Last week, I was ready to pat myself on the back and treat myself to a boba tea for predicting Rebecca’s long-awaited admission of love for Josh. The moment was dangled like a carrot in front of our love-starved hearts for weeks, and it’s finally here. And it was pretty anti-climactic. Confronted with dozens of photos of Josh, Rebecca calmly ‘fesses up. She had … has … had feelings for Josh, and apologizes for not being more up front about it. I guess the show is over now! Goodnight, folks! It’s been fun.
Oh wait, no. Before it can truly end, Rebecca must apologize to Valencia. It is literally a day after Valencia found out Josh, the love of her life, kissed the woman she correctly surmised had been in love with him. There is no way on God’s green earth or the Devil’s red hell that Valencia wants to hear from her, but Rebecca has placed her personal catharsis above the rules of humankind yet again. What, did we think one plane ride would fix everything? “She really hates your guts,” Josh tells her. “I will just have to transcend that,” Rebecca says. Hoo boy! Sounds like we have at least another season of psychological damage to wade through!
Although this episode gives Rebecca’s confession short shrift, it really digs deep into how much Greg sucks. Oh man, does Greg suck! First, he brags about getting into Emory while looking down on everyone else’s happiness. Then, having returned to extension school, he unleashes his discontent on the world after getting a C-minus due to a chronic case of not trying. In “I Could If I Wanted To,” Greg paints a dour picture of his pissy remove from the world. Using snideness and snark and that haircut to shield his hopeful heart from devastation, Greg rolls his eyes and scoffs his way through life. “I’m not a sourpuss. I’m pensive and deep,” he sniffs at one point. Classic Greg.
But before we get to that hot mess of a man, Rebecca must atone for what she has done to Valencia. Which is going to be hard to do, since Josh’s sister Jayma has asked Rebecca to be a bridesmaid in her wedding. “You’re the perfect height to pair with Phillip’s friend Daniel, who stopped growing after he was a kid gymnast!” she raves. Turns out Rebecca’s obsession with Josh has made her a top notch faux sister-in-law. Much better than Valencia. Remember how much Josh’s family hates Valencia?
Due to her chronic guilt, Rebecca inadvertently gets Valencia invited into the bridal party and decides to manipulate Josh’s female relatives into loving her! Which is going to be very hard, because Valencia shows up to the bridesmaids’ gown fitting in an all-white outfit topped off with a pair of angel wings. (It was for a Maxim Hometown Hotties shoot, natch.) “If it was any other situation, I would take off my earrings, my extensions, and my wings and curb-stomp you,” she tells Rebecca with a smile. Maybe my inner Valencia is larger and more savage than most, but considering everything that’s happened, she is remarkably chill about the whole “kissing my live-in boyfriend and now being forced to spend hours trying on bridesmaids dresses together” thing.
As you might have expected, Paula hates Rebecca’s new, tranquil pursuit of a Josh-free life. “You have antibodies to his saliva! You can’t give up yet!” she pleads. Rebecca does her best to help Paula give Josh up gently. While we recognize Rebecca’s pro-Valencia actions come from a place of nascent self-love and acceptance, Paula decides to hack into Valencia’s life and bring her down from the inside. The best plan on the list? “Poison oak, in the dress, rashy nips!”
But all that stuff is only a prelude to the return of the greatest Crazy Ex-Girlfriend character: Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid! (First seen in “I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!” and played by the illimitable Benjamin Siemon.) His ego bruised by academic challenge, Greg takes a sad-sack clerk named Marty under his wing to help him with his unrequited crush on a co-worker named Allie. Unfortunately for Marty and Greg, Allie has a crush on … Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid. (His character’s name is Brody, but I will be DAMNED if I call him that. His moniker, and how excitedly he sings it, is the single funniest joke on this show.)
“Dude, she doesn’t like you. She’s shown no interest. She’s way into someone else. Why give up now?” Greg asks Marty, who subsequently offers up his love like so many squashed olives in the sugary-sweet “Clean Up My Heart.” Greg lurks and fumes, but ultimately his terrible advice does not work. “I think we need to call this one,” Greg sighs. At least this rejection-by-proxy gives Greg the push he needs to reorient himself, both emotionally and educationally. No more Rebecca! To clumsily paraphrase another tremendous musical force that influenced culture: I’ve heard it said/ That Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid comes into our lives/ For a reason/ Bringing something we must learn.
