played by HOT AUSSIE Joshua Sasse, fresh off the unfairly canceled musical romp Galavant. (YEP, he sings too.) He makes an amazing case for not writing off the sexy guy who’s into you juuuuust because he believes the rapture is on its way. He breaks the Dealbreaker Scale, basically.

I’d like to keep on objectifying Xavier and Joshua (as the show clearly does – he’s 1/2 or more naked in most episodes), but I’ll get serious. It’s a challenging part, because Xavier has to believe completely in his end-of-the-world theory but not come off as dangerous or deranged. And as charming as he is to Evie and the audience (and OH, HE IS), Xavier is also kind of an arrogant jerk, accustomed to putting himself first. It’s a credit to Joshua’s embodiment of the character that Xavier is still our hero – a flawed person who heard terrible news and decided to use it to turn his life around. You see his petulance when Evie challenges him, but you also see the way he lights up when someone around him takes control of however many days they have left. And the man knows how to sell a love scene, just saying.

He’s so convincing that I wonder sometimes if Xavier is actually right about our impending doom. And if No Tomorrow gets the pick-up it should, I hope it ends with a completely fulfilled Apocalyst and a vindicated male lead. –Sage

4) Sterling K. Brown – This Is Us

2016 was a garbage year but it’s ALSO the year that gave us Sterling K. Brown’s major career breakthrough, so I am ALMOST willing to call it even. I foolishly missed out on The People Vs. OJ Simpson (and am counting down the days until it gets added to Netflix), so my first exposure to Sterling’s acting came when I saw the pilot episode of This Is Us. Sage said it perfectly when she wrote about Sterling for our Handsome Young Man post: just when we think Sterling has hit his peak as Randall Pearson, he just gets BETTER. Randall is easily the most compelling character on This Is Us, and sometimes I can’t decide if it’s because he has the best story or because Sterling is just THAT GOOD in a cast filled with stellar actors. I actually think it’s a combination of both; Randall DOES have the meatiest stories, but Sterling also elevates every single scene that he’s in. In my humble opinion, he is giving THE male television performance of the year.

It’s clear that Sterling understands Randall on a fundamental level. The performance is never one-note and Randall can switch from achingly vulnerable to slyly sarcastic in the blink of an eye. (His comic timing is MASTERFUL.) If I had to think of one word to describe Sterling’s performance it would be DEFT. You never see him working, you never see him changing gears, and you NEVER see Sterling. You only see Randall Pearson, king of bad Dad jokes and devoted son, brother, and husband. It’s such a fully formed and nuanced performance. But the most important thing about Randall is how wonderfully human he is. It would be quite easy, after all the truth about William and Rebecca and his adoption came out, for Randall to be played as bitter and jaded. But he’s never been that, even in his initial meeting with William in the pilot episode. Randall Pearson has the biggest HEART and his capacity for love and forgiveness is truly inspiring. Sterling imbues him with such grace and warmth that you can’t help but fall in love with him immediately. It’s the perfect combination of actor and the character he was meant to play and we’re so blessed to watch him work week after week. — Kim

5) Aya Cash – You’re the Worst

The first time I saw Aya Cash perform was in 2008 when she played a disillusioned teen in the off-Broadway comedy From Up Here. She was memorable in a way that surpassed quirkiness, and I’m so thrilled to see her thriving in a role like Gretchen Cutler.

I binged the first two seasons of You’re the Worst in time for the season 3 premiere and responded instantly to the show’s filthiness and honesty. As it progresses, the show digs deeper and deeper into what familial and chemical circumstances make Gretchen and Jimmy, in fact, the worst. And what Aya has done with already keen and incisive material is to give an alarmingly accurate crash course on clinical depression. Jimmy can talk himself out of feeling most things, so it’s scary for him and for us when the normally verbose Gretchen goes nearly comatose. She wants nothing, asks for nothing, finds comfort in nothing. For the novelist, cause and effect are always talking to each other. Aya shows Gretchen paralyzed by the fear of telling Jimmy that there’s not switch to flick when it comes to her illness. She worries that he loves her because she’s irreverent and fun, but she can only be those things when she’s capable of feeling anything. In a brave and desperate moment of confession, she finally tells him: “So the only thing I need from you is to not make a big deal of it and be OK with how I am and the fact that you can’t fix me.”

