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Series / Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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Working hard at a New York job making dough, but it made me blue.
One day I was crying a lot and so I decided to move to...
West Covina, California, brand new pals and new career!
It happens to be where Josh lives, but that's not why I'm heeeeeere.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
What? No, I'm not.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
That's a sexist term.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
Can you guys stop singing for just one second?
She's so broken insiiiide!
The situation is a lot more nuanced than that!
Okay! We get it!
Crazy ex-girlfriend!
— The first season's theme song. The second season, third season, and fourth season have their own theme songs.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical dramedy series that aired on The CW from 2015 to 2019, starring Rachel Bloom (of "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury" fame), and created by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna (the writer of The Devil Wears Prada).

The show is about Rebecca Bunch (Bloom), a successful, albeit overworked and severely depressed, young real-estate lawyer in New York. On the verge of a major promotion and nervous breakdown, she happens to run into her old ex-boyfriend from summer camp and latches onto those childhood memories as the last time she was truly happy and carefree. She therefore impulsively decides to quit her job and move to West Covina, California in pursuit of a fresh start in life (and not coincidentally because Josh also lives there). All while bursting into song.

Aside from Bloom, it also stars Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan (the aforementioned ex-boyfriend), Santino Fontana as Greg (Josh's friend), Gabrielle Ruiz as Valencia (Josh's long-term girlfriend), Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula (Rebecca's co-worker and friend), Pete Gardner as Darryl Whitefeather (Rebecca's new boss in her West Covina law firm), and Vella Lovell as Heather Davis (Rebecca's neighbor).

Originally developed for Showtime, the show moved to the CW with a few cast changes. It is known for its colorful characters, most of which share some sort of disorder, and its catchy songs, most of which can be found on Rachel Bloom's YouTube page. In February 2016, two soundtracks for the first season have been released. And there's one for season 2 as well.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has nothing to do with the Miranda Lambert song, by the way. If you're looking for the general trope of an actual crazy ex-girlfriend, then Psycho Ex-Girlfriend is what you want.

This series contains examples of:

