Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Nathaniel is Irrelevant
February 17, 2018 11:24 AM - Season 3, Episode 13 - Subscribe

When Rebecca decides to make amends for her past, she finds some unexpected challenges. At the same time, West Covina awaits an important new arrival.

Heather and Darryl are preparing for the baby's delivery, each who approach the imminent big day in divergent and incompatible directions. In light of Rebecca unofficially breaking up with him, Nathaniel has decided to enter into a committed relationship with Mona, they moving into the next step of cohabitation, which they plan to announce to their friends - which will not include Rebecca - at a formal soirée. Both these items have the potential to be overshadowed by the fact that Rebecca has not been sleeping due to recurring nightmares of Trent still stalking her.


"Miracle Of Birth" (sung by Paula)
"Nothing Is Ever Anyone's Fault" (sung by Rebecca and Nathaniel)
posted by terilou (38 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I read some spoilers and WTF? Not sure I want to watch. This could be the end for me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 11:38 AM on February 17, 2018

I could probably say a lot here--and I threw the post up today because I want to be talking about this episode. I don't usually watch live, but tweets from Rachel Bloom & Co. convinced me to tune in almost right away. And I was glad I did.

I have no idea where the show goes from here, but I often find myself saying that, so assuming they get a season 4, I'm sure we'll be in good hands. If this is it...I can live with that too. Rebecca grew in a way that would not have seemed possible just a couple of episodes back.

I know this week's title is "Nathaniel is Irrelevant," and I get what they're going for, but I didn't find him irrelevant at all. For someone I felt so "meh" about from the beginning, he sure did weasel his way into my heart. Somehow, against all odds, he and Rebecca have been good for each other (Nice callbacks to all the evil shit he helped Rebecca with early on. Good to keep sight of that. "You were gonna get my dad deported?!"). Even though some of the "good for each other" on Rebecca's side of the scale was recognizing the need to step back from him and other romantic entanglements. The riffs of "Settle for Me" in the background when he looked at Mona at the party were heartbreaking.

posted by terilou at 11:41 AM on February 17, 2018 [10 favorites]

Good stuff in this behind the scenes look at making/filming the finale, including info about a canceled tap-dancing number from Nathaniel called "Settle for Her."
posted by terilou at 11:53 AM on February 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

I read some spoilers and WTF? Not sure I want to watch. This could be the end for me.

I'm curious , why ?

I think the finale needed more time, but overall I liked it.
posted by Pendragon at 12:46 PM on February 17, 2018

I didn't really like it -- Trent WAS trying to kill Nathaniel, and this seems to be letting him off the hook for the stalking and the attempted murder because Rebecca feels guilty (as she should) so is taking all the blame (which feels more like part of her diagnosis than anything else).

I did love pretty much the entire Heather/Darryl plot, and aww, White Josh.
posted by jeather at 12:59 PM on February 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

If they get a fourth season (PLEASE!!), I predict Trent is going to end up in jail or at least face the consequences of his actions. And I can't see them having more than 1 or 2 episodes with Rebecca in jail.
posted by Pendragon at 1:05 PM on February 17, 2018

I'm curious , why ? The second half of this season has been a slog for me, so many weird storylines I don't care about, and an attempted murder seems like the ultimate shark jump. I liked this show when it was relatable, and I am not relating any more.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 5:11 PM on February 17, 2018 [1 favorite]

CALLED IT with Trent being back and worse.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 5:31 PM on February 17, 2018 [3 favorites]

Both Paula and the set looked absolutely gorgeous during her musical number. It was stunning.
posted by sardonyx at 10:07 PM on February 17, 2018 [6 favorites]

When Paula showed up at the end and she and Rebecca basically communicated without saying anything I remembered the title was "Nathaniel is irrelevant" and started crying. This show does friendship so well.
posted by TheLateGreatAbrahamLincoln at 4:32 AM on February 18, 2018 [4 favorites]

I remembered the title was "Nathaniel is irrelevant" and started crying. This show does friendship so well.

