Shout out to Crazy Ex Girlfriend for sinking the ships
or: Thanks to CEG for not adhering to the typical romantic comedy™ narrative, and instesad deconstructing it during the course of a whole show and showing its negative impacts on the psyque of people (specially women), and why they don’t work on real life.
Rebecca (and the audience) is so invested in making sense of her life and her own existence by comparing her life to movies, and goes to great lenghs to actually emulate the typical narrative structure of a romantic comedy. There’s also the patriarchal expectations that romantic love™ will solve all your problems, and this is where it gets tricky for us, the audience, and for Rebecca.
Rebecca desperately want to be saved by a boy. As a result, she really thinks that every empowered action in her life that contributes to her betterment as a person and her growth as a human being, is going to be rewarded by a romantic interest at the end of the movie (insert: “Put yourself first for him”). All her efforts, all her growth, will pay off because a man will see how much she has achieved and now that she’s in a great place she’s ready to recieve her prize and be swept off her feet.
As an audience, we too secretely expect that. We keep watching and keep hoping that she’ll end up with someone (kinda anyone), because “it’d be so cute, right??” Josh, and Greg and Nathaniel, we switch them up like Rebecca does because to us a classical romantic reward sounds compeling and the cusp of growth and achievement. Neverming you found new friends, a job you like and a place you can call home, and maybe some necessary mental health while you’re at it, it all loses its charm if you don’t have that last paramount ingredient to tie it up together and officially granting you happiness, officially making your successful, oficially making you a heroine.
I’m not shaming on anybody’s ship, but the creators themselves have commented on how curious they find that people are so eager to tie together two people that are actually horrible for eachother (like, again, Rebecca does), specially when one of them clearly has to learn that a romantic relationship with a man is not yout ultimate validation as a woman and as a human being. That you really have to look out for yourself on this one and abstain from those relationships that will be toxic or damaging for you (Greg leaving West Covina breaking a circle of toxic self destructive behaviour being the prime example); or using it ro run away from your troubles and yourself (Josh). Or even having your Manic Pixie Dream Girl carrying all your emotional baggage for you (Nathaniel).
CEG it’s showing us why these can not work on real life, it’s why every time we think a ship will sail it sinks instead. Rebecca is not here to be swept off her feet, she’s here to learn how to love and accept herself, live with herself, learn that getting help does not reduce your value as a human and to let go of internalized patriarchal narrative and amanormativity.
CEG is a love story, just not the kind we’re accustumed and keep clinging to.