Thursday, February 11, 2016

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1, Episode 11, “That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!”

Some quick thoughts on this week’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, which was in top form. First off, the episode managed to breathe new life into the relatively tired trope of the errant text message by having the strangers surrounding Becca (including a lawyer working on the opposite end of Becca’s case) not only adamantly agree about the severity of her blunder, but gladly put off the their work so that Becca could rush off to remedy the situation. Also amusing was the argument those ancillary characters get into over whether Becca is having a “textmergency” or a “textastrophe” ("textastrophe" is way better).

Second, I greatly enjoyed how the writers stealthily inserted the lyrics of the show’s opening title sequence, nearly verbatim, into dialogue between Paula and her husband (and in a nice touch, Paula replaces Becca’s denial about moving to West Covina for Josh with an affirmation of her motivation). It's a great example of how the show creates pleasant surprises by playfully manipulating norms, both its own and those it shares with other shows and musicals. It also helps to drive home how effective the show’s title sequence is at getting any potential first-time viewers up to speed almost immediately. The title sequence is like a throwback to Gilligan’s Island-style title sequences that lay out the show's premise every week. I also thought it a smart move to have Paula and her husband connect over Paula’s infatuation with Becca’s love life. Paula’s disdain for her family was getting rather tired, so it was nice to have her husband share her enthusiasm not only because it makes their marriage more palatable, but also because it makes it more understandable. Seeing them enjoy throwing a rock through Becca's window together provided a glimmer of how they were once good matches for one another (and might be so again).

Third, the self-loathing power ballad was funny for its ugly lyrics and shattered-glass chandelier. I expect more insightful or seemingly profound lyrics about human suffering from that genre of music, so I enjoyed how the lyrics baldly deviated from the norm here. Another nice touch was having Becca’s interior monologue acknowledge how dim Josh is when he’s piecing together what happened with the rock and Becca’s window. Josh is still much too dim for Becca, but at least a part of her subconscious recognizes it. My interest in the show had been waning prior to the hiatus, but the past two episodes have been a strong return to form from the start of the season.

One additional thought:
- Basketball-obsessed Father Bra is easily the least of the show's ancillary bro characters thus far. I enjoy White Josh and Hector much, much more.

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