Rebecca Bunch believes she belongs in prison, if not for pushing Trent off a ledge then for any number of her various misdeeds over the past three seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
With that in mind, the fourth and final season of The CW’s deliriously bizarre musical comedy picks up almost exactly after last year’s finale: Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) pleads guilty — or, rather, responsible — and insists on serving her time. Trent isn’t dead, and it’s clear to everyone that this almost-death really was self-defense, but for Rebecca, it’s not actually about Trent at all.
“She’s trying to fold together all of her various sins that she’s realizing,” co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna, who also appears in a small acting role in Friday’s premiere, told the Daily News. “First she was oblivious, then she was blaming everything on her disease. What’s her personal responsibility?”
She probably doesn’t belong in jail, but her self-imposed — and legally sanctioned — punishment comes from the right place: she wants to make amends. She knows she’s done wrong.
For Rebecca, the wild-eyed, slightly manic real estate lawyer with a tendency for the dramatic, the narrative has always been more important than the truth. Rebecca’s story has always been about who she thinks she’s supposed to be. Even in one of last season’s most haunting medleys, “My Diagnosis,” she’s looking for an easy answer.
But as most of us know and, as Rebecca has slowly learned, nothing that’s real is ever easy.
That, too, seemingly includes her love life, a messy contest that had been eliminated to just Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) and Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster) after Greg (Santino Fontana) skipped town in the heartbreaking “It Was a S–tshow.” Except apparently Greg isn’t really gone; he’ll return this season, but this time played by Skyler Astin. McKenna promised it’ll all make sense eventually, but even when it doesn’t make sense, it fits in with Rebecca’s alternate reality she’s created for herself.
Only the first two episodes of the new season were provided to critics, but for the most part, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is what it is at this point: it’s a little bit nutty, a little bit heartwarming and a whole lot of fun. The show also has the rare foresight of knowing that it’s ending; in April, The CW announced that it had been renewed for a fourth and final season.
McKenna said that was always the plan.
“We always had an end point in mind,” she told The News. “The last couple of lines, the last scene, the last location. It’s nice to feel like it’s coming to a completion.”
McKenna, who made a name for herself as the screenwriter on movies including “27 Dresses” and “The Devil Wears Prada,” wouldn’t give away any secrets, but she, too, seems to realize how lucky she and Bloom are, not just for being allowed to bring this outlandish show to air — almost every network turned them down before The CW said yes — but for doing it on their own terms.
In the age of TV shows that are either canceled too soon or last too long, the creatives — rather than the accountants — making the decision is a refreshing change of pace for viewers who rarely get to see a finale as it was meant to be seen.