INTO THE NEXT STAGE: Season Finale of ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Feels Like a Series Finale

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AOKI-GUY-color1By GUY AOKI

As much as I’ve loved watching the CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” all year, my heart hurt after seeing the March 28 episode. Everything went in the wrong direction. After taking a plane trip, Rebecca Bunch (star/co-creator Rachel Bloom) realizes she’s wrapped her entire life around pursuing Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), and she decides to totally change her outlook.

She even vows that instead of competing against Josh’s girlfriend Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz), she’ll go out of her way to make Valencia look good. When Josh’s sister Jayma (who doesn’t like Valencia either) asks Rebecca to be one of her bridesmaids, Rebecca suggests she also include Valencia in the wedding party. Anything Valencia suggests to the other girls, Rebecca vouches for and encourages.

When Valencia (warming up to her old rival) secretly tries on the bride’s dress, Rebecca takes a picture of it with her newfound friend’s phone. But Rebecca’s best friend Paula hacks into the account and posts #HotterThanTheBride! where everyone — including Jayma — can see it, hoping it’ll get Valencia in trouble.

The noble Rebecca, still sticking to her “Make Valencia look good!” mantra, takes the blame, leading the Chans (including the matriarch played by Amy Hill) to pretty much boot her out of their honorary family. Even Josh gets mad and asks her to leave. If that’s not bad enough, Rebecca goes to see Greg, who’s always liked her, but had resisted Rebecca after realizing he was always going to play second banana to his friend Josh. Greg warns her, if they get physically involved, it’s going to be nonstop for three days. She agrees. No! Arghh! My heart!

In the next episode, we see that Rebecca and Greg have become a secret couple with no strings attached. When Josh finds out about their pairing, he gets upset but can’t understand why, getting moody even around Valencia.

The next installment was this Monday night’s season finale. Yet curiously, it felt like the last episode of the entire series, as if it had gotten cancelled (Spoiler alert: Avoid the rest of this segment if you don’t want to know how it ended).

It was like a fairy tale, the second episode written by Filipino American Rebe Gube, who recurs as the priest who counsels Josh. We see that cynical Greg, worried about getting hurt, decides to act as if he can take or leave Rebecca. When she appears looking terrific in a powder blue dress, he restrains himself, only offering: “You look all right!” Compare that to Josh’s reaction at the wedding reception: He says she looks like a princess.

With Jayma’s wedding on everyone’s mind, Josh feels even more pressure to commit to the controlling Valencia, so he tells her he’s going to look for an engagement ring but asks that she let him do it at his own pace. Later, their aunt (Lea Salonga) offers Josh a family heirloom to give to Valencia. He realizes it was Valencia’s idea, and they have it out. Valencia points out she’s been patient, waiting 15 years (!) for him and the problem isn’t Rebecca being around, it’s his fear of commitment. She breaks up with him.

At the reception, after Rebecca tells Greg she really cares about him, Greg can’t return the sentiment in kind, only saying she’s cool, they have fun, but don’t plan for the future. She walks away sad, and as Salonga sings the Disney-like “One Indescribable Moment,” she and Josh lock eyes. He texts her to meet him outside, and he takes her for a drive.

Overlooking the city lights, Josh reveals his break-up and admits no matter how hard he’s tried, he can’t forget Rebecca. He even has her high school letter on him! Rebecca tells him not to worry about Greg, they kiss, and apparently consummate their relationship for the first time since those days.

Then she kinda ruins it all by letting on that she’d followed him from New York to West Covina to win him back. Josh makes a weird, confused face, and it ends with the sung title of the show.

In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter (read it here: www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/crazy-girlfriend-rachel-bloom-talks-884798), Bloom hinted it would have ramifications in the second season. It’s interesting to learn she and her co-producer feel they have so many places to take this story that they think they’ll need four seasons to tell it. They wrote the finale assuming they’d get a second season but added Rebecca’s reveal at the last minute.

I’d love to just take this happy ending (it would’ve been perfect had the series only been allowed one season), but they haven’t let me down yet with their constantly evolving, inventive storytelling. To catch up on past episodes, go to cwtv.com.

Who does Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) choose? Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) or Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz)?

Who does Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) choose? Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) or Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz)?

Holy Stunt Casting, Batman! Department: I continue to enjoy ABC’s “Dr. Ken” starring Ken Jeong, which has enjoyed quite a few “crossover” guest stars from (1) The other Asian American family sitcom on the network, “Fresh Off the Boat”: star Randall Park was a member of the Korean Men’s Club last week, and in February youngest son Ian Chen played a next-store neighbor trying to fool a babysitter into thinking he was Ken’s son (Albert Tsai), who wanted to get out of the house. And (2) three of Jeong’s former cast members from NBC’s “Community,” Joel McHale, Danny Pudi, and Jim Rash. If that wasn’t enough, in November, the star of the first Asian American family sitcom (“All American Girl”), Margaret Cho, appeared as Ken’s sister.

