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Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shakes up its relationships like a pair of heavy boobs

Illustration for article titled Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shakes up its relationships like a pair of heavy boobs
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First things first: “Heavy Boobs” is perfect, full stop.

“Josh’s Sister is Getting Married” feels both like a return to form—great one-joke comedy song, illuminating character song, both of which send up a different genre—and something totally new for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. While not technically the first half of a two-parter, it’s hard to view the penultimate episode without wondering what it’s setting up, and whatever comes next will say more about the episode’s great big ending than that ending does on its own. Still, for the second time in its first season, the show succeeds in shaking up its central premise in a big way, then lands on a plot development that could be, depending on what happens next, either a step in the right direction or two steps forward, one step back.

Oh, and all of those steps lead to the stock room of Home Base. Yeah, it’s pretty steamy, but “Settle For Me” underscores that scene, and it’s followed by a tag about a girl making the same mistakes over and over again. Either way, it’s interesting, but what the show’s saying about Rebecca and Greg and their choices will be more evident next week. Let’s just call it a cliffhanger, shall we?

We don’t know what comes next, because television comes in weekly installments. So for now, we’ve got the things we know about this week, and one such thing as stated above: “Heavy Boobs” is perfect. It’s the kind of out-of-left-field song that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is so good at, and the fact that it’s totally unnecessary doesn’t mean squat. It’s nice to be reminded that, all of its more meaningful elements aside, we’re watching a comedy, and “Heavy Boobs” is funny. Very funny. And while it may not be necessary, it doesn’t feel at all out of place, given how much time the episode spends in a bridal store with a group of women trying to find dresses that will flatter them all. Add in choreography that’s both familiar and totally one-of-a-kind and that surreal physics lecture in the middle and you’ve got two minutes of perfect television. I watched it twice, and then watched it again.

Illustration for article titled Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shakes up its relationships like a pair of heavy boobs

It’s all part of an episode that, while not necessarily the best that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has to offer, is still pretty darn good. It gives us two-and-a-half songs (three, if you’re going by iTunes, but I’ll call it three when we get a full-length version of “Cleanup on Aisle Four”) and some big moments of character development. And while the so-big-you-should-stay-off-of-Twitter moment concerns Rebecca and Greg, the most impactful moments concern the two prominent female relationships in Rebecca’s life: Paula and, unexpectedly, Valencia.


Both relationships could easily have been one-dimensional. In less interesting moments, they have—Valencia the malicious bitch, Paula the clingy enabler—but here, each gets some more dynamic shading. The surprisingly affecting scene in which Rebecca and Valencia genuinely connect about their bodies and related insecurities would have seemed implausible just last week, and if it were simply described might still seem out of the realm of possibility. But somehow, it works. Rebecca’s kindness, however guilt-inspired it might be, gradually warms Valencia up, and it makes the inevitable fallout that much worse. If Rebecca makes one truly generous decision this week, its accepting the blame for Paula’s phone-hacking, then reminding Josh that he should focus on his girlfriend, and his family, and call if he wants to talk to her, if you please.

Paula and Rebecca get the episode’s standout non-boob scene (although Paula does get a consolation sucker from the Mary Poppins bag), and Donna Lynne Champlin and Rachel Bloom put all that chemistry they’ve been building all season to good use. Yes, Paula goes too far, but as she rightly points out in a very efficient friend-fight, every time she’s done exactly this, and every time Rebecca’s been glad. Getting down to the reason for Paula’s fixation on the Josh thing is way more interesting when considered as the basis for their entire friendship, and makes an otherwise unusual situation much more universal. Most people might not know what it feels like when a friend needs you to stop stalking someone for them, but nearly everyone knows the feeling of a friend slipping away.

Illustration for article titled Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shakes up its relationships like a pair of heavy boobs

Greg’s subplot tells us a great deal, and his song, “I Could if I Wanted To” is another gem (and shot in one take, to boot). But as welcome as the return of Grocery Clerk with Half an Eyelid may be, he doesn’t make that particular storyline more taut. While the contrivance of the bridal party grows beyond its too-convenient premise, Greg’s journey is a bit too on the nose. It still works, mind you. As it winds up its first season, nearly everything about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does. But like Greg in business class, this show can do better. In the rest of the episode, it did.


Stray observations

  • Bearmergency is clearly better than Beartastrophe.
  • This week’s Hector Award (for the person with a small part who steals the show): gotta be Grocery Clerk with Half an Eyelid (Benjamin Siemon) and the rest of the grocery love triangle.
  • ICYMI, here’s a live version of “The Sexy Getting Ready Song.”
  • “Although some of those are great angles that you can’t get with a selfie, so, ah….”
  • Music direction was on point. I caught themes from “Dear Joshua Felix Chan,” “I Have Friends,” “Settle for Me,” and “What’ll it Be?” Did I miss anything?
  • What was your favorite piece of Josh memorabilia? I’m partial to the baseball pillow that’s clearly intended for a child’s room.
  • “We can make bad decisions together! We can run in traffic!”
  • “I work two jobs and my husband is dead.”
  • “This would kill Valencia. Dead. Down on the ground. Like a bug. Legs in the air. Now she’s a ghost. Boo.”
  • “And you are the perfect height to pair with Philip’s friend Daniel, who stopped growing after being a kid gymnast.”
  • “Are we being pleasant now? I don’t know your rules.”
  • “It’s called ‘Cleanup on Aisle Four.’ No, not an actual cleanup Rick.”
  • “She’s not wrong, Ruby. You’re a dud.”
  • Greg and Marty just drinkin’ in the wine aisle with a bowl of chips.
  • “Who likes a dusty potato”?