We’re all about self-improvement on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend this week. Or, in the case of Rebecca, what starts as self-improvement and turns into a horrible path toward self-destruction. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Come for the musical numbers; stay for the life lessons.
We meet up with Rebecca and Paula at the local skate park because California, and also because Rebecca is stalking Josh. (He’s not there, obviously.) While these two are struggling to simply stay upright, Rebecca’s mother calls to tell her that her old coworker got the promotion that was intended for Rebecca, and this girl just married a hedge fund manager. Thanks, Mom. It’s enough to throw Rebecca into a binge-eating state of depression.
On her sad walk home from the junk-food store, with her skating gear and helmet still pathetically on, Rebecca bumps into her neighbor (the one that’s taking abnormal psych and wants to study her). They actually share a nice moment, though, and the neighbor wants to cheer Rebecca up. How? By introducing her to the wonderful world of Tinder. “This guy can meet you at a bar in 20 minutes,” she says. “That’s fast!” Rebecca marvels.
So Rebecca meets some dude at a bar for all of 10 seconds before dragging him out of there and back to her apartment, where a sexy-ish Beyoncé-inspired music video for a song titled “Sex With a Stranger” begins, complete with Rebecca in a truly hideous zebra-print catsuit. (Don’t we just admire Rachel Bloom’s commitment to this character? Rebecca may be a mess, but Rachel is pretty much my idol.) She puts on her best sultry voice while singing “please don’t be a murderer” and crossing her fingers that this sexy stranger, whose name is Jason, has been tested for STDs and won’t steal anything from her apartment.
Rebecca’s not used to such casual sexual encounters and, just as they’re about to get down to it, briefly runs away from her sexy stranger to pace around her living room, where the ever-present, “when was the last time you were truly happy” butter commercial is on TV. A butter commercial really shouldn’t be the guiding force in anyone’s life, but Rebecca’s going through something, and this is all she’s got. The good news is the butter commercial makes her realize that she can’t just randomly sleep with this bro. She needs to start making healthier choices. And Jason, that ain’t you.
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The next morning, Rebecca’s newfound commitment to making healthy life choices means she’s ultimately just carrying around a green juice, and she’s very pleased with herself for doing so. She stayed up all night and decided that, aside from learning about Kabbalah and Buddhism, she’s going to be a vegan as well.
Over at Home Base, Greg is getting pressure to ask Rebecca out from one of his adolescent patrons. Either do it or don’t do it, the kid urges. Greg is feeling a little crazy himself, because he likes Rebecca but also wants to punch her in the arm. (“You just described the fifth grade,” the wise child says to him.) So when Rebecca shows up, green juice in hand, gabbing about her new, healthy lifestyle, Josh sees it as an in. “I still like you, and I know I shouldn’t. I don’t want to. You’re not that nice to me, and you’re weird.” This goofy exchange transforms into a Gershwin-style song and dance in which Greg begs Rebecca to settle for him. “Like 2 percent milk or seitan beef, I almost taste the same,” he croons.
NEXT: Stranded at the taco festival
Can we take a minute and discuss these musical numbers? How do you guys feel about them? I’m shocked every episode by how much I enjoy the fantasy sequences. Of course, they’re well produced and wildly clever, but they have nothing to do with the show. This show is not about music, it is not about theater, it is not even about people who like music or care about theater. Rebecca loves Harvard, not Broadway. But to see Greg doing a soft-shoe while singing, “If he’s your broken condom, I’m Plan B, so lower your expectations and settle for me”? It works!
Anyhow, the “settle for me” plea seems somewhat logical to Rebecca, and she joins him on a date to the West Covina Taco Festival. It sounds kind of awesome but is probably a real bummer for someone who just decided to be a vegan. Things start out a little awkward, but soon the pair are gabbing about surprising shared interest the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire and genuinely enjoying each other’s company. Greg suggests they head back to Rebecca’s, and she pauses and instead insists on heading to the guacamole contest where two things happen: Rebecca has a brief and innocent encounter with a hot vegan-guacamole maker; and she and Greg get in an argument because he (rightfully) calls Rebecca on her relatively fake commitments to veganism and Buddhism, tells her she’s a hypocrite, and says that she came here from New York because she obviously had a nervous breakdown. In response, she tells him his “settle for me” vibe is sad. But Greg is an adult, and he apologizes for teasing her and calmly asks if they can go back to having fun. This maturity scares Rebecca most of all. She takes a sec to clear her head in the porta-potty, and when she emerges, she is not the measured adult she’d like to be; she is once again irrational, full of bad decisions. She eats a brisket taco, texts Greg that she’s going home, and ends up back at her apartment with the vegan guacamole guy. Yikes.
Greg does not give up easily, though. He tracks her down and confronts Rebecca at home about her tryst with the man-bunned vegan, and it leads to her most honest admission yet: She knows she’s a mess! She’s an adult who takes advice from butter commercials, for God’s sake! Why does he want to waste his time on her? And with that, Greg leaves, sad and rejected.
But hey! Isn’t this show about how Rebecca’s obsessed with Josh? Where’s Josh been? Well, he’s in desperate need of a job, or he’s going to have to work at his dad’s radiology lab. His dream job, assistant manager at the Aloha Tech Center (yes, a Hawaiian-themed TV story) is available, but Rebecca helped him fill out his application, and her musings on Harper Lee prove too smart for the Aloha Tech Center, and they tell Josh no. They even ask if he went to Harvard — but they ask it in a bad way. When Rebecca hears about this rejection, she marches right down to the Aloha Tech Center and yells and lawyers her way into getting Josh the job he’s appropriately educated to perform. She’s still feeling lousy about herself, and once again, Josh is there to tell her that she’s awesome.
So did Rebecca grow in this episode? Not as much as she would have liked — she’s already ditched her standing treadmill desk and is back to eating donuts and obsessing over josh. The healthy decisions, she says, led her to make the unhealthiest decision she’s ever made in her entire life. (Sex with man-bun, not stalking someone across the country.) So, that’s not a huge step forward, but it’s a step toward self-awareness — one that we can only hope will lead her back to Greg.