Once more:

posted by terilou at 7:46 AM on February 18, 2018 [1 favorite]

I’m annoyed that Rebecca pleaded guilty to attempted murder. I get that the idea was taking responsibility, but attempt crimes requires specific intent. To be guilty of an attempted murder you need actual intent to murder - you can be guilty of murder without intending to murder in some circumstances, but not attempted murder. As a lawyer, Rebecca would know that. And any lawyer would know that you don’t just plead guilty without a plea deal!

I mean, I know this show isn’t attempting to be 100% realistic but it really took me out of the suspension of disbelief.
posted by insectosaurus at 9:50 AM on February 18, 2018 [9 favorites]

I thought a lot of this AV Club notice was spot on, in particular:
Had the show spent more time with the characters — more time with Rebecca in jail, more time with Nathaniel processing what happened, or even some extra time with Trent — it might make those big jumps easier to swallow. If nothing else, it would certainly make easier to overlook the plot holes and inaccuracies that pepper the final act. Maya, George, and Tim all saw Trent holding that knife. Not one of them thought it looked threatening? Rebecca’s a lawyer surrounded by lawyers, and not one of them thought to capture those Instagram messages before they disappeared? There’s no effort to subpoena Instagram? Rebecca didn’t think to send the cops to the creepy Rebecca bunker? Nathaniel — who is most definitely a part of the investigation, as it was his house and Trent was apparently trying to turkey-carve him — is allowed to represent Rebecca? Paula wasn’t answering her phone for Rebecca, but surely she’d speak to the police?… in “That Text Was Not Meant For Josh,” Rebecca’s police escort results in the empathetic judge getting chastised (before admitting he left his wife for a prostitute.) There’s no sign of that here. This judge simply lets her monologue, and it’s a beautiful monologue, but that would never happen — and more specifically, I’m noticing that it would never happen, which is something that rarely happens with the far from realistic Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Like, of course (in "That Text etc.", the other lawyers wouldn't say "oh, textmergency? sure go ahead", nor would she get a police escort to Josh's apartment—that's nuts. But it's all lighthearted and the show makes it work and no one really cares. Now, things are definitely not lighthearted, and the show knows it—it clearly wants to be serious about some thing—and the things that don't make real-world sense aren't "even lawyers and cops know what it's like to text the wrong person something embarrassing so sure, they'd cut slack!", it's "three people witness one person holding a knife threateningly over another person and don't think to mention it when a fourth pushes him away". Haha? (Like, I'm willing to grant the idea that Trent could have somehow gotten that waiter job in the first place on like one day's notice after getting back from Iowa, but not that.)
posted by kenko at 10:27 PM on February 18, 2018 [6 favorites]

yeah so I would defend to the hilt all the ideas and actual scenes and performances in this finale, but definitely agree with those who really think there should have been at least half an episode's worth of additional scenes to really both emotionally and logistically justify all the turns and movements of the last like 5 minutes

I have defended previously this show's disinterest in logistical truth in the interest of emotional truth, and while I think that still sort of holds here, there's more shortcutting than is typical for this show, which is usually a show about how shortcuts to mental health or happiness are a fake idea

and I think the show will handle the fallout and logistical oddities of what's happened here to some degree, the way it did with Rebecca's abrupt decision to donate an egg earlier this season, but it lets a single song (a great song though!) fully define Nathaniel's entire season arc in a way uses him somewhat too openly to contrast against Rebecca's growth; it cuts his now ex-girlfriend out unceremoniously and off-screen in a way that tries to bury how complicit Nathaniel is in a tremendous amount of pain and suffering; it lets a very odd plea statement do a LOT of work without really clarifying the nuance and decontextualization that's happened to get to that point