This is You’re the Worst, and it’s not the kind of show that will present a newly determined Gretchen facing her illness with gumption and putting one foot in front of the other until she’s better. Mental illness and its treatment are not linear. In season 3, she backslides and claws and insults her therapist for wearing the same pair of jeans every day. But that’s Gretch and that’s depression. Even badass bitches can have it. –Sage

6) Minnie Driver – Speechless

Speechless is my favorite new comedy of the season and that’s largely in part to Minnie Driver’s FIERCE performance as ultimate tiger mama Maya DiMeo. The overbearing mom is a sitcom trope that could easily go the clichéd route but Minnie plays Maya like she’s in on the joke. She KNOWS she’s ridiculous but she also makes no apologies for it. (Also, she’s advocating for her disabled kid, so how ridiculous is she, REALLY?) It’s such a WRY performance, especially in the way Minnie delivers so many of her lines completely deadpan, her posh British accent just ACCENTUATING the dry delivery. While I never watched About a Boy, I heard nothing but good things about Minnie’s performance on it, so I am so happy to see that she’s found herself another television vehicle to showcase how talented she is. (Look, I can make a very strong case for the fact that she should have won the Oscar for Good Will Hunting. Ask me about it over cocktails.)

So often on television, unabashedly alpha females are portrayed as ball busters or stone cold bitches. Speechless takes a different approach. Maya IS a ball buster and she is often a bitch but it’s clear that those closest to her adore and cherish that part of her personality. Her husband Jimmy (a DELIGHTFUL John Ross Bowie) is more than happy to let Maya wear the pants in the marriage, but not from a slacker “oh look at the old ball and chain” point of view. It’s clear that Jimmy loves and respects his wife immensely and takes pleasure in watching her run the show. (And he’s always there to pick up the pieces when she comes in like a wrecking ball, shrugging his shoulders in a “Yeah, isn’t she great?” kind of way.) While her kids often roll their eyes at Maya, it’s obvious that there is no one they would rather have in their corner than their mother. Same. TV needs more characters like Maya DiMeo and it needs more actresses like Minnie Driver to bring them to life in an honest and relatable way.  — Kim

7) Kate McKinnon – Ghostbusters

Dudes, I love you. But it is IMPOSSIBLE to explain to you how much Ghostbusters means to us. When you tell me it’s “OKAY” or “good but not great,” you’re just proving how little you understand our intense craving for movies like these. We were DEHYDRATED over here, okay? But we didn’t know how thirsty we truly were until we saw Kate McKinnon as Jillian Holtzmann.

We got Holtzmanned, baby. And we loved it. Forever an SNL MVP, Kate imbued the gadget-loving scientist with a resplendent weirdness that made the whole movie sing. She instantly became an icon for girls who geek and – explicit though it wasn’t allowed to be – girls who would absolutely hit on Kristen Wiig if she ever wandered into their basement lab. The women in this movie were never sexualized, yet somehow, everyone I know walked out of that theater with a massive crush on Jillian and her collection of safety goggles. I’m so distracted by the gif below, it’s taken me 40 minutes to write this paragraph.

Which brings me back to why this is so important. Not since Ellen Ripley can I remember a female character kicking paranormal ass like Kate does in that sublime slow motion fight scene without being stuffed into cut-offs or a catsuit. Holtzmann is not a token hero, like so many in the “There’s One Girl!” teams that have been shoved down our throats. She’s a brilliant, bizarre, queer, ghostbusting scientist who’s biggest takeaway from this whole world-saving thing is that she’s finally found her tribe.

There should be a sequel. Kate McKinnon should be a movie star. Safety lights are for dudes who say this movie could have been better. –Sage

8) The Women of Penny Dreadful

RIP Penny Dreadful and some of the best female characters to grace our television screens in years. I’ll never understand why awards didn’t rain down upon Eva Green, Billie Piper, and Patti LuPone (whose role is the definition of a Guest Acting Emmy). But WE know the truth and we will never stop preaching the gospel of Vanessa Ives. Years from now, television historians will look back on Eva Green in Penny Dreadful and laud her bravery and her boldness. Her performance exhausts me, honestly. I don’t know how she did it. It was completely free of vanity. She wouldn’t just go to the ugly places, she would marinate in them and let them soak into her soul. Watching her every week was a masterclass in character development and determination and any episode that was Vanessa-less was weaker for it.

It was such a brilliant move to bring back Patti LuPone back for season three as Vanessa’s shrink, Dr. Seward. She had an incredibly memorable role in Season 2 as Joan Clayton, a witch who helped shape Vanessa’s life and cemented her identity as the Scorpion. I love how the two roles were completely different but yet the underlying thread of overwhelming compassion for Vanessa Ives tied the characters together. Patti brings SUCH gravity to all of her roles and really she’s the only woman who could go toe to toe with Eva Green and WIN. My biggest regret about the fact that we won’t be getting a season 4 is that we won’t get more of Seward the Vampire Slayer. NEVER FORGET how Seward casually admitted that she killed her abusive husband with a meat cleaver. Where’s my spinoff John Logan?