While the Chanettes try on bridesmaids dresses and Valencia awkwardly tries to make human conversation, Rebecca works her comparatively voluptuous ass off to make Valencia seem appealing, tap-dancing and riffing on her “festive of backfat.” It’s a kind, if somewhat devastating, effort. “You’re not that disgustingly fat,” Valencia jokes back, because she is inhuman. At the end of the day, Rebecca’s struggle is rewarded. “We all thought you were heinous,” Jayma tells Valencia, “But you’re okay.” Joking around, apologizing, and yes, even bonding after the Chan ladies leave, Rebecca tries on Jayma’s wedding dress (whaaaa?) to demonstrate the sheer enormity of her “Heavy Boobs.” In a bouncy number that will make well-endowed women the world over cry out for the lord to deliver them dance bras, Rebecca gets into the messy scientific mechanics of her jigantic jugs. “Let me break down what I just said/ Each of my breasts is the size of a toddler’s head,” she explains. Put at ease by Rebecca’s nonstop knocking of her knockers, Valencia also tries on Jayma’s dress … and Rebecca takes a photo of her in it. Did I mention Paula hacked all of Valencia’s social-media accounts?
Within minutes, Valencia’s photo has been snatched from the cloud and slapped on Instagram with the hashtag #hotterthanthebride. That will teach … her? Paula always seems to dance along the fine line between “reunite Josh and Rebecca” and “destroy Valencia like a warm, friendly supervillain.” When Jayma comes after Valencia, ready to hate her all over again, Rebecca throws herself on the grenade. Enraged, Jayma fires Rebecca from her bridal party. While Ol’ Rebecca would have lost her mind on Paula for losing the love of Josh’s family, New Rebecca is enraged at her for messing with Valencia. Progress!
When Rebecca confronts Paula about her subterfuge, Paula cracks like a nut. “If we’re not chasing Josh, then you’re not going to want to hang out with me,” she says. Oh you sweet, sweet sociopath. “Paula, I love you,” Rebecca reassures her. It’s fair to say it’s the most romantic thing that’s happened on this show.
Way more romantic than the couple we’re left with at the end of the episode, anyway. After Rebecca shows up at Greg’s bar, she suggests they spend some time alone at her apartment. Greg turns her down. “I can’t be in second place again with you,” he says. It’s a brave move; the one person he really does want is Rebecca, and he can’t have her. Except, apparently he can? Greg doesn’t actually realize he has to try, which was the lesson earlier in the episode, but because he must reject Rebecca to avoid future heartbreak. Which would make sense, except Rebecca then comes to him by choice? Me no know.
As NPR’s Linda Holmes points out, Greg’s affection for Rebecca is similar to her love for Josh. It is based on reality, but it also flies in the face of it. Rebecca has generally felt meh about Greg and has treated him like an afterthought despite his obvious affection, so there isn’t much pent-up excitement to unleash when she runs back. Yes, Rebecca is now open to the universe, but this show spent episode upon episode laying a foundation for a Rebecca-Josh kiss, and now we have to care about … Greg? Seeing Rebecca leap into his arms seemed like a portent of doom. “This is going to be three days of you and me just ruining each other,” Greg tells her. “And not emotionally.” Oh, sweet Gregory. Emotions are always the first things to be ruined.
Messages of True Love Telegraphed by Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid Winking His Half an Eyelid:
- Rebecca, on the origins of her new Zen philosophy: “I just realized some things during my trip … while I happened to be in a bumper-sticker store.”
- “Look out, everybody! It’s my body!” Grocery Clerk With Half an Eyelid, cartwheeling through the grocery store with the confidence, and flat top, of a Greek god.
- Greg: “I work full-time, and my dad is sick.”
Greg’s Extension-School Professor: “I work two jobs, and my husband is dead.”
- Valencia, being Valencia: “I’ve been practicing my humor!”
- Marty, on the futility of romantic skywriting: “It cost a fortune. Ugh, and it was so windy.”