Anyone expecting a big, bombastic fall finale for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would be surprised how “My Mom, Greg’s Mom, and Josh’s Sweet Dances Moves!” ends up playing out. Bringing Rebecca’s mother to town while challenging each character’s perception of the holidays seems like putting Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on a tee for a home run episode – but instead, “My Mom” turns a bombastic entrance by Rebecca’s mother into a fairly tame, pleasant hour about maturity, and how our views of parents and past experiences can be colored in negative ways by the holidays.
To this end, Greg’s story really ends up being the most effective: it tackles the resentment he feels towards his mother in such a level-headed way, it feels out of place next to the more cartoonish portrayals of Rebecca’s mother (played by recently departed The Walking Dead cast member Tovah Feldshuh, and beautifully) and Josh, who spends the episode contemplating his days on the high school hip-hop dancing team (seriously – what the hell? They really didn’t have anything for him to do in this episode). But Greg’s story gives “My Mom” the cathartic emotional moment Rebecca’s story can’t possibly have, given the ever-lasting conflict between her and the matriarch of her family.
Despite that dissonance, both in how the stories are told and resolved, “My Mom” is an episode that comes to life under its holiday theme, letting the characters do the heavy work in injecting the sentiments of the holiday into the episode. Rebecca’s anxiety regarding her mother is perfectly captured in the opening sequence, and helps set the stage for her and Greg’s paralleled stories to follow. While it’s odd to see “My Mom” maintain such a light tone throughout (even when her mother’s picking apart her life; we’ve seen that scene a million times before), it’s undeniably awesome to spend that time with Paula pretending to be British and Greg’s family calling him out for being an insufferable, selfish jerk, while Josh does backflips and spin moves in the background.
Regardless of how fun those stories can be, however, Josh’s story really throws the episode off the rails a bit near the end. It’s basically Josh realizing he’s old because his body hurts, and there’s nothing he can do but move on with his life. That’s it, and while the parallels to the other two stories in the episode are fairly obvious, there’s nothing in this episode that tries to connect those dots in any meaningful way: it’s really just something thrown at Josh so he has something to do, the identity conflicts spurned by his upbringing never really connecting to the same struggles and flaws Rebecca and Greg display in this episode.
If anything, “My Mom, Greg’s Mom, and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves!” is a showcase for the wide berth of characters and stories Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s explored in eight short hours, from central members like Greg and Daryl, to minor characters like Calvin and Jason, who all get a moment in the sun in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s last episode of 2015. It might not have the most meaningful, nuanced story of the eight, or the most memorable songs, but as a holiday episode touching on all the elements that make the series such the wonderfully unique little gem it is, I couldn’t imagine a better way to send Crazy Ex-Girlfriend into the new year.
[Photo credit: Greg Gayne/The CW]