Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Trent?!
February 11, 2018 7:30 AM - Season 3, Episode 12 - Subscribe

Just as Rebecca tries to be more realistic and practical, Trent throws a wrench into her plans. At the same time Josh and Valencia reckon with their shared history
posted by The Gooch (16 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I find the Trent character very conflicting. One the one hand, he’s a funny character and obviously the actor playing him is a very gifted comic actor. That said, the character is *SO* over the top and out of this world that it is hard, even in the sometimes fantastical world of CEG to accept him as a real person who exists in the universe, so having him mix in with some of the real life emotional elements of the show is a somewhat awkward mix to me.

The relationship between Rachel and Nathaniel, where Rachel navigates following her heart while also trying to care for her mental health is about as real and authentic as this show has ever felt; throwing the show’s most unrealistic character as an obstacle left me wanting.

I did like that the show absolutely did not leave Nathaniel off the hook for his treatment of his girlfriend. So many shows I could see treating that character like a one-note inconvenience, I liked that there were real life consequences for his actions that he had to own up to.

Watching Valencia finally let loose at the end was pure joy.
posted by The Gooch at 7:41 AM on February 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Fuckton of Cats (Uncensored version of the cat song from this episode)
posted by The Gooch at 7:43 AM on February 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

I wanted to like this episode -- I really liked Trent doing the S2 theme, and I really liked Valencia's entire story -- but, you know, I did see Rebecca doing all the stuff Trent does already over 40-odd episodes (and there she is, using Paula again). Which was the point, but with one episode left this season and no renewal announced, how necessary was this?

I'm also going to say that as a rule the uncensored songs are not really better -- the song isn't particularly improved by replacing buttload with fuckton; it's a very juvenile "ha ha SWEARS" thing that strikes me as very odd.
posted by jeather at 8:00 AM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I thought this episode was super lazy. Plot Magic Trent shows up so that Rebecca can learn shit about herself (again), and demonstrate (in lying to Paula) that she's still capable of being pretty bad (again, just in case we didn't get the point before) and help Nathaniel out of a crux (I'm still puzzled about why Rebecca had to bring Trent to the office and why it didn't strike her or Paula as weird that after all her machinations to get in the bathroom with Paula she could just hang out at Paula's computer and then do their weird break-in shit (apparently) on their own).

I liked the cat song though.
posted by kenko at 9:23 AM on February 11, 2018

I was a little baffled by the episode. It's fun in a way to see Rebecca's behavior inverted, with her the love-subject and Trent the crazy ex, and to see her be on the receiving end of the spying and poor boundaries and shenanigans. But it didn't really go anywhere, Trent's "Oh you failed the love-test, bye now" was completely out of step and it's hard to understand how an unhealthily-obsessed person behaving badly would make a U-turn to a reasonable decision that it's better to move on from someone who's not into you.

At the end of it nothing has changed except that Valencia relaxed a little and had a party which could go viral on youtube and give her business a kick in the pants, and Nathan is ready to commit to Mona - am I forgetting anything? Rebecca behaved badly and I question how committed she is to getting her shit together but that's the status quo.

Also the bit where Josh jokes to Beth about Valencia not wanting to have sex and Beth says "yeah, not a problem for me" is a little weak considering how much time Rebecca's character spends hiding in bathrooms listening to them. Wait, one of those times was with Anna. Still, there was no indication before that their relationship lacked physical chemistry and now it seems like the show is re-writing the past instead of acknowledging that Valencia could be bi or that sexuality can be fluid. Or just not making surprisingly unprogressive jokes about it.
posted by bunderful at 11:18 AM on February 11, 2018

...or maybe she just didn't like Josh the way she likes Beth, because she saw Josh as low-status while seeing Beth as high-status.
posted by amtho at 5:48 PM on February 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

Does Rebecca have a magic vagina? YES, WHITE JOSH, SERIOUSLY THIS IS A GOOD QUESTION TO ASK. (Sorting Hat, indeed.) Or most likely it's the ol' "crazy sex is the best sex" thing, I guess.

Trent episodes are so fucked up, but at the same time he's a mirror to Rebecca's own behavior. Like "I've looked at stalking from both sides now, from being one to having one." And there's nothing quite like being treated to your own crazy behavior to make you realize what you've done at times. And while to some degree she went back to Old Crazy Stalker behavior again, at the same time she somewhat realizes. Steps forward and back with her, always. But yeah, I read this review and have to concur that it's generally disturbing.