And then there’s Billie Piper, Queen of Our Hearts and the 2016 Feelie Winner for Best Supporting Actress in a Drama. There’s not much to say about Billie’s furious portrayal of Lily Frankenstein that we haven’t said before, so I’m just going to quote creator John Logan here. “It’s a very feminist show, and the idea that the audience gets to see, in our three years, Lily as a degraded figure who’s abused by men, as Brona, literally being reborn into a blank slate and then achieving incredible power but always having a great human connection. That was a case where I was also inspired by the actor, because Billie Piper so delights me, and I found that in the second season I was able to write her an eight-minute monologue that she absolutely delivered, completely, in a way that I found thrilling. I just wanted to do it again, because she’s an actor who understands theatricality and understands larger than life language in a very unique way, and that’s part of what this show is about.”

Quite right too.  — Kim

Continue reading

The Top 20 Television Moments of 2016 – Part One

Posted by Kim and Sage

WE DID IT YOU GUYS. The end of 2016 is nigh. Everyone take a deep sigh of relief.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that 2016 was a dumpster fire of a year. It was brutal with the celebrity deaths and it felt like the world was on the verge of imploding every time you turned on the news. I can’t help but think of Samwise Gamgee at the end of The Two Towers when I think of 2016. “How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you.” These end of year posts are the stories that have stayed with us. We hope you enjoy the memories as much as we do. –Kim

1) Michael Phelps swims the 200 Butterfly – The Rio Olympics

Michael Phelps did not come to the Rio Olympics to play. After being disappointed with his performance in the London Olympics (you know, a measly six medals, four of them gold), Michael returned to the pool as a man on a mission. The most important part of that mission? Getting back the gold medal in the 200 meter butterfly that South Africa’s Chad le Clos had taken from him. As fate would have it, Phelps and le Clos were in the same semifinal, swimming right next to each other. It’s the perfect sports story, really. The undisputed King of the Pool and the younger and cockier rival who had lorded his victory over Phelps for four years. Who would triumph? Here’s why I love the Olympics so fucking much: the completely pure and unstaged moments of human emotion. As cameramen in the holding room focused on the two rivals they caught le Clos showboating and shadowboxing in front of Phelps. And there sat Michael, his hood up over his head and his trademark headphones on making a FACE OF DEATH. Seriously…laser beams were about to shoot out of his eyes. Thus, the greatest meme of 2016, #PhelpsFace, was born. (It’s also the default facial expression to describe the year.)

Was le Clos trying to psych Phelps out? Was Michael truly just in the zone, as he later claimed, or was he making the face at the obvious showboating? We’ll never know, really. What we DO know are the results in the pool. Phelps and le Clos qualified 2nd and 3rd in that semi, which set up an exciting final that was packed with contenders for the Gold. There was something about Michael’s swimming and attitude in Rio though. While he never looked MISERABLE in previous Olympics, it was clear that Michael had always been focused on winning and shattering records alone. In Rio, he seemed to have rediscovered the JOY of swimming and it showed in his interviews and his emotions on the podium. Michael shaved off nearly 8/10ths of a second off his semifinal time to take back his precious Gold Medal and his jubilation was reminiscent of a certain end zone dance by Rod Tidwell. One might say that Michael Phelps found the Kwan in Rio and we all got to see it. — Kim

2) The #HamilTonys

Look, Hamilton was going to come into the Tonys like a wrecking ball. Everyone knew it. Hence the joke in the opening (Hamilton-themed) number: Leslie Odom Jr., Daveed Diggs, Anthony Ramos, and Okieriete Onaodowan advancing on a Tony-toting James Corden, who stops them by singing, “Just you wait, just you wait…”

The Best Musical award was a foregone conclusion. (In any other year, Waitress. Any other year.) Score and Book were too. The tightest races in a couple of the acting categories were actually BETWEEN Hamilton castmates. And though no choice would have been the wrong one, the Tonys – in our opinion – played it just right. For once, Alexander Hamilton didn’t spoil an Aaron Burr victory; Leslie accepted the Leading Actor Tony he deserved. There was no controversy, since Lin went home with a wheelbarrow of other awards. Broadway veterans Christopher Jackson and Jonathan Groff looked on proudly as newcomer Daveed Diggs was handed the Featured Actor Tony. It’s safe to say that being in Hamilton would change anyone’s life, but of those three, it changed Daveed the most. And come on, the guy plays one character per act, spits RECORD-BREAKING fire, and delivers the best asides in the show. (Whaaaaaaat?) Renee Elise Goldsberry cried as she gave her Featured Actress acceptance speech. And if it hadn’t been for the unstoppable Cynthia Erivo, Phillipa Soo would have been on that stage too.

