Rachel Bloom as Rebecca.
Photo: Scott Everett White/CW
Can we talk about the jokes-per-minute ratio of this week’s episode? Whew! That was some 30 Rock-level laff saturation. “Greg is your Jacob, but we all know you’re going to end up with Edward.” Paula berates Rebecca up top, citing Twilight, “the greatest love story since Shakespeare … In Love.” Such a delight.
Following last week’s less-than-successful journey to Channsylvania, Paula is just as disappointed as Rebecca that Becks shared a couch with “stalker” Greg on Thanksgiving Eve. Which is why Rebecca and Paula are watching Josh and Valencia, as they move in together, from a parked car through binoculars. The car is like 15 feet away! I guess it’s true what they say: Love really does make you go blind. Paula rejects Rebecca’s approach to wooing Josh, her inability to recognize her dire situation, and more than anything, the rice cooker she bought for the happy couple. “You don’t want them snuggling up over the one dish that joins their cultures,” she rages.
So, of course, Josh and Valencia’s domestic bliss sends Rebecca into a depression. “I reject this feeling. I respectfully decline this feeling,” she whispers to herself as she sweats and sputters, barely able to write a work email. It should go without saying that the onset of Rebecca’s ennui just happens to coincide with the arrival of prospective Whitefeather client Calvin Young (the tragically underrated Cedric Yarbrough), a charismatic, widowed real-estate developer. In a moment of despair, Rebecca cracks open an emergency bottle of booze at her desk and slurps it from her pen holder. Tipsy (and with blue-stained teeth), Rebecca blows her big presentation and is sent home to work on an even more stellar pitch over the weekend. Her odd behavior rattles Darryl’s faith in his number one lawyer BUT gives us the best line of the series so far. “Oh my god, your teeth are blue!,” Karen screams at the most excruciating moment of Rebecca’s humiliation. “Have you been drinking the water from the toilet?” Five stars for you, CXG!
Though last week’s Turkey Day episode felt a little thin, this week’s show is back with a thick, hearty, puréed, butternut-squash-based B story line for Mrs. Paula Proctor. Paula has immediate chemistry with prospective client Calvin, who lays it on thicker than creamy, delicious butternut-squash purée. (Look, lay off. I’ve got Thanksgiving on the mind.) If her bleak Thanksgiving and even bleaker every-other-day haven’t made it clear already, Paula’s life is romance-free and she is primed for an affair. “My marriage is like The Walking Dead,” she tells Rebecca. “We’re all just trying to get out alive.” Calvin seems like all the right kinds of alive to her, and their flirtation gets bolder at Paula’s house over dinner. Oh, it’s not romantic. Darryl is there, smiling and ruining their sexy banter. (One wonders why the law firm would have their most prestigious would-be client over for dinner at Paula’s house, rather than taking him to the finest restaurant in West Covina, ooooh now I understand.)
Back at her apartment, a sultry “Sexy French Depression” finds Rebecca sprawled out on her bathroom floor, sighing and smoking in Gallic despair. Luckily, Dr. Phil (Dr. Phil) shows up! Teleported from daytime television through the power of Rebecca’s psychological meltdown, Dr. Phil is ready to dish some hot, bubbly, pecan-studded truths, whether Rebecca is ready to hear them or not. “By the way, this is a dump,” Dr. Phil says, gesturing around her apartment. Guys, I’ll say it: Even Imaginary Dr. Phil has great comedic timing.
It’s a good thing someone is watching over Rebecca because she is on the hunt for medication and will eat anything that remotely resembles it. Turns out, dumping all your prescriptions down the drain in a moment of euphoria ends with you eating things out of the junk drawer. “Ugh, it’s a shoelace tip!” Rebecca moans, spitting out what she hoped was a pill into the sink. Dr. Phil sagely guides Rebecca to therapist Dr. Akopian (Michael Hyatt), who rejects her suggestion that therapy is a waste of everyone’s time and please write Rebecca some prescriptions please! “You’ll be hearing from me on Yelp,” she fumes, before, well, eating a random pill she finds in the bathroom. “Do I really need to tell you not to take a pill that you found on the bathroom floor NEXT TO THE TOILET?” Dr. Phil screams back at the apartment. Oh yeah, he’s still there, don’t worry. You will never like Dr. Phil as much as you do in this episode, so enjoy every minute of him!
While this is undoubtedly Dr. Phil’s greatest televised work, more importantly, his character provides the element that takes Crazy Ex-Girlfriend into five-star territory — he calls Rebecca on her nonsense. Speaking of nonsense, Josh and Valencia’s relationship, am I right? Inspired by Valencia’s mention of furniture, Josh recruits his buddies to help build her a dining room table … overnight … without showing it to her. Clearly this is a terrible idea. Not just the table, but the whole moving-in-together thing. Actually, the whole Valencia thing. “You’re going to ruin your life if you stay with this table,” Greg explains. GET IT, JOSH? It’s Josh we’re talking about, so clearly he does not. To be fair, Greg and Company could have done him a solid by mentioning how much they didn’t like Valencia anytime before now.
