What a whirlwind of an episode! Relationship drama persisted in the finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s first season as Rebecca took ten steps back in terms of her personal growth, which was tough to watch for this viewer. As one of the most inventive and colorful television shows on air currently with a distinct voice and sense of humor, it was only fitting that the show end the year with a relative bang as characters hooked up, broke apart or, if you’re Darryl and White Josh, just got fancy.
Here are some highlights from the finale.
Paula is a frustrating character because she makes it so difficult to root for her that you don’t realize she’s essentially playing an exaggerated version of the typical sidekick. Contrast that with her self-imposed role as a mother figure to Rebecca and we’ve got a character who is judgmental, invasive and careless of other peoples’ emotions.
But that’s exactly what Rebecca had needed from her, and it was their mutual disregard for human convention that built their friendship in the first place. Now though, post-Josh, their friendship is still real and it’s their reunion that strikes the most genuine, emotional chord as they both frantically apologize, forgive one another and tell each other they look like princesses. It’s their friendship and their evolving bond that has played as the heart of the series and while Rebecca’s relationship with Gregg and Josh may always be tumultuously in flux, Paula will be her constant…as scary as that might sound. Also, Donna Lynne Chaplin DESTROYED her number this week and, like Santino Fontana, I wish we could have gotten even more numbers from her this year.
Valencia hasn’t been given the chance to be much of a sympathetic character throughout most of season one, and was written as one of the few characters who reads more like an archetype, particularly next to Rebecca. Adding to that, it’s easier for me to look at awkward Rebecca and relate rather than to yoga goddess Valencia, the latter hasn’t always been one of my favorites. So consider my surprise at just how pleased I was with her take down of Josh and her ending of their relationship. If this had happened a few episodes prior, perhaps I would have leaned closer to the team Josh camp, but his anger at Valencia was transparent: he was taking his Rebecca and Greg based aggression out on her, believing he’d come out the other side looking like the victim, and Valencia saw straight through it. I’m hoping that in season two we get to see more of this version of the character. Depth and subverting tropes is everything on this show.
Firstly, if I were able to have my way, Rebecca would be single for a while as she got her shit together. I am, without a doubt, team Rebecca and her being happy. However, the show very clearly has set up the divide of team Josh and team Greg. Josh is the fantasy while Greg is real life. Josh is nostalgia, sex on imaginary flying carpets and fairy tales while Greg is insecurity, sarcasm and passing out at a bar rather than be emotional. After Valencia leaves Josh and Greg is sent home, Josh reaches out to Rebecca and it’s not surprising to see her swept up in the magic of it all-hell, I was-as it had been what she’d been seeking for the entire season. Despite her motivations and messy means of getting what she wants, we want Rebecca to win and Josh reaching his hand to her, donned in a leather jacket as Lea Salonga serenaded with her Disney princess voice in the background, it’s easy to believe the fantasy is real.
But is it as compelling? Greg and Rebecca are in no way healthy, but their mutual inability to do what’s right for themselves, projections and self-destructive nature connects them in a real, human way that Rebecca’s belief in Josh being her Prince Charming doesn’t. How long does the fantasy last?
The hardest to watch moment of the episode comes right at the very end when a blissful Rebecca finally admits to Josh that she moved to be with him, a revelation she believes will bring them together now since in her mind, it was all fate while Josh looks on at her with a dawning realization of what he might have just gotten himself into. That isn’t a pleased expression he wears and I’m curious to see where season two picks up. This is a harsh reminder that even if Rebecca found some sense of normalcy for a few days, her shortcomings will get the best of her, as will her belief in her and Josh being meant to be.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been one of my favorite shows to watch over the best year and Rebecca one of the most complex and interesting characters on television. I can’t wait to see what next year brings.
Episode Review: 8/10
Season Review: 9/10