Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 4 Episode 3

I hadn’t originally planned to review Crazy Ex-Girlfriend again quite so soon, mainly because there’s so many other comedy shows that I love that I want to praise on the site, but this episode is such a strong one, so important to Rebecca’s ongoing recovery, and so sublime in general that I didn’t have any choice in the matter. It’s also deeply funny throughout, and contains two of the best songs the series has so far given us despite the fact that Rachel Bloom doesn’t sing either, and as any regular viewer will know, it’s given us an insane amount of stunning musical moments.

Last week’s episode whilst enjoyable was the first in a long while that felt like it had a filler-ish element to it. Rebecca’s storyline where her misdeeds hit the news and it seemed like everyone she’d ever met was posting in the comments section tearing her apart was a fantastic one, and contained a wonderfully funny song about her trying to leave the apartment but then failing, but Darryl’s subplot about his concerns that he wasn’t a good enough father left me wanting. Not that it was bad in any way, and it had some really cute moments including Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) and White Josh (David Hull) bonding with the baby, but Darryl’s antics attempting to buy human milk on the black market got a bit too silly, even for this particular character. It wasn’t a plot I was captivated by, which is normally the case with everything this amazing show does, and so disappointed a little. I almost feel guilty criticising it such is my love for the series and as a whole there was a ridiculous amount to love about it, with Patton Oswalt turning up for “The Cringe”, a hilarious song at the end, but it just wasn’t an A+ episode for me, and more of a B rating.

This latest episode is superb though, and any concerns I might had begun to have that the fact that this season is eighteen episodes long and possibly could include material that wasn’t especially needed were instantly quashed. In it Rebecca’s worried she might be disbarred after her stint in prison, and so her therapist suggests she doesn’t have to be a lawyer, which Rebecca initially instantly dismisses. But when she discovers Jim (Burl Moseley) has quit law and opened a pretzel shop we’re launched in to the first song, “Don’t Be A Lawyer”, which has a deliciously funny line about being involved with a pharmaceutical murder case and how “Nobody you work with looks like Ally McBeal”, and she starts to have doubts. In an echo to events in the first episode she runs out of the office in a vague panic, and then asks Jim if he’s hiring. It’s typical Rebecca behaviour as she dashes off without thinking at the first sign of a difficult issue rather than confronting her problems, and the character’s impulsive acts often have a sting in their tail, but thankfully it eventually turns out that’s not the case here. Of course she lies to all involved and claims it’s because she’s worried about being disbarred and so is only working their for a short while, but it quickly becomes apparent that it’s not true at all.

As always with Ms Bunch she throws her all in to her job, and within an incredibly short amount of time she’s coming up with ideas on how to improve the profit margin, inventing new toppings for the pretzels much to Jim’s horror as he has to stick to corporate’s stringent rules. A Simon and Garfunkel-esque song which is sung by two pretzels who dislike the fact that they’re in charge of Rebecca’s mental state follows, and it’s amazing quite frankly, filled with pretzel based puns with “It’s the yeast that she could do to save us from this twisted fate” being the one which made me laugh the most, and my only complaint is that it’s far too short. And that the pretzels haven’t yet been given their own spin-off sitcom.

crazy ex main pic s4e3

As well as giving Jim a chance to shine for the first time in ages we’re introduced to co-worker AJ (Love, Simon star Clark Moore) who provides a great amount of very funny snark in the episode (as do Rebecca’s collection of narc jokes, with “Be my Joan of No Narc” being my particular favourite) and I hope it’s a character we see a lot more of. The door’s certainly been left open for that to happen as when corporate turn up to close Jim down, at least until he returns to their ways of running things, he realises he’s tired of being a boss and decides to quit and go back to being a lawyer, and Rebecca takes over the business.

