Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.16 I Have a Date Tonight

Here we go. The penultimate episode of Crazy Ex Girlfriend, I Have a Date Tonight, is out in the world and we can live in denial no longer. This beautiful, funny, heart-breaking show is going to end, but Rachel Bloom and the team are not going out without a bang (and a huge ensemble number). With reprises, and references galore, the Crazy Ex Girlfriend team are on top form here.

Of course, I Have a Date Tonight was always going to be somewhat of a parody of The Bachelor in some way, but thankfully it’s only in passing reference - the show doesn’t try to actually shoehorn any actual reality element in. Whilst Rebecca readies herself for her three dates, the rest of the cast (excluding the suitors) perform ‘Love’s Not a Game’ – a Guys & Dolls inspired number, with added gambling to go round.

The Crazy Ex Girlfriend team have always been in touch with their fan-base – ‘Love’s Not a Game’ reflects us all having to make the decision of whom we are going to root for. Paula’s got her money on Josh (and we all know that Paula can make a bet or two), Heather’s on Nathaniel and Valencia fancies the odds on Greg. Everyone is wonderful here but credit must go to Donna Lynne Champlin for that incredible tap solo and David Hill for steering the piece so effectively. It just serves as a confirmation that every single actor – main cast or ensemble – are all at the top of their game. Even Sunil (Parvesh Cheena) gets a look in here – it’s truly the last hurrah.

Let’s move on to what we’re all here for, though. The three dates remind us that Crazy Ex Girlfriend has always been about love. Romantic love, friendship love, platonic love, self-love - the series has always investigated and explored how we experience these forms of love in our lives and how we deal with losing and gaining them. The romantic love has fallen the by the wayside slightly in the last season and for good reason - Rebecca didn’t enough self-love in her life to focus properly on anyone but herself for a bit. I Have a Date blows us away with the kind of romance that Crazy Ex Girlfriend used to be about. All three dates are superb commentaries on Josh, Nathaniel and Greg as individuals but also on their relationship to Rebecca.

Josh’s cute campsite set-up is nostalgic and takes Rebecca back to where it all began. Josh is right when he says that they've both come full circle. Crazy Ex Girlfriend began with Josh Chan and perhaps it’s apt that it should end with Josh too. Their date was adorable, but more importantly reminded us of exactly how far Rebecca has come within herself. She’s not chasing after Josh or reading signals wrong. Now, they are both mature adults who have a deep connection.

Naturally, Nathaniel’s date was impressive but not for the reasons one might imagine. With a $50 limit imposed, it seemed Nathaniel might be at a severe disadvantage, but his date reiterated the new and improved Nathaniel we’ve seen all seasons. He’s still a smooth talker and he knows how to charm, yet this isn’t what is important here. He truly sees Rebecca for who she is. They’ve both grown into people who are adults, who make the best out of a less than perfect scenario.

Which just leaves Greg. He’s an underdog and not just because he’s incapable of romantic gestures. It’s also because it isn’t in his nature to be competitive about anything. Nothing goes right for Greg - his car breaks down so the two of them are unable to go on his planned air balloon ride. Weird Al Yankovic’s turn as a hot air balloon salesman is a genius casting move here – as was the reprise of where’s the bathroom. There really is no bathroom!

The one thing Greg has going for him? His and Rebecca’s natural chemistry and as it turns out, that might be all he needs. Sitting in the garage, they instantly slide into their usual report - discussing where to order from, remembering each other’s favourite dishes. The camera pulls away slowing from the two of them whilst they are in mid conversation - they are given a privacy that Josh and Nathaniel aren’t afforded. Is there an implication here that Greg and Rebecca are the real deal and not just entertainment for us?

The culmination of four excellent seasons of television come down to so much more than three dates, however. It’s about seeing Rebecca behaving in a mature and adult way - yes, stalking Dr Akopian may not be ‘mature’ but she is actively seeking her therapist's opinion, something that would be alien to Rebecca Bunch of previous seasons (for the love of God, please let Dr Akopian have one drink in peace though). She’s asking for help and keeping a level head. She’s having fun without falling hard and fast and putting her recovery in jeopardy. Basically, Rebecca is doing really great and it feels right that the show will end with her fully on the road to being actually better.

Still, that doesn’t mean I won’t be putting my own bet on. I have a sneaking suspicion that Crazy Ex Girlfriend may turn the tables one last time and so I’m not putting any money on Greg, Nathaniel or Josh. Anyone for Rebecca meeting someone completely new? Only a few days until we find out.

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