All told, Hamilton took home 11 Tonys, falling just short of the The Producers‘ record. But that wasn’t the whole story. Hamilton in its very existence is a statement. In the same awards cycle when #OscarsSoWhite trended worldwide, Hamilton contributed to the Tonys’ incredible diversity achievement of all four musical acting awards going to non-white performers. The show made this the hippest Tonys (is that a thing??) in recent memory. The 2016 telecast was the highest rated in the last 15 years. And those new viewers were tuning in SPECIFICALLY to see Hamilton – a piece of art that’s reinvigorated and redrawn the medium by prioritizing inclusion, truth, and a ridiculous amount of work.

A dark shadow was cast on the Tonys. Early that same morning, the Pulse massacre occurred in Florida. The telecast was dedicated to the victims and their families. One of Lin’s speeches was a quickly composed sonnet honoring them too. And Hamilton‘s producers made a decision to alter their performance. There were no muskets in “Yorktown.” The actors and the ensemble mimed their presence. And that image – two dozen people in Colonial garb pointing invisible guns into the audience – will stay with me for a long time.  –Sage

3) The Origin of The Big Three – This Is Us



source: thisisusedits.tumblr.com
I was fully on board with This Is Us from that first trailer that featured guaranteed tearjerker “I Won’t Give Up” as the soundtrack (and because it had Mandy Moore). But I was also completely aware that a great trailer by no means makes a great show and that This Is Us could easily be saccharine overdose. I was lucky to get to see an early screening of the This Is Us at the Paley Center a couple of weeks before it premiered. I was immediately taken in by the sharp and funny dialogue and the tightly drawn characters. (Sterling K. Brown gets Randall from the GET GO, guys.) I was so drawn in by the four principle stories of the pilot that I forgot to look for the twist of how they were all tied together (SILLY ME). I ignored niggling questions like why in the hell with triplets did Mandy Moore’s Rebecca NOT have a c-section scheduled? I missed the hints of Randall saying that he was abandoned at a fire station and adopted by a wonderful couple. I COMPLETELY missed it…and so did most of the people in the Paley screening room.

A collective GASP swept through the room when Milo Ventimiglia’s Jack, mourning the loss of one of his triplets, stood at the nursery window smiling at his two babies and started talking to the fireman standing next to him, who pointed out the baby who had been abandoned at his fire station. “OH MY GOD,” I quietly (or not so quietly) exclaimed, as the camera panned back to reveal people in period clothing wandering the halls of the hospital. “THEY ARE A FAMILY.” It was in that moment that we KNEW that This Is Us was going to be a special kind of show: unabashedly sentimental, expertly acted, and one that would take us along on the journey.  — Kim

4) The Blood Threesome – Penny Dreadful

Rest in peace, Penny Dreadful. You crazy bitch.

Showtime’s literary horror masterpiece pulled out all the stops for what we didn’t know would be its final season. We didn’t get this gory orgy not in the finale, oh no. This was episode THREE.

I have some issues with the way it was resolved. But overall, I am all about Penny Dreadful turning the horror of being a woman of no consequence in Victorian London around on the godless men who exploit them. It facilitated some jaw-dropping Billie Piper monologues, that’s for sure. It also facilitated this consummation: Lily, her benefactor Dorian, and their bloodthirsty protege Justine celebrate Justine’s first kill by indulging in the most indulgent act possible. Lily and Justine are celebrating being masters of their own bodies for once. And Dorian? Well, Dorian’s just a hedonist.

The camerawork, the candles, the score: it’s all so over-the-top and UBER-DRAMATIC and not really that necessary for the plot. I love TV that will throw over subtlety when necessary, and go to these places just because it’s FUN. –Sage

5) Murtagh gets his vengeance – Outlander

When I look back at Season Two of Outlander, I can sum it up with a singular text I got from Sage whilst she watched episode 11, “Vengeance is Mine”: “THIS SHOW IS SAVAGE.” Season Two was a LOT, from all the shenanigans in Paris to the emotional wallop that was the entire episode of “Faith” to Jamie stabbing BlackJack Randall IN THE DICK to a pregnant Claire being sent back through the stones. The entire season was a masterclass in pacing and storytelling because we KNEW the ending in the opening moments of the season premiere, yet the show managed to keep us on our toes and have us HOPING that said ending would not come to pass. But sadly, I can’t single out the entire season for this post. Thus I settled on the moment that prompted Sage’s text message: Murtagh’s savage beheading of the Duke of Sandringham. Because as a book virgin, I did NOT see that one coming.

