Friday, October 12, 2018

REVIEW: 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' - Rebecca Struggles with Finding the Right Penance for Her Actions in 'I Want to Be Here'

The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - Episode 4.01 "I Want to Be Here"

Rebecca confronts the consequences of her guilty plea while an angry Nathaniel seeks solace in a retreat and Josh searches for answers.

In 2018, it has become very difficult to keep up with every television show out there. It's even more difficult to provide adequate coverage on this site about the episodes that air every week. Not every show can get full coverage because of my busy and hectic viewing schedule. As such, some reviews will now be condensed to give only some summary thoughts. But it also affords a space for me to jot down my thoughts on the various episodes. And so, here are my thoughts on this week's episode of The CW's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

"I Want to Be Here" was written by Rachel Bloom and directed by Stuart McDonald

Rebecca doesn't actually spend a whole lot of time in prison. That was the setup for this fourth and final season from the previous finale. She was stepping up in an attempt to take some responsibility for her actions. She didn't want to keep making the same mistakes over and over again. She wanted to deal with the consequences and grow as a person. It was absolutely misguided. Plus, it was all a completely insane premise to begin with. The show recognizes that here as well. The Judge doesn't accept Rebecca's plea because it was delivered as a speech to someone else in the courtroom. Nathaniel shouldn't have been her lawyer because they were in a romantic relationship and he was a witness to the crime in question. Darryl and Paula aren't the best lawyers for her either because they focus primarily in real estate law. Plus, there is a fair amount of documentation that Trent has been stalking Rebecca for awhile. And yet, Rebecca still spends some time in prison. She goes because it's where she wants to be. That is such a horrifying statement. It's her continuing to romanticize this notion of what her life should be like. She believes that she should be punished. Prison is the place where she belongs in order to serve some penance for her actions. But it's such a pointed statement as well especially when it comes to the performance of "What's Your Story?" When it was first revealed that Rebecca was going to prison, it seemed inevitable that the show would be staging a Cell Block Tango number. It's just the expected thing to do. Even though the show has always upended the audience's expectations, it still produces their own take on that classic number from Chicago. However, the creative team finds their own spin on it by showing just how delusional and privileged Rebecca can be. It's a smart take down of how she continues to obsess over her life with zero regard for the women around her and what they are going through. None of these women want to be in this place. They have tragic stories that highlight serious issues. Rebecca is choosing to be there because of her complicated feelings towards romance and love. She is using this as a way to make it all about herself and the struggle she is going through. That's sickening because she doesn't have to be here. And again, the show is calling her out for whining about her sudden awareness that she has privilege in this world. She has to step up and actually put in an effort to change. She is given that opportunity by the end of the premiere. And yet, it's also going to take a lot of work to ensure that she doesn't repeat the same patterns as before.

In fact, that appears to the central theme of this episode. It highlights how it is so easy for characters like Rebecca, Josh and Nathaniel to fall back into their patterns because they are familiar to them. It's easy for Rebecca to become obsessed with something to the point of ignoring the world around her. Nathanial believes he can replace his emotional pain with physical torture. And Josh wants to believe all of his problems can be solved if he just has a diagnosis to blame them all on. And yet, life isn't that simple. It's amusing to watch them sing the song about loneliness while also being able to harmonize with everyone else in the ensemble. That further showcases that these problems are so isolating because they believe them to be unique to them even though they are common throughout humanity. Heather and Hector are absolutely right to suggest therapy to Josh for him to figure out ways to better understand the world around him. But he still has to put in the work to actually show up and listen to what the doctor has to say. It's not as easy as going online and diagnosing himself with a bunch of problems. Similarly, Nathaniel can't just run away and then hope that a trip to Hawaii will solve all of his problems with Rebecca. Sure, it stings when Rebecca pushes him away and he feels like she is the source for their problems as a couple. However, that shows that she wants to put in the work to become a better person. This is how she wants to take responsibility for her actions. She falls back into these patterns. She wants to break the cycle of bad choices. But this hour highlights just how difficult than can be to do. Rebecca takes the right steps in offering legal advice to the inmates she meets during her time in prison. It'll be fun to eventually see them stage a production of Cats. And yet, is that penance going to be enough for Rebecca? Or will she find some new outlet that will consume her obsessive personality?