SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched the Nov. 10 episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” entitled “I Never Want To See Josh Again.”
On “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) thought she hit rock bottom when she slept with her ex’s dad (guest star Robin Thomas) after her other ex Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) told her to stay out of his life. Depressed, she went back to Westchester to stay with her less-than-supportive mother, Naomi (guest star Tovah Feldshuh).
She let herself believe things were getting a little better — perhaps the result of Naomi slipping anti-anxiety meds into her milkshakes — but came crashing down quickly, which led her to her true rock bottom: alone on a plane, where she tried to commit suicide.
“It’s something we knew she was going to do – that she was going to bottom out,” says executive producer Aline Brosh McKenna. “She was kind of plummeting off the mountain and grabbing at roots and trees and brambles, and the last thing she grabs onto is Naomi because she doesn’t really have anywhere else to go. But obviously the pathologies are not any different than they were. So there’s that little burst of hope, and then when that’s taken away from her, she really doesn’t know what to do. I think she feels she’s really out of options in that moment.”
While the attempted suicide is certainly a dark move for a show that brands itself as a comedy, McKenna says it is right in step for the character and notes it was an event set up as early as in the pilot. Back then, the show introduced the idea that Rebecca had suicidal thoughts, and one scene had her dumping her meds down the sink when she decided she was going to move across the country in pursuit of a crush.
“Our tone has always been really specific from the beginning,” McKenna says. “Maintaining the tone is important for us because that is how Rebecca sees the world.”
Her delicate dance with anxiety, depression and even a little OCD has often has taken a backseat to other storylines because Rebecca herself wasn’t willing to truly deal with her problems, explains McKenna. Instead, she has fixated on others around her — like Josh or her mother. And though she has managed to attract friendships, many lack boundaries, McKenna notes. That’s why it was so important to showcase in those episode how those friends dealt with her absence.
After Rebecca faxed in her resignation, Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster) promptly hired a new lawyer (played by guest star Bayne Gibby) to take her place.
“We decided to approach this from a point of view of having someone show up that is all of the things she isn’t. That really grew out of the fact that thematically the show is about how she affects other people, for good and for worse,” McKenna says. “She really has a strong impact on everyone, and we’ve seen the many great ways that she’s helped people figure out their own truths, but obviously [there’s been] negative consequences, too. And in her absence, everybody has to think about how they feel about her [and] what they want from her.”
While Rebecca’s friends and co-workers were learning harsh lessons about themselves, Rebecca herself was focusing on her mother, since she felt like she was being seen and loved by the woman who usually just judges for the first time. Her big musical number for the episode, “Heinous Bitch,” McKenna says, “shows you how low her expectations are for her mom.”
In the immediate aftermath of Rebecca’s suicide attempt, McKenna says the show will tackle one of the more serious songs they’ve ever done.
“There isn’t really a comedic hook,” McKenna says about Rebecca’s song in next week’s episode. “I cried the first time that Rachel played it for me – it really is her hope. She’s so hopeful, and I think that’s the thing that gets me every time.”
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” airs on Fridays at 8 p.m. on the CW.