Turns out, your humble recapper has one more thing in common with Rebecca Bunch, the intrepid heroine of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: I ALSO hate the musical Cats! There is no plot! It should have just been a dance revue!
Finally, the universe has answered my Andrew Lloyd Webber-resenting pleas with an epic episode of Crazy Ex that brings experimentally dancing humans in cat-costumes to their natural conclusion: being a metaphor for vaginas. Over the course of “I Need Some Balance” (it’s about a vagina! Get it?), Rebecca meets a hungry cat, an itchy cat, a funky (smelling) cat, an elated cat, and of course, a cat who sings mournfully of feeling nostalgia, all played by an all-star spread of guest stars including Fred Armisen and Megan Amram.
Horny, lonely, and tired of circling back through the same three guys over and over, Rebecca is determined to finally sleep with Jason-not-a-murderer, but her plans are repeatedly thwarted by her misbehaving lady-parts. First, there’s the yeast infection, caused by wearing cheap polyester leggings to repeated spin classes, and then there’s the smell from a messed up PH, thanks to Rebecca’s attempt to go scorched earth on previously mentioned yeast infection. These little date misadventures get running commentary from Valencia, in this episode in the rom-com best friend role.
The B-plots are similarly low-stakes: Nathaniel, repeatedly declaring that he’s now a nice person, befriends New Greg (or as he shall henceforth be known: Greg), at the gym, completely unaware that they’re both Rebecca’s exes. Darryl feels threatened and upstaged at work by the new boss and falls into the trap of a divorced parent trying to buy affection from his work-family. Josh is living at Rebecca’s still and has a penchant for wearing nothing but his underwear, all the better for showing off his fit, hot-guy physique. It all culminates in a mini-confrontation outside Rebecca’s house where none of the boys say what they came to say, and once again, Rebecca fails to get laid.
It’s a testament to how innovative and experimental the entire series of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been that an episode like this—strange, almost sit-com like in its low stakes and minor plot—not only fits in a show that also tackles suicide, betrayal, and heartbreak but thrives. It’s sort of a miracle that the plot of this episode could be a Ross storyline on Friends (obviously minus the vagina troubles and Cats interstitials, but trying and failing to get laid thanks to a series of comical misadventures is a Ross mainstay—see: leather pants, teeth whitening). Rebecca’s vagina might be on the fritz, but her mental health has never been better. This is an episode where she didn’t do anything wrong! There was no stalking or self-sabotage, just trying to seal the deal, failing, and then chatting about it over a glass of wine with her friend. Rebecca’s struggle to win Josh always felt urgent and terrifying, as if Rebecca’s entire life hinged on that one beautiful Filipino man, which it sort of did. Now, three years later, it’s amazing how far she’s come. She could end up with Josh, or Greg, or Nathaniel, (or Marco, as Amram’s cat would have it), or she could end up with no one and it would be… okay!
Sometimes on a hike, you don’t realize how high you’ve walked until you look back and down. This episode is that look, a reminder just how different Rebecca is than who she used to be. Someone cue up a full Spotify version of “Nostalgia,” stat.