February 4, 2017

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?"

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend suffered a sophomore slump, no doubt the result of Santino Fontana's untimely exit. Greg was just gearing up to have the best character arc of the season. Then, without so much as choreography, he left West Covina, and Rebecca, behind. The official word is that Fontana had only signed on for one season, and had never planned to stay, but his alcoholism storyline and setup to be the guy Rebecca's actually "meant for" makes me think there may have been more going on behind the scenes.

Here's my wild theory/the way I would have done it: I expect the final escalator goodbye was the planned Season 2 finale - the climax of incredible positive growth and change in Greg. He was, after all the character that didn't fit in with the rest, whose dreams were always bigger than that town three short hours from the beach. His exit was inevitable, but it happened too soon. For me, Season 2 felt like two seasons smashed together - One where we see Greg grow and move on, finally acknowledging that Rebecca was no good for him; and one where Rebecca, in the wake of that heartache runs back to Josh again, only to be stymied by the hot new boss in the office. Neither of those storylines got the time they deserved.

Mirror reflections of Rebecca in her veil and Josh looking confused.
Rebecca has a "dissociative episode." Josh has cold feet.
Source: tvline.com
The fact that the show's reinvigoration coincided with the introduction of a new male love interest is not lost on me. Nor is the irony that a show that started out so fiercely, satirically feminist got its boost from a man. Nonetheless, Scott Michael Foster's Nathaniel has brought a rude, pretentious frat boy energy that the show hadn't seen yet (except perhaps from Audra Levine) and that made him a worthy match for Bloom's strong Rebecca. Then, at the end of the two final episodes of Season 2, he showed a softer side by finding, and subsequently lambasting, Rebecca's absent father. Speaking of her father, Rebecca's daddy issues culminated painfully in the finale, ensuring that every viewer knew precisely who damaged this now-crazy ex. I expect most of us were screaming at our TVs along with Dr. Akopian.

The other important man in the finale was... Robert? Honestly, "who the dickens is Robert?" On the one hand, yes, there is a HUGE gap between the 16-year old drama camp Rebecca we're introduced to in the show's first scene and accomplished lawyer Rebecca who leaves New York on a whim. And sure, I guess it always was a little odd that Harvard obsessed Rebecca went to Yale Law. But this Robert thing came out of nowhere for me. (And for Heather, too.) I'm still not sure it works. Additional dim-lit flashbacks to college days and time spent in a sanitarium in episodes to come may help fill in the blanks. After all, the flashbacks shed a dark light on the delusional lyrics of the Season 2 opening theme.

The reintroduction of Trent was fun, and I can't get enough of his devious smile, but his "Top Secret" envelope was the gun that wasn't fired. Even if Rebecca's past indiscretions aren't what sent Josh running to the priesthood, the grand reveal of those dark memories needs to make an appearance in a future episode (and not just a dissociative one.)

Josh's new career choice? A brilliant turn. The character of Josh Chan has always been the perfect combination of idealistic, impetuous, and dim - three traits that in combination could make any groom join the priesthood on his wedding day.

Heather, Paula, Rebecca, and Valencia, cliffside, after Josh leaves Rebecca at the altar.
Source: tvfanatic.com
The best thing Season 2 gave us (besides some great new songs) is one heck of a girl squad. Their bond may have been forced at first, but now they are a force to be reckoned with. Valencia was totally in her element in all that hands-free-walkie-talkie wedding planner glory. Vella Lovell's impeccable comedic timing makes every one of Heather's one-liners a monotone mic drop. And you know who's always been a little crazy? Paula. Season 2 made her sensible, and that allowed Donna Lynne Champlin to show some incredible range, but I'm ready to see Paula's stalker side again in Season 3.

So, we've seen the kind of crazy ex-girlfriend who moves across the country for a man who's dating someone else. We've seen the kind of girl-in-love who plans a wedding in two weeks so her man won't leave and she won't cheat. Next, I guess, we'll see new kind of crazy ex. The kind who sets things on fire. I'll watch that.