Over the last three seasons, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has given us so many perfect signature musical numbers. There was the premiere’s instantly-iconic “Sexy Getting Ready Song,” the revolutionary-feeling “Gettin’ Bi,” which allowed an older man explore to his new-found bixsexuality, and the bittersweet “Settle For Me.” While all these songs are wildly different — as are the rest of the entries into the Ex-Girlfriend oeuvre — there is one thing they each have in common: they’re all performed with so much feeling there’s no reason for our characters to even consider doing them once more. That trend, which has sustained itself over 33 episodes, came to an end with tonight’s “Josh Is A Liar.” Why? Because West Covina’s resident snark queen, Heather “Don’t Call Me Heath” Davis (Vella Lovell), got her first big solo — and it was the least peppy, but most meta, thing to ever happen within a few miles of Spider’s.
Heather is forced to do her first-ever solo because she’s finally graduating from community college after eight years and taking every single class; she even tried out men’s hockey, twice. This should be a mazel-worthy moment for the obsessively self-described student, but, she couldn’t be less happy about this identity-shattering news. So begins Heather’s “inspirational musical theater” number, which she is absolutely aghast about. “I just can’t,” Heather monotones while looking directly into the camera, before she does break out into “The Moment Is Me.” Fourth-wall, consider yourself broken. Despite the touchy-feely song title and music, Heather keeps her skeptical monotone throughout the entire track, staring at viewers with an incredulous “WTF?” expression. The soon-to-be college alum couldn’t be more aware of how ridiculous this entire musical outburst is and she wants us to know she very much knows.
The most hilarious detail of “The Moment Is Me” is the juxtaposition of Heather’s scoffs, eye rolls, and over-it commentary — ”Oh, I guess it’s time for a story” “That was a living nightmare”— and the absolute joy of the impossibly earnest dancers following her around, performing. Viewers aren’t the only ones who find the polar opposite reactions to the earworm of a tune funny. “The two dancers behind me were just going full-out, which was hilarious because every time I would look behind me I would be like, ‘Oh my gosh. They’re really going for it. They’re really going for it.’” Lovell told Refinery29 during a phone call in between filming this season’s eleventh episode.
While the “opposite of Heather” song “The Moment Is Me,” as Lovell describes it, is perfectly snarky, there’s also a lot of heart living underneath its judgemental surface. There’s a reason Heather doesn’t want to sing and doesn’t want to leave the safe trappings of community college: she doesn’t like to be vulnerable. “It’s that idea of when an emotion is so big you have to sing,” Lovell says of why the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend characters, and musical characters in general, burst into song. Yet, having an emotion that big is scary. The secretly-play-it-safe Heather doesn’t actually do scary, so it’s no wonder she isn’t trying to bare her soul through music.
“I think Heather from the beginning, she wants to be the sarcastic judge of everything,” Lovell, who enjoyed doing the quiet commentary of this song over a “big, belty number,” theorizes. “If you think about it, you have to feel pretty safe to do all that judging … So I think it’s really smart they had her as this eternal student because school is this safety bubble that we all have.” While everyone around Heather was failing through jobs, relationships, and apartments, the comfort of staying in school helped her avoid, “jumping in the game in a real way,” the actress explains. Remember, grown woman Heather only just moved out of her pancake-cooking parents house. Now that Heather is set to graduate within days at this point, her beloved bubble of academic protection is going to be popped.
As we can see, Heather is extremely hesitant to sing, and therefore emote in an honest way. She might be onto something, as Lovell teases a lot of “growing pains” are ahead for her character now. “I think she’s confronted with the fact she hasn’t had to choose a path. She has been living on the sidelines a little bit,” Lovell says. “They’re very much throwing all of that in her face and asking her actually deal with it.” The idea of “dealing with it” doesn’t sound comfortable, as the CW actress explains, “No one can kind of come out of their little bubble without getting tossed around a little bit.”
At least the ending of “The Moment Is Me” suggests all will work out for Heather in the end, even with the upcoming hard knocks. As she closes out the number, she spots an old woman in the park. In a twist I could see coming a mile away, but love nonetheless, Heather is the (side-eyeing) woman, but with tons of old lady prosthetics on; prosthetics, for the record, that took four total hours of prep, according to Lovell. Before Heather realizes she’s looking at an older version of herself, she says of the woman, “She looks so wise, so regal.” It stands to reason the young woman is destined to grow up to be that kind of grand dame, after dealing with her looming “obstacles,” as Lovell called them.
Congrats, Heather. You are the moment, the moment is thee.
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