Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.11 I'm Almost Over You
One of the golden rules of storytelling is that the ‘and they woke up and it was a all dream’ narrative is one that should never, ever be utilised. In I'm Almost Over You, Crazy Ex Girlfriend defies this to give Nathaniel his own fantasy-dream epiphany regarding his still being very much in love with Rebecca. The dream narrative can be a complete waste of time, that is if the character doesn’t learn anything from it. Here, Nathaniel is profoundly changed after waking up from his dream-fantasy, proving that not all dream narratives are redundant.
This really is Nathaniel’s episode and it’s not a moment too soon. Nathaniel has been struggling with the end of his and Rebecca’s relationship since season three. He’s clearly still in love with her and seemed to be waiting in the wings - hoping that Rebecca would come back to him eventually. With the recent arrival of Greg, this hope has kind of been shattered.
I’m Almost Over You reads as a satire of a typical rom-com. Nathaniel takes the lead as the geeky nice guy attempting to win back his ex girlfriend. Greg is painted as a complete douche (two sweatshirts in California weather?) and Maya takes the role of Nathaniel’s partner-in-crime-turned-love-interest. Crazy Ex Girlfriend absolutely nails the stereotypes of the rom-com, like it does musicals, but nothing is more accurate than George taking up the mantle of Nathaniel’s best friend who cares only about his friend’s love life and sports.
Using Maya as a stand-in for Rebecca is a nice touch - since Maya first appeared on the show she is has been obsessed with Rebecca and wanting to be more like her. Having Nathaniel spill his heart out to Maya-as-Rebecca in the bar is a key moment for Nathaniel. It doesn’t really matter that none of this is actually happening, because the emotional journey is real for him. He walks away from this with the realisation that, if he wants Rebecca to be happy, he needs to let her go.
Michael Scott Foster is truly excellent in this episode. He’s had his own moments before (‘Fit Hot Guys’, ‘I Go To The Zoo’ and the particularly poignant story-line about his mother’s attempted suicide), but this is the first time he has had entire episode to himself, and he runs with it. As a character, Nathaniel has grown so much since his arrival in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, but the growth feels organic and not at all forced. We feel sorry for him, but there’s an understanding that Nathaniel’s future is undoubtedly brighter for having been through these experiences.
Together with Maya (Esther Povitsky, who is also a revelation in this episode) the two of them form the unlikely but love-able duo. Maya's been a constant background character since she joined the ensemble and getting to know a bit more about her love life (all two weeks of it) was interesting. Crazy Ex Girlfriend has had a couple of episodes this season where Rebecca wasn't the main focus and I'm Almost Over You might be the best one yet. From Paula's obsession with the 'big case' to the episodes only song 'Gratuitous Karaoke Moment', it is full of real emotion (I'm devastated for Nathaniel) and some genuinely hysterical jokes (the make-over scene is just wonderful).
Is this case closed on the love triangle, then? It seems unlikely that the tables will turn again now that Nathaniel has resolved to try and get over Rebecca. This frees up the rest of the season to explore Rebecca and Greg’s new relationship but I’d be surprised if it is plain sailing from here for the both of them.