9.2

Crazy Ex Girlfriend Review: "Josh Is Going to Hawaii!"

Episode 1.14

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<i>Crazy Ex Girlfriend</i> Review: "Josh Is Going to Hawaii!"

Just when you think Crazy Ex-Girlfriend will run out of musical genres to spoof, the show whips out a Disney-style villain song and a bisexual coming out anthem that sounds like it was ripped off of a Huey Lewis and the News album. Sure, the quality of this series varies slightly by episode, but its sheer inventiveness will never stop being remarkable. A weekly musical comedy on network television should run out of good ideas. But fourteen episodes in, this show still has all of the energy that it did back when Rebecca Bunch was hoisted above the city of West Covina in a humongous soft pretzel.

“Josh is Going to Hawaii!” finds all of our heroes dealing with romantic fallout of various sorts: Rebecca suffers the consequences of kissing Josh, Darryl has to come back down to earth after eagerly coming out as bi to White Josh, and Greg has to navigate working at the same bar as his newly ex-girlfriend Heather.

Let’s take a look at these couples one at a time, starting with the leads. For Rebecca, last episode’s long-awaited lip-lock was the culmination of all of her and BFF Paula’s machinations. But Josh is wracked with guilt and, after a sit-down with Father Brah, feels like he should come clean to Valencia. It’s painfully true-to-life to watch Rebecca get exactly what she wants only to realize with the human cost of her choices. Yes, she wants Josh, but is it really worth emotionally devastating Valencia, who, conceited as she might be, was hoping that Josh would propose to her? It’s a realization that cleverly flips the series on its head: What if Rebecca isn’t a relatable albeit flawed protagonist but rather “the villain of [her] own story,” as she sings in her witch makeup while holding Valencia hostage?

Given that the continuation of the series is contingent on Rebecca still having room to grow, we can probably count on this epiphany being short-lived, but from a comedic perspective, it’s on par with the 30 Rock “Reunion” episode in which Liz Lemon realizes that she was the class bully all along.

The Greg-Heather break-up is well-handled, mostly because any storyline that gives Vella Lovell more screentime is a welcome one. But unfortunately, there’s not enough room in this episode’s spotlight for both Heather and Darryl, who comes out to his coworkers in a song called “Getting Bi.” And what a song! Decked out in a white suit and dancing in front of the bi pride flag, Darryl shatters stereotypes about bisexual men and celebrates being “bi, bi, bi, until the day I die.” There are so few bisexual characters on television and almost no bisexual men who aren’t villains, so Crazy Ex-Girlfriend continues to make history every time they let Darryl’s earnest journey of self-discovery take center stage. Pete Gardner has always been a joy to watch on this show but he’s practically liberated here, imbuing his role as a middle-aged man who’s finally finding himself with an endearingly boyish sort of enthusiasm.

Unfortunately for Darryl, that excitement initially proves to be a little too much for White Josh who, as you’ll recall, has been out as gay since he was 12 years old. But to the show’s credit, the writers allow the couple to experience some tension around this difference instead of insulating them from conflict simply because they know die-hard fans like me are shipping the hell out of them.

Except for Darryl and White Josh, then, the main cast seems to be moving back to their default positions this week: Rebecca is Joshless, Josh and Valencia are back together but barely, and Greg is awkwardly stuck in the middle again. As a result, this episode doesn’t quite pack the emotional punch that the best ones in the series do. But it’s the nature of serial comedy for plot developments to get undone. And even when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is simply returning to its resting state, it does so with more style than we even deserve.

May Saunders is a professional dog walker living in Minneapolis and an occasional freelance writer. In her spare time, she enjoys hanging out with her cat, who does not need to be walked. Follow her on Twitter.

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