Tovah’s back!! I haven’t been this happy to see her since she charged a hallway full of zombies! She brought Patti Lupone along with her, who sings about suffering, as one would expect, and has the honor of being the person who finally gets through to Rebecca that Josh Chan can’t save her from her issues. It doesn’t stick, yet, but the seed is planted.
This episode was spectacular. One of the best of the series.
Rebecca and Josh are ADORABLY IN LOVE and EVERYBODY needs to know. They are selfie-ing and hashtagging and creating new forms of social media to post evidence of their love on. They are so in love that when Heather doubts them, they turn into ABBA, embarrassing jumpsuits and all, and sing about how they’ll never have problems again. Everyone knows that once you put it in a song, it’s really true.
Daryl has a spiffy new suit to make Nathan take him seriously. We are all caught up in exteriors representing interiors this week. It doesn’t work. Nathan has marginalized Daryl in his own office. Nathan is angling for a big case assignment from his father, and is stressing about it to the point of being over-disciplined.
Rebecca meets with Valencia to talk about Josh. Valencia isn’t thrilled that they’re dating. Rebecca is taking Josh home with her for the weekend to her cousin’s Bar Mitzvah, even though she doesn’t get along well with her family. But, she says, everything will be fine, because love will protect her. Love is like a blankie, a bullet proof vest or a suit of armor. Valencia replies that just because Josh owns all of those things, doesn’t mean he is all of those things. Rebecca won’t listen. Valencia looks fabulous in this scene, all soft and warm and comfortable with herself.
FATHER BRAH IS BACK. He and Josh are sitting on a park bench, talking while it looks like Father is birdwatching, which I don’t believe for a minute. Josh says it’s really important that the weekend trip go well. His relationship with Rebecca is all he’s got going for him right now, so it has to work. It would be so embarrassing if it doesn’t. Father Brah asks if Josh is defining himself through his relationship, to which Josh replies, “You define yourself by your relationship to Jesus.” Father Brah replies, “You got me there, Bro.” Turns out Father Brah was looking for the weed he hid in the trees.
Bex and Josh arrive at Bex’s mom’s house. Naomi answers the door in her underwear, and says “Oh, I forgot you were bringing the Oriental.” Tovah wins the night already. They proceed to alternate between arguing and sharing Jewish in-jokes, while Josh is frightened and confused. Naomi is delightfully saucy and inappropriate. She takes off her bra as she leaves the room, because it’s time to moisturize the rest of her.
Back in West Covina, Nathaniel is turning Daryl into an emasculated sock puppet. Or, that’s what Daryl keeps hearing in his head, anyway. The rest of the office staff has been instructed not to let Daryl help with anything, as they prepare the big case to impress Nathan’s father. They even have to work on Saturday. Nathaniel threw out the entire candy stash and replaced it with healthy snacks. The man is utter evil. Or a diabetic who doesn’t want to constantly be tempted by all of the sugar lying around, but, whatever. He did hire George back again right after he was fired.
Rebecca and Josh are getting ready for bed on Naomi’s pull-out sofa-sleeper in the living room. Bex wants to paper over the memories of her dysfunctional childhood with hot sex, but Naomi shows up just as things get started. She needs to thaw more whitefish for tomorrow. Naomi isn’t thrown by what she walked in on in the least. She tells them to keep going, and throws in a hip-wiggling reprise of Period Sex for good measure. (Tovah Feldshuh is my spirit animal. Her hips are right in Vincent Rodriguez’s face.) Rebecca yells at her to stop. Naomi says to stop yelling, she’ll upset the Oriental. Josh hates when people use that racist language. (Which was considered the correct, non-racist terminology when Naomi and I were young.) Josh proves his worth as a boyfriend by grabbing Naomi and flirting with her as they wander off to the kitchen to make fish sticks. By the next morning they’re the best of friends and Naomi is referring to Josh as a Pacific Islander. Bex is horrified.
At the Bar Mitvah, Josh is having a good time, but Rebecca is miserable. She sees ulterior motives in everyone. Rabbi Sherry (Patti Lupone) is welcoming and understanding, but Rebecca only hears negativity. They run into Audra Levine and her husband David. The two guys hit it off immediately, which throws off the usual competitiveness between the women. It’s hard to feel superior when your guys are publicly involved in a Guitar Hero duel.
Josh hangs out at the dress up selfie booth. Rebecca explains that East Coasters and Jewish people are all about being dark and suffering. Even when they look happy, they’re really thinking and talking about death and darkness. Josh observes the partygoers for a while, but tells Rebecca that it looks to him like the only one who really has a problem is her.
Daryl is staging a candy rebellion. He stuffs the cupboards with candy for Nathan to find. Just as Nathan is about to punish Daryl, the rest of the office stands up for him, and everyone claims to have also taken part in the rebellion. The guy may be a dork, but he’s their dork. He wrote Paula’s law school reference when Rebecca didn’t, he knows Karen’s safeword and comes running when he hears it, and he goes to karaoke night with Maya. He’s a good boss who takes care of his people. Nathan is annoyed, but backs down.
