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'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' recap: Dream ghosts and the best joke ever

Season 1 | Episode 15 | “Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!” | Aired Mar 21, 2016

This week, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finally changed course and went in the direction I’ve been hoping for. And it did so in one of the best-written, most laugh-out-loud-funny episodes of the series.

When we last saw Rebecca, she’d just seen Josh and Valencia make up after Josh confessed to kissing Rebecca. She was planning to follow Josh to Hawaii, but he had canceled his trip and, well, suddenly Rebecca wasn’t in a vacationing mood anyway. So she boarded a plane to New York instead, with plans to return to her old job and her old life. It seemed like she was going to be the crazy ex-girlfriend no more, but more because she felt rejected than because she’d grown much.

Enter the dream ghost. Rebecca finds herself seated next to her therapist, Dr. Akopian (you know, the one she’s been canceling on week after week), who says it’s a perfect time for a session. Instead of following through on the therapy, Rebecca takes some sleeping pills and passes out, where she starts chatting with Dream Dr. Akopian, who is an all-powerful, glorious singing Dream Ghost. Backed by Ricki Lake and Amber Riley (of Glee fame), she sings the showstopping “Dream Ghost” number and explains that she’s come to Rebecca as a vaguely magical trope to help her work through the issues that are plaguing her subconscious. For Rebecca, those issues all boil down to one question: Why doesn’t anyone ever love her?

It’s worth noting that before they dive into unraveling all the problems plaguing Rebecca under the surface, we get the best joke of the entire series, in which Rebecca lists what she wants do if she has access to magic ghost traveling powers. She wants to haunt Hitler and get him to rethink a few things, see what’s in Oprah’s bathroom and—BEST JOKE OF THE SERIES—travel to nearest planet with intelligent life and see a play. I can’t stop thinking about traveling to the nearest planet with intelligent life to see a play. It is just the BEST JOKE.

In one of the most clever takes on the It’s a Wonderful Life plot that I’ve ever seen, Dream Ghost and Rebecca take a journey through some of her formative memories of love. We see her as a child, when she saved up her money and concocted an elaborate plan to fly to see her dad on spring break, only to have her mom come pick her up on day two. The kicker? Kid Rebecca always blamed her mom, but the truth was that her dad just didn’t want her around. Instead of ruining Rebecca’s relationship with her dad, her mom took the blame and never told her that he just didn’t want his daughter near. This, Dream Ghost explains, is proof that her mom really loved her. Rebecca is unimpressed. A mother’s love is a given, she says. Even serial killers have mothers who love them. She means real love. Like boy/girl love (and yes, she knows that’s heteronormative of her to say).

Next, Dream Ghost and Rebecca journey to Harvard, for Rebecca’s college days. She was almost in a musical stage adaptation of Moby Dick in college, but she quit halfway through. Why? Because she started sleeping with the douchey senior who was directing the play, only to find out he was sleeping with another girl in the play, too. Rebecca overlooked the nerdy guy who might have really loved her, but Dream Ghost says that’s not the point. The point is that Rebecca really loved rehearsing for the play. At this point, I thought the plot was about to take a turn in which Rebecca gave up her career as a lawyer to pursue acting. After all, I’ve thought all along that she was just projecting emotions onto Josh that weren’t really accurate, that what she really loved was the time in her life (theater camp) that Josh represented, rather than Josh himself.

But then we Dream Ghost to the present, where Rebecca’s friends are worrying over her in West Covina. Thinking Rebecca was out of town in Hawaii, Paula took a personal day and used Rebecca’s apartment for a relaxing staycation away from her husband and kids. Josh came looking for Rebecca (who hadn’t been answering his calls and texts), and Paula realized that Rebecca wasn’t in Hawaii with Josh after all. Next, Darryl comes looking for Rebecca, who missed work without calling, texting, or emailing. Then, finally, even Greg is looking for her. By the time the Dream Ghost of West Covina Present takes Rebecca to see what’s happening in her absence, her friends have figured out where she is (because Paula is a REAL friend and has all of Rebecca’s passwords and a nose for snooping), and have moved on to worrying about how sad they’ll be when she leaves. At first, Rebecca is reluctant to accept that this is proof that people love her—but then Dream Ghost freezes time so Rebecca can take a look at Greg’s call log. When he thought she was missing, he called every hospital and morgue in the area … because he was that worried about her.

When Rebecca gets off the plane in New York, she’s had the kind of epiphany that you need to have before a second season, and hops right back on a plane to California. She’s back in West Covina before her friends even leave her apartment (which doesn’t seem super-plausible, but whatever, let’s chalk it up to Dream Ghost magic). By then, Paula has shown Josh an envelope full of pictures of him that Rebecca had printed (which, in the time of camera phones and Instagram, is about as concerning as him finding a Josh Shrine in her closet). Now he has no choice but to confront her about her feelings for him. He seems totally flabbergasted, like their kiss provided absolutely no hint that she might like him like him. Josh isn’t known for his sharp mind, though, so we’ll let that go.

The point is, Rebecca seems poised to tell Josh she’s over him. She gave Greg a very meaningful, OTP-hope-rejuvenating hug. And, most importantly, she seems to have really, finally (hopefully) grown beyond being the crazy ex-girlfriend. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be imagining myself traveling to the nearest planet with intelligent life to see a play, probably for the rest of all time.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Mondays at 9/8C on The CW.

TV Families | EW.com
Mark Harris
February 23, 1990 AT 05:00 AM EST

The Bradys are back, with a passel of 90’s hassles. Do they represent the typical American Family? Did they ever? Who does? Stare and compare!

