Last week’s episode of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ended with Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) going for a what-she-didn’t-realize-was-secret secret dinner with ex-beau Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) and finding out that, surprise, this was supposed to be their final meeting. But because Rebecca is Rebecca, it wasn’t — and in this week’s episode, she makes sure of it by throwing a party in the hopes that Josh will attend.
Spoiler: He does. And then he proceeds to play four members of a boy band in a musical fantasy thought up by Rebecca, as Rodriguez told EW when he called to talk about whether he’s rooting for Valencia or Rebecca, his thoughts on the Backstreet Boys versus *NSYNC, and what to expect in the episode to come.
ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: I hear you do a boy band-inspired number?
VINCENT RODRIGUEZ III: [Laughs] I do. Rebecca was a huge fan of boy bands when she was a kid, as was I — Vince, me, as myself — so in her fantasy world, it’s a boy band, but they’re all Joshes. It’s Josh, Josh, Josh, and Josh. [Laughs] So that was a lot of fun to sing and to do, and I was a huge fan of *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys as a kid and the boy band culture kind of influenced my introduction to that style of dancing as well because it was very specific for that time. So in this number, we get to really see a full-out boy band number Josh-style.
How long did it take to shoot?
That specific section, crazy enough, it only took six hours. Each Josh got three takes. It was really methodical at that point. It was a lot of fun and it’s weird, because in the theater world, I get more time to learn the nuances of each of these people and to kind of figure what that it is, but this is a lot faster. [Laughs] So I got a lot of notes from the choreographer, like, “Oh, remember, this one’s really sensitive and really young and energetic and really happy to be here, and then there’s the regular Josh, who’s like the leader, he’s laidback, he’s the closest to Rebecca’s Josh in real life as possible, and then there’s the bad boy. And bad boy doesn’t want to be there, he hates regular Josh, he doesn’t want to be in a boy band anymore. He’d own like a coffee company if he could but he has to be in a boy band. And then goofball Josh and just doesn’t really care and is a clown. He doesn’t take anything seriously.”
You mentioned *NSYNC and Backstreet Boys. Do you have a preference?
Absolutely. *NSYNC all the way. And then, of course, Justin Timberlake, because how can you not acknowledge the talent that is Justin Timberlake? I mean, especially the last few albums. I basically learned hip-hop from *NSYNC. And then while I was touring in theater shows, and I couldn’t take classes in hip-hop but I wanted to, I just watched Justin Timberlake concerts. [Laughs] Just to learn, just to see what was trending because he was so popular and such an amazing dancer. Justin beatboxes and sings and acts and stuff, so he was definitely an influence on me while I was developing my skills. And that helped a lot in this episode.
Are you rooting for anyone in particular? Rebecca or Valencia?
I can’t believe you’re asking me that. I have to say it: I am rooting for Rebecca. Even though I think both Rebecca and Valencia are damaged in some way. We talk about this a lot on set — Gabrielle [Ruiz, who plays Valencia] and Rachel — we talk about these characters and how I’ve always said that the show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, but I really think you could put crazy in front of any one of the characters. So like in the opening credits, you see, Greg is the new buddy and then you see a new roommate, and you see a new boss, and you see new friends or something, I just think you could take each of those people and put “crazy” in front of it, because that’s what you’re going to get. You’re going to find out how each of us is crazy.
Rebecca’s really, really genuine, she just hasn’t figured everything out yet. [Laughs] So she’s still in that kind of impulsive phase of her life, which I can totally relate to. I think each of us in the show has admitted to being crazy for love or crazy-obsessed over someone or something, and that part of your brain just makes you lose that kind of awareness of what makes sense. I think because we’re all kind of in that situation, all of us, in the show, especially Valencia and Rebecca. Parts of us we don’t understand yet, and that makes us a little crazy. But Team Rebecca, sorry Gabrielle as Valencia, but totally Team Rebecca. [Laughs]
Do you think Josh is aware that Rebecca has feelings for him at this point?
I don’t think he thinks anything beyond the friendship. In Josh’s world, he’s gone back to his past, West Covina. That’s why he’s coming back, because everything is so cool and so chill there. That’s where he spent most of his life. That’s where he grew up. That’s where his friends are. To have another piece of his past come back, and it’s a piece of his past that he knew he enjoyed … I think Josh just sees his friends around him, his past, he’s really comfortable being in a very familiar place with all these familiar faces and that is totally blinding him from what Rebecca has done and what she has left behind.
And Josh is also not the kind of guy to judge anyone. Josh is really simple. He’s not that complicated. He doesn’t have that much of a checkered history, he just has some dots he hasn’t connected yet because he’s still growing up. Josh is just not that type of that guy that reads into Rebecca’s craziness because he doesn’t see that in people. He’s an optimist. I don’t think he thinks it of anyone, especially Rebecca, because she’s pretty great. In episode two, she helps Valencia get her yoga studio, and down the line, Rebecca’s actually going to help Josh in a really big way. There’s not much Josh can really say badly about her, at all. She’s pretty awesome. She’s just also really crazy. [Laughs]
We all have our flaws.
Oh, totally. And Rebecca definitely has hers and they are under a big old hot spotlight right now. [Laughs].
What are you most excited for fans to see in the next episode?
I’m totally excited for the boy band number. Aside from the fact that it was really fun for me to do and it was in my wheelhouse, and of course, when I was in high school, I wanted to be in a boy band. That is the honest-to-God truth. I was singing R&B songs, listening to Boyz II Men, and I wanted to take dance classes, but I waited until my senior year of high school to take my very first dance class. It was a dream for me to do this boy band number and just sing these kinds of songs. I’m really excited for people to see how Rebecca is kind of broken from her past and it comes up in this episode. It’s a good party. S— hits the fan for a good chunk. And let’s just say, Josh, like Superman, saves the day. [Laugh]
Watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when it airs Mondays at 8 p.m. ET on the CW.