The Santa Ana winds make things really "weird" for Rebecca
Previously on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: For once, Rebecca was close to getting some self-care, until Josh Chan brought back the Garfinkel ring from the pawn shop and proposed to her. New boss Nathaniel Plimpton is a scary, sexy, stick in the mud who makes Rebecca question her relationship with Josh, which definitely makes him the villain of this story. Paula’s husband Scott cheated on her with one of his co-workers, so she kicked him to the curb. All the while, Darryl still lives in a dream world where Paula is his best friend and vice versa. Also, there’s this guy at the law firm named George, and no one can remember his name. He really hasn’t made that much of an impression though.
“I’m just a girl in love / I can’t be held responsible for my actions”
As the second season Crazy Ex-Girlfriend theme regularly reminds us, no matter how untrue it might be, Rebecca’s merely the protagonist of a romantic story. She’s a cog in the machine of love, and it’s definitely outside forces controlling that narrative. She’s simply just along for the ride. Now she’s engaged — said in an old-timey voice — to Josh, so clearly the romantic story is going just fine. Rebecca’s twirling at morning meetings, she’s showing everyone how good her engagement ring looks in someone’s face, she’s on top of the world. Never mind when Karen points out Josh buying back the Garfinkel ring from the pawn shop isn’t the same thing as buying a new ring or when George mentions the ring can’t be too special since she pawned it in the first place.
Paula and Darryl are shocked by the news but excited for Rebecca, Mrs. Hernandez is understandably judgy, Karen relates because of her own 12-year-long engagement to a San Quentin inmate currently serving a life sentence, and Nathaniel is of course unnecessarily mean. So, so mean. At the news, he actually asks Rebecca if that’s why she looks “halfway decent,” only to follow that up with his own psychosexual mini-speech about how the pursuit is the only good part of any relationship. Because, in his own awkward words, “nobody likes a needy whore.”
Judgmental co-workers aside, everything is coming up Rebecca Bunch. She’s in love, she’s engaged, and there’s nothing that could possibly jeopardize any of that.
Until those darn Santa Ana winds — the “devil winds,” if you will — blow into town. Not only are these winds Rebecca’s first brush with actual “weather” in Southern California, they’re the perfect storytelling device to make things even weirder in West Covina. As we all know, extreme weather conditions always lead to extreme personal conditions. For Josh, the Santa Anas just mean bad allergies that keep him down and out for the majority of the episode. But for Rebecca (and Nathaniel), they mean new, bizarre, unresolved sexual tension and lingering questions about her relationship with the allergy-riddled Josh Chan. Even research into her and Josh’s perfect wedding venue in Malibu — the place where they filmed the Catalina Wine Mixer from Step Brothers — is interrupted by ominous warnings about the Santa Ana winds, but Rebecca doesn’t heed the warning as they set a wedding date for two years from now. Because as Josh points out, “what’s two years when we’re gonna be married forever?”
“I’ll be back, because I’m the wind / And also, kind of a narrator”
That’s really sweet of Josh, but unfortunately for Rebecca and her spiraling self-doubt, it’s a sweetness that comes without the supposed “total goosebumps” Paula explains Rebecca should be having in her newly-engaged state. Goosebumps that, after some Santa Ana wind-related “magic dust” comes out to “make things weird,” now hit Rebecca in the form of her interactions with Nathaniel. Rebecca may find herself “im-bump-otent” when it comes to Josh, but you can set your hormonal watch by Rebecca and Nathaniel’s simultaneous Santa Ana sex dreams about each other.
“I’m planning a wedding to the man of my dreams, is this bad,” she asks Paula. What begins as Rebecca’s lingering questions about her happiness with Josh Chan becomes a Jersey Boys-inspired nightmare, as “The Wind” narrates his role in messing with Rebecca and Nathaniel (and no one else), simply because he likes to make things really “weird.”
On the plus side, Rebecca doesn’t want things to be like this. In order to prevent herself from making bad decisions on this front, she does her best to avoid Nathaniel at work; because as Paula points out, no good ever comes from “good looking people who hate each other but secretly have the hots for each other” being stuck in small spaces together. First comes love/hate, then comes love in “snowy cabins and bank vaults and the trunk of a car.” It’s the type of romantic comedy fuel that has “happened to Reese Witherspoon, like, eight times,” after all. So Rebecca bobs and weaves and ducks Nathaniel all day at work, finally finding sweet release at the end of the day. The kicker is: Of all the enclosed romantic comedy spaces Paula warned Rebecca about, she really should have thought about the elevator first. Nashville just did that toward the end of last season, Paula. It should be fresh in everyone’s minds. Instead, Nathaniel and Rebecca get stuck in an elevator together, and you just know the wind is having a ball with that one.
NEXT: Elevator Music
“You might say, ‘Don’t do it, wind / Leave these poor people alone’ / But I’m a prankster / Tee he he heee / I just wanna see / What will happen”
In true romantic comedy fashion, Rebecca and Nathaniel butt heads immediately when it comes to being trapped in an elevator, whether it comes to how to call for help or how to get George to save them when they can’t even remember his name (even with a “George Washington” clue). The setting also allows Nathaniel to keep outwardly judging Rebecca for what he considers her boring monogamous relationship, as well as proposing through song that the two of them have intercourse, right there in the elevator, to pass the time. You know, so they’ll know what it’s like and to get it out of their systems.