Let’s face it: Murtagh is the unsung hero of the series. He faithfully stands by Jamie and Claire’s side in France, even though every expression on his face says “I MISS SCOTLAND”. His only reaction when Jamie FINALLY told him the truth about Claire was to punch him in the face for not trusting him with this information sooner. He pulled a “I’m with you till the end of the line” with Jamie at The Battle of Culloden when Jamie tried to send him away. (SIDE NOTE: MURTAGH BETTER BE ALIVE IN SEASON THREE BITCHES.) Murtagh is good people. So it was devastated to see him wracked by guilt over not being able to protect Claire and Mary when they were attacked (and Mary was brutally raped) on the streets of Paris. HE WAS UNCONSCIOUS WHAT COULD HE HAVE DONE? Nevertheless, his promise to avenge Claire and Mary was one he took to heart. The last minutes of “Vengeance is Mine” were absolutely thrilling, from Red Jamie storming in ready to kick some ass to Mary grabbing the knife and stabbing her attacker once Sandringham’s complicit involvement in the attack came to light. But it was all capped off by Murtagh grabbing a fucking AXE and taking a swing at the Duke. Off came his head and he grabbed it and placed it at Claire and Mary’s feet as they looked on in shock. “I lay my vengeance at your feet,” he said, kneeling before them. That’s Murtagh for you. Taking things literally. — Kim

Continue reading

“We could get a Peabody for this.” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Who’s the Cool Girl Josh Is Dating?

Source: talesofnorth

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.

Source: crazyexedits
 

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.

Source: bunchofbloom
 

“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.”)

Source: bunchofbloom
 

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.

Source: bunchofbloom
Continue Reading

“Forcing friendships is weird.” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group?

Source: thegameofnerds

Source: thegameofnerds

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 6
“Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group”
Posted by Sage

It’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s bread-and-butter to take the awkwardness we all experience to its most extreme point. This week, the show turned its wacky laser-focus to the “blending” of girl friend groups, an endeavor that sounds harmless but has blown up in a lot – a LOT – of faces. The Electric Mesa episode and more so this one prove that Crazy Ex has its creative direction well in hand, even after taking a sledgehammer to the love triangle that defined the first season.

Paula and Rebecca aren’t what they used to be. As they grow more distant, Paula devotes her time to law school (which she appears to be killing) and her friendship with Sunil; and Rebecca revels in taking filtered selfies and talking about bathroom behavior with her new girlfriend squad. Every time Rebecca trips over a new opportunity for validation, she attaches herself to it. With Valencia and Heather at her side, she’s redefined as “the brainy one” in a protective cocoon of girl power. Rebecca feels so powerful that she’s plotting how she and her brunch bitches will violently take over the world. The Spice Girls homage is sublime. “Friendtopia” is female millennial nostalgia meets female political rage, and it’s really catchy too. Zig-a-zow!

It doesn’t take long for Rebecca to start feeling actively guilty about ditching Paula. Darryl’s hints that “others” may be feeling left out of Rebecca’s very public lady friendship too just brings it to the surface. (“What am I doing? I’ve completely broken her heart.”) Crazy Ex likes to draw parallels between platonic friendships and romantic relationships. And in both, there are those times when you haven’t yet discussed the mutual feeling that you’re out of sync. And those periods are terrible and awkward, because the general and inaccurate consensus is that friendships don’t need work or periodic states of the union.

touch-it touch-it-2
Source: bunchofbloom
 

What Rebecca needs to do is spend time alone with Paula and remind her that she’s an important person in her life. (The most? Probably.) What she does is throw Paula in with the sharks with no warning. Even the sharks weren’t informed in this case. Heather assures girlfriend newbie Valencia that Rebecca’s surprise group hang is “super weird.” It gets weirder when Karen’s friend “Angelique” shows up with her luxury sex toy sales pitch. Angelique is Karen in a blond bob wig and a catsuit. Her wares are overpriced and dangerous-looking (“Is that a claw?”), and no one – least of all Paula – is having the giggly girl bonding experience Rebecca was hoping to achieve.

Source: thegameofnerds

“OH GOD, I have to be friends with Karen too?” Source: thegameofnerds

Paula is blindsided. The sharpied breast cancer walk tee is humiliating, and she has a test to study for. But Rebecca is trying in her own misguided way to reach out and include Paula in her new Greg-and-Josh-less life. Rebecca’s problem is that she doesn’t hear people; Paula’s is that she doesn’t speak up. So even though it’s Paula who gets stuck in the bathroom when her best friend’s murder house collapses in on her, she’s not the only victim here.

sunil sunil-2
Source: crazyexedits
 

Paula wants to blame their problems on Rebecca’s neediness, but she didn’t HAVE to send bitchy texts to the new model while Rebecca was sitting right next to her. It’s a defense mechanism – drag those girls first before they can drag her. But Paula is an adult woman who makes smart, mature decisions all the time. She’s better than this. When middle school rears its ugly head, friendships get hurt. And texting about someone who is IN THE ROOM is playing with fire in any case. Pick a better bail-out buddy too. Sunil’s theater degree is not shown in its best light when he’s alerting the girls of the sad injury that’s befallen Tommy-Timmy. Rebecca’s anger towards him is my favorite. All personal conflicts should be hashed out over Fiddler on the Roof references.