and the show because it's rushing to do all of this really shortchanges the stories of pretty much every secondary character except Nathaniel, Paula, and Daryl (and wyjo to a lesser extent); I'm particularly sort of hurt by how things work out with Valencia, a character who's suffered as much as Paula by way of her relationship with Rebecca and who really deserved a more interesting B-plot than the lone one she got post-time-jump, and Heather, who functions as a secondary object in her own story (after the show made such a big deal out of her dissatisfaction with this sort of ill-defined transient existence earlier this season)

the show has plenty of room to address and work with these things next season, of course, and it's still brilliant and I have faith it will do so, but this was the first of its season finales where I felt it straining to land all its intended major season-finale plot points within the allotted time frame.

(to switch positive now: the daryl/wyjo scene was wonderful, donna lynne champlin is fucking incredible throughout the episode and the paula/rebecca friendship is tremendously well articulated, the show is still laugh out loud funny at least once every three minutes or so, both songs were fantastic, the use of "settle for me" underneath Nathaniel's housewarming party was a brilliant stroke, and I still love this show more than basically anything else on television)
posted by Kybard at 6:46 AM on February 19, 2018 [4 favorites]

I just found this amazing youtube channel with some great analysis of the show.

Some videos:

Valencia: The Other Woman
The Madness and Horror of Loneliness
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Masculinity
Heather: A Definition of Cool
Paula With a Thousand Faces
posted by Pendragon at 11:47 AM on February 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Was It Supposed to be Greg?
posted by Pendragon at 11:53 AM on February 19, 2018 [3 favorites]

Kybard, I'm curious why you think Valencia has suffered by way of her relationship with Rebecca? She didn't damage Valencia's relationship with Josh, she just took advantage of the fact that it was not a good relationship. Any animosity for that seems like it would be overshadowed by gratitude in getting out of a relationship that didn't really work for her.

I think someone in the last thread read Beth's "I don't have that problem" as trying to rewrite Valencia as gay rather than bisexual. But I read it as the fact that her entire relationship was predicated on the fact that she never respected Josh. He was the dumb pretty face that she didn't trust to be an equal partner - which led to her trying to control everything. Especially Josh.
posted by politikitty at 4:01 PM on February 21, 2018 [3 favorites]

I would hope/kind of expect that they do a time jump to after Rebecca is disbarred and out of jail (though really, shouldn't she be doing a lot of time, like at least years?) a la Jane the Virgin, because as we've seen on My Name Is Earl, putting your main character in jail really limits their ability to interact with the rest of the cast.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:26 PM on February 21, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yes, that should have been 3 episodes. Maybe the courtroom stuff was to wet the lips of the network for renewal?
posted by k8t at 10:43 PM on February 21, 2018

Kybard, I'm curious why you think Valencia has suffered by way of her relationship with Rebecca?

the outcome/Valencia's current headspace is positive, and her connection to Rebecca seems fairly equitable and healthy now, but it only got there through digging past a lot of lying and manipulation (and various invasions of privacy courtesy of Paula). I mean, Valencia may be ultimately a happier character now in a relationship with a more equitable power dynamic (I totally love and agree with that read on the contrast between her relationships with Josh and Beth, btw) but she had to go through something like being gaslit for most of season 1 because she didn't trust Rebecca, then ultimately being left at the altar and going through a lot of emotional turmoil (not to mention many, many invasions of her privacy)

it felt like the show acknowledged but also shortchanged this a bit when Paula and Valencia talked about it while searching for Rebecca in "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend is Crazy" -- the whole relationship, and eventual friendship, was based on a lot of lies or lies-by-omission.
posted by Kybard at 5:52 PM on February 22, 2018

I think Valencia is still in the early stages of learning that she deserves to have people she can trust. I can't remember exactly when, but there's an early exchange in their friendship where Rebecca tries to apologize for everything on her end of the table. And Valencia just shrugs it off because she already expected it. She lives in a paranoid world where she is always a target and can only rely on herself.