Kind Of Family
TheBradyBunch 1969-74: Blended
The Bradys 1990-: Enormous
Married…With Children 1987-: Postnuclear
Thirtysomething 1987-: Extended
The Flintstones 1960-66: Modern Stone Age

Family Pet
The Brady Bunch: Tiger
The Bradys: Alice
Married…With Children: Buck
Thirtysomething: Grendel
The Flintstones: Dino

Typical Guest Star
The Brady Bunch: Davey Jones
The Bradys: There’s no room
Married…With Children: Sam Kinison
Thirtysomething: Carly Simon
The Flintstones: Ann Margrock

Expression Of Joy
The Brady Bunch: Groovy!
The Bradys: Ritual hugging
Married…With Children: ”Oh, great.”
Thirtysomething: ”Of course I’m happy for you. Really. But what about me? Why does it always have to be about you?
The Flintstones: ”Yabba-dabba doo

Expression Of Rage

The Brady Bunch: ”Hmmm…”
The Bradys: ”If you back away from something you really want, then you’re a quitter!” (the angriest any Brady has ever been)
Married…With Children: ”Aaagh, God, take me from this miserable life!”
Thirtysomething: ”I’m not angry, OK?”
The Flintstones: ”Willllmaaaa!”

Typical Problem
The Brady Bunch: Marcia and her rival both want to be the prom queen.
The Bradys: Bobby gets paralyzed.
Married…With Children: Al doesn’t buy his family Christmas presents.
Thirtysomething: Nancy gets cancer.
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney are staying out too late.

Typical Solution
The Brady Bunch: The prom committee decides to have two queens.
The Bradys: Bobby gets married.
Married…With Children: They hate him.
Thirtysomething: If only we knew…
The Flintstones: Wilma and Betty decide to follow them.

House Style
The Brady Bunch: Conservative but mod, circa ’69
The Bradys: Conservative but mod, circa ’90
Married…With Children: Roach motel
Thirtysomething: Enviable
The Flintstones: Suburban cave

Clothing Style
The Brady Bunch: Early Osmonds
The Bradys: Made in the USA
Married…With Children: Flammable fabrics
Thirtysomething: Eclectic earth tones; nice ties
The Flintstones: One-piece

Most Annoying Character
The Brady Bunch: Alice’s cousin Emma, the substitute housekeeper (too strict)
The Bradys: Marcia’s husband, Wally (chronically unemployable)
Married…With Children: Steve (supercilious)
Thirtysomething: Ellyn (goes through Hope’s drawers, babbles, changes hairstyle every other week, generally mistreats her friends)
The Flintstones: Mr. Slate (bossy)

Attitude Toward Sex
The Brady Bunch: Never heard of it
The Bradys: Omigod — even Cindy does it!
Married…With Children: Peg: Yes. Al: No.
Thirtysomething: They didn’t get all those kids by accident.
The Flintstones: Prehistoric

How Spouses Fight
The Brady Bunch: They don’t.
The Bradys: Infrequently, but it happens
Married…With Children: Tooth and nail
Thirtysomething: They stop talking
The Flintstones: Fred and Barney go bowling while Wilma and Betty max out their charge cards.

How Kids Get Into Trouble
The Brady Bunch: Greg takes a puff of a cigarette.
The Bradys: Carol’s grandson steals her business cards and sticks them in the spokes of Bobby’s wheelchair.
Married…With Children: By committing felonies
Thirtysomething: Ethan plays with a forbidden toy rocket.
The Flintstones: They don’t.

How They’re Punished

The Brady Bunch: ”It’s not what you did, honey — it’s that you couldn’t come to us.”
The Bradys ”Next time, ask.”
Married…With Children: By the authorities
Thirtysomething: It blows up in his face.
The Flintstones: They’re not.

What Family Does For Fun
The Brady Bunch: Takes special three-part vacations to Hawaii and the Grand Canyon
The Bradys: Has flashbacks
Married…With Children: Exchanges insults
Thirtysomething: Talks
The Flintstones: Attends showings of The Monster at the Bedrock Drive-In

Unsolved Mysteries
The Brady Bunch: How exactly did Carol’s first husband and Mike’s first wife die?
The Bradys: What’s with Marcia’s new face and Bobby’s blonde hair
Married…With Children: What kind of hair spray does Peg use?
Thirtysomething: Why did Nancy take Elliot back? What do Gary and Susanna see in each other?
The Flintstones: How does Barney’s shirt stay on if he has no shoulders? Where do Fred and Wilma plug in their TV?

Worst Behavior
The Brady Bunch: The Brady children once made Alice feel under-appreciated.

The Bradys: Marcia’s son Mickey watches Bobby’s car-crash tape for fun.
Married…With Children: The Bundy’s kill their neighbor’s dog.
Thirtysomething: Elliot has an affair and talks about it.
The Flintstones: Characters don’t wear under-clothes.

Best Reason To Watch
The Brady Bunch: This is what life should be.
The Bradys: They’re all grown-ups now!
Married…With Children: Terry Rakolta hates it.
Thirtysomething (Tie) This is your life. This isn’t your life.
The Flintstones: This is what life might have been.

Best Reason Not To Watch
The Brady Bunch: Blurred vision from rerun overdoses.
The Bradys: You’re all grown-ups now.
Married…With Children: She has a point.
Thirtysomething: After a while, you think it’s real.
The Flintstones: The Simpsons

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