This review contains spoilers.
2.12 Is Josh Free In Two Weeks?
One of the things Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is brilliant at – beyond creating hilarious and poignant musical numbers, destigmatising mental illness, and generally being side-splittingly funny – is making you want something and desperately not want it at the same time. Remember Rebecca racing to the airport to express her love for Greg? As viewers, we wanted her to get there so we could see the big romantic moment play out, but we kind of wanted to see him get safely on his plane without getting sidetracked. (And while we wanted Greg to follow his dreams, we also wanted him to stay on the show!) A similar thing is happening now, with Josh and Rebecca’s impending nuptials.
Because we know it’s a terrible idea for Josh and Rebecca to get married right now. It’s possibly a bad idea for Josh and Rebecca to get married ever, but it’s definitely a terrible idea for them to get married right now, having only been together for a little while, in a rush-job wedding that’s only been hastened along because Rebecca feels so guilty about snogging Nathaniel. She’s not ready to get married, and neither is Josh, and it’s all gonna be a big mess.
But there’s also a part of us, the part that was told fairytales as a child and watched movies as a grownup, that wants to see them walk down the aisle and live happily ever after. There’s a part of us, like there’s a part of Rebecca, that thinks a wedding is an ending, and that everything’ll be okay once she’s in her big fluffy princess dress saying “I do” to the man she thinks she’s been in love with for her whole life.
That tension made this episode particularly compelling. The same manic momentum that led Rebecca to bribe a complete stranger into moving their wedding date pushes her into making rash decisions about how her wedding should look, and with a little help from a printable wedding to-do list online, she’s soon crafting and baking up a storm. And not just a busy metaphorical storm – it’s more like a tornado, made of flour and twigs and mess. It’s funny because it’s such an obvious disaster, but it’s also kind of heartbreaking, because all of Rebecca’s efforts here come from her desperate desire to be normal, and have a normal, happy wedding.
(Her “how to plan a normal wedding please help” online search was a perfect joke that seemed like a throwaway aside but was actually a complete summation of, well, Rebecca, really.)
And we want that for her, don’t we? We want Rebecca to be happy, even though we don’t want this wedding to happen. So when first her mother and then her father fail her, and when Paula’s too busy studying to help and Josh falls asleep folding his first origami crane, we’re as invested in hoping it’ll all work out as we are in kind of hoping she’ll see all these things as signs she should postpone the wedding. But then everything starts to fall into place, and it’s both great and horrible.
Last week’s episode had a kind of guest narrator in the form of the Santa Ana wind, while this week’s episode also folded itself around a guest star: Seth Green as Patrick, the parcel delivery guy. But while the singing wind was really a figment of Rebecca’s imagination, Patrick’s a real person, and one relatively unconnected to Rebecca and her craziness. It seems slightly unlikely that he’d get involved by bringing Paula to the rescue, but, well, stranger things have happened. And after the gorgeous (Tell Me I’m Okay) Patrick, maybe anyone would’ve felt inspired to play fairy godmother. Rebecca didn’t even have to sing to Nathaniel for him to fire up his private jet, after all.
And speaking of Nathaniel… Well. How much you enjoyed his storyline this week will depend on your tolerance for toilet humour. Mine is pretty low so I found the whole thing super uncomfortable, though Nathaniel’s anguished scooting across the office was funny. But it’s impressive how well Nathaniel has been integrated into the cast, considering he’s only been around for a couple of episodes, and the scene with his father was deeply stressful. Maybe the parallels being drawn between Nathaniel and Rebecca are a little too glaring at times, but on the whole, it’s working. This show has always been good at fleshing out its characters, never letting anyone stay a two-dimensional stereotype for long, and that’s part of its charm.
Finally, then, let’s talk about Valencia. She’s been (understandably) absent for a few episodes so it was good to catch up with her this week. Turns out she’s over Josh, but still struggling to figure out what to do without him. Until – thunderclap! – she sees the mess Rebecca is making of wedding planning, and realises that she has the perfect skillset to plan weddings. All she needs is a black suit and a headset and she’ll have herself a brand new direction in life. Say what you like about Rebecca Bunch, but she does seem to have an incredible knack for inspiring the people around her to sort their lives out.
Next week will be the season finale, and like season one, it looks set to end with a wedding. But with Trent threatening to disrupt the celebrations, Rebecca’s sexual tension with Nathaniel unresolved, and Josh feeling totally disconnected from his own wedding, will anyone make it down the aisle? And do we even want them to? It’s gonna be emotional, no matter what.