Admittedly, I was a bit ready to throw in the towel when it came to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I loved the wackiness of it (its New Girl on crack, pardon the 1990s slang, sense of...everything made for some great moments), Rachel Bloom's comedic timing is pretty top-notch, and the song numbers were twisted--but twistedly funny ("I Love My Daughter [But Not In A Creepy Way]" is one of these, as it tap dances on that fence between Herbert the Pervert uncomfortable chuckles and an SVU case waiting to happen).
But, there seemed to be a lack of direction. Mainly, there was a "so, what's going to happen once they get past the will-they-won't-they of the Greg-Rebecca-Josh, even though it's unknown to Josh love triangle?" vibe that hung over the series. And wackiness usually can't save series which dwell too much on those sorts of things. I mean, look at Stacked. Don't remember it? Exactly. Although, as cheesy as it was, it had its moments. But, I digress.
Thankfully, after binging on the series again and paying attention to the characters' nuances as the series evolved (versus saying "oh holy shit, this can't possibly happen." I mean, it seems that, in West Covina, just about anything's possible), it seems that, per the title of this post, the show has found its stride. It works best as a dark-as-hell dramedy about a young woman's obsession over "the one who got away" and her quest for acceptance from people disguised as, well, New Girl on crack. It works best when it plays with the tropes of the literal manic pixie girl and allows viewers to both cringe and feel sorry for Rebecca's follies while they still laugh at them. And the show works best when it knows what it is and isn't. It isn't a complete happily-ever-after love fest, that's for sure.
Through the writing staff and the talent on the show, we've been presented a group of people who--let's be honest--aren't exactly that group of friends you'd flock to at a party. Some of them are, quite frankly, kind of dicks. Instead of giving us lovable losers who don't know they're losers/still end up being mega-heroes by the end, a la pretty much every Michael Cera role ever, we've been given something different.
We get fleshed-out characters who still have "lovable loser" written all over them--have you seen some of the later song numbers? "I Give Good Parent," anyone?--but know that their situations are a pile of suck. And that acknowledgement of the suckiness of their situation(s), it creates complex characters who have selfish, dick-ish motives while still having moments that showcase their altruism. I'm reminded of the episode where Rebecca freaks out about her party but still manages to help Paula keep her kid in school as an example.
|Also, it really does look like the house's gonna be on fire.|
However, they don't wallow in either the positives or negatives. Instead, they seem to learn (even if it's not exactly noticeable) from their mistakes and grow from them. But, as with the growth of the show, personal growth is almost never fixed within a forty-two minute timeslot. With that said, as tonight's episode is the mid-season finale, the show's at a slew of crossroads (within the world of the show, mind you). Questions to watch for include:
- Will Rebecca continue to seek help for her mental instability--and not just seek quick fixes (in the form of medications and that drug called "infatuation")?
- With that said, will we get more Dr. Phil cameos? (Please? His voice-of-reason was the breath of "Girl you crazy. Get help" that many of us, myself included, have probably found ourselves saying to Rebecca over the last few months)
- Will Paula completely accept her life needs a complete 180 or will she run into the awaiting arms of Calvin, played by the always-funny Cedric Yarbrough? The closing seconds of last week's episode seemed to allude to Paula cheating on her husband. But, as something of a moral compass for the show, will we see the compass compromised?
- Will Josh finally realize that Valencia is a soul-crushing, spirit-mangling maneater, and not the fun, Hall and Oates kind?
- Will there be another moment between Greg and Rebecca, where further doubt is cast into the triangle?
- Hell, will Rebecca just step back and, along with seeking mental health help, kind of just "do her" for a minute?
- Will we see less dance numbers if Rebecca's instability is managed? (Hopefully no, especially since everyone's getting in on the musical fun)
- What'll come of Rebecca's mom popping up?
All in all, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend became a series to watch this season for me. Where other shows have lost my interest, CEG grew and grew to the point where it's an underrated gem. So, with it getting a larger episode order, go check it out. Now. It may not be for everyone, but it's still a great show worth a watch.
As a post-script and a disclosure: I'm not being paid by The CW, Rachel Bloom, or anyone affiliated with the series or the network. These are 100% my actual thoughts and have not been altered by anything other than the show's growth.