Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2, Episode 11
“Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?”
Posted by Sage
As if Rebecca Bunch needed further rationale for her misbehavior, the Santa Ana winds came to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this week. The native Californians warn Rebecca that the weather phenomenon makes everyone act a little strange. Meanwhile, nothing that any of them do in the course of the hour is one step out of character. (Except perhaps for George, but that’s what happens when you push a man to the brink.) The winds don’t blow Rebecca into Nathaniel’s rather nice arms; her insecurity about her en-gaaahge-ment does the job just fine on its own.
“Josh Is the Man of My Dreams, Right?” is a subversive take on that engagement honeymoon period and the imagery that’s associated with it. Rebecca shoves, sticks, and plants her ringed hand on the faces of her coworkers to shut them up about the speed with which she and Josh are moving. And finding the perfect wedding venue becomes synonymous with having the perfect marriage. Josh and Rebecca haven’t had one conversation about how their relationship will change or what their long-term plans are. Though Josh – bless his simple heart – does believe that they’ll be married “forever.” Of course some engaged couples go right into planning mode. But a coffee break conversation with Paula tells Rebecca that she’s missing the other half of this experience. She doesn’t feel any differently towards Josh knowing that they’re going to spend their lives together. He doesn’t give her goosebumps anymore.
As ever, Rebecca is more concerned with how their engagement will change how people perceive her. (Hopefully: together, sane, desirable.) She’s especially eager to clock Nathaniel’s response. He’s taken SUCH pleasure in putting Josh down to her face. If an engagement doesn’t convince him that this is real, then what will? But – shocker – Nathaniel isn’t one to get all moony over an engagement ring. As far as he’s concerned, an engaged person is just giving up on the fun stuff and taking themselves out of the game. (Guys think “the chase” is a lot more fun than girls do, wonder why.) He pushes Rebecca about it – how she’ll never be satisfied, how she’s only tying herself down – because he’s decided that he wants to see her break. It’s not a HEALTHY chemistry they have, but Nathaniel and Rebecca are both very determined to pull the other over to their way of thinking. One might say they’re a little obsessed.
The switch flicks for Nathaniel when the winds blow upon Rebecca’s top and he gets a load of her sacks of yellow fat. (They ARE glorious.) In another stroke of brilliance, the show anthropomorphizes the Santa Ana winds as a Frankie Valli-esque crooner. Rebecca imagines the West Covina weatherman (who WAS in Jersey Boys – I checked) creating opportunities for mischief and meddling in her love life. Really, Rebecca’s mistake happens because of her and Nathaniel’s combative sexual chemistry. It IS weird that they both had a sex dream about the other on the same night. (“Oh, girl who works for me.”) But really, they’ve been building towards a bad decision since Nathaniel got there.
Paula’s advice is cribbed straight from eight Reese Witherspoon movies and is thus incredibly sound. The sexual tension will blow over. Eventually Nathaniel will do something that repels Rebecca, and she and Josh will get their groove back. (“I’m im-bump-potent with him!”) All she has to do is avoid being stuck with him alone in a small space. (Was this always a thing or did rom-coms foretell a self-fulfilling prophecy?) Rebecca spends the whole day avoiding her boss, but the wind is a prankster (“tee hee heeeee”) and they end up alone in the elevator together at night. The running George joke finally pays off when the power goes, and he’s the only person left in the building to rescue him. But Nathaniel and Rebecca are too wrapped up in their own egos and problems to remember this poor guy’s name. Their forced intimacy is George’s revenge.
“This guy is the embodiment of all my problems,” Kim said to me when we talked about the episode. And he really is the perfect expression of “the guy she tells you not to worry about” meme. What should be repulsing Rebecca – and all of us, when we’re treated this way – is instead issued as a challenge, an enticing opportunity to act out.