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    Tropes #-E 
  • '80s Hair: Usually seen when parodying an eighties-style number.
  • A Cappella: Paula's husband is in a barbershop quartet called the "West Brovinas."
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Rebecca's mother is extremely controlling of her and blames her for her father walking out on them. And her father counts on a different level.
    • Season 2 introduces us to Nathaniel, whose father fulfills the mental and verbal aspect of this.
  • An Aesop:
    • "Josh is Irrelevant" provides a lesson about mental health and personality disorders: you may end up having a disorder that's heavily stigmatized and seems to be trapping you in misery for the rest of your life, but if you truly do have the symptoms, then it's better to accept it and seek treatment than try to avoid it.
    • The moral of "I Need to Find My Frenemy" is that happiness takes a lot of work, and while sometimes you do need to remove yourself from a toxic environment, abandoning your life and responsibilities when things start to get difficult is usually not the right answer.
  • Affably Evil: The Santa Ana Winds is remarkably cheerful and pleasant about the various unpleasant things he causes.
  • Aimlessly Seeking Happiness: The plot is kicked off by Rebecca Bunch realizing that she's not happy in her New York job even though she's all kinds of successful, and on a lark goes to a small west coast town to stalk an ex-boyfriend and try to be happier in general, a process complicated by her mental issues and the fact she doesn't know what will make her happy. She initially thinks that this guy can make her happy, but it eventually becomes much more complicated.
  • The Alcoholic: As revealed early in season 2, Greg and his father. Both have grown into Recovered Addicts by season 4.
  • All Just a Dream: Most of "I'm Almost Over You," which has Nathaniel and Maya bonding in a parody of romantic comedies, turns out to be the result of Nathaniel's imagination after watching romantic comedies. It's fairly obvious considering how the characters are simplified into clichés to fit the parody.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Gender-swapped with Darryl and White Josh. Darryl wanted to have a child with White Josh, who didn't want any children, and they break up because of this. Even after their breakup, Darryl continues his pursuit to have another child.
  • All Take and No Give: In season 2, after their relationship began getting rather strained, Paula blurts out to Rebecca that she has always given everything to her, but never got anything in return, citing as an example the letter of recommendation that Rebecca gave her way after the deadline.
  • All Women Hate Each Other: Valencia doesn't have female friends because she sees all other women as competition or jealous of her. This concept is lampooned in one of her songs, "Women Gotta Stick Together", which is a faux-female-empowerment song that's actually about tearing other women down. By season two, she's realized this and genuinely becomes friends with Heather and Rebecca.
    Women gotta stick together
    And tell each other the truth
    The truth is you're all fat sluts
    And that's called sisterhood.
  • The Alleged Car: Heather's car in "I See You." Thankfully she leases a new one by the end after much complaining from Nathaniel about what an outdated mess it is.
  • Almost Kiss: Three in "I See You." First is between Rebecca and Darryl, which doesn't amount to anything but at least assures Rebecca that she can be attracted to good men after all. The second two are Played for Laughs: Paula appears to go in to kiss Josh, but instead gives him a pamphlet on nearby apartments. The second has Nathaniel appear to go kiss Bert on the lips, but instead kiss him on the forehead as an awkward way of showing kindness.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Played with in Valencia. While she is beautiful, ice-cold, and petty, she doesn't have friends outside of Josh's friends (who tolerate her at best). She eventually takes a level in kindness. It's eventually revealed that outside of her relationship with Josh and her work, nobody likes to be around her that much.
    • Audra Levine actually calls herself one in "JAP Battle Rap". This gets a Call-Back in "I Need to Find My Frenemy;" when a Vegas bachelorette complains about a woman in the next room yelling about being an alpha bitch, Rebecca correctly deduces that it's Audra.
    • In "Josh Is Going To Hawaii!", Rebecca realises that Valencia thinks that Rebecca is this.
      Valencia: Josh, I am really, really hurt, but, God, I...I knew something was going on. I mean, she's [sniffles] smart, and, and different, and [bitter chuckle] interesting. So, I get it.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • The reason Rebecca and Valencia's friendship goes south is because Rebecca kisses her, though that may be just due to her desperate need for affection. Rebecca also goes to a strip club and watches a female stripper perform in the pilot. She offhandedly admits in season three that she may have "tendencies."
    • Heather seems to be a fan of Lawyered-Up Rebecca in "Josh and I Go To Los Angeles!"
    Heather: Man, she looks hot in her little legal outfit, right? I'd pound that gavel.
    • When Paula expresses attraction to Brad Pitt in “Thelma And Louise,” Scott agrees without missing a beat.
  • Amicable Exes: White Josh and Darryl end the show as exes who have permanently broken up, but remain good friends and are happier that way.
  • An Aesop: Rebecca's first season arc, as well as the direct aesop for "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am" is that there are many kinds of love, and it can come from unexpected places. Love isn't only romantic, and you can be loved by your friends and family.
  • Analogy Backfire: "We have kind of a like, a Sam and Diane thing going on, except it's, um, unpleasant and unsexy."
  • Angry Mob Song: "Flooded with Justice," a pastiche of Les Misérables "Do You Hear the People Sing?"
  • Anti-Love Song: "Settle for Me" is all about how Greg knows he's not what Rebecca really wants, but that she should settle for him anyway. Or at least that's how she interprets what he's saying.
    • "Without Love You Can Save the World" discusses all the things Rebecca could have done if she hadn't spent so much time and energy trying to pursue Josh.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: Although "California Christmastime" can be read as a straight-up celebration of Christmas, it can also be read as this:
    Well, you can take your snow and shove it,
    This is our Christmas, and we love it!
    It’s 100 degrees, this elf is Vietnamese,
    That’s the way that California does it!