Little does Rebecca know as she’s busy putting together the worst ladies night in history that her stalker is back in town. “Who Needs Josh When You Have a Girl Group?” marks the return of Trent, the Los Angeles dwelling Harvard alum who was suckered into playing the role of Rebecca’s boyfriend in a season 1 scheme and later revealed himself to be a certified creeper. He got the news about Rebecca’s breakups during his regular review of her hacked emails and comes to West Covina with a sure-fire plan to ingratiate himself into her life. Trent spends $10k on cropped hoodies in a surf shop and accidentally-on-purpose bumps into Josh at the Aloha, all so he can “in-chill-trate” the circle of bros closest to her.

trent trent-2
Source: bunchofbloom
Continue Reading

“You have the forceful stream of a leader.” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – Why Is Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Eating Carbs?

Source: felicitybarry

Source: felicitybarry

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 4
“When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?”
Posted by Sage

It’s morning in West Covina, on the first day since she’s arrived that Rebecca Bunch hasn’t been chasing after Josh and/or Greg. Not that she’s over it. No, no, no – she’s so predictably fixated on the absence of them that Heather has made a business out of it. It’s a wonder that Rebecca’s new roommate isn’t a successful entrepreneur; it costs her no shame to monetize Rebecca’s weakness, instead, she calmly notes the debt Rebecca is racking up in $5 Josh increments. Heather is a secret genius: confirmed.

josh-fun

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

Heather is no commiserating partner. But Rebecca has her eye on another. When she spotted a bare-faced, carb-loading Valencia last week, Rebecca finally saw the weakness in her she’d been searching for all last season. But now she doesn’t want to exploit it. Well, not for boyfriend-stealing purposes, anyway. She wants to tap into Valencia’s misery vein, where they can feed off of each other’s pain in a primal, cavewoman kinda way. Rebecca even needs validation to be sad. Heather cautions that Valencia doesn’t want to hear anything about Stone Age female empowerment from Rebecca. She just wants to get her “now donut and her later donut” and get the hell outta there. “She hates you,” Heather reminds Rebecca. But Rebecca grins at her like a woman possessed. “She just thinks she does.”

Valencia gets the full force of Rebecca’s mania turned on her because she’s Rebecca’s last link to Josh. She figures it out pretty quickly when Rebecca shows up to her apartment uninvited and suggests they “ingest each others pain and sorrow.” But they’re not in the same situation, Valencia argues. Rebecca was the dumpee; Valencia was the dumper. But emotionally stable yoga teachers don’t fall into muffin binges for no reason. Rebecca is right on one count: Valencia is sad. She just doesn’t know it yet – or doesn’t know why she should be.

postmates

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

Rebecca can’t put her primitive bonding plan to work in the middle of a strip mall haven like West Covina. Fortunately, a solution presents itself in the form of Darryl and White Josh, who are preparing to head out to the dessert for Electric Mesa, a Burning Man-esque festival of self-indulgence and hipster cultural appropriation. Emboldened by the event’s promise to “connect, refresh, heal,” Rebecca knocks unannounced on Valencia’s door again. She coaxes the moper out of her apartment with the promise of Dairy Queen chicken baskets and blizzards (rude). Instead, she kidnaps her to Electric Mesa, still in her pajamas. After an hour of Rebecca’s begging, Valencia relents and gets out of the car. She’ll mesa, but only under protest.

port-a-potties

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

You guuuuuuuyyyyssss. Rebecca doesn’t whisk Valencia away with pure intentions, but still: Rebecca and Valencia bonding. For real this time.

The festival does get off to a rocky start. Rebecca pesters Valencia with Josh talk during her “sensory bath,” going against the one condition under which Valencia promised to hang out. (“So what IS Josh looking for? ‘Cause you and I are amazing.”) V sics Sherpa Allen on her kidnapper, and when the sound system dies out, she ditches the bath to look for an Uber. Frantic and looking for a reason for Valencia to stay (“I saw a woman with a bikini top made of the Bill of Rights!”), Rebecca drags her over to a tea stand. The thirsty girls down two cups of “earthy water” under the wide-eyed stare of the vendor. “You guys must have a really high tolerance.” They don’t get it. “A Triceratops tolerance? The hallucinogen Triceratops? A.K.A. 3-Tops? Meketyltrichlorocaine? Mixy, Toxy, Cloxy?” Excellent festival rule of thumb: do not ingest ANY unidentified substance, as you might end up in your own dream ballet. And that’s the best case scenario, tbh.

