Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pulled off an ambitious piece of genre gymnastics in its first season. Leading with an offensive-at-first-blush title and the dated premise of a VHS romantic comedy, the show managed to stick its complex landing as a nuanced portrayal of the emotional, physical and sometimes financial consequences of taking a stereotypical love fantasy seriously.
Now that Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) has gaslit her way back into the heart of her adolescent summer fling, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), she now has to keep her prize. The first season saw Rebecca commit several acts (many definitely illegal and all immoral) that put aside common decency for the dream of fairy tale love, and the sophomore season’s premiere continues this by opening with some premium reverse psychology on the show’s least bright Josh. This isn’t to say the show hasn’t changed or that Josh is a victim—neither are true. We’re now all textually aware of Rebecca’s dangerously immature attitude towards intimacy, and Josh is, implicitly, someone that has a lot of sexual growing up to do.
Why else would he stick with Rebecca because of a Trump-esque theorem that troubled women are best in bed?
Rebecca, constantly evaluating whether to be on the offensive or the defensive when it comes to her imaginary relationships, avoids honesty and open communication in the aftermath of her and Josh’s post-wedding hookup. That is, until the new theme song kicks in.
Continuing the conceit that the series’ musical numbers are all in her head, Rebecca freely admits her irresponsibility and obsession until the music—and self-awareness—stops. As she and Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) determine just what three weeks of sex, couch-squatting, and no commitment means (“respeffing” or “effsploiting”?), the audience is given a chance to adjust to the show’s new dynamic. The cadence is the same, with romantic subterfuge being planned like a series of heists, but with the new recognition (at least by some characters) that these fantastical shenanigans affect people’s lives.
That means that while Rebecca and Josh double down into their immaturity, refusing to shatter their love story with something real, the rest of the characters solidify their growth. People who were once the means to a romantic end are now the moral bedrock supporting an unstable couple. They’re not blameless, but their focus on self-improvement certainly helps us ignore their contributions. Paula and her husband, for instance, use Rebecca’s failures as many of us use reality TV or romance: to fuel their own. They’re real-life recap addicts, and their improved sex lives suggest that shipping characters is a decent replacement for traditional relationship fixes. Amazon Prime is certainly getting its ad money’s worth as long as they’re cool with being the new go-to for sex-starved fans of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Paula understands the dangers of escapist pleasures as much as the next person, as she hides behind legally binding friendship contracts to protect herself from her more mischievous desires. In response, Rebecca, ignoring the pleas of Pat Benatar, continues to use sex as a weapon— even against her best friend. It’s second nature to her now. She’s used to getting what she wants at any cost, and “Where Is Josh’s Friend?” sets her up to face the music.
Speaking of music, the episode’s desert-set songs are a bit drier than expected, though channeling Flight of the Conchords is never a completely bad thing. Some meta-humor, including the introduction of Broom Darryl as the best and most cost-effective new character on the show, helps supplement what is otherwise an episode sonically composed of ragtime riffing.
Doing the same old shtick is Rebecca, the self-acknowledged villain of the story whose manic pixie dream girl has become an unstable squeaky nightmare lass. Continuing to dig herself deeper into this fiction while her friends put themselves together, her story teeters on her ability to escape the elaborate fantasy she’s fled into. Her tether, Greg (Santino Fontana), is growing up, and contrary to the other two vertices in his love triangle, he’s facing the consequences of his actions. Then we have Josh, somewhere between enabler and patsy. Despite Josh’s protests that he, as an adult, eats the crusts on his sandwiches, his mother knows that he still has a lot of growing up to do.
We’ll see if Rebecca and Josh can manage to eat the crusts this season, or if they’ll remain stuck in the same adolescent cycles that got them here in the first place. As a comedy, the shifting power dynamics—both in character roles and their relationships—leave something to be desired, but as a season premiere, “Where is Josh’s Friend?” is much more than a continuation or a reset. It’s a complete ethical restructuring of the show—and we’re all Paula, living vicariously as we watch along.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S02E06 Srt Sub Subtitle Download
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW) diagnosed Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) as a depressive and a self-indulgent self-loather last year, but those labels matter a lot less than the ways she’s sown chaos in her life and her relationships because of her desperate unhappiness. Mental illness can often alienate, but Rebecca has remained an empathetic protagonist in large part because her “craziness” manifests as a problem with which we’re pop-culturally familiar: arrested development. Fittingly, the three people most important to her in West Covina — Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), Greg (Santino Fontana), and Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) — are all grappling with their own versions of stagnancy.
