Monday, April 18, 2016

REVIEW: 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' - Rebecca May Finally Get What She Has Always Wanted in 'Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!'

The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Episode 1.18 "Paula Needs to Get Over Josh"

Rebecca's relationships are tested as she tries to navigate her friendship with Paula, her history with Josh and her connection with Greg. While at Josh's sister Jayma's wedding, Rebecca's world is turned upside down.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has had one very ambitious and engaging first season. It has been a truly unique journey. It has been wonderful and impressive to watch the show bounce from genre to genre with its original music. It's also been fantastic to see the show develop beyond its initial concept. Rebecca moved across the country to West Covina in order to be with Josh. Those first few episodes of the season were a little awkward because of how forceful that main story was. But as the season dove deeper into the nuances of the characters and the meaning behind all of their actions, it created a main narrative that was engaging, thrilling and special to watch.

This season has showed that the incident that brought all of these characters together was more so about them running away from something than running towards something that could be seen as crazy. Rebecca left New York for Josh. She has come to accept that as the truth now. But her leaving also allowed her to embrace true happiness for the first time in her life. The main premise of the show allowed her to accept a reality that was different and much happier for her. She didn't need to be with Josh in order for that to happen too. She had escaped the control of her mother and the demands of her prestigious job. And now, she has built a life for herself in West Covina that is defined by a strong friendship with Paula and the ability to do absolutely anything with her life. Josh was the reason why she made this big move but it's not ultimately what the series is about.

Rebecca's move to West Covina has also forced Josh to see things with a new perspective regarding his life with Valencia. He too believed he was happy with what his life was in this relationship. Rebecca's presence allowed him to see things differently. It's because she became a part of his life again that he was able to analyze just how unhealthy this relationship really was. His feelings towards Rebecca have boiled up to action in the past. That inner conflict has forced him to accept what he truly wants in this life. The most important part of that is seeing that Valencia doesn't listen to him or respects him for who he truly is. She's just excited that he's finally planning on proposing to her. She has been very patient with him throughout their relationship. It has taken Rebecca being in their lives to get him to commit fully to their lives together.

All of this change was meaningful. The show had moved past the inciting incident that set off the main events of the series. Now, Rebecca is free to explore a relationship with Greg while Josh is able to go after what he truly wants in this world. And yet, this finale once again shows just how easily the two of them can fall back into their old patterns. It's a regression of sorts. However, it's a regression with purpose. Both Rebecca and Josh still have immense feelings towards each other. It's because they are in each other's lives again that they've been able to find happiness and purpose. It's easy to connect these feelings to the other person. That doesn't mean a potential relationship between the two of them would be good at all. It's something Rebecca has been working for all season long. She wants a grand gesture of fairytale love and finally gets one. But it becomes apparent right away that that's not as meaningful as all the previous change was. Acting on it may actually make their lives worse in the future.

Rebecca is able to get caught up in the moment with Josh at Jayma's wedding because Greg is being a dick to her. He too fears that her feelings for Josh will once again get in the way of their relationship. The two of them had such a good time together in the previous episode. Sure, it ultimately led to her being hospitalized. But that happened because Rebecca's feelings for Greg were genuine. All she wants is to hear him say that he has these immense feelings of love too. She wants a big declaration of love at the wedding. She wants things to be much more serious between her and Greg. And yet, Greg goes the opposite direction. He decides to be aloof and a dick hoping that will keep her interested in him. It's not genuine and that's what ultimately destroys their relationship at the wedding.

Valencia wants a declaration of love as well. She too is getting caught up in the emotion of the wedding. Being a part of this event with Josh's family is bringing up all of these feelings about how much she wants to be with him. He's conflicted entirely because he keeps running into Rebecca all across town. Even though Josh wants to commit to Valencia, he just can't do it because of his feelings towards Rebecca. It's a tense situation where both of them are able to see things more clearly. But that ultimately means the end of their relationship. It's something Rebecca has wanted all season long. She's a huge reason why they break up. And yet, her presence only brings clarity to a relationship that wasn't built on a healthy foundation.

So now, Rebecca and Josh are free to be with each other. It's a celebratory moment. It's a rousing sequence of success that allows both of them to act on these feelings they've had for a long time now. And yet, that action only shows the ugliness at the heart of this core relationship. Rebecca gets her big romantic gesture and is able to be with Josh again. And yet, that essentially turns her back into the crazy ex-girlfriend she has tried not to be. She's free and willing to tell Josh that he's the reason why she moved across the country. She's no longer lying to him. However, that immediately fills Josh with immense regret over what he has just done to his life. He destroyed his entire life. His only reward is a crazy ex-girlfriend. He doesn't know what to do with that. It's a very interesting setup for the next season. Rebecca and Josh brought great things out of each other. And yet, their relationship also seems destined to only bring more pain and destruction to their lives and the people around them.

Some more thoughts:
  • "Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!" was written by Rene Gube and directed by Aline Brosh McKenna.
  • Lea Salonga guest stars as Josh's aunt who performs at Jayma's wedding. It's a fantastic guest spot because she gets to perform the big closing song that gives Rebecca the fairytale moment she's been wanting since a young age. But that obsession with the past can also be a really bad thing for the future.
  • The most emotionally moving story of the finale is the big fight between Rebecca and Paula. Rebecca moving to West Covina brought these two together. That's been beneficial to both of their lives. They were united because of Josh. Paula did a number of crazy things to help Rebecca with this mission. But at the end of the day, they still just need to be each other's friend and be there to support the other when they really need it.
  • Greg wanted to tell Rebecca that he loved her. And yet, his fear dictated his actions and pushed her away. He was being stupid. Everyone sees that except him. He'll come to regret it shortly too. And it's all his own fault. Rebecca cared deeply for him and he destroyed any potential happiness by also falling back into a familial pattern.
  • After taking the blame for the whole wedding dress fiasco with Valencia, it's surprising just how easily Rebecca is able to work her way back into the wedding. All it takes is one "coincidental" run-in with Josh's mother.
  • Darryl and White Josh's relationship has been so sweet. However, it's also had a very limited amount of screen time. Plus, they barely spend any time together at the wedding. Instead, they have to help Paula and Greg with the Rebecca situation.
  • That opening number with Paula was quite the show-stopper. It set a high bar for this finale. Plus, it was just so great to see Paula finally lash out for all of the horrible things she has done for Rebecca in her pursuit for a fairytale romance that simply doesn't exist.