But don’t forget Albert Tsai appeared on “Fresh Off the Boat” last year as a stuck-up “perfect Chinese son” before “Dr. Ken” even aired, and he guest-starred again in the second season (sorry if all of this makes your head hurt!).

In a recent episode, 10-year-old Dave (Tsai) asked his father, “Is sex only for having babies?” You can imagine how his parents reacted to that one! It was pretty damn funny too.

ABC’s “Dr. Ken” airs 8:30 p.m. on Fridays.

Randall Park guest-starred on “Dr. Ken” starring Ken Jeong.

Randall Park guest-starred on “Dr. Ken” starring Ken Jeong.

What’d He Ever Do to You? Department: Last year, when it looked like fan favorite Glenn Rhee (Steve Yeun) was eaten alive by zombies on “The Walking Dead,” viewers went out of their way to try to save him, rationalizing how he could’ve escaped what looked like certain death. Some even posted videos of themselves next to trash dumpsters (where he supposedly met his doom) demonstrating how they could slip under it and escape, meaning Glenn could’ve done the same (turns out they were right!).

Most agree the producers of the show blew the recent season finale by not revealing who new villain Negan (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) killed with his baseball bat (we saw it come down on a victim, but not on who). Fans groaned, feeling manipulated into having to wait half a year until the show returns in October. But critics are now saying that Glenn HAS to die or the show will lose even more credibility for the earlier “fake” death and because in the 100th issue of the comic book, Glenn was the one that bought it.

Fair-weather friends!

Even O.J. Knows This Guy’s Guilty Department: A lot of us probably thought George “Horse” Yoshinaga turned over in his grave upon hearing the news that the man he steadfastly defended — his family friend Paul Tanaka — was found guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice and obstruction of justice just two hours after the case went to jury. Obviously, testifying in his own defense had the opposite effect on his chances; they didn’t trust the guy.

I wouldn’t buy a used car from Tanaka. He had the audacity to run for sheriff even with all those allegations against him (and the trial wasn’t even about his well-known approach of running the prisons like he was a mafia don with underlings kissing his ring). Tanaka couldn’t answer questions from reporters without looking like he was hiding a lot. On the night of the primary, even though he came in second, he didn’t allow cameras into his headquarters. Then he stopped campaigning altogether for the general election, and there was no gathering point for any of his supporters, leading reporters to knock on his front door!

In the trial, Tanaka admitted he was a micro-manager, but when it came to knowing anything about he and his employees hiding Brown, the FBI informant, Tanaka claimed to remember nothing. He claimed he let his boss Lee Baca and the deputies handle the Brown situation, even when there were 70 phone calls between Tanaka and his co-conspirators — all of whom were previously found guilty — and only one to Baca! What a big, fat liar. Rot in jail, Paul. Thanks for “shaming the family.”

Onus on the Wrong Party Department: I’m going to be honest. I was surprised by Mickey Komai’s April 16 article disclosing the finances of The Rafu over the last three years. He revealed that in the first 14 days of the announcement of the paper’s problems, the company had netted 350 subscribers to its online edition. Breaking that down into a daily rate, he estimated they’d reach 6,000 subscribers by the end of the year (well, actually, no, you’d reach 9,125: 350 divided by 14 days x 365 days), but even if that pace kept up, it’d still fall short of his goal of 10,000.

He concluded, “You and everyone else that believes The Rafu is worth having around must do better.” It rubbed me the wrong way. Like it was a command and not a “pretty please” request for help. A newspaper is only as good as its timeliness, especially with people getting news instantly on their news feeds by the second. The problem was that after The Rafu fired their printing staff, we got the paper even later than before. Even though they post-dated the issues the day after they were published, I’ve never, ever gotten them on time. Last week, I received three issues in one day (it’s bad enough the publication long ago cut back to four days, which is one day away from being a bi-daily).

It’s the product that needs to be improved. Yes, I understand in the short run, the e-subscriptions help buy the company more time. But in the long run, it’s not up to us to sell the e-subscriptions as much as it is for Mickey and company to come up with a sustainable product worth selling. Twenty-six days have passed since he went public with the economic realities of the paper, yet as of this writing, still no announcement of a broader meeting with the community and business people to help the publisher offer a broader vision of what this publication can and will become.

’Til next time, keep your eyes and ears open.

Guy Aoki, co-founder of the Media Action Network for Asian Americans, writes from Glendale. He can be reached at [email protected] Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

 

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