Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.14 I'm Finding My Bliss
The first time we ever met Rebecca Bunch, she was performing at Camp Canyon Grove, singing about finding her one true love. After another mid-season hiatus, Crazy Ex Girlfriend returned last week with Rebecca singing again about finding that one man who will make her life complete. Yet, instead of being taken in by ideas of love changing her life or not amounting anything without a man in her life, Rebecca is rejecting this narrative in I'm Finding My Bliss and writing her own, thoroughly modern lyrics.
A lot of season four has featured episodes where characters have had fundamental turning points or revelations about their futures. I’m Finding My Bliss is no exception. Rebecca, Paula, Greg and Valencia all embark on new adventures which place each of them outside of their comfort zones and they each learn something new about themselves.
As usual with Crazy Ex Girlfriend, each story-line keeps a couple of characters busy and they also differ wildly in how interesting each scenario actually is to watch. In last place is Greg and Heather's soft-opening of Greg's new restaurant. Look, I'm as happy as the next person for Greg to be finally getting on with his life but this scenario was little more than fodder for I'm Finding My Bliss.
Across town, Darryl tries to woo Paula into staying at Mountaintop - a slightly more interesting subplot because of Paula and Darryl's history. Darryl is insecure about many things, but top of the list might be that he is not Paula's best friend. A compromise is happily met via Paula moving on from Mountaintop (she deserves better and Darryl knows it) but with a nice nod to 'You're My Best Friend (And I Know I'm Not Yours)' from Season two. Darryl and Paula are best friends and Paula pursuing her dreams of not being the office Mum is not going to change that.
Valencia's story is triggered by her (mis-informed) belief that Beth is going to propose. When this doesn't happen (a New Jersey condominium is no substitute for a ring), Valencia impulsively joins Rebecca in auditioning for the musical theatre class. Valencia and Rebecca don't have lot in common superficially, but their tendency to spiral wildly when confronted with something they don't like is one thing that they do share. Ruiz is excellent in this episode - the old Valencia begins to emerge but she smartly pulls it back by simply communicating with Beth about what she wants for their future.
Which brings us to Rebecca. With her new determination to forge ahead with the local musical theatre group, there is the danger that she will simply swap her obsession with finding her one true love to an obsession with musical theatre. Swapping one coping mechanism to another is not only counter-productive but also won’t result in her being able to manage her own emotions properly. Rebecca even alludes to this early on in the episode (“I'm clearing the path for my true love - the theatre”), but it’s only when she begins rehearsing the lines of her assigned musical number, ‘Etta Mae's Lament’, that she begins to have doubts about how great musical theatre really is. What if the thing you have loved, the thing you’ve shaped your personality around for years, is actually bad?
Without dipping too much into #MeToo territory, Crazy Ex Girlfriend opens up an interesting dialogue on how it feels to be betrayed by something you love so much that, under a 21st lens, might actually be sexist/racist/bigoted/homophobic or any combination of the above. Rebecca’s decision to re-write the song shows that there is a way that we can bridge the gap between the media that we love and the recognition that it may not be as great as we thought it would. Cheri Oteri guest stars here as the tightly wound theatre director who has little time for Rebecca's reworked song, and bears an uncanny resemblance to every OTT drama teacher I ever had.
Clearly the love triangle (or square… It’s definitely a square) is not going away any-time soon - though there’s a complete role reversal from the days where Rebecca would be the one chasing a potential love interest. Instead, Nathaniel, Josh and Greg all make conscious choices in I’m Finding My Bliss to be closer to Rebecca. Nathaniel’s gesture to perform Rebecca’s re-written song at the end of the episode was a magical moment and the reference to ‘No-one Else Is Singing My Song’ feels like a clear indication that it is Nathaniel who might be endgame for Rebecca.
Having said this, it feels like the show is going out of its way to double bluff us this season. The love triangle/square has been going on for a while and whilst the focus seems to be on Rebecca finding her path, almost every episode gives an indication that she will ultimately end up with one of the three men in her life. Bloom and Brosh-Mckenna are truly stringing this along until the very end and hopefully Rebecca will get the ending she deserves - at this stage, it feels a bit odd to still be diving into the love story-lines when it’s clear that this shouldn’t be a priority right now.
Yet, as the season finale draws ever closer, we should pay closer attention to Rebecca' subversion of the Elliott Ellis lyrics. She's lived so much of her life adhering to the narrative in 'Etta Mae's Lament' ['I'm nothing without a husband']. Only by studying the words did she realise that it's a load of rubbish. I've high hopes for Rebecca, and even higher hopes for the last three episodes.