This episode was full of new things and firsts. Paula makes a new friend, Josh meets a new love interest, Rebecca and Valencia get a new outlook on Josh, and Daryl and White Josh enter a new stage of their relationship.
But before I get into that, and the songs, we need to address the elephant in the room. Santino Fontana has left the show, and last week’s episode was his last. I’m heartbroken: Fontana was one of my favorite parts of the show, and I’m Team Greg. Breaking up made sense for Greg and Rebecca. But did Greg have to go to Emory if it meant the character leaving for good? Or, considering that he’s been talking about Emory since season 1, could he have enrolled but not disappeared from all the character’s lives? Rebecca broke up with Josh for good reason too, but his character gets to stick around. This feels like the show is saying that Rebecca might get back together with Josh, but never Greg, therefore Josh wins. Co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna has said that this was premeditated. Santino Fontana requested a one-year contract, and that fit in with where they story was going. Regardless of this plan, Greg doesn’t feel like a one season character. The show also lost its best singer. All that to say: RIP Greg.
Onto this episode… Paula starts law school (a local school, thank goodness — we’re not going to have another Santino Fontana situation). She makes a new friend, Sunil (Parvesh Cheena) and they bond over skulking and team up to steal a classmate’s high-tech notes program. Rebecca tries to reach out to Valencia under the guise of friendship but really because she wants someone to talk about Josh with and they’ve both broken up with him. But Valencia does not want Rebecca’s friendship. Meanwhile, Josh is adjusting to being single. He sings a song (“Thought Bubbles”) about how he’s fine with solo time, but being alone with his own thoughts causes anxieties to emerge, as we all know. Daryl and White Josh are going to Electric Mesa, the San Gabriel Valley’s version of Burning Man, and Rebecca gets the idea to trick Valencia into going.
At the festival, Daryl meets White Josh’s ex-boyfriend Karl… who he notices looks a lot like him. He gets mad because he thinks White Josh only likes him because he’s a middle-aged man. White Josh, on the other hand, is worried Daryl isn’t taking the relationship seriously. Eventually, they make up and pass an important relationship milestone by saying I love you. Meanwhile, some speakers break, and since they came from Aloha Tech Center, Josh comes out to fix them.
Rebecca and Valencia accidentally take a hallucinogen called Triceratops. They both hallucinate separate dream ballets (a la Oklahoma!) involving Josh. In Valencia’s, she’s a beautiful ballerina. Ballet dancer Josh approaches, but then grows a triceratops head. So, Valencia stabs him and then mourns over his body. Rebecca’s is a little crazier: Josh is a ballet dancer, but Rebecca goes from wearing her regular clothes to a triceratops suit. She beats him up, pulls his heart out of his chest, and eats it. After their trip is over, Valencia realizes she’s sad and Rebecca realizes she’s angry. Josh makes it worse by becoming the festival’s hero when he fixes the speakers, so Rebecca convinces Valencia to pee on his equipment with her. He catches them, and they team up to decimate him for how he treated them, and in the process, they stick up for each other. It seems like they’re friends now. We’ll see how long this lasts.
After his verbal beating, Josh vows that he’s going to be single for a while. But seconds later, he meets Anna (Brittany Snow) and is smitten with her. Back in West Covina, Daryl shows White Josh he’s serious by introducing him to his daughter Madison, and she likes him. Paula and Sunil run into Rebecca, and she’s clearly thrown off by Paula hanging out with someone else. Paula appears bothered that Rebecca is hanging out with Valencia and Heather. Josh can’t stop thinking about Anna and hopes that having a girlfriend again will prevent him from being alone with his own thoughts. It’s not such a healthy idea. The episode ends with Josh deciding whether or not to call her.
NEXT: Now for the songs[pagebreak]
Josh comes into work at Aloha’s to organize in order to clear his mind. He’s working through breaking up with Rebecca, Greg leaving, and White Josh being less available now that he has Daryl. Josh tells himself that he’s fine with being single and alone and launches into a song that sounds like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours” or anything from his whole acoustic phase. There’s scatting, there’s semi-rapping, and Josh is even wearing his Hawaiian shirt uniform. But his happy thoughts about sunshine and chilling quickly escalate into dark thoughts. This song is like what would happen to a chill fedora-sporting, hemp-necklace-wearing bro if things were suddenly not so chill. Josh sings lyrics like, “Life is so sweet when you take it light/Nothing can go wrong when the sun is bright/That reminds me that I barely passed lifeguard school/That’s why that kid almost died in that pool.” That escalated quickly, like all of our negative thoughts. Whenever Crazy Ex-Girlfriend tackles anxiety and depression, they always get it so right. I love this song for tackling being alone with your own thoughts. Josh is a pretty happy, bubbly person, but in this song, we see that he has dark thoughts, too. Ultimately, despite his sunniness, he realizes he can’t be alone with his thoughts. He doesn’t seem to know how to address them either. As we see later, he considers getting into a new relationship to solve this, but that’s not a healthy way to start a relationship. Jason Mraz is a musical style that works for Vincent Rodriguez III. His whole performance is excellent. Watching him slip from bopping happily to neurotically pulling his hair out is very funny.
This one’s not a song, but it’s a dream ballet and still important to musical theater. The dream ballet format makes sense: Rebecca and Valencia weren’t making any progress with their feelings toward Josh, even with each other to talk to. Talking isn’t working, so they explore their respective relationships with Josh through dance and sans dialogue. When they wake up, they analyze their dreams and realize how they feel. Of course, Valencia’s is more traditional, and of course, she’s great at ballet. Rebecca’s is more fumbling: First she tries to do ballet how she thinks you should, then she abandons tradition to give free reign to her feelings and dons the unglamorous dino suit. Rebecca and Valencia come out of it angry and sad, respectively, and when Josh shows up at Electric Mesa, they really let him have it. Notice that instrumentals of the season 2 theme song and “I’m the Villain in My Own Story” from season 1 is playing in the background during the twin ballets.
“Thought Bubbles (Reprise)”
In this little snippet of a song, “Thought Bubbles” is reprised, this time by Anna. Brittany Snow sounds great. Josh is in the back room of Aloha’s trying to focus, and she pops into his mind as a thought bubble. She sings a few lines of the song, first sultry, then sweet. This time, the lyrics offer a solution for Josh: “You don’t have to be alone with your thoughts,” she sings. Josh can dodge his thoughts instead of addressing them by jumping into another relationship. Will he call her? We’ll have to wait for next week.
Top Three Songs in Season 2 (So Far):
I really liked “Thought Bubbles,” but it’s not a top three song. My ranking remains the same:
1. “Maybe This Dream”
2. “It Was a S— Show”
3. “We Tapped That A–”