Also, Josh: Come on! You two have been together since you were kids, and you STILL haven’t picked up on the fact that Valencia is a Type-A high-maintenance hottie? That’s on you, dude. At least we got Hector’s AMAZING monologue about tandem parking/anal sex. Maybe clean the car before you move it back up front, Hector? Just stop by a car wash? Keep this up, and you won’t have a spot at all.
Meanwhile Rebecca’s feeling pretty, pretty, pretty amazing after her single ADHD pill, going so far as to paint her wall, mount a fish, and go nuts with her Christmas lights. Worried that she is now too high to work on her Calvin Young presentation, Rebecca cajoles Heather into getting her stinky high. (You know, to calm her down!) Now that Rebecca’s feeling super relaxed, Rebecca decides to, ugh, go to Dr. Akopian’s office and show her how fine she is. Rebecca is so fine, she ends up stuck in Dr. Akopian’s doggie door during her quest to steal a prescription pad. Now, you’d think Dr. Akopian would call the cops if a new patient tried to steal a pad while high on drugs, but fortunately, she is intrigued by the idea of helping Rebecca stay on medication and give therapy another try. Newly motivated by the desire not to “numb herself” — and the fact that Dr. Akopian literally will not prescribe her medication — Rebecca is onboard.
But while Rebecca slowly, finally comes out of her emotional fog, Paula happily bumbles through hers. Calvin invites Paula and her husband to a jazz club, but Scott conveniently has a capella practice every day of his life. I die at Calvin’s “Would you and your husband want to join me for some hot licks?” line AND when Calvin spontaneously starts scatting at the club. Paula is more than willing to be a jazz fan for the afternoon. (“The Charlie Brown theme song? Come on!” she raves.) She lets Calvin know he’s about to get upgraded in the smoky jazz number “His Status Is Preferred,” in which she swoons about Calvin’s business-class-level charm. “He’s got premiere access to me,” she crones. “All of my life I’ve been stuck in economy.”
And then, the sexy moment of truth. Paula joins Calvin in his hotel room for what plans to be the romantic rendezvous she has been fantasizing about/projecting onto Rebecca lo these many … weeks? Months? As long as Rebecca’s been in town? It’s so hard to tell with these California seasons. Just as they are about to make beautiful music together, Rebecca BURSTS INTO THE ROOM AND RUINS IT. “It’s not real. It’s a band-aid,” Rebecca tells a gobsmacked Paula. Seeing as how Paula has enabled this woman’s romantic-fantasy life for weeks/months, it seems cosmically unfair to stop her from realizing her own. However, I guess Rebecca’s new-found lucidity also enables her to see Paula’s life more clearly. “I spent my whole life numbing myself,” Rebecca explains, urging Paula to be honest about the death of her marriage, rather than bury it under 250 lbs of handsome, widowed real-estate developer. “It’s okay to feel, Paula,” she tells her.
Both Paula and Calvin break down, moved by Rebecca’s speech. “It’s been five years since I’ve made love without the TV on,” Paula admits. “My dead white wife loved alpaca,” Calvin remembers, petting Paula’s throw. They sob and embrace, as Heather watches slack-jawed from an arm chair. And Rebecca even goes back to therapy! So I guess we all learned an important lesson in dealing with our OH WOW JOSH TEXTED HER TO GO GET BOBA! While Rebecca might be willing to try life sans psychiatric meds, she is still psychologically dependent on the sweetest drug of all: Josh Chan. Chanbilify. Chanax. Chantivan. They meet up in the park and Rebecca gives him the rice cooker. You get the picture. This isn’t over by a long shot.
Also: This might be just my hope springing eternal, but is there a chance the tiny joke at the end of Calvin singing his “Sexy Gonna Do It Song” means Paula and Calvin actually did sleep together? I know it is probably an edited joked from earlier but … Vampire Weekend was a cut to a future event, so maybe Paula and Calvin did carry on after Rebecca left. Let me dream my dreams!
- “Ghosts are obsessed with me.” Valencia, on why she wants to burn sage in her new home.
- “She’s worse than all the Kardashians combined. Except for Caitlyn, who is a national hero.” Paula on Valencia.
- Calvin: “Can I just say this is an adorable red?”
Paula: “Thank you! I got it at the gas station.”
- “Yeah, it’s like a wizard test.” Heather, assessing whether Dr. Akopian is basically asking Rebecca to steal her script pad by placing it near a closed window.
- I laughed out loud when I realized Calvin and Paula were on their hot jazz date at the exact same time as Rebecca’s stoner adventure. What hot jazz club is open at, what, 2 p.m.? Especially one in West Covina — ooooh yeah now I get it. That adds up.