Or they were. Friday’s marvelous Season 2 premiere kicked off the show’s 13-installment sophomore year by drawing a big, fat line between the characters who wanted to move on (Paula and Greg) and the ones who didn’t (Rebecca and Josh) — i.e., those who refuse to get caught up in Rebecca’s responsibility-shunting obsessiveness any longer and those who haven’t found a way out of that snare yet. After patching things up with her husband, Paula no longer needs her friend’s crush as a source of vicarious romance, and so finally retired from her position as the enabler of Rebecca and Josh’s relationship. By applying to law school, Paula’s signaling her increasing disinterest in remaining Rebecca’s subordinate partner. (Staying true to its feminist roots, the series featured a lovely scene in which Rebecca praised her friend’s professional capabilities.) Since the friendship between Rebecca and Paula is often considered Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s real love story — and the paralegal was given the short shrift by the show’s writers last year — the continuation of that evolving bond is the most promising thing about the current season.
Likewise, Greg has been fleeing Hurricane Rebecca (a smart turn) after chickening out of telling her that he loves her (a pathetic but understandable move) in the Season 1 finale. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend positioned Greg early on as Rebecca’s The One — but only after they both grow up. (His most character-defining songs — “Settle For Me,” “What’ll It Be,” and “I Could If I Wanted To” — center around his fear of failure and feelings of paralysis.) We’re not necessarily supposed to join Team Grebecca — Greg has issues with anger, arrogance, and, as we just learned, alcohol — but we do root for both characters to get to a place where they could be right for each other. (That’s right: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is Team Emotional Health.) Greg attending AA meetings and (presumably) quitting his bartending job suggests that the show will continue to play up its biggest source of tension: Are Greg and Rebecca meant for each other?
And yet, it’s hard to deny Rebecca the (very awkward) sweetness she’s experiencing in her current kinda-sorta-maybe-hopefully relationship with Josh. She’s wanted it for so long, and, as she sings in “Love Kernels,” she’s content right now to interpret any and every kind word and invitation to hang out as a sign of romantic affection. But it’s hard to ignore the fact that Josh is with Rebecca while he’s at his lowest. Previous episodes have established that Rebecca’s attachment to Josh is a regression to teenage comfort — she met him during the one summer she managed to escape the life her mom had boxed her into, she imagines him as a boy-band heartthrob, and she indulges in the adolescent fantasy that he is “the answer to all [her] problems.” The season premiere made clear that Josh isn’t just dim (“[Rebecca] says so many things! She-she has me so confused!”), but developmentally stunted himself: moving back in with his parents and unable to commit to his last girlfriend after 15 years of dating. Once he falls into Rebecca’s sex trap (made literal by those handcuffs), they get stuck in a slightly-more-than-fuck-buddies system that, aptly enough, can’t move forward. Rebecca was right all along: They’re perfect for each other — but only for the time being. Even in her delusional fog, though, Rebecca knows that they won’t be able to drag out this stasis forever.
“I’m just a girl in love! I can’t be held responsible for my actions!” So sings Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) as she dances through the title sequence for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s second season. It’s a punchier, more thematic intro than last year’s opener, a manic cartoon that pitched the show’s premise: Miserable New York lawyer throws away everything (including meds for a mental condition) to chase a guy in the strip-mall sprawl of West Covina, California. The new overture sums up everything that was exceptional about the season’s first three episodes. They restate and refine the show’s perspective and produce sharp, zany entertainment. Bloom’s ingenious anti-rom-com was one of last year’s best shows. It might be even better this year.
Rebecca has finally bagged dream dude Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), but happily-ever-after eludes them in the initial sweep of story. Their tenuous ‘ship forces Rebecca to confront her narcissism and self-debasement, yielding musical sequences that zing pop culture for enabling those issues with wrongheaded romantic fantasy. Desperate for more than mere “love kernels” from Josh, Rebecca imagines herself the object of his rapturous desire in “Ping Pong Girl,” a rock spoof of female objectification.