I used to like guacamole; now I don't like guacamole.
If it worked on guacamole, it could work on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 5 hit its own 'refresh' button on West Covina.
The task of writing out a series regular for most television shows requires something similar to the resetting of a chess board.
Every major piece needs to go back to where they started in order to move forward again, this time with a new strategy and a new endgame in mind.
What the writers of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend do with the series in the post-Greg era is move Rebecca and her friends forward with stories that satiate the drama of a love triangle, but showcase what Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh-McKenna have been saying all along; this isn’t a show about romance.
And I'm not sold on this new normal – yet.
We’ve got a lot to talk about. Let’s do it.
I get it; I'm Barb, she's Nancy. I tell myself that she's fragile, but you know, I just had an abortion dammit! It would have been nice to talk to my best friend about it. I'm so sorry, I should not have blurted that out.Paula
Rather than pining after Greg, “Why is Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Eating Carbs?” finds Rebecca in a weird place pining for her friendship with Paula, something that begins to slowly slip away from her during the hour.
Paula and Rebecca’s friendship has always been the foundation of the series.
That foundation is starting to crack.
Paula and Rebecca are in a serious state of disconnect, something that started way back on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 2 Episode 1 with the introduction of the friendship contract.
They can’t seem to communicate openly and honestly the way that they once did; or rather, Paula can’t seem to communicate openly and honestly. Rebecca is still just as talkative and flighty as ever, steamrolling Paula at every turn.
Sunil: Kids. So selfish, am I right? My daughters are also self-involved. They're only three and want to talk about are Pegasuses like, all day.
Paula: Oh, that's not my daughter, that's my best friend.
Sunil: Sorry. Wait, really? She just had that 'me me me me' vibe.
His introduction to the story is well-done. As a complete outsider, he can bluntly ask questions and make assumptions that slap Paula with truths that she isn’t saying out loud.
When Sunil asks if Rebecca is Paula’s self-absorbed daughter, it’s as though Paula’s mind explodes; Sunil has nailed their friendship after seeing them interact for exactly 10 seconds.
And Paula starts talking, even blurting out that she’s recently had an abortion, something that she’s still keeping from her bestie.
Paula has been slowly breaking away from Rebecca with each passing episode, and with Sunil in the picture now (clad with a friendship bracelet), Rebecca is starting to feel that disconnect.
It’s not that Rebecca has been replaced, either.
I'm Paula's bitch – kind of.Sunil
Sure, on the surface it looks like she has, as Paula and Sunil dress up in their “sneak around” clothes, hacking the college douchebag’s computer and stealing his notes.
The bigger picture here is that Sunil and Paula relate to one another. They’re in similar places in life, struggling to move into new careers later in life, both having suffered loss, and both trying to understand how things work in this new era of millennial power.
And they have a give and take.
For the entirety of the time we’ve known Paula, she’s been the giver. Rebecca time and again takes and takes from Paula, giving very little back.
Sunil is already giving back. He had the coding skills that ultimately stole the files. And let’s not forget those friendship bracelets: he and his daughters made them.
Darryl: Look, when I saw all those Pat Sajaks that you'd been with, I just felt so ordinary and old. But you know, these are my own insecurities, I don't expect you to understand.
White Josh: Why not? You think you're the only one with insecurities?
White Josh has a type.
Darryl and White Josh became a fan favorite couple immediately, an odd couple that worked on every level.
I love that the writers gave them problems to work through, and that they not only faced them head-on during the hour, but resolved them.
White Josh wants to meet Darryl’s daughter. He’s struggling with some insecurity over what he is to Darryl. Darryl, meanwhile, wants to know that he’s not just another cookie cutter boyfriend to White Josh.
They communicate. They get through it. And the payoff of White Josh meeting Madison is adorable, complete with his presenting her with a stuffed snail. (Man, was I hoping for more snail puns, but alas, Madison has moved on to Pegasuses.)
I don't mind being alone with my thoughts. I'm totally fine alone with my thoughts.
Unlike White Josh, Josh Chan isn’t great with resolving anything.
He can’t even be alone with his thoughts, because they might start off like a fun Jason Mraz song, but end with himself considering loss and going to hell - and President Obama’s dog, oddly.
We’ve seemed glimpses of this in the past with Josh; his optimism is so large that he tends to be blind to the larger issues that surround him.
Josh doesn’t have anything to distract him this time; there’s a lot of tough stuff that he has to handle. There aren’t any girls around to replace his worries that his mom will die on him.
Anna: You fixed the sound, right? Without music, this event is just dirt, so thank you.
Josh: I work out.
But that won't be the case for long, because Brittany Snow made her first appearance as Anna, and surprise surprise, she's TOTALLY into Josh. (The ladies do love the Chan man.)
Snow's appearance is brief, and she doesn't make much of a first impression, but I feel certain that she'll have more to work with in future episodes.
Rebecca: I'm just realizing how much Josh has taken advantage of me time after time after time and I just laid down and let him. (Valencia starts to cry.) Oh, you're crying.
Valencia: Josh hurt me so much. I broke up with him, but the truth is he left me emotionally long before. I killed the relationship because I had to. It was already dead, and now I am so scared to be alone.
Rebecca spends the hour trying to make amends with Valencia and heal their broken relationship.
The drug-induced dinosaur ballet is so…weird.
But it gives viewers a surprisingly accurate reenactment of what happened between Josh, Valencia, and Rebecca, right down to Valencia being a villain in her own story (an excellent music cue), and Rebecca barreling into Josh’s life ultimately tearing him apart.
And the dance also does a great job of showing us that everyone had a role to play in the downfall of Josh and Valencia's romance.
While I like that the drug trip DOES bring Rebecca and Valencia to a place of friendship, it feels rushed; especially the fact that the two new besties can sit around eating doughnuts with Heather, calling each other “bitches” in a totally feminist way.
Heather: Hey, bitch! I heard you peed on some stuff!
Valencia: Yeah, I did!
Heather: I always knew I kinda liked you. You're basic, but in an enjoyable way.
Valencia: Thanks, bitch!
Rebecca: Aw guys, we're all bitches!
Something about it feels slightly off.
And this is my biggest problem with the post-Greg era of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
These are still the characters we know and love. They're moving forward. No one is acting in a way that seems unusual.
It just doesn't exactly feel like the show I fell in love with. It feels like a bizzaro bait-and-switch.
So, like you, I'll be waiting to see how things play out in the coming weeks, and if Rebecca can re-hook me. I really hope she can.
What do you think TV Fanatics? Are you glad that Valencia and Rebecca are besties? Do you love Sunil? Will Josh let Anna become his latest distraction? Sound off below!
Don't forget, you can watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend anytime right here at TV Fanatic!