TV Review: Crazy Ex Girlfriend 2×04 “When Will Josh and His Friend Leave Me Alone?”

“A play about pieces of feces is what we are together.”

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Damn, this is a lot to process. Just when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was starting to settle into a formula, it pulled the rug out from under us, shredded the rug, and replaced the floorboards. As it turns out, the entire arc of Greg’s recovery had been setting us up to say goodbye to him for good.  In fact, this entire episode was something of a farewell to everything the show has been up to this point.

Greg

First thing’s first, I would like to thank Santino Fontana for his amazing work on this show. He went above and beyond just being a great singer and a talented comedian. Greg has been this show’s beating heart. In a show full of exaggerated characters, his down to earth presence and glib sense of humor kept things grounded. However, despite being a county mile from a perfect person, Greg has always deserved better.  Which brings us into – –

It Was A Shitshow:

Wow. This show has had many amazing songs (many of which dominate my iPod), but this one just might be my new favorite. Greg’s numbers have always been a highlight, but this one was on another level. As Rebecca confronted Greg in the airport, begging him to stay, he finally seemed positive about what he wanted. He needed to go to Atlanta, even if it meant turning down the girl he loves. Especially by Crazy Ex standards, this was a very simple song. A My Way esque slow jam that relied entirely on fantastic lyrics dealing with the vicious cycle this relationship and Fontana’s amazing vocals. I cannot think of another scenario where references to Chernobyl and Hurricane Katrina would be so beautifully tender. I genuinely hate to see Greg go, it breaks my heart. That said, this is about as satisfying a swan song as was humanly possible. As Greg turned away from that kiss and got on the escalator, one thing became abundantly clear to me. It was time.

The House

Seemingly almost as upset about saying goodbye to Greg as I was, Rebecca had a bit of a hard time going home. You see, the “memory spirits” (not dream ghosts) of Josh and Greg have come to bother Rebecca. After all, her relationships with both of them were consummated in this house – – a lot.

We Tapped That Ass:

On its own terms, this was a cute little ditty. Greg and Josh tap dancing around, pointing out weird places they’ve had sex with Rebecca, and even erecting a giant metal ass in the foyer. What’s not to like? Well…I resent it. After giving Greg such a beautiful goodbye a mere five minutes earlier, to see him and Josh pop back up, even in ghost form, and be silly was a bit miscalculated. I understand the purpose of it, as it fueled Rebecca’s animosity towards her home, but I think it could have been handled in a classier way. This is one instance where a song and dance number was not needed, and it knocked the wind out of the emotional momentum that had been building.

Never one to let sadness get in the way of stupidity, Rebecca decided to burn a bunch of Greg and Josh’s items left in her house. Unfortunately, fire spreads and her apartment was destroyed. This lead to her crashing at Heather’s place, which as it turns out, belongs to her parents. These two were absolutely hilarious, and an earned reprieve from losing Greg. Heather’s apathetic attitude playing off of the borderline delirious kindness of “Mr. and Mrs. Heather” was a genuinely interesting dynamic that I hope gets revisited. After all, who can frown in a house where you can get pancakes with strawberry cat ears and blueberry smiles at 2 AM?

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Following further events that we’ll jump into in just a sec, Rebecca ultimately had to leave her house behind for good. After taking one more look, she confronted “spirit Greg.” Finally realizing that it’s not healthy to think of him whenever she sees tacos or dog shows, Rebecca told Greg, and herself, that one day she will be happy that she left. For now, though, it’s time for both her and the audience to move on. What lead to that bout of healthy behavior? Well…

To Douche, or not to Douche?

As we’ve seen many times before, Rebecca has to take twenty-two steps back to take one step forward. In this case, those steps involved completely remaking herself. After a viral video of her humiliating 9/11 call went viral, she quickly decided on a new public image. After finding out that the douche company that Whitefeather was representing was looking for a new cover girl, she decided to enter the pageant. That said, she can’t possibly get in as herself, she needed a makeover. After an odd “Hey Mickey” lite makeover song that was barely worth mentioning, Rebecca went blonde. This wasn’t as simple as some hair dye, though. This was horse hair with 2 hours of extra work blonde. As per usual, Paula (who has plenty on her plate) saw right through this, even as she took on the actual legal work for Rebecca as she entered the pageant.

At said pageant, one question ultimately broke Rebecca. “Who are you?” In this moment, she realized that Josh and Greg had become her entire identity. With both of them out of the picture now, there is no answer to that question. This wasn’t just a key moment for her, but it was a brilliant acknowledgment of why this story is starting to pivot. It’s Rachel Bloom acknowledging that her bouncy yet disturbing character study had gone into standard love triangle territory. She’s holding a mirror up to her own show and daring it to do something different. As Rebecca ran out of the pageant unable to answer the question, I found myself very excited to find out what we have in store.

It was also nice to see Paula choose her career as a lawyer over having another baby. Older women getting abortions is something we rarely see on TV, and it was handled with grace and respect. She and Greg seem to be on a similar trajectory, but I can’t imagine Paula leaving for good too. That said, I’ve had my fair share of swings and misses this season.

As Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has gone on, I have maintained that it would greatly benefit from not running very long. A season more, perhaps. However, after this episode, I am a great deal more confident in this show’s possibility to evolve. While the other songs ultimately undercut ‘It was a Shitshow’ this was still a transformative and resonant episode. I hope that the next phase of this story does not focus so much on a love interest. I know that a new major male lead has been cast, but hopefully, we take some time to let Rebecca work on herself. Her moving in with Heather is highly encouraging, as that dynamic has always been a lot of fun, and watching her interact with another girl more often is very needed.

Speaking of other girls, as Rebecca and Heather looked at houses over boba, they ran into none other than Valencia,  Josh’s yoga instructor ex, scarfing down donuts.

I hate Valencia. Not just in the way the show wants me to, but as a character. However, that rant is for next week.

8.5/10

When Michael Fairbanks first saw Sam Rami's Spider-Man film back in 2002, everything changed. The experience began a lifelong passion for cinema that has gone undeterred since. In 2009 he began reviewing movies on Youtube, which ultimately sprang into a lifelong passion for film criticism and entertainment reporting. He is currently studying screenwriting at Chapman University. Aside from seeing movies, Michael enjoys making bad puns while playing video games, going on long late night drives, and socializing over large plates of food. For more of Fairbanks' movie reviews check out: https://fairbanksonfilm.wordpress.com