Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 Episode 3 Review: “I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!”

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

There are a lot of elements Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has to manage on a weekly basis, maintaining its energy for the course of 42 minutes while gyrating between musical coming-of-age story, rom-com satire, and female-driven comedy about life and relationships. It’s a tough balance, and through its first two episodes, Crazy Ex has been able to make it work, centering its stories around Rachel and her mid-life crisis. “I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!” is the show’s first dip into deeper waters, and boy, is it fun to watch: by beginning to build out characters like Josh and Paula, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s third episode sets a foundation for the first season to build on.

Perhaps the most impressive trait of “I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!” is the show’s emotional range: this is an episode that not only has a strong emotional core with Rebecca’s heartbreaking flashback (her parents broke up at her birthday party, which nobody came to), but then mixes in jokes about her boss accidentally doing meth and cutaways showing Mrs. Hernandez’s night parkour hobby. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an extremely versatile show,  both thanks to Rachel Bloom’s seemingly limitless abilities as a performer (both comedic and dramatic) and the ability of the writers to vacillate between musical numbers like the surprisingly bleak “I Have Friends”, and the thoroughly silly song Paula sings about overcoming fears, with lines encouraging people to run with scissors and other wildly reckless things.

At times, it makes the show feel like a smorgasbord of incompatible elements: with so many distinct hats it can wear, sometimes it feels like Crazy Eis just throwing out tons of ideas, and just seeing what works as it goes. There are moments of this episode that are the equivalent of cinematic whiplash: contrast the images of Paula, worn down and without makeup, trying to manage her children, with those of the Four Josh’s in the funniest music video the show’s delivered so far. However, this also means when the show wants to double down on an idea or character, it has the ability to surprise with unexpected poignancy: the way Josh’s character is developed in this episode is a fine example of this.

Many shows would be content to play on the parody of the “perfect guy”; but the pilot already did this with the melodramatic lighting and Prince Charming introduction. This episode is all about adding layers to his character: both proving to the audience why he’s the kind of guy Rebecca would be in love with (even if it’s only theoretical), and giving him notes that make him feel three-dimensional (his fear of his girlfriend being a dominant theme in this particular episode). Josh’s development is an important element of the show – and while I still find Greg to be a more interesting character than Josh, this week’s episode went a long way to closing the gap between the two of them.

There are certainly still parts of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend that aren’t completely harmonious. Some of the show’s goofier humor (again, Darryl on meth) doesn’t quite vibe with some of the show’s more reflective moments, contemplating the nature of love and the sexual dynamics of modern life, in dating and the world. However, with each episode, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend feels like its inching closer and closer to its between its many competing elements – and if “I Hope Josh Comes to My Party!” is a sign of things to come, the sky’s the limit for The CW’s weird and wonderful new series.

[Photo via The CW]

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  1. Trilby16
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