But once Rebecca rejects his advances and suggests they simply get to know each other platonically, they actually find a common bond. It’s of course the one thing that causes nearly everyone to bond: Harry Potter. Because despite everything that’s so aggressively unpleasant about Nathaniel, he certainly has a point about people’s Harry Potter housing preferences. Also: Slytherins, represent! The slander has gone on for far too long. But this is neither the time nor place — that’s trapped in an elevator chat.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the best friend duo (as this week’s episode is really about about these two), Paula misses her husband Scott, but due to her pride and possible public perception deeming her a “doormat,” she doesn’t want to take him back. It’s genuinely tearing her apart as she has to choose between her feelings and public opinion, and the “actively listening” (translation: eavesdropping) Darryl wants to do all he can to possibly help his “best friend.” Naturally, Paula rejects Darryl’s attempt to insert himself into the situation… but after those wacky devil winds cause her to dream about a dead Darryl holding an oil painting of the two of them, she reevaluates their friendship and at least acknowledges that she appreciates Darryl’s friendship and how much he wants to help her. She even takes him up on his offer to get a bite to eat after work! But because Rebecca isn’t the only one who lives her life one terrifying romantic comedy trope at a time, best friends dinner quickly turns into a Parent Trap situation once Darryl learns Scott’s new apartment is in the same neighborhood as the restaurant.
Much like Rebecca’s decision to kiss Nathaniel right after the elevator finally starts back up, Darryl’s decision to call Scott over to the restaurant is very much ill-advised. Only, in the case of the Paula/Darryl story, Paula eventually forgives Darryl for overstepping like he did, as she does eventually take Scott back and finally acknowledge that Darryl is certainly her “best male friend.” All Rebecca can do is shout at “The Wind” for her own self-destructive choices, then repeat “crazy” patterns by paying off a woman to get the Malibu wedding venue for two weeks from now instead of two years. She’s just a girl in love — she can’t be held responsible for her actions.
“Josh Is The Man Of My Dreams, Right?” doesn’t quite take the time to genuinely answer the titular question, but hey, no need to rush, right? The wedding’s only two weeks from now — surely Rebecca will have the answers to all of her questions by then. If not, she can probably rest easy in the idea of marriage totally being the answer, right? That’s another question for another time, but hopefully next week’s episode can at least answer the question of this week’s missing Heather and Valencia.
Also, goodbye again to George. He didn’t deserve to get fired the first time, but he definitely deserves it this time around. He left his boss and one of his superiors trapped in an elevator, intending for them to be trapped the entire weekend. At least now he has more time to have his weird dreams about being on a yacht with a bunch of famous Georges. It’s highly questionable that the Santa Ana winds actually caused that one; it just sounds like the type of dreams George regularly has.
- “Santa Ana Winds” is a bold song choice, because unlike with Jersey Boys, no one signs up to watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to endure ridiculously high-voiced singing almost non-stop. And the Jersey Boys thing isn’t just a coincidence: Eric Michael Roy (a.k.a. Eric Schneider), who plays “The Wind” (as well as weatherman Gavin Johnson), played the role of Frankie Valli in Jersey Boys on Broadway. The longer the bit goes and the more “The Wind” adds to the song, the funnier it gets and the easier it is to get invested in this weird narration tactic. The song sneaks up on you and gets stuck in your head, even as it keeps playing in the score. The conclusion to this running number puts the whole thing in a brand new context though, as Rebecca herself argues with “The Wind,” only for him to point out he’s simply a manifestation of her own subconscious wanting to find a way to justify her actions (through the fact that “The Wind” made her do it). There’s even a callback to her season 1 low point as “The Wind” sings to her “You ruined everything / You stupid bitch.” Then, as she yells at “Mr. Wind” to go away, the personification of the wind is already “gone,” reminding the audience that so much of this is sadly in Rebecca’s head. The Santa Ana winds are just another excuse from Rebecca.
- Since nothing can ever be completely perfect on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the show giving the world the joy of witnessing Scott Michael Foster sing a song called “Let’s Have Intercourse” doesn’t mean it’s not going to make us all feel bad about that. With such backhanded compliments like “Unfortunately, I wanna have sex with you / Don’t know what happened / Maybe you lost some weight / For some reason, you’re now on the top of my to-do list” and flat-out insults such as “You could use the exercise,” the song definitely has some instant guilty pleasure status. The number being Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s take on Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud” also takes that song title’s concept quite literally in Nathaniel’s “advances.”
- “You’re My Best Friend (And I Know I’m Not Yours)” takes two overplayed gimmicks — the ukulele and sepia tone — and produces a pretty sweet song about friendship rankings. For any other character, the song’s proclamations that this relationship is “okay” would read as pass-aggressive. Not from Darryl, though. When he sings “That’s why I love you like a sister / And you love me like a second cousin,” he genuinely means that in all possible sweetness. Hopefully Paula’s new acceptance of their friendship ends up leading to a real oil painting of Darryl and Paula.
- In an episode where Karen is at full Karen with her warnings of the devil winds, it’s pretty appropriate that the episode end with the tag of her singing “The Math Of Love Triangles (Reprise).” A love triangle between herself, her snake Long John Slithers, and her prison inmate fiancé Marcus is the type of weird “The Wind” would appreciate.