Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.10 I Can Work With You
Crazy Ex Girlfriend has consistently smashed gender stereotypes and continues to do so in I Can Work With You, but now there’s an added focus on masculinity and just how toxic it can be. Whilst Rebecca is off confronting her deepest insecurities (more on that later), I Can Work With You sees Nathaniel and Josh work through some deep seated emotional barriers, and also sees Greg work through his leftover feelings about Rebecca and his Dad sleeping together.
The narrative ploy to drive certain characters together is Paula’s law school graduation party, which is disguised as a games night as Paula is incredibly reluctant to celebrate her successes. All the usual suspects are in attendance, except Rebecca. Finally picking up on her reluctance to connect with (or even look at) baby Hebecca, Rebecca spends the evening babysitting whilst Darryl goes on a date with a pharmacist-turned-influencer (“she got on the table to take photos of her food!”).
Paula’s graduation is not only an excuse to bring oddly paired couples together but also a chance to explore Paula’s insecurities about celebrating her own achievements. Paula’s stories are always fun – maybe even more so when they aren’t directly related to Rebecca – and this episode definitely gives Donna Lynne Champlin the opportunity to play with the character. Paula’s dedication to giving Rebecca what she desires has always overshadowed her own life and it’s great to see everyone supporting her – especially husband Scott, who Steve Monroe plays with real charm in this episode.
As well as getting the scoop on Hector and Valencia’s weird feud (which provided some of the lightest moments of the episode), Nathaniel and Josh get teamed up and end up bonding over the perils of masculinity. ‘Sports Analogies' is comedically brilliant (Michael Scott Foster and Vincent Rodriguez both do some really great work here) but also taps into the unspoken issues that so many men face about opening up. The ‘daddy issue’ ending puts the cherry firmly on top too. The working with title here is referring not only to Josh and Nathaniel’s ability to work together, but also to learning to work with oneself, in spite of your internal issues.
The meat of I Can Work With You lies firmly with Rebecca and Hebecca though. Rebecca avoiding spending time with Hebecca is another sign that she’s not secure in herself or her behaviours. Though she’s is doing quite well at recognising her triggers and when she is starting to spiral, there is a definitely a Dr Akopian shaped hole in these moments in season four and I wonder if we are going to get some kind of affirmation towards the end of the season where Rebecca begins to take her therapy seriously. Nevertheless, there’s nothing more satisfying than watching Rebecca check in with her mental health before allowing things with Greg to continue.
Watching Rebecca bond with Hebecca is actually more satisfying than her rekindling her romance with Greg. The two of them seem to be happy but there is so much baggage that goes along with them both that it’s hard to imagine that this is going to work in the long run. I’m happy for them - I was a huge Greg/Rebecca stan originally - but I can’t help thinking of poor Nathaniel. It will be interesting to see what he does after having overheard Rebecca and Paula discussing Greg, but with his new ‘I’m nice now’ attitude, it’s unlikely that he will revert to sabotage - though you just never know with Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
It’s interesting to note that both songs within the Rebecca/Hebecca/Greg storyline are reprises – ‘Hello, Nice To Meet You’ and the first few notes of ‘Settle For Me’ both pop up. Reprising musical numbers in Crazy Ex Girlfriend usually signifies that characters have turned a corner – the song no longer means what it used to. This is definitely the case here – Rebecca learning to work with herself before somebody else.
We are now eight episodes away from the end of Crazy Ex Girlfriend and though season four has provided plenty of laughs and introspection, the narrative has been meandering along without any real sense of direction. It’s still quite unclear where exactly we are headed here and though I’m eager to find out – season four hasn’t quite lived up to my expectations yet.