Josh gets the main subplot this week, as he’s decided he’s ready to throw himself back in to the dating world. After an accidental meeting between him and Rebecca (where they both apologise for their previous behaviour) their friendship is reignited, and after a disastrous date with a woman who rejects him after learning he’s in therapy, Rebecca decides to help him out. This leads to a huge laugh when Josh comments that he doesn’t care where someone went to college and Rebecca responds “Oh, once I loved you – Amazing”. It shows how much she’s moved on, but also that their friendship is able to survive such a remark. Rebecca then matches him with someone he worries he isn’t intelligent enough for, and so he decides he needs to smarten up, and reads an art history book which bores him senseless. In another beautifully funny moment he’s chastised by the voice of the author who decries “Wake up Josh, Rebecca was lying to you, Zoe’s is never going to like you unless you learn some art…Now I have to start over. Bollocks.” On his date with Zoe he trots out some art facts but it turns out she only wants him for his hot bod and isn’t in to the idea of a relationship. Which leads to a lovely callback about Uber calling people which the women he meets use to escape uncomfortable situations. If I’ve any minor complaints about the show it’s that Josh was sidelined a little in the third season, so it’s great to see more of him in this episode.

It’s also gratifying to see that he’s aware that he needs to change too, with his realisation that he wishes to stop being what someone else wants him to be, which greatly resonates with Rebecca, who finally summons the courage to tell Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) how she doesn’t want to be a lawyer anymore, how it was always her mother’s dream and not hers, and that she’s never coming back to the office. It’s an enormous move for Rebecca, but one not made on the spur of the moment which is a major development for the character, and which concludes with her decision to open her own pretzel shop, “Rebetzel’s”.

Oh, and I almost forgot, in the episode Heather (Vella Lovell) and Hector (Erick Lopez) get married – which I don’t think anyone saw coming. It’s mainly because Hector can’t afford to get his damaged toe sorted out as he doesn’t have health insurance, whereas Heather does so if they’re wed he’ll be able to use hers. Which sure, might not be the best ever reason for a couple to become married, but it’s a genuinely sweet and touching moment, and lovely to see at least one couple getting along. At least until problems inevitably arise, as Hector wants a big, real wedding with the people they love present but Heather is against such a thing. So Hector tries to go along with it, but he’s clearly not happy, and soon Valencia and her new girlfriend are trying to talk Heather round. Perhaps not quite enough time is spent with this particular story, but Heather concedes and they’re married in church with all of their friends and family present and it’s a truly affecting scene.

It’s an episode which is perhaps a little heavy on the moralising side of things and could have been slightly subtler, but that’s my only very minor issue in one which sees the characters go through a number of major changes, all of which suggest will make them a great deal happier, with all three storylines highlighting the need to know your own path in life, and not to follow others. At least unless it makes someone you truly love elated, and isn’t to your own detriment as is the case with Heather and Hector. After some of the bleak moments of season 3 it’s joyous to see them in a much better place, and I can’t wait to see where the series takes them all next.

Miscellaneous Notes:

The new theme song might be my favourite yet, it’s divided fans but I’m fond of it’s complexity, and the fact that she’s no longer a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and more nuanced than that. Plus the other Rebecca’s final lines have made me laugh both times too.

There’s a great joke about the tapeworm Rebecca picked up in jail, which she’s oddly pleased with as it’s helped her lose weight, and it seems like she has no interest in getting rid of it either. I doubt it’ll happen, but I’d love it if next week we get a song from the tapeworm’s point of view.

The first song contains the line “The views of this song do not represent CBS or the CW”, which is the first bit of fourth wall breaking the series has ever done. You could claim it screws with reality a bit too much, but the joke was so funny I’m prepared to let it slide.

Rebecca’s description of the Bible as “the greatest fairy tale of all time” before mentioning “I made some changes as there’s always room for improvement” made me laugh a lot, whilst her short but sweet speech at the wedding was a lovely one.

Nathaniel doesn’t get a lot to do this week as he’s sulking and refusing to speak to anyone, but he still has some amusing moments, the best being when new boss Bert comments “Oh that’s his sad baby walk”.

It was nice to see Father Joseph pop up for the first time in too long, and I hope we see more of him in the rest of the season.

Alex Finch.

Related Links:
Our review of Season 4 Episode 1.
Rachel Bloom’s Official Site.

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