Things are moving forward in the second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. That is, for everyone except Rebecca (Rachel Bloom). Greg (Santino Fontana) tells his friends that he's an alcoholic. He continues to attend AA meetings and has a sponsor named Guardrail (Jayden Lund). He also returns to work at Home Base — and despite telling everyone he just wants things to return to normal, Kevin (Johnny Ray Meeks) and Heather (Vella Lovell) can't resist telling him how proud they are of him. After Greg's revelation, his friends and coworkers aren't sure how to treat him. The conversations, and the song that follows, are funny, but they also touch on a very real issue. Bringing comedy to difficult topics, and encouraging open conversations, is where Crazy Ex-Girlfriend shines. We've seen this with Rebecca's songs about depression and anxiety, and in Darryl's (Pete Gardner) "Getting Bi." It's great to see another character exploring a difficult topic in such a thoughtful way.
The fact that "Greg's Drinking Song," in which he details all the regretful things he did while drunk, is framed as an Irish drinking song is brilliant on a number of levels. What stands out, though, is that all of his friends aren't surprised to learn he's an alcoholic. It's never easy to bring up difficult topics with friends. But for Greg's lifelong friends to admit his drinking has been a problem for years isn't easy, either. The show doesn't take them to task for not saying anything to Greg. But it's a wake-up call, and it's a reminder for them to be supportive of Greg during his recovery process. (If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.) While Greg is turning his life around, and Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) is applying to law school, Rebecca is still stuck in her old ways. Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) is still living with her, but he's not around much — and she'll do anything to spend more time with him. This week, "anything" means pretending to be good at ping pong so she can spend time with Josh and his friends at a new bar.
Rebecca's sudden need to learn ping pong skills does lead to some memorable scenes with child prodigy Xiao (Albert Tsai), as well as a hilarious pop-punk song from Josh. (If you listened to Good Charlotte and Simple Plan in middle school, you'll love "Ping Pong Girl.") Hector (Erick Lopez) has the best line of the episode here — as he, Josh, and White Josh (David Hull) watch Rebecca's sad attempts at ping pong, he says, deadpan, "Why are all my friends in love with this girl?" Why indeed, Hector. Why, indeed. But this time, Rebecca's pursuit of Josh comes at the expense of her promise to write a recommendation letter for Paula. Luckily, Darryl saves the day with his backup letter. This draws on a side of Rebecca (and Paula) that we don't always get to see. Most of the first season's plots centered around Rebecca, and Paula's storylines were often relegated to scheming about how to get Rebecca and Josh together. But, per last week's friendship contract, Paula isn't helping Rebecca with her ridiculous plans anymore. She's moving on with her life — and even though she's genuinely happy for Paula, Rebecca falls short on her promise to help her. It's a truly heartbreaking scene — with great acting on Champlin's part — to see Paula tell Rebecca she's worried she doesn't believe Paula can make it through law school. (Paula also has a song this episode, a Disney princess-inspired number about her new law school dream, and the other dreams that have fallen through.) Surprisingly, the voice of reason throughout the process is Scott (Steve Monroe). Now that his and Paula's relationship is better than ever, he encourages his wife not to second-guess herself — it wasn't a lot to ask of Rebecca, especially after all Paula's done for her ("that she didn't ask for"). Rebecca does write Paula the recommendation in the end — but it's too little, too late, since it's past the deadline. Of course, Paula forgives her, but it's still setting the scene for Rebecca to reconsider her priorities. At the end of the episode, though, Rebecca does make some progress, thanks to a heart-to-heart with Greg, in which he tells her he wants her to be happy with Josh (sigh). When Josh laughs about her pretending to like ping pong, Rebecca tells him she just wanted to spend time with him — and that she deserves to be with someone who respects her. It's definitely not the end of the Josh preoccupation, but there just might be a little seed of doubt forming in Rebecca's mind. And for someone who's "adorably obsessed," that's saying something.