The Songs of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Running with the Devil Winds

(Episode 2.11)

TV Features Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
The Songs of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Running with the Devil Winds

The Santa Ana “devil winds” blow their portentous gusts through “Josh is the Man of My Dreams, Right?” and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is definitely getting strange. We see a weatherman pop up like an omen when Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) tries showing Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) her planned Malibu wedding destination. He warns of continued high winds with a wink and some suggestive body language that makes everything feel just a little… off. And then, once Rebecca has been thoroughly psychologically convinced that she’s in an uncomfortable place with Josh, the omen starts to sing.

The weatherman becomes Mr. Santa Ana (Eric Michael Roy), who sings a little falsetto song in a sunny strip of clogged street reminiscent of last year’s ironically sunny musical sensation La La Land. Mr. Santa Ana walks down the aisle of stationary vehicles while the air fills with debris behind him, flipping toupees and meshing real weather science with mystical superstition in a way only Californians can. As his shrill squeak returns to his frequent refrain of making things “weird,” we’re drawn in by his narrator/The Four Seasons suit—blue with black lapels, combining Frankie Valli and The Twilight Zone’s Rod Serling—while we become more and more suspicious about all this sunlight. (Nothing would make me more worried about the contents of the sci-fi anthology than an opening number by Serling.) Something’s about to happen, and only Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could make something lit this brightly and pitched this majorly so ominous.

Post-song serendipity blows open Rebecca’s shirt in front of her chiseled-from-business-marble boss, Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster), which also blows open the low-key attraction we’ve seen between them in the last few episodes. In “When Do I Get to Spend Time with Josh?” Rebecca asked Josh to chase her around as Nathaniel had done earlier that episode—now, she needs him to give her the goosebumps that apparently must come from a fiancé to reassure her that she’s not barreling headlong into yet another lapse in judgment.

Mr. Santa Ana returns quickly thereafter, blowing in some sexy dust (I know that sounds weird, but it’s like an adult Disney movie up in here) to Rebecca’s bedroom with his boyish grin and clean-cut charm. There’s no way he could be the devil, right? The devil’s never appeared to anyone as an attractive, unthreatening presence, right? He wouldn’t ever wink at the camera after making some pelvic thrusts and two antagonistic characters have sexy dreams about each other—wait, I think this guy may actually be bad news. When weird things happen in the episode—like Paula’s (Donna Lynne Champlin) dream about a dead Darryl’s (Pete Gardner) obsession or Rebecca’s Magic Mike XXL-like explosive grip on coffee creamer—the drumbeat motif re-establishes its heart-pumping throb.

Avoiding the rom-com location trope (getting stuck somewhere intimate with the person you’re definitely not supposed to hook up with) leads to a comic montage backed by an Ace Ventura safari rhythm, which only emphasizes that Nathaniel prioritizes the relationship “hunt” over the sad monotony of married life. When he stops the elevator door to climb in, though, we’re right back to “Santa Ana Winds”: The show’s heretofore psychological musicality is now full-blown magical realism. Watch out, love, the trickster winds are coming for you, and your only salvation is Geoff. Job. Greg? Damn it.

It’s because of George that Nathaniel’s John Mayer-style “Let’s Have Intercourse” begins, and things start to get douche-sexy. Nothing like muted electric guitar and negging to get those Mayer vibes rocking. Sexuality and self-involvement hang around his neck like his undone bow tie. Wonderfully selfish lyrics married to the perfect parodic musical sensibility and some wonderfully sexual choreography from the consistently great Kathryn Burns make Scott Michael Foster’s excellent voice an afterthought. I hope he sings much more in the next few episodes and next season—especially about his newly revealed love of the Harry Potter universe.

Rebecca lies about caring for the chase (which we know, after watching two full seasons of chase) and then makes her move, completely apart from the excuse of demonic winds. This is her fault now, and there are no songs to make up for it. She has, in fact, ruined everything.

Then, to cap off the sadistic weirdness and existential/sexual wandering, Darryl busts out the catchiest tune of them all: “You’re My Best Friend (And I Know I’m Not Yours).” Gardner’s got the best delivery, and Darryl is somehow one of the most mature and well-adjusted characters on the show. His ukulele song about friendship is a delightfully light and emotionally intelligent jaunt in an episode filled with serious, immature strangeness. And then Stephnie Weir sings a reprise of “The Math of Love Triangles” about a prisoner and a snake. So, yeah, this episode had the best music of the season.

Jacob Oller is a writer and film critic whose writing has appeared in The Guardian, Playboy, Roger Ebert, Film School Rejects, Chicagoist, Vague Visages, and other publications. He lives in Chicago, plays Dungeons and Dragons, and struggles not to kill his two cats daily. You can follow him on Twitter here: @jacoboller.

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