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[Warning: This story contains spoilers from Monday’s episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “Josh and I Go to Los Angeles.”]
Though we’ve seen many ups and downs in Rebecca Bunch’s (Rachel Bloom) relentless pursuit of her crush Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), Monday’s episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend finally saw her make a little progress in her quest: The duo shared a passionate kiss. The moment followed her efforts to prove that the county is diverting water away from his beloved hometown, West Covina, a noble pursuit that clearly had some influence on Josh. It’s not the first time the town has brought them closer together, either. A few episodes earlier, her failed attempts to fit in with his friend group by renting a party bus were only redeemed when Josh learned she’d moved to West Covina because he’d made it sound like a place where people were happy.
But she wasn’t the only one to make great strides in her personal life. Her perpetually awkward boss Darryl (Pete Gardner) has come to the late-in-life realization that he’s bisexual (or “bothsexual,” as he puts it) after romance came in the form of Josh Chan’s friend, White Josh (David Hull), who he met on the same eventful party bus ride. We talked to co-showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna about what this means for both characters.
Should we read into the fact that Josh kisses her after she does something pretty heroic?
She does do something heroic and she does something for a place that he loves. A huge part of their communion, in that episode on the bus — where he finds out that she’s moved to West Covina because he’s talked about it, instead of being repulsed by that, he is smitten by that, that she appreciates this place that he loves that everyone else makes fun of. So the fact that she stands up for this community even though she isn’t ultimately victorious is a huge part of why he finally succumbs in that moment.
Does she understand that that’s what he loved about that moment?
No, that’s a sincere moment on her part. She’s never been anywhere where anybody treated her with the love and respect that she has in this town. And so that’s a sincere moment of her actually saying, “I don’t want to be the person I was in New York.” In order to win this case, I would have to revert to being the person I used to be, and I don’t want to be that person anymore.
How messy is the fallout going to be from that kiss?
That’s a good way to put it, because the next episode is very much a fallout episode, and the episode after that, as well. The ramifications of what she’s doing, and what she’s done, and what that kiss means — and what it doesn’t mean, frankly.
As the season has gone on, she and Darryl have had a lot in common in terms of, they’re both outsiders, they’re both trying to make friends. Was that always a parallel story that you wanted to tell?
That evolved, too. We always thought of Darryl as the person who’s really in search of an identity. He doesn’t really know who he is, and he grasps at things. So he thinks he’s Chippewa and he gets excited about that, but he’s always been in search of “who is Darryl?” and spends a lot of time thinking about “who is Darryl?” Even though he comes at it from a completely different standpoint than she does, he is definitely someone who is in search of himself, and they definitely have that in common.
How did the bisexuality storyline with Darryl come about?
That came about very early with Darryl, because we had been exploring his unhappy marital life and we were talking about him and his searching for identity and that he seemed like a character who was in search of who he was. Then the idea of him being bisexual lent itself to that. Rachel and I both felt like we hadn’t seen that depicted very frequently, even though it’s one of those things that you see in life, but maybe you don’t see as much on TV. He’s such an earnest searching guy that the way he goes about it is so earnest and, I think, lovable. Then we had David and David was so great and they had such a natural rapport and so we followed that relationship, really.
Was White Josh always gay, or did you decide to make him gay because you wanted Darryl to be involved with someone who we already knew as a character?
He wasn’t really either/or. White Josh really wasn’t anything. We hadn’t really made a decision on that and then he seemed to strike up a natural rapport with Pete. It’s a very slow-burning thing. They meet for the first time on the bus and Darryl is very smitten with him just as a person. It was a very natural evolution. We really loved the two of them together and it just occurred to us that we hadn’t stipulated what White Josh was or wasn’t. So the idea that he is somebody who has been out for most of his life and is comfortable with it, it seemed like it went with the show, and with that friend group. That seemed like a friend group where that would not be a big deal. They wouldn’t have been talking about it a bunch. It never came up, basically.
The idea that Darryl is bisexual instead of gay is something we don’t often see done with a male character. It’s a story that we see sometimes with female characters. Sometimes it’s a ratings thing, and sometimes it’s an ongoing, “OK, this character is going to date both genders now.” You just never see it with men. Were you thinking about that as you were writing that storyline?
I only really started working in TV with this show. I’d worked in TV a long time ago. I’m not as up to speed on what has and hasn’t been done. I mean now, people have sort of told me that, but it’s something we’d seen in life. Also, what I think is really particularly interesting for Darryl is that sometimes with bisexual men, people don’t believe them. They think it’s a phase or it’s a phase on the way to being gay. That’s just something that I’ve experienced with friends of mine where it seems super unfair to me that you tell people you want to be this thing, and they kind of go, [sarcastically] “Oh, yeah.” And that seemed like a perfect predicament for Darryl, because he’s so sincere about wanting to be this thing that he feels so strongly that he is. As we continue to explore that storyline, Darryl so sincerely feels who he is, but he is naïve about how the world sees it. He doesn’t even get to the word ‘bisexual’, he gets to the word ‘bothsexual.’ And that’s always struck me as very unfair, when I’ve known people who are bisexual and they’re greeted with skepticism.
Are you going to be addressing the age gap?
We address it a little bit in terms of they have different expectations in their life of what their relationship needs to be. I think Darryl’s the kind of person who would date someone for a week and then move in with them. So it’s partly their age, it’s partly the kind of guys they are, it’s partly what life phase Darryl is in and how parched he’s been for someone to care about. This is not two people who get together and sail into the sunset really super easily. They’re going to have challenges along the way.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.
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