Rabbi Sherry finds Rebecca sitting on the steps alone. I’m just going to put the important part of their conversation here verbatim:
Rabbi Sherry: If you hate yourself, it doesn’t matter how great your boyfriend is, you’ll always be unhappy.
Rebecca: I thought that when you loved someone, it just fixed everything, and made your life great.
Rabbi Sherry: That’s a lot to put on a human being.
Rebecca: Yeah, but he’s not a human being. He’s Josh Chan. When we were kids he made me feel so happy. I guess I just thought that if I could get back to that place, that my life would be magically okay.
Rabbi Sherry: That’s not love my dear. It’s fantasy. It’s not real.
And there it is. The fantasy, the flaw in Rebecca’s thinking at the heart of the series. She’s not here for Josh Chan, the flawed, real person, she’s here for Josh Chan, the symbol of her Lost Childhood Dreams and Happy Place. No person can be that for you all the time. No relationship can withstand that pressure to make life perfect for each other. Just like Rebecca won’t be able to live up to the fun, nurturing, but not too needy or intense standard Josh wants to hold her to. She can’t be his Wendy and Tinkerbell combined, with only a few needs of her own, for long. He’s doing better with his expectations and reciprocation lately, but they’re both also playing at being in a perfect relationship right now. That game will get old, like Heather pointed out, and they’ll return to being their true selves. These two very different people still have a lot of issues to work out.
Will Josh be able to be enough for Rebecca? Will Rebecca be too much for Josh? Rebecca is very intense, and needs someone who thrives on her intensity, not someone who just tolerates it. Someone who loves the excitement and challenge of being with a person like Rebecca. Josh is a lighter personality, and needs someone who appreciates how caring, fun and soothing he can be, without expecting more than he can give. That kind of difference in temperament can be complementary, or it can be a disaster, depending on the individuals involved.
Nathaniel hears from his father about the big case. It’s a very fake conversation. His father doesn’t give Plimpton and Whitefeather the case. Nathan is devastated. He goes on a candy binge, then an exercise binge on the treadmill. Daryl goes in to talk to him, and discovers Nathan is a mess. Nathan loses his footing on the treadmill and flies off, smashing his teeth in the process. Daryl takes Nathan to the emergency dentist. They have a heart to heart, and Daryl proves what a caring dad he is. He gives Nathan good advice about letting go of his need for his father’s approval. Back at the office, Nathan gives Daryl back one of their biggest cases, and Daryl considers cutting back on his candy consumption.
Rebecca and Josh pack to go back to West Covina. Rebecca is subdued, which Josh takes as rejection. He tells Naomi that he’s worried about their relationship. She replies that she’ll help keep their relationship together. She has a plan.
Rebecca goes to her therapy appointment with Dr. Akopian. Dr. Akopian is dozing through the appointment when she startles awake, realizing that Rebecca has actually made a breakthrough, and is ready to confront her issues. She cancels her appointments for the rest of the day, so that she and Rebecca can finally get to work. Just as they get started, Josh busts in with the Garfinkel ring and proposes. The romantic fantasy is too overwhelming for Rebecca to resist. She says yes. Dr. Akopian screams and collapses in frustration. I think she was considering tackling Josh to make him stop proposing, but decided it wasn’t worth giving up her license for.
Naomi: You’re confused? I’ve been confused ever since this one popped out of my vagina. Rebecca: Oh my God. Mom, do not talk about your vagina. Naomi: Why? It’s perfectly good. I have had some fabulous reviews lately.
Put your pickle in your pants and lets thaw some fish.
In my family, we don’t talk about poop. I had to learn about it by watching an episode of 90210.
Audra: This is my husband, David. Rebecca: Yes, hi, we’ve met. David: How are you doing, Rebecca? Josh: You guys know each other? Rebecca: Yep. Finished quick, rotten lay.
Josh: You know what they say, it’s not how long you last, it’s how big your penis is. (In the background as they walk away.) Hey c’mon man, I was kidding.
Rabbi Sherry: Always questioning. That is the true spirit of the Jewish people. Very good. Josh: She seems nice. Rebecca: She’s not nice. She’s a programmed robot who’s trying to incept God into me all the time. Josh: Whoa. I didn’t know that, and I know a ton about robots.
Joshua, I am your Jewish mother now, and there are two things I will always have: indigestion and all the answers.
Next week, Rebecca goes for both the dream sex and the elevator sex tropes with Nathan. Girl’s got it bad. Presumably her engagement to Josh will come up in the episode at some point, as well.
This week in Who Has Damon Killed at the End of The Vampire Diaries…OMG, it’s not Damon with someone else’s blood all over his face, it’s Ripper Stefan, come back to visit one last time before the series finale. And the CW has very thoughtfully placed a nice long sweeping shot of all of the bodies he’s dismembered at the tail end of the episode for us to catch as we tune in for our romantic comedy. Good choice, CW, good choice. Great show pairing. Can’t imagine why this pairing hasn’t been better for CEGF’s ratings. 😡