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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 1 finale: postmortem with Aline Brosh McKenna

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Scott Everett White/The CW

Spoiler alert: This post contains details from the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 1 finale, which aired Monday on The CW.

It took an entire season, but in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 1 finale, Rebecca finally admitted — to both herself and Josh – that she uprooted her life and moved across the country for a boy. Oh, and did we mention that she told him that after they finally slept together?

Yeah, things are about to get even more complicated, which is why we hopped on the phone with showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna to break down the finale and give us a glimpse into what comes next.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: We’ve come full circle. Rebecca admitted the truth to Josh. Was that always how the season was going to end?

ALINE BROSH MCKENNA: Yeah, we always had it in mind that at some point he was going to find out the whole extent of it. The theme of the season was kind of the lies we tell ourselves and in a lot of ways, she never even really admitted this to herself. She’s been griping the whole season with the uncomfortableness of that reality and then she tries to distance herself from it and then when she has that moment with him, a lot of that episode is about the push and pull between her desire to escape into a fantasy world and the reality of people’s imperfections: Greg’s imperfections, her own imperfections. In that last moment, she’s able to escape back into the fantasy that Josh has always offered her since she was 16.

Where are you looking to take Rebecca in season 2?

There’s going to be ramifications for everybody. She’s going to try and get underneath whether Josh really does feel the same way about her. In the last episode, you could feel him being drawn towards her but now that he knows this uncomfortable fact about her, what happens between them? And where does Greg go now that he’s screwed things up and Greg has some uncomfortable truths about himself that he needs to deal with? Rebecca has this effect on the town, she’s sort of a pebble in a pond. She makes a crazy decision, drops into this place, changes her own life, and changes everybody else’s life as well. And that’s really what we continue, the ramifications on her life and everyone else’s life from her move to West Covina.

You mentioned the title sequence. Does that mean we’ll get a new one next season?

We are doing a new one for next season, yep! We’ll do a new one every season that we’re on.

When you all wrote this finale, did you know you’d been picked up for a second season?

We didn’t actually, no. I found out about it the day that I handed in a cut of 118.

So when you were crafting this finale, did you feel the need to think about whether you’d be happy with ending the entire series this way?

We definitely did. It’s an episode about recidivism, Rebecca’s slide backwards. It’s hard to change and it’s hard to escape your past. She’s been struggling to do that the whole season and she’s learned a lot and she’s grown a lot, but at the end of the day people don’t change overnight. It’s hard to change.

How did that Aladdin sequence come about?

It came from the idea of a super pumped up fantasy for her. Then we got the magic carpet and kind of worked backwards from there. Because we had a Filipino wedding and she was marrying someone Jewish and then we had this Aladdin magic carpet. It was a lot of princess thematology. And then it just so happened that we had Lea [Salonga], who did a voice in Aladdin and in Mulan and is a signature Disney singer, so that all seemed to dovetail nicely with the idea of fantasy of fairytale. Rebecca’s religion is fantasy and escapism.

I’ve grown to love Valencia. What’s next for her?

We love her, too. That’s an instance where the actor really adds more and more to the character. You’re going to be seeing a lot more of her.

What are you most looking forward to exploring in season 2?

I would say the main thing for us is that we have a million auxiliary characters now that we have built up over the course of the season that we would love to return to. In planning out the second season, it’s really just a question of real estate and whether we’re going to be able to fit in all these people that we love.

Talk me through Greg’s decision to walk away from Rebecca when he sees Josh.

He’s been competing with Josh his whole life and on some level he knows that Rebecca is so deeply infatuated with him. He’s so afraid of being abandoned that when he sees Josh looking at her and he knows how she feels about him, he’s sort of unable to work up the courage to speak up and to really tell her how he feels. He’s just too afraid. 

So are we working to get him to this place where he does speak up?

With the love story, we really focused on the characters’ journeys and evolution in their own lives, and the love stories are kind of an outgrowth of that. The love story is never the destination, if that makes any sense. Because in your life, you are drawn to making certain decisions in your relationship based on where you are at in your life, and all of these characters are sort of having a coming-of-age [experience] in their own way. Greg just has a long way to go before he’s able to really be a good partner to anybody. I think they all do.

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