Michael Desmond / The CW

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Gets A New Villain

...and an old boyfriend. Is it one step forward and two steps back?

Sigh. Well, Friendtopia was nice while it lasted. I was so happy at the end of the last episode when Rebecca said no to Josh -- not just because she did it for Paula, but because I just don't want or need this show to be a romantic comedy, even a twisted one. I feel like they did that, it was very good, and now it's played out.

But here we are, back with Josh, and their mis-matched-ness is actually a major plot point. And we've even got a potential new love triangle brewing with new character Nathaniel, who is even less suitable for Rebecca. At least Josh is nice! Meanwhile, there's hardly any Heather and no Valencia at all. What happened to our squad?

The purchase of the law firm could be a big shake-up for the show (and although it would mean further sidelining Valencia, Heather, White Josh, and Hector, I wouldn't mind a shift to workplace comedy, especially given how much fun they've been having with those side characters lately), but this episode also feels like a big reset to last season. Why can't Rebecca just enjoy spending time alone and with her friends?

Well, given that these are the show's roots, how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend-esque is it?

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend-ish Element Present?
Paula Is The Best Paula loves having Rebecca's help around the house ("I have really enjoyed having a wife. I can totally understand why people want several"), but knows it's time for her to go, and tells her to respond to Josh, who's been sending so much stuff "it looks like a children's cancer ward in here." No one on this show but Paula is such a good friend that she'd give up her own convenience for you to go be with a completely unsuitable man, and rob a grave for you!
Musical Theatre/Disney Song Parody When Josh and Rebecca first get back together, we see a delightful montage set to "West Covina," which is a perfect callback.

(Also, sidebar, I've been really bothered by how terrible and synthy the "orchestral" numbers have sounded this season, especially the theme song. This underscoring, which I assume is an old track, proves I'm not imagining things. I'm pretty sure they were using fake instruments last season too, but now they're using...worse ones? It's weird.)

Anyhoo, the main event this week is "Who's The New Guy," which sees the office staff speculating about Nathaniel Plimpton, the WASPy bro to whom Darryl has sold half the law firm. Musically, it's not the best, but it does...

Break That Fourth Wall ...break the fourth wall, then uses the pieces to build another wall just so it can break that too.

Who's this new character?
I mean, he's such a character!
Such a big persona that's not relatable at all.
Do we really need a new guy this far into the season?
And by far into the season I mean it's almost fall.
...Is this some sort of desperate move to help our ratings?
You mean our terrible ratings on LegalScores.com? 
Yeah.
Will he be here forever, 
Or just two or three episodes?
You know, Karen's manic episodes?

We also get a snippet of a song by George about how he's through being ignored and interrupted, which of course gets interrupted by the commercial break. Har har.

Pop Song Parody Nope. We seem to be in a one-song-per-episode midseason lull.
Rebecca Ruins Everything Shockingly, no, though she does attack Nathaniel with a pen. Nathaniel tracks down Darryl's ex-wife and buys her shares of the firm too, so he now has a majority stake. He has to find $250,000 in the budget by Friday at 8 AM, which he plans to do easily enough by firing four people (and really, besides Paula, it's kind of hard not to agree with his choices). Rebecca decides to make up the shortfall in new business instead to save everyone's jobs, and actually succeeds, more or less, by reverting to her New York self: "I could teach a very offensive class in how to appeal to rich white men." She's not thrilled about blackmailing a cemetery so that an exclusive country club can expand next door, but whatever works.

Rebecca does blow it with Josh's parents, but she's not Valencia, so she's still okay in their eyes.

Josh Is Even Dumber Than He Looks Josh doesn't understand water polo because "how do they get the horses in the pool," which is both dumb of him and an ancient joke. Nathaniel keeps making fun of Josh to Rebecca and it gets in her head, making her hyper-sensitive to all the stuff he mispronounces or doesn't know. But Josh is dumb! And when the shit hits the fan at work, he's pretty unsupportive of Rebecca, too. This is all clearly meant to show Rebecca "absorbing Nathaniel's evilness," but it just made me more annoyed that she and Josh were back together in the first place.
Josh Is Smarter Than He Looks Okay, fine, he's also a sweetheart. By the end of the episode he's being much nicer about the work situation, and he understands that Rebecca had to blow him off to save her friends' jobs.
It's Friendship! Friendship Rebecca is going to quit until she hears about the firings. She stays to save her friends. Even the ones she doesn't like very much.
Women Gotta Stick Together Paula and Rebecca of course, but we covered that already. The lack of the squad puts this in the no column for me.
We Are All Heather Heather is so annoyed with Rebecca and Josh's canoodling on the couch that she makes the most of her brief appearance.
Delightful Tertiary Character Is Delightful The office shenanigans are a good showcase episode for Darryl, Karen, Tim, Maya, and poor George, without giving any of them so much to do that it's too over-the-top.
White Josh Is The Cutest White Josh does his best to be supportive of Darryl, even when he's pretending to like the junk that no longer fits in Darryl's office (he's been moved to Rebecca's, and Rebecca to a cubicle), and when he has every right to do the "I told you so" dance but doesn't.
Quirk Alert See above about none of the office weirdoes being given too much time. The runner about no one knowing George's name seems a bit beneath this show, but props to them for putting him in four episodes before this one, so he didn't show up just for that joke.
9 / 13
Final Score
69%
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
31%
The Office
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