So this is one of my favorite shows. And the funniest thing about that is another one of my favorite shows is BoJack Horseman, and really these shows are very similar. They both are character driven stories and they maintain that through their entire run, as well as both centering around mental health. Which is really why they both hit rather close to home but that's why they’re good shows.
So Rebecca’s first major decision is to move from New York to California now as we see throughout the first season that decision sets off a domino effect. Now the real decision was to follow Josh but as Rebecca spends most of the first season in severe denial we’ll go with she decided to move coasts. Now that decision was driven by loneliness, anxiety, depression and a general feeling of being overwhelmed. The decisions she made after moving to California did nothing to help that.
What I love about this show is that the theme song is directly reflective of Rebecca’s mental state for the majority of the season. The first season is mostly her being in denial and the season 1 song reflects that. I love the fact that it's a musical show as well because yes I am a total theater kid but it also does an amazing job of breaking the heavier parts of the show. Whenever a show deals with something as heavy as the mental health things that this show deals with you need something to offset that and the music is a great way to do that.
The whole show revolves around Rebecca’s relationships so lets start with what kicks off the show, Rebecca and Josh. Now they do have a pretty short lived relationship eventually but there was no non toxic way for this relationship to start.
An arguably more telling relationship is Rebecca and Greg, they are both pretty messed up people so their time together gives us a lot of incredible character moments. From minute one Greg is interested in her but he’s interested in her because she isn’t showing any interest in him. When they finally go on a date, she leaves Greg and sleeps with a random dude, Greg is justifiably angry about that. They spend more time arguing with each other and against each other than they do being affectionate with each other.
Now Rebecca has really great moments that show her character outside the context of her breakdowns and hyperfixations. The first that springs to mind is when she helps Daryl and his ex-wife come to an agreement for joint custody for Madison. It was a really sweet moment and showed what she was capable of when her heart was in the right place.
Another major decision that was driven by loneliness and anxiety was her decision to do a pole dance on the group's party bus to the beach. And while impressive it was wildly inappropriate, the entirely wrong setting and made everyone uncomfortable. Valencia then calls her out her behavior and Rebecca basically gaslights her in front of the group and shifts the conversation to insight a fight between Josh and Greg. And what the party bus episode shows us is that when Bex is feeling lonely or left out she acts out, for attention. Normally her attempt for attention is damaging to someone else’s relationships.
By episode 9 we are out of denial and Rebecca admits to Paula that she is in love with Josh. But she is still covering up her affection for him, she even goes as far as to create a fake boyfriend who is just as crazy as she is. Trent is the male version of Rebecca without the screentime to make him endearing. Trent pops back up throughout the series and it does help Rebecca confront her own behavior.
Another majorly bad decision that led to the downfall of Rebecca was her decision to sell her family heirloom to follow Josh to Hawaii. Not only was this one of the crazier things she had done this season but selling a family ring that is a symbol of her mother’s approval is absolutely insane. “Villian in my Own Story” is the most incredible character awareness song. Even more so because she witnessed Josh tell Valencia that he doesn’t love her.
But as we’ve discussed our main character’s decisions are not the only ones that drive the story. I think we should also discuss Paula, Josh and Greg. First up Josh’s decision to stay with Valencia despite his attraction to Rebecca. This does really nothing but cause tension in his relationship as well as lead Rebecca on a little. Josh’s decision to kiss Rebecca simply made this problem worse but his decision to tell Valencia what happened was a responsible one and choosing to stay with her was one he instantly regretted.
Now Rebecca and Greg were short lived but truly my favorite possible relationship. They’re kinds of broken fit each other really well but that's also why they didn’t work. They are both expert self sabotagers, right when they could have been good together and worked through their crap together they self destructed. Greg’s decision to get drunk and ruin his and Rebecca’s relationship will always upset me but her response to it is so much worse.
She claims to have feelings for Greg but the minute it doesn’t go exactly the way she pictured it in her head, she runs off with Josh. She is very impulsive and not at all rational and she really doesn’t seem very good at assessing her emotions because I'm still not fully convinced she even knows what she’s feeling at any given time. However the fact that we get so much insight into all of her emotions all of the time is more evidence of this being a character driven story.
So what makes the audience root for Rebecca? What makes us care about her when she is so obviously a stalker who makes poor decisions? Well the personal answer is that she is also very obviously sick, like there is something wrong in her brain and that helps the audience not be able to fully fault her for her actions.
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