High status vs low status with Valencia is a great point, amtho. Josh was high status back in high school when they got together, right?
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:54 PM on February 11, 2018

What's really worrying me is what's going to happen with Rebecca's friendship with Paula, which has been and continues to be so important to Rebecca -- but I'm not sure Rebecca realizes exactly how to be a really good friend.
posted by amtho at 6:57 PM on February 11, 2018

Rebecca is as good of a friend as she can manage through the prism of herself and her own mental issues. Which is to say that she cares about people and clearly they can tell on some level enough to stick by her despite her drama, but at the same time you have to catch Rebecca at a not self obsessed moment in order for anyone else's pain to filter through enough for it to even register with her. (Example: the abortion, which she wasn't even told about because hey, what's the point.)
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:18 PM on February 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I'm not totally convinced Trent is gone for good and not coming back to be awful more later.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:20 PM on February 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

(Was just watching a Season 2 blooper reel where a bunch of cast members kept screwing up by calling Rachel Bloom “Rachel” instead of “Rebecca” during their scenes together. I guess my first comment could be included in the Fanfare blooper reel)
posted by The Gooch at 6:09 AM on February 12, 2018

I got tickets for the tour date at Lincoln Theatre in DC!

trent's a good example of how high a degree of difficulty this show gives himself -- he's a warped funhouse mirror version of Rebecca who intentionally pushes her behavior the extra inches or feet or miles it needs to get from "stereotypical rom-com quirky" to "psychotic stalker"; he's not really meant to reflect anything directly about her behavior but the worst possible manifestation of her worst possible tendencies and her anxiety about what those tendencies say about her (i.e. her self-perceived potential to become that worst self); his actions are played as simultaneously terrifying and goofy, usually falling hard on the latter because if the show leaned too hard on the former he'd be completely out of place even this often-dark and nuanced but generally humane and, most importantly, funny television program

worth noting too that CEG is pretty up front about mixing the over-the-top with the grounded, about kicking the craziness up as many notches as necessary in pursuit of emotional or psychological truth (or at least complexity, or at least a good joke). in that context I really never have an issue with the logistical ramifications of what characters like Trent or Rebecca or Paula do at their worst

(the emotional ramifications of course do matter, which is part of what I loved about this episode, how it hinges on a spot of emotional manipulation that would honestly have been relatively tame in season 1 but which can be a season's crushing penultimate cliffhanger here because this show's character work is unmatchable)

so I see where people come from here talking about their issues with him as a character, but really he's more a narrative tool that's ramped up so that Rebecca, especially season 3 Rebecca, has to actively struggle with understanding quite how ramped up he actually is relative to her. again, the way I read it is that it's not meant to be literal equivocation between his hostage-taking, blackmailing, predatory behavior -- what matters is Rebecca's fear that the equivocation is valid.
posted by Kybard at 2:04 PM on February 16, 2018 [1 favorite]

I got tickets for the tour date at Lincoln Theatre in DC!

Aaaaaaaaaaaagh so jealous. I tried in both sales and both times didn't manage to get my order in during the 10-15 second window when tickets were available.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:12 PM on February 16, 2018

yeah they sold out in nanoseconds; my wife and I were in separate places frantically timing our clicks, and she got in to the "reserve tickets" button but when she pressed it they'd already sold out

to step back to the metawitches review... like,

"Funny how when guys say that, it’s honest, but when women say it, it’s harsh."

the point of this scene isn't that Trent is dropping truth bombs, it's that Rebecca sees him as a mirror on her own behavior, which is in part because she's still struggling to put her actions and feelings in a reasonable perspective, and she's being way too hard on herself, still thinking of herself as a villain and a bitch (oh god the piano rendition of you stupid bitch at the end is heartbreaking) despite the support and love of those around her

CEG does this all the time -- it's better even than most novels I've ever read at portraying its world through the specific, cracked lens of its protagonist's interior world.

I wouldn't argue with someone who finds Trent hard to watch or a misfired attempt on the show's part, but he's not some aberrationally misogynist turn by the writers; he's an external manifestation of Rebecca's tendency towards self-loathing and self-demonizing
posted by Kybard at 2:15 PM on February 16, 2018

their issues with him as a character, but really he's more a narrative tool

AFAICT the issue is with him as a narrative tool. You can't separate them—he's a narrative tool because of his character, and he's parachuted in to do narrative work. Rebecca needs some kind of realization? Let's bring Trent in as an externalized version of her so she can have a factitious epiphany! (And he moves the plot along in other ways.)
posted by kenko at 8:14 PM on February 16, 2018

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