But before we dive into that inspired dinosaur-themed dance piece, let’s check in on our other characters. Josh, as is his way, has NO idea that these two women are pounding laced beverages because of his inability to be in a grown-up relationship. To be fair, he has his own problems. And he doesn’t seem to understand those very well either. Alex finds Josh in the Aloha break room, six hours early for his shift and organizing every thing he can get his hands on. Josh runs down the list of life events that are stressing him out, and Alex grabs onto the relationship side of things. “You’re a girlfriend guy, I can tell,” he says, coyly suggesting that he’ll be coupled up again soon. Josh protests that he’s actually fine being alone. But when Alex leaves, Josh turns his attention to untangling a mass of cords and batting away the negative notions that cross his mind. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is about mental illness as much as it is about independence. And this song tells me that Josh Chan has mild anxiety disorder, plus a touch of OCD. Even better, it’s an incredibly sharp parody of Jack Johnson and other ’00s surfer folk pop. Remember “Bubble Toes?” It’s that. And it’s SO GOOD.

Vincent Rodriguez III has been on another level this season. It feels like Rachel and the writers are writing FOR him a lot more, especially when it comes to the songs. “Ping Pong Girl” is in my regular rotation, and “Thought Bubbles” will be too. I can’t get over how well the hand-drawn animation represents Josh’s man-child nature. The “Obamas’ dog” line is 100% gold. From visuals to lyrics to performance, the season 2 musical numbers are nailing it.

Paula doesn’t have a song this week, but she does have her first day at law school. Rebecca drops her off at class, reclaiming the extra juice box she so thoughtfully packed for her. One of Paula’s classmates mistakes Rebecca for Paula’s daughter because of her “me me me” vibe. And in defending Rebecca’s honor, Paula blurts out that she just had an abortion and hasn’t been able to tell her friend about it because she doesn’t feel like she’s entitled to that space. (“I get it, I’m Barb, she’s Nancy.”) Her classmate, Sunil, has a good heart. I know this because he sees how uncomfortable her outburst made Paula and he evens the conversation out by telling her about his own recent life-changing event. His wife committed suicide, and he hasn’t been brave enough to tell his children what really happened. (“I told them she went to a mom farm upstate where moms run around all day.”)

Sunil and Paula bond over being the older students in the class and – as many of the greatest friendships I have were formed – through hating the same people. They struggle to keep up with the lecture and are entranced by a fellow student’s high-tech, low-effort note taking app. When Paula politely asks for the name of the program, the WASPy jerk responds that it’s Nunya. “Nunya business, biiiiitch.” Sunil and Paula are already feeling out of touch and silly, and this aggression will not stand, man. They have to get that app, even if they have to break into that kid’s American Psycho Junior dorm room to do it.

skulking skulking-2
Source: bunchofbloom
 

Continue Reading

“Who are you, Rebecca Bunch?” – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Recap – When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 4
“When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?”
Posted by Sage

Rachel Bloom warned me. But I couldn’t watch this week’s Crazy Ex live. We were covering a con last weekend, so staying off of Twitter until I could was impossible. So it didn’t take long for a Satino Fontana exit interview to cross my timeline the next morning. MID-PANEL.

Kim: Is it bad?
Me: *nods*
Kim: Is it Greg?
Me: *nods*
Kim: …..
Kim: You look like you’re about to burst into tears.

Knowing what I knew, I put it off for a few more days. I cleared everything else off of my DVR before finally pressing play. It’s okay, though. I mean, it’s NOT. Not for me. But it’s a bold and character-driven story choice, unlike some write-offs I know. (*Glares at Sleepy Hollow*) Though I will love Greg Serrano until the day I die, Rebecca is the show. We’re here to see how she copes with situations like these. (Spoiler alert: not well.) And as I said in last week’s recap, there really was no realistic way to keep Greg in West Covina forever, even if the Emory money hadn’t come through as soon as it did. To paraphrase Rachel Green, “He lifts right out!”

Source: bunchofbloom

Don’t leave meeeeeeee. Source: bunchofbloom

At least Santino got two killer numbers in his farewell episode. The first takes place right after last week’s cliffhanger, when a sleep-rumpled Rebecca tries to stop him from getting on his plane. Her first argument is the afternoon that she saw him on the bridge in WhiJo’s favorite park – a sign, the universe telling them they should be together. But these signs are just Rebecca’s brain searching for links that will enable her to avoid choices all together. “Life doesn’t happen to you,” he tells her. “You make decisions.” And Greg’s decision is to stop treading water and actually move on with his life. They had their moments, he says. “Some of the best of my life.” But his feelings for her make him do dumb things; it’s why he didn’t come to say goodbye. Rebecca’s second case is that Greg really does love her. And he agrees, yes, of course he does. Rebecca never does say it back, though. And their chemistry has never stopped them from making each other miserable. Maybe things will be different someday, when they both get their shit together. But Greg’s last stand – his “My Way” – is convincing to me and Rebecca – two people who really don’t want to see him go. Also, you better SING, Santino.