She loves Rebecca. But I think she can be such a dear friend because she still hasn't learned to have normal demands on friendship. Intimacy isn't built on a foundation of trust. She always has an asterisk on every interaction, expecting it to be derailed by the limitations she knows everyone has. She doesn't get dragged into Rebecca's drama the way Paula and Heather do.

She's the High School Mean Girl, as written by a member of Al Anon.
posted by politikitty at 1:27 PM on February 23, 2018 [2 favorites]

Those videos are amazing!
posted by jenfullmoon at 5:58 PM on February 23, 2018

she had to go through something like being gaslit for most of season 1 because she didn't trust Rebecca, then ultimately being left at the altar and going through a lot of emotional turmoil (not to mention many, many invasions of her privacy)

She wasn't left at the altar IIRC. I don't think she and Josh were even engaged?
posted by lunasol at 2:27 PM on February 25, 2018

Nope, they were never engaged. Josh said he was going to look for a ring, Valencia arranged with his aunt to get him his grandmother's ring. Josh got mad because he felt she didn't trust him to find a ring on his own. In turn Valencia was mad because she felt Josh had to be pushed in asking her to marry him after fifteen years together and she broke up with him.
posted by Pendragon at 3:59 PM on February 25, 2018 [2 favorites]

Pendragon, thanks for linking to that youtube video. I have now spent the last few days idly working my way through many of his videos and they are great. I love this kind of pop culture analysis. The most interesting so far is In Defense of Nathaniel, which looks at CEG from the angle of being a show that really doesn't need straight white men.

In fact, he points out that, according to one of the showrunners, they had a run of four episodes with not a single straight white man. I didn't notice and I bet most viewers didn't either. Which is pretty radical in its own way. I can't think of another network show that has been able to do that without being explicitly about a specific racial/ethnic group. And it's not like we don't notice in an "I don't see color" kind of way where everyone is just written as if they were a WASPy straight person - the show is just inclusive in a way that it wears very lightly but proudly.
posted by lunasol at 2:51 PM on February 27, 2018 [4 favorites]

It drives me crazy that she didn't plead Not Guilty by Reason of Defense of Another, a.k.a. the truth of what happened, but I think the season 4 premier is for that, so I'm hopeful.
posted by Navelgazer at 11:18 PM on March 13, 2018 [1 favorite]

Another point (I don't think this is a flaw, actually, so much as a brilliant touch that isn't really underlined in the show) is the five "really bad" things we know Rebecca confesses to in The Purge:

1. Plans to have Josh's grandfather kiled (actually that was Nathaniel and Rebecca immediately prevented it.)
2. Plans to have Josh's father deported (actually that was Nathaniel and Rebecca immediately prevented it.)
3. Put a hit on Mona (when drunk and hopped up on pregnancy hormones, then put a stop to it as soon as she came to.)
4. Lied to Paula and manipulated her into crimes she was super uncomfortable committing (under the duress of blackmail, though she also placed Paula under that same duress by proxy)
5. Fucked Greg's Dad

So, three things which she kept from actually coming to fruition, two of which she didn't even actually start, one thing that has nothing to do with any of them in which she didn't hurt anyone but herself, and the thing with Paula, which is major but which occurred because Trent was, again, seriously blackmailing her.

I guess my point is that she isn't "taking responsibility for her actions" so much as blaming herself for everything because ruthless self-loathing is her coping mechanism of the hour.
posted by Navelgazer at 4:52 PM on March 14, 2018 [4 favorites]

Yay! I love the stupid DC/WB supremacy that provides leverage for my CBS critical darlings.
posted by politikitty at 11:30 AM on April 2, 2018

Eeeeeeeeeee I went to the Seattle show last night and it was magical! The musical highlights for me were "Gettin' Bi," "Fit, Hot Guys Have Problems Too," and "Friendtopia" with White Josh standing in for Heather (Vella Lovell wasn't there, boo). But the overall highlight was Rachel Bloom's insane, off-the-charts charisma as the MC. I could have watched her monologue and bounce off the other cast members and sing for another two hours.

