When I last reviewed Crazy Ex-Girlfriend I had minor concerns that there was a bit too much filler this season, and perhaps the extended season length was going to be it’s detriment. And looking back over the early episodes it definitely seems to have been the case, but the last two have been superb and a sign of the show on fantastic form again, helped by the fact that while it’s still been very funny and the songs some of the best yet it’s had a much more dramatic edge as Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) went in to a manic mode when her relationship with Greg started to go a little wrong and then Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) had a heart attack.
The slightly more serious side suits the show and it’s at it’s best when dealing with weighty themes, seeing Rebecca having fun was entertaining enough but got a little dull after a while so I was pleased for events to become more complicated. Not that I don’t want to see Ms Bunch happy, don’t get me wrong, but some of the episodes felt like they were treading water whereas thankfully that’s no longer the case. This latest instalment highlights that throughout, as it begins with Rebecca now on meds and feeling a little uncertain about it, which leads to a quite frankly delightful song about how pretty much everyone’s on anti-depressants these days. It’s a huge song and dance number which celebrates that fact and contains a variety of individuals singing about their issues, with the therapist reminding Rebecca that she’s hardly unique when it comes to needing meds to survive. When a song has a verse from a dog and a cheeky “Our lawyers won’t let us say brand names” line you know it’s a show which is really on fire, and the whole thing has a impressive understanding of the pro’s and cons of being on medication which I know from experience to be very true.
Another big element of the episode occurs when AJ mentions that Rebetzel’s is Rebecca’s dream, only for the latter to mock the idea and talk about how she’s just happy to be alive and doesn’t really have a dream. After visiting Paula in hospital it becomes clear it’s going to be a central theme this week as Paula is desperate to be discharged so that she can take the bar exam and fulfil her desire to become a lawyer. Rebecca (in between naps as her medication makes her so tired all the time) devises a plan to get Paula out, though naturally it’s not a simple process and Rebecca accidentally ends up in the morgue in a sequence which includes the show’s second song, all about life sometimes being on the nose, death (and that three corpses are all called Rebecca) which is hilarious stuff and the only downside is that it’s too short, but it does lead to her discovering what her passion is in life, even though it shouldn’t come as a shock to regular viewers.
The biggest part of the show also rears it’s pretty head when Greg (Skylar Astin), Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster) and Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) all turn up at the hospital and have an awkward interaction, made all the worse when they’re quarantined together after being exposed to a rare type of squirrel flu. With any other show it would be a ridiculous idea, but they’re deliberately being daft here so that the three suitors have to spend time with each other. Initially all’s okay until Josh discovers that Greg had been back in town for ages without contacting him and arguments ensue, which sounds bleak but contains Josh revealing that Greg “Once got so drunk you had sex with a bunch in my front yard” and so was a lot funnier than it sounds. As was Josh and Greg getting in to a physical fight, especially as it leads to the third song of the episode, Real Life Fighting Is Awkward, and one of the funniest bits of physical comedy the show has ever had.
There’s also a cute subplot with Darryl (Pete Gardner) meets April (Maribeth Monroe) in the hospital waiting room where they discover a shared love for bean dip. In the previous review I complained about the show having to deal with too many characters but here they pull it off with aplomb, and though I was still hoping that Darryl would end up with White Josh if it means that he stops being so neurotic and irritating and gets a happy ending too then I shan’t complain. His chemistry with April feels very natural as well, and it allows them to use Darryl’s daughter Maddison in a really sweet manner too.
It’s an episode which is enormously strong stuff, the opening song is admittedly the best part but the rest still contained a lot of funny moments, and as nearly always it’s a wise and intelligent series when it comes to dealing with life, death, change, the complications of relationships and friendships, and so few series bother to cover these topics in such an insightful way. It’s a real relief that the show has returned to form, and with only five episodes to go my concerns that this series may disappoint no longer exist, especially as at the end Greg and Rebecca split up so hopefully Rebecca will end up with a boyfriend who really deserves to be with her. Though as mentioned in previous reviews I wouldn’t strictly be against a crazy polygamous relationship with all three, as long as Ms Bunch is happy with it that’s all that counts.