Dr. Akopian was right, as usual. Rebecca was in no state to experience two break-ups in rapid succession. They send her to her couch, where good ol’ Paula is there to remind her that she still has a life. Rebecca dedicated herself to dealing with these men because it gave her purpose. Without Greg and Josh in her life, she’s lost, because she doesn’t have anything left to distract her from the things she doesn’t like about herself. “I don’t know who I am without them,” she wails. “I know that’s pathetic, but it’s true.”

be-yourself

Source: colinarthurgeoffrey

Source: colinarthurgeoffrey

After Paula leaves, Rebecca angrily scrubs a countertop and resolves to start her life over yet again. But she’s interrupted by two “memory spirits” – not to be confused with the considerably lamer “dream ghosts.” Memories of Josh and Greg haunt her house. And because neither of those relationships were healthy or functional, they’re all memories of doin’ it. Doin’ it everywhere. How can Rebecca even begin to extricate herself from Josh and Greg when they’re literally tap-dancing around her house pointing out all the places they’ve banged? I don’t know and I also don’t care, because ho-ly shit, look at these boys hoof it up.

tap-that-ass

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

I cannot believe “not on my chest” made it past the censors.

pancakes

Source: crazyexedits

Source: crazyexedits

Anyway, these dancing “polterguys” aren’t as cute to Rebecca as they are to me. So she puts together a haphazard purging ritual to banish them from her house. But her little boyfriend memorabilia blaze becomes a big four-alarm house fire, and that’s how Rebecca shows up on Heather’s doorstep wrapped in an inflammable blanket in the middle of the night. Heather’s indulgent parents (I knew she couldn’t afford that house on a bartender’s salary) take her in without question and begin to fuss over her like they must do Heather. (“Get outta my head, you angel!) Mrs. Heather Davis even lends Rebecca some of her work wear, so the lawyer can go into the office looking collected and totally over her two recent heartbreaks.

Source: bunchofbloom

Source: bunchofbloom

Unfortunately, some snarky 911 operator uploaded Rebecca’s emergency call to YouTube and now everyone in the office knows that Rebecca started a fire in her own house and then pooped in her backyard. Even worse, she’s yelling about Greg and Josh on the tape and now fears those guys will know how truly fucked up she is right now. And the last thing you want your exes to know about your post-break-up state of mind is the truth. Paula advises Rebecca to skip their meeting, but all that would do, Rebecca reasons, is further convince everyone that she’s falling apart. So Rebecca walks into a sit-down with the CEO of Miss Douche (Jane’s Yael Groblas in a nifty CW crossover) like a future cult member looking for a leader. She falls instantly under the spell of Trina’s faith in the “re-brand.” If a product as passe as douche can be marketed to the Coachella crowd, then surely Rebecca can chisel out some new version of herself.

In a characteristically professional move, Rebecca recuses herself from the case so that she can enter the competition to BE Miss Douche. It’s an Instagram throwdown with “mermaids who grew feet,” and Heather thinks it’s a disastrous idea. Her parents, on the other hand, are all about trying without a hope of success. It’s what’s shaped Heather into the unambitious cynic she is today. With their support (and a song), Rebecca embarks on a “makey-makeover” montage scored by a cloying Toni Basil-esque bop. (“Old you in the garbage, new you in display case!”)

What does being Miss Douche have to do with being a well-adjusted adult? Literally nothing, but Rebecca latches onto it anyway. If she can win this contest, everyone will know she’s okay. ( “Look at that new Miss Douche, she really has her act together.”) Of course, her J.Lo makeover achieves the opposite of her goal. She looks sad, desperate, and disoriented. And her “dead people hair” is literally falling out in clumps onto Paula’s desk. When she runs into Josh looking like a Jersey salon receptionist, he looks at her with pity. And he hasn’t even seen the video. (Polar bear related internet cleanse, natch.) Josh can be dense when it comes to reading people, but in this moment, he’s on the money.  “Whatever you’re going through right now,” he says, “it’ll get better, I promise.”

The reaction of her coworkers and one of two exes is not what Rebecca was hoping for, so plants herself back on another couch. Heather wakes her to tell her that the internet bots she paid to like her photo did their job whether she wanted them to or not; Rebecca is a Miss Douche finalist and damn if Heather is going to let her quit. I love what Heather does here, even though she thinks this contest is totally irrelevant and stupid. Her parents let her drop out of anything she wanted to. And though they really do think the world of her, that kind of enabling didn’t do Heather any favors. She’s beginning to realize that she should have been pushed. And if her parents showed their love for her by no letting her take shortcuts and sit on the sidelines, her life would be much different. Heather doesn’t want to see Rebecca back down for fear of failure or any other reason. (“Girl, get your hair glue and let’s vamanos.”) LADIES.

Continue Reading