Thursday, November 15, 2018

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend 4x05 Review: "I'm So Happy For You" (West Covina, Or Change) [Contributor: Jenn]

"I'm So Happy For You"
Original Airdate: November 9, 2018

"The more things change, the more they stay the same." "The only constant is change." There are so many cliches about change that I'm sure you could name off the top of your head. Why's that? Because everyone has to deal with change. And — unless you're one of those rare weirdos who just loves it when their life shakes up — most people are pretty resistant to change by nature. Even if they don't fight against it, they unconsciously try and avoid it. We like things to be predictable. We like to be comfortable. Change is the exact opposite of that. It's newness and starting fresh. It's having to get to know someone again instead of settling into comfortable familiarity.

This week, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was all about change. Every storyline focused on changes disrupting our main characters and how they handled it. "I'm So Happy For You" eventually finds the characters in varying states of acceptance, but it takes a little bit of prying for them to get there.


It seems like an absurd confession (because Rebecca whispers it), but I actually relate to the reasons why Rebecca felt fearful about Heather and Valencia leaving in this episode. She confesses to her therapist that she's fueled by competition. Her friends seem to be moving forward in their lives — they're hitting the adult milestones of settling into their careers, permanent relationships, and owning homes — but Rebecca is fearful because she's not where they are. She doesn't want them to move on until she's hit all those milestones too. Look, as someone who's almost 30 and single, with no real possibility of an engagement, marriage, buying my first house, or children soon... I get it.

Sometimes the reason we're afraid of change is because we're afraid of being left behind in its wake.

Rebecca's logical solution? To find people who are further behind in their lives than she is to make herself feel better about her position in life. So she befriends her two much-younger coworkers in hopes that their presences will make her feel advanced and content. This obviously backfires because Rebecca is just burying the real fear (which eventually resurfaces) beneath a coping mechanism. It's then that Rebecca realizes exactly how terrible the young people she's hanging around with are and returns to her girl group by the end of the episode with heartfelt, self-deprecating apologies.

What I really love about this episode and Rebecca's progress is that it's realistic. I understand why Rebecca felt the need to compete with her friends' statuses. She was beginning to feel like she'd be left behind. And while Valencia and Heather, specifically, call Rebecca out for her horrible behavior... they also acknowledge that her self-flagellation isn't necessary. And Valencia and Heather aren't entirely excited about their change — they're scared, too! Change is scary!

But if it wasn't for Rebecca meddling to split Valencia and Josh apart, Valencia would never have realized her career path. She would never be in a position to be moving to New York. She wouldn't have changed who she was.

And Heather wouldn't have met her husband. Paula acknowledges too that she wouldn't be where she is without Rebecca. Though her actions have often been morally ambiguous at best and heinous at worst, the women know that they wouldn't be where they are or where they're going without the help of Rebecca Bunch. They would not have changed.

So while it doesn't make everything better (Rebecca still ends the episode feeling sad because she's losing two of her best friends), this small reassurance helps Rebecca realize that change is difficult for everyone. But ultimately, even the difficult pushes that change gives us can help us move into the places we're supposed to be.


White Josh echoes something in this episode that I recently said to my friend. We'd both recently broken up with our significant others, and I told her that I wish I could skip all the awkward small talk, getting-to-know-each-other phase and start my next relationship right in the middle of us knowing one another. White Josh feels similarly in the episode. He and Darryl aren't together, but they're spending a LOT of time together. (This leads to an impressive musical number.) See, Josh and Darryl have settled into a kind of relationship that is natural and easy. They're not together, but they know one another.

So when White Josh goes on a date, he returns back to Darryl's place and complains. His date wanted to ask all kinds of questions about him, his friends, and his life. Darryl is the first person to wake White Josh up with a splash of cold water to the face. They can't continue to remain comfortable, not change, but also not be together. White Josh has to realize that the pattern they fell into — the being together without actually being together — is holding both himself and Darryl back from truly finding happiness with someone else. You can't remain comfortable and move toward change; you have to sacrifice the things that are easy in order to become the best version of yourself.

As much as my friend and I want to skip over the difficult, awkward parts of dating — and as much as White Josh wants to do the same — we can't just fast-forward through the details to get to a place where we feel content. It's in the discontent that we become who we're going to be.

While I think we can assume White Josh and Darryl will end up together in the end, they both need to learn an important lesson right now in moving on.


I have mixed feelings about Paula's storyline this season. It feels weird that we've spent four years with her and we're now just starting to focus on her relationship with her kids in a meaningful way. Picking up from last week's storyline though, Brendan and Paula continue to bond. And then Brendan tells her that he's planning to move to South America.

After Paula gives Rebecca an inspired speech about how when you grow, you learn to say hello and goodbye to people pretty easily — the older you get, the more you have to do it and the more okay you get — she learns her son is moving, and she doesn't take it well. Thinking a relationship with a girl Brendan really cares about would keep him at home, Paula schemes... only to be schemed on by her own family who figure out her motives pretty quickly. (Sidenote: WHY did no one else on the show figure things out this quickly?!)

Paula gets to sing a nice song to her son about how she spent most of his life thinking he wasn't going places but, as it turns out, he is. And she's actually proud of him. It's a nice song, but I still don't know why I should care about Paula's family this much. They've been given a lot of focus, and I'm not sure it's earned. (I honestly think it's mostly to fill the B/C-plots this season.)

Still, at least Paula and Rebecca have each other again to lean on.

And they'll need each other with all the winds of change that keep coming!

More fun stuff:

  • I still will not get tired of the "Meet Rebecca" variations at the end of the opening theme. 
  • Did you all love the fact that Scott Michael Foster just appeared in one song and not the rest of the episode, and Nathaniel just wanted to be part of the musical number? No? Just me?
  • The end montage with all the changes was incredibly sweet, to be honest.


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