‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ creator weighs in on Rebecca’s final decision
Warning: The following containsheavy spoilers for the series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Proceed with caution.
After four seasons of delightful, moving, and occasionally infuriating musical chaos, our time with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and the much beloved Rebecca Bunch has come to an end.
If you’re anything like me post-CXG finale, you’re struggling to reconcile a whole lot of feelings.
On the one hand, Rebecca (the consistently excellent Rachel Bloom) has finally blossomed into the self-assured, fulfilled, ambitious, and — dare I say it — happy woman we’ve always yearned to see. The finale revealed that Rebecca, flipping the script on her big Valentine’s Day decision, closes out her story by opting out of choosing from her three suitors, instead dedicating her time to pursuing her dreams and becoming a songwriter.
It’s a bold, heroically feminist, all-around badass decision that’s enough to make any longtime CXG fan burst into a celebratory rendition of “We’ll Never Have Problems Again.”
And yet, on the other hand: Rebecca. Picked. No. One. (!!!)
I mean, I get not picking Josh. (Who in their right mind would pick Josh?) But Rebecca rejects Nathaniel? She bails on Greg? She doesn’t even consider running into the sunset with Jason?! I just couldn’t believe it. So much of my passion for CXG was fueled by my desire for Rebecca to finally find “the one” and I was heartbroken to learn that I would never get to witness that happily ever after.
Seated at a finale screening feeling confused (and deeply grateful I hadn’t worn my #TeamGreg T-shirt), I restrained myself from belting out, “You ruined everything!” as series co-creator and general storytelling genius Aline Brosh McKenna entered the room to take questions from the audience.
Then — in a moment of direct honesty that could make even Dr. Akopian proud — Brosh McKenna set me straight.
“It’s always been a search for identity, because [Rebecca] is someone who tries on these other kinds of disguises,” Brosh McKenna explained to assembled reporters. “So her figuring out what her passion is and what she needs to pursue and what she loves and what she wants to do with her life was always the primary goal.”
“I think some shippers are gonna be mad at us, but it doesn’t seal anything off either.”
Sigh. It’s a good goal. Of course Rebecca needs time to find herself. I can admit that. If the finale’s “11 O’Clock” number serves any purpose (aside from making fans bubble over with nostalgia), it’s to emphasize just how many different iterations of this character — be it sequined or striped, happy or sad, confident or unsure — we’ve seen.
Rebecca needs a steadfast identity she can embrace and celebrate, untethered to a partner. She should take time to sort out her passions and coax fantasy Rebecca out into the real-world. She deserves to focus on her vocal training and piano lessons. After four seasons of hard-won growth, Rebecca has earned the right to prioritize herself and her ambitions.
And yet, while I want that for her, I can’t help but wish she was charging into her next battle of self-discovery with one of the guys in tow — because that’s a dream she’s so desperately wanted throughout the series. I mean, doesn’t she deserve it?
“It’s sort of not the point,” Brosh McKenna said. “The point that we’re making is when someone says, ‘Who are you?’ you don’t say, ‘I’m Mike’s wife’ or ‘I’m Tim’s girlfriend’ or ‘I’m Lisa’s girlfriend.’ You say, ‘I’m me and I do this and this is what I believe and I like tacos and I’m in a book club and these are my best friends — and I have a spouse.’ I think the idea that [romance] is a destiny and that there’s a happy ending and there’s a kiss and then you’re all set is not a good message for women or men.”
Sigh, again. It’s a very, very good answer. The one thing Rebecca has learned for certain throughout CXG‘s run is that hanging your happiness on a partner’s validation is a futile and self-destructive gesture. Picking the guy was never the point — even when the show did everything in its power (ahem, “Love’s Not A Game“) to make us think it was.
“I think some shippers are gonna be mad at us, but it doesn’t seal anything off either,” McKenna explains. “It’s a question of who she will be compatible with in the moment that the timing is right for her and them, whoever it is.”
Okay, so she’s saying Greg and Nathaniel and (ugh) Josh still have a chance?!
“Maybe! You can enjoy the romance and enjoy the moments of connection, but not make that the destination,” Brosh McKenna dangled — adding, “I think it’s a nice set up for some fan fiction.”
A third (and final) sigh. Over four dramatic, messy, and practically perfect seasons, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has given us plenty of hard-to-swallow realities, but this just might be the toughest.
Rebecca Bunch will have to find love on her own and we, her invisible but dedicated fan base, won’t be allowed to watch. Here’s hoping her new audience — the one she actually asked for and is working hard to earn — will be as happy for Rebecca as we would be when and if she finally picks her one.
CXG: Seasons 1 – 3 can currently be found on Netflix.