Crazy Ex Girlfriend: 4.17 I'm In Love
Well Rebecca, you've done it now.
From Camp Canyon Grove to New York, to West Covina and back to New York, to West Covina again - Rebecca Bunch's journey has come full circle. Before diving into the series finale, let's just take a moment to reflect on how Crazy Ex Girlfriend has defeated the odds and given us a romantic-comedy (a musical rom-com none the less) which dissects stereotypes, investigates the tropes around love and actually gave its characters room to grow and develop. None more so than the #girlgang. Every single character has become a better version of themselves - Valencia's gone from singing insults at other women in 'Women Gotta Stick Together' to one of Rebecca's best friends and a successful business woman (and she proposed!). 'I'm a Student' Heather now runs the West Coast HomeBase franchise, owns a hot tub and is married (to an overgrown man-baby, but it still counts). Paula, instead of running in circles for other people, is finally doing things for herself. She's a hot-shot lawyer, her kids are nice people and she doesn't do Rebecca's dirty laundry anymore.
And Rebecca. It would take a novel to write about all the things Rebecca has outgrown, pushed past and healed in her own life. Not only does she now have a healthy perspective on love and a diagnosis, which is key to her mental health, but she made the bold decision to give up her career to try something new - more than once. A key moment in I'm in Love happens when Paula asks Rebecca for help with her pro-bono cases and Rebecca actually gives her some excellent advice. Both of them remark on how this has never happened before - and it's true. Rebecca is notoriously bad at thinking about thinking about anyone but herself and this exchange with Paula shows that she is on her way to becoming healthy and happy.
I'm in Love, as expected, covered the fall-out from the three dates but with a twist. Watching Rebecca's journey, it makes sense that she doesn't choose Josh, Nathaniel or Greg but her reasoning - and what she learns over the course of year - make for an incredibly satisfying end to Crazy Ex Girlfriend. After all, love is not about ending up with someone. It's just a part of who you are.
There's technically only one song in I'm in Love, but as a medley 'Eleven O'Clock' covers a lot of ground. Each costume on the stage represents a different person that Rebecca has tried to be and further confuses her about who she is now. The song flits back and forward between seasons and episodes, taking key moments from Rebecca's inner thoughts that map out the story of where she's been ('life doesn't really make narrative sense') but without an answer to the question of what she does now.
When Paula steps into the (literal) ring, suddenly everything becomes clear. Revealing her inner musical numbers to Paula in 'Eleven O'Clock' provides an opportunity for Paula to know Rebecca better and start to really help her figure out who she is. As a framing device, the songs have always given the audience a guide to what each character is really thinking and pulling back the curtain on this feels right for the show.
I'm in Love retained so much of Crazy Ex Girlfriend's spirit - the toilet revelations, dream ghosts and a hilarious subplot involving George's ponytail. The episode, designed to tie everything together, is a perfectly fitting end to a season which has been all about giving every character the end they deserve (I'm more happy about Nathaniel getting to work with animals than anything else, to be honest). It's a slow burner - we always knew that Rebecca's final decision would be dragged out until the very end - but this gives everyone time to go through the motions with her. It's the quiet episode, filled with warmth, love and the emotional highs that Crazy Ex Girlfriend does so well.
Crazy Ex Girlfriend has been momentous in changing the way in which female sexuality, mental health and relationships are viewed. It's taken us to new heights through the medium of song and dance. It's dared to go places that few have ventured before and, against all the odds, managed to run for four seasons. Together with the incredible writing team and the supremely talented ensemble cast, Brosh-Mckenna and Bloom took risks time and time again to elevate a show which managed to be so many things to so many people. There will never be anything quite like Crazy Ex Girlfriend. The show may be over but we will always have the soundtrack.
Now, to the live show!