It was one of the most enthusiastic audiences I've ever been in - I think the only comparison was when I saw Hamilton with the OBC on Broadway. But I'm pretty sure Rachel got a longer applause when she came on stage than LMM used to get when he would enter.

The audience was 90% female and delightfully nerdy. It was hard to imagine how they could cancel a show that was this beloved (though I know it happens all the time!) and when I texted to tell the friend I went with (because I have friends! I definitely have friends!) the good news about renewal she was like "We did it!"

If you are a superfan and they're coming to your town and you can find a way to go, do it!
posted by lunasol at 5:22 PM on April 2, 2018 [1 favorite]

Yay! I love the stupid DC/WB supremacy that provides leverage for my CBS critical darlings.

I'm confused, what's CBS got to do with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ?
posted by Pendragon at 4:33 AM on April 3, 2018

The CW is owned by both CBS and WB, so there's some attempt at parity when ordering shows from the two Studios.
posted by politikitty at 10:23 AM on April 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

It sounds like season 4's going to be the last by design, so we'll be getting an entire story. Excellent.
posted by rewil at 10:35 AM on April 3, 2018

Ah, thanks for the explanation, politikitty.
posted by Pendragon at 8:23 AM on April 4, 2018

Well, I just zoomed through S1-3 on Netflix in 7 days, and, holy fuck, what a phenomenal show this is. I mean, I'd heard it was good, but, I guess my impression was just that it was good in a fun musical rom-com way, I had no idea that it would get into such serious territory as dealing with suicide & BPD.

Not sure what to do about watching S4 -- ideally I could just be patient and wait for the broadcast season to end for the last season to show up on Netflix too, but since apparently Warner is going to get all fucking proprietary and yank their content off of Netflix when the current CW deal expires in the spring, maybe I'll just have to pony up and buy or rent what's been aired so far so I can catch up and watch the finale live. Now that the show is on my radar, it would be a miracle if I managed to not to stumble into S4 spoilers in my everyday puttering around on the internet.
posted by oh yeah! at 6:55 PM on February 17, 2019 [1 favorite]

maybe I'll just have to pony up and buy or rent what's been aired so far so I can catch up and watch the finale live.

Note that the CW keeps the last five episodes on its app, so you don't actually have to buy the whole season. Currently episodes 9–13 are available, and since another new one won't air until March 15, you have until then to find a way to watch episodes 1–8.
posted by Johnny Assay at 2:03 PM on February 18, 2019

Thanks - it’s not the cost that really bothers me, I’ve got a bunch of Apple credit from a recent trade-in that I can apply some of to my iTunes account. I’m just annoyed because I don’t really want to own the season and have it cluttering up my hard drive, when I was just assuming the whole current season would be visible in my cable’s On Demand in my TiVo like some other networks’ seasons. And I’m especially upset by the impending de-CW-fying of Netflix, as I’ve gotten used to their shows being there whenever the urge for a rewatch came on (I’m on my 4th or 5th time through original Charmed now). And I’ve been the personal ‘did the dog’/canary in the coal mine for years for my best friend especially since she dropped cable, so this change is going to screw with our usual pattern of when/how/if she catches up on shows I’ve given her the thumbs up for. Arg.
posted by oh yeah! at 7:21 AM on February 19, 2019

Since it’s a CBS productions property, it’s possible it won’t be affected by Warner’s streaming service. Of course it might mean the backlog will move from Netflix to CBS, which has its own platform. (But I’m already paying for it because Trek...)

I care just enough to speculate, but not enough to google. I didn’t see the CBS produced shows in your link, since everyone just cares about the capes. In my defense, I’m on my phone, so multiple tabs is annoying
posted by politikitty at 7:53 AM on February 19, 2019

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