Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's Latest Breakup Cuts The Deepest
Rebecca's latest heartbreak may be too much to bear -- for her, and for our commentator.
While on its surface Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is, of course, a romantic comedy about a crazy ex-girlfriend (she's an ingénue!) and her pursuit of Josh Chan (he just happens to live here!), one could argue -- and one has -- that it's really about female friendship and empowerment. Sure, Rebecca is a mess -- she's nobody's role model -- but she's also super-smart and driven, and over the run of the series so far, we've seen her steadily get her life more and more together. The very first episode was, yes, about her making a crazy decision, but also taking control of her life because she was deeply unhappy with where she was.
The end of Rebecca's romantic involvements with Josh and Greg were sad, but you knew it was the right thing, and you rooted for Rebecca to realize that she doesn't need a man to be happy, least of all in these charming but unhealthy relationships. Picking up where we left off last week, this week's episode is all about female friendship. Rebecca, Valencia, and Heather are still hanging out, and the unlikely trio is getting along surprisingly well. Valencia has never had female friends before, so she's game for anything: "If peeing together is this much fun, I can't wait for the next activities." This serves Heather well, since other women have always found her too direct, but it's working for her here. And Rebecca...is Rebecca: "We're a squad. We're like Sotomayor, Bader Ginsberg, and Kagan." This week's big song is a Spice Girls-esque number (complete with accents) about overthrowing the patriarchy. Violently.
But where does this leave our other bad-ass lady, Paula? Well, Rebecca isn't completely oblivious, and she realizes that she and Paula are drifting apart. Paula says she's just busy with school, but Rebecca insists that they hang out on Friday night. However, she doesn't tell Paula that Heather and Valencia will also be there, because she wants to
force aggressively facilitate these two parts of her life together. What could go wrong?
Well, first it's just super-awkward. Then there's the fun bonding activity of a sex toy party, which would have been a bad idea even if it hadn't been suggested by Karen, and even if Karen's "friend" Angelique who runs it hadn't turned out to be (come on, you've watched TV before) Karen herself. The real kicker comes when Rebecca's new house turns out to be a deathtrap, and Paula gets trapped in the bathroom when the ceiling collapses.
Rebecca tries to help by texting Scott to tell him Paula will be late, but she doesn't have his number, and when she grabs Paula's phone, she sees her desperate texts to Sunil: "Help, I'm having the worst night of my life." Rebecca realizes that this isn't just an awkward evening: she's been replaced.
Once it's out there, Paula stops hiding from -- and hiding Rebecca from -- the truth. "For the past few months, every time I wanted to talk to you, you were too busy for me," Paula reminds her. Rebecca cites the recommendation letter she wrote for Paula, and Paula reminds her that it was too late to do any good: "Our friendship has always been one-sided. I give, you take, and that is how it works." Rebecca says that just last week she came to Paula's house when she was sick with the flu, and Paula finally tells her about the abortion. She didn't feel like Rebecca would have really listened.
You guys, it's a tough scene to watch. And it's telling that there's no song here (though there are some jokes, a great running gag where Rebecca makes fun of Sunil's acting ability because he's a bad liar, calling him things like "Kenickie's understudy). Rebecca's pain is real and all over her face. But also: Paula is right. This has been building since the end of last season, and I'm as proud of Paula for finally getting it all out as I am heartbroken for Rebecca. She knows she can't scheme her way out of this one (whom would she do it with?), and it's also much deeper than her usual mistakes.
The Rebecca/Paula relationship has consistently been my favorite thing about this show, so I'm anxious to see where it goes from here. Neither of them is alone, which makes their breakup seem that much more inevitable and natural: Rebecca has Valencia and Heather (and, at the end of the episode, the ill-advised Trent), and Paula has Sunil and Scott, but here we are a third of the way through the season and every one of Rebecca's key relationships from Season 1 has ended or been seriously altered. She's everyone's crazy ex-girlfriend. Where do we go from here?