Nathaniel is so unashamedly arrogant that one personal detail or kind word from him is more meaningful than a monologue of your virtues given by someone who’s always nice to you. He’s so straightforward about his intentions that you’re meant to consider them a dare. He insults Rebecca MULTIPLE times during his Ed Sheeran come-on ballad, but it just fuels her fire more. He dares question her Hogwarts house alignment, and all Rebecca can think about is how cute it is that this Ivy League nightmare appreciated the wonder and witty English prose of J.K. Rowling’s series. Why are we LIKE this? (Because the patriarchy has convinced us that we require approval from standoffish men and must do anything to get it.) After this number, Scott Michael Foster can feel free to stay forever. Also, I’m calling this for the show’s choreography Emmy for next year.
Rebecca and Nathaniel survive the elevator breakdown, barely. (“Well you can’t be with Cedric if you’re already with Ron.” “Stop talking dirty.”) But Rebecca is too keyed up and thrown off balance by her boss to let it go. She pulls him in for one kiss that doesn’t do ANYTHING to get them out of each other’s systems. When Rebecca gets home, she wakes up Josh in the middle of the night. She doesn’t tell him that she strayed so they can talk about it. What show do you think you’re watching? No, she’s overcorrected again, paying off a bride to move her wedding so that she and Josh can tie the knot in two weeks. Josh thinks it’s a little fast, but he’s all in when Rebecca promises him he won’t have to do anything. (Typical. Are we sure he’s NOT 17?) But if her feelings about being tied down didn’t magically change when she got that ring on her finger, those vows aren’t going to alter anything either. And now that Nathaniel knows he’s under her skin, he’s not going to let up.
It’s almost admirable how Rebecca can continue to be so obtuse about her relationship when an excellent example of an actual marriage in actual trouble is her best friend and future matron of honor. Scott and Paula are still living apart, though she’s beginning to soften towards him and becoming sick of this impersonal arrangement. (“We just exchange the children like political prisoners at a militarized border.”) Getting cheated on is a chain reaction, presenting one indignity after another. Even though Paula’s heart is telling her to give Scott another chance, she’s hindered by everything she’s internalized about “a strong woman.” Even though Rebecca and Darryl tell her that no one will think less of her for attempting to forgive him, Paula is stuck on how it will look and what it will mean about her if she does. (If she forgives his cheating, does that make her the kind of person who gets cheated on?)
Darryl is so desperate to be of use to Paula that he uses the information she confides in him in an unintentionally manipulative way. He calls Scott to the restaurant where they’re meeting so that he and Paula can talk it out. It’s a violation, certainly. Darryl wants the best for his best friend, but he has to respect that she’ll know when she’s ready. Paula doesn’t let him off the hook for it, but she does take into account that Darryl’s only goal was to help her out. Anyway, his interference has its intended effect. Her marriage is her own business. And Paula taking the chance to try and save it IS a way of being strong.
He’s not Rebecca, but Darryl is firmly on Paula’s team. He doesn’t care if they have each other sitting on different friendship rungs. (“Every day, when I come to work, you have the perfect sarcastic remark or a great insight into a case. And you always tell me the truth, no matter what. And I like those things so much that I don’t care where I rank with you.”) Then he pulls out a ukulele to prove it. This week, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend gave us a song about a real social arrangement that lots of us are in but no one has ever thought to sing about before. Like everything Darryl does, it’s nakedly sensitive and pure. Preserve this mustached man and his heart, I beg you.
It’s A Lot More Nuanced Than That
- Little Crazy Ex-Girlfriend things: when reprises go to different characters. (Karen’s snake/convict love triangle song!)
- “Don’t condescend to me, little girl.” NEW MRS. HERNANDEZ IS A BEAST.
- “Are you guys trying to decide if a dead spider is a black widow again? That was a productive Wednesday afternoon.”
- “Thank you. I loved Miss Patty and her squishy tummy.”
- If Rebecca and Josh don’t go through with it, the season finale wedding should go to Karen and Long John Slither. (“That prop isn’t even on the ballot yet.”)
- “I’m here, stop talking about dumb stuff.”
- The jizzing creamer was a stroke of genius. Pun always intended.
Just two more episodes to go! And we’re building to one shitshow of a season finale. Leave your comments about this episode and the winds of El Diablo below!