Tonight’s episode is kind of terrifying. Well, it’s terrifying for Rebecca. The episode (which has nothing to do with Halloween, for the record) is about facing your fears, and Rebecca is forced to do just that. And what’s her biggest fear? Throwing a party. (I know that sounds ridiculous, but the show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, so let’s run with it.)
Rebecca is still moping that she’s not allowed to hang out with Josh anymore, since his beautiful yogi girlfriend Valencia hates her. But that doesn’t stop our leading lady from figuring out ways to get some face time with the man of her dreams: She tells Josh she has an apartment emergency and then clogs her garbage disposal with chicken in the hopes that he can help her “repair” it. (Shouldn’t a Harvard and Yale graduate be able to come up with a more clever lie? Come on, Rebecca.)
Anyway, Josh does come over to help, but he brings White Josh — WiJo, for short — as a buffer so that Valencia can’t get mad. But since chicken in a garbage disposal is neither a household emergency nor something that takes more than two minutes to remedy, Josh and WiJo are on their way before long, and Rebecca is left, once again, moping on her couch. She’s so depressed that she can’t even go to work. (She calls in sick, and when Darryl questions the authenticity of the claim, she simply utters the word “uterus” and he quickly signs off and condones the day at home.)
But Paula is a grown woman and knows that 90 percent of the time a female takes a sick day and claims it has to do with her anatomy, she’s faking it. So when Darryl tells Paula that Rebecca’s uterus exploded, she calls Rebecca’s bluff and heads to the Bunch apartment. Paula, whose wisdom is questionable at best, tells Rebecca to simply take a cue from every teen movie ever and throw a party, giving her the chance to hang out with the guy she’s not supposed to hang out with in a public setting.
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A PARTY? No, no no no no no no, Rebecca says. There’s a reason she doesn’t throw parties. Cue the flashback: When Rebecca was 12, she invited everyone in her grade to come over and watch a pay-per-view concert of her favorite boy band, Room Temperature (amazing). Then her parents got in a horribly embarrassing fight, during which her dad called the three classmates that showed up losers and her mother shouted about her father’s “whore.” And then they split up, and her father left the house, presumably never to return again. It’s actually a devastating scene. “Oh my god,” Paula says. Rebecca explains that it’s the root of all her party fears — well, all her fears. To make Rebecca feel less alone, Paula confesses her own fear: “I wake up every morning in cold sweats worried that I’m wasting my entire life with a man who spends all his time with a barbershop quartet called the West Bro-vinas.” Sad.
Rebecca’s still not sold, so Paula breaks into an inspirational song called “Face Your Fears.” It’s a big Broadway-style ballad, with Paula backlit as though she’s the Teen Angel from Grease. The song is an amazing collection of bad advice, complete with a uniformed choir of children waving scissors about recklessly. Sample lyric: “Face your fears, follow your dreams, stare at the sun, play in the street (a busy street) / if you’re scared of bees, get stung (don’t have an EpiPen ready), reach for the stars (literally touch the stars, stars aren’t that hot).” I would pay big money to see this show on an actual Broadway stage.
NEXT: A who’s who of West Covina’s finest
Freshly inspired, Rebecca makes flyers for her housewarming party and passes them out to strangers because, well, she doesn’t have any friends. It leads into musical number No. 2, a duet between 1987 Rebecca and 2015 Rebecca about the fact that they definitely, definitely have friends. (Though these friends include people like “girl with mustache” for flashback Rebecca and “Lady who hit your car” and “grocery clerk with half an eyelid” for present-day Rebecca.) Funny, mean, and sympathetic all at once? Kind of perfect.
Rebecca stops at Greg’s bar to distribute flyers, and he obviously makes fun of her for making a flyer in the first place. These two have a hard time getting along, and Rebecca is mean to him, but at least she doesn’t behave like a moron around him. I mean, she sort of does, but she behaves like a strong version of a moron, rather than the confidence-free mess she is around Josh — who happens to be jazzed about the party. Problem is, Rebecca still doesn’t have any West Covina friends. Basically the only person who agrees to come to the party is the cool girl next door, but that’s just because she’s enrolled in an abnormal psych class and thinks Rebecca would make for an A+ paper.
We also visit Paula’s house this week, where her husband is mindlessly practicing his barbershop quartet-ing. Her one son is actually polishing a knife, and her other son — who has ADD, OCD, and a panic disorder — is worrying that he’s dumb and trying to prep for a test. This scene is a collection of Paula’s fears. She’s worried about her kids, she’s worried about her marriage, and she’s worried that she can’t fix all of it. (I think she can, for the record.) She arrives at Rebecca’s to help set up, armed with plenty of piñatas but immediately has to leave because her son stole the test he was afraid to take (face your fears, remember?) and the school wants to transfer him to a special program an hour away.
The party is on — sort of. There are four people in attendance, and Rebecca frantically tries to cancel before Josh arrives. TOO LATE. Josh is already there, and this is the first time I see his appeal: He thinks it’s charming and kind of funny that Rebecca is worried about her empty party because, duh, she’s new to town! If she had a full party, he’d think it was freakish that she invited random people. (Thank god she didn’t do that.) He tells her all the good things about her: She threw a party not knowing anyone in town; she has an awesome job and an awesome apartment; she is, he says, fearless. He gets that she still wants to throw a rager, though, so he blasts the party out to his presumably awesome social media community, Paula shows up with some gambling addicts she found on the street, and we have one hell of a weird party going on! Darryl accidentally does meth!
One person is noticeably absent. Greg is alone at the bar and looking sad, staring at a flyer of Rebecca’s party thoughtfully before deciding to finally show up. Rebecca appreciates the gesture, but she’s too busy imagining Josh as a member of Room Temperature, and this fantasy sings her a song about helping her forget all her childhood fears. And that’s Rebecca’s hang-up on Josh: She associates him with two blissful months from her adolescence, and she’s since turned into a sort of sad, stressed adult who is seriously still dealing with some stuff from her youth. Josh gives her comfort. As we saw in episode 1, Josh gives her hope. Wildly misguided hope, but still.
And speaking (again) of Josh, he had so much fun tonight and is so inspired by Rebecca’s fearlessness that he is like, over being afraid of his girlfriend (sort of). So he and Rebecca should just, like, hang out whenever they want? Be friends? Great thought, Josh, but remember, you’re speaking to a crazy person.
Drunk Greg is the last to leave the party, and he was creepily observing Rebecca’s goodbye with Josh. And because he’s a little drunk, he tells her that he gets the thing with Josh. He saw how she looked at Josh and thought it was sort of sad but ultimately unironic and sweet. That, I can’t really disagree with.
The next day, Rebecca returns the favor to Paula and forces her to face her own fears: Paula is going to confront her son’s mean principal and tell him that there is no way in hell he is transferring him out of the school. Paula kills it, throws a bunch of legal jargon at him (just like when Jennifer Coolidge reclaims her dog in Legally Blonde), and her son gets to stay! This victory is two-fold: great news for Paula’s son and also proof that Rebecca is not a horribly selfish person and that she does in fact care for her new friend.
Now, where can we get more Room Temperature tracks?