  • Arc Symbol: Pretzels appear frequently throughout the show. Some of the most prominent examples include when Rebecca sits on a giant flying pretzel in the end of "West Covina" in the very first episode and when she steps on one during her transformation in "Where's Rebecca Bunch?". This all culminates in the pretzels themselves getting their own song called "Our Twisted Fate" where they lament being a symbol instead of merely pretzels. This all foreshadows Rebecca giving up her law career to open a pretzel shop.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!," Valencia asks Rebecca "Why are you even here?"
  • Aroused by Their Voice: The explicit version of "The Sexy Getting Ready Song" ends with the lines "whisper your dick hard." The line is cut in the broadcast version.
  • Artifact Title: The first two seasons revolve around Rebecca obsessing over her old boyfriend from summer camp. The first half of season three involves her trying to get revenge for him jilting her at the altar.. After that point (and an episode titled "Josh Is Irrelevant"), she stops pursuing him all together, and he becomes a much less impactful character. Her status as the "ex-girlfriend" is no longer really a factor in the show.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In "Love Kernels", Rebecca states that if you cut a cactus open, you'll find only water inside, and that this is a good tip for surviving in the desert. Cacti are actually filled with toxic, pulpy tissue, and what water you can squeeze out of it will cause further dehydration due to its high acid content.note  The mistake is made more noticeable by the fact that it's one of the main metaphors the song revolves around.
  • Artistic License – Geography: Despite what the lyric says, "West Covina" is not in fact in the Inland Empire, but rather the San Gabriel Valley. Rachel Bloom lampshades this when she sings the song during the live concert special, saying she should have taken five seconds to google it.
  • Artistic License – Law: While more faithful than most, the portrayal of the inner workings of the law are highly stylized. A big deal is made out of Paula taking the bar, but the show's final season ends before the actual date of the bar, which takes about 4 months to grade in California. Similarly for Rebecca's hearings to keep her bar license takes place within weeks of her leaving jail. In reality they take years to resolve.
    • "Josh and I Work on a Case Together!" has Rebecca having issues with using emails stolen from the company, ultimately refusing to use the emails for fear of their origin being revealed. However, in reality, given that it would serve as proof that the company refused to turn over vital, incriminating evidence during the discovery phase (something that would end the case in a heartbeat). The only reason this might reflect poorly on Rebecca is if she stole the evidence herself, which isn't the case.
  • Artistic License – Religion: At one point, Father Brah tells Josh that being tempted to cheat on Valencia is okay just as long as he doesn't act on it. This is not in fact what the Catholic Church teaches - thinking about doing something sinful is in itself a minor sin. Although this is coming from Father Brah.
  • Ascended Fridge Horror:
    • As is often noted, Rebecca sees her own behavior as cute and romantic, when an objective observer would see it as stalking (see Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male, below). By the third season, this is acknowledged when Rebecca begins to see herself as the villain in a horror movie.
    • In a milder example, after Rebecca admits she moved to West Covina for Josh, he continues to live with her and sleep with her, treating the relationship as entirely casual and non-committal, which Rebecca plays along with for fear of losing him. After time and therapy, Josh realizes that he was effectively Gas Lighting her, and accepts his responsibility in their dysfunctional relationship.
  • Aside Glance: One-Shot Character and Only Sane Person Cornelia gives one when her storyline reaches the breaking point and her dysfunctional coworkers start competing for her attention like a group of middle schoolers — right before breaking into her own musical number (which, as the creators previously confirmed, is a sign of Rebecca's craziness creeping into someone's mind).
  • Aspect Ratio Switch: The show will change to 4:3 for flashbacks to previous episodes, and will switch to a cinematic aspect ratio for some musical numbers - usually the ones that characters are imagining.
  • The Atoner: Rebecca mid way through season 3. She finally realizes she's mentally ill and has been causing a ton of misery for everyone else, and thus tries doing a lot of nice things for her friends to make up for it.
  • "Basic Instinct" Legs-Crossing Parody: The series homages the scene as part of its season 3 promo campaign, along with several other shows.
  • Batman Gambit: Rebecca advising Josh to tell Valencia that Josh kissed Rebecca. It hinges on the conviction, shared by everyone, that if Valencia were to find out that Josh had kissed anyone other than her, she would never forgive him and would break up with him on the spot. It fails, because Valencia does forgive Josh.
  • Battle Rapping: In "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" Rebecca and her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Audra Levine engage in a "JAP Battle" (JAP standing for "Jewish American Princess"). It later gets a reprise in Season 4, where Audra and Rebecca make up and subsequently rap battle with compliments- "half affirmation, half cage fight."
  • Beta Couple:
    • In the first and second seasons, White Josh and Darryl provide a sweet and straightforward counterpoint to the turbulence of Rebecca's personal life.
    • Hector and Heather step up as this in the back half of season three, being nice and supportive with each other as Rebecca and Nathaniel go through a Will They or Won't They? plot.
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with. While characters maintain traits of one or the other, the lines are not really clear-cut. It's really a case of constantly shifting Betty and Veronica Switch.
    • Josh between Rebecca and Valencia. Initially, Rebecca sees herself as the Betty: she's cheerful, enthusiastic and crazy about Josh, while Valencia is more strikingly attractive, cold, and seemingly distant. We soon find out that Valencia sees herself as the Betty: Josh's high-school sweetheart who's been chasing him forever, while Rebecca is the accomplished, big city sophisticate who blows into town and tries to steal him away.
    • Rebecca (Archie) between Josh (Betty) and Greg (Veronica). Josh is the friendly, naive and engaging ex-boyfriend, while Greg is the sarcastic and distant new guy.
    • Rebecca (Archie) between Josh (Betty) and Nathaniel (Veronica). This love triangle is more straightforward, as Nathaniel is ruthless, wealthy, and everything Rebecca attempted to escape in New York. But, since the show has never met a trope it couldn't deconstruct, we also see from Nathaniel's perspective. Seeing his motivations make him more sympathetic, he's shown to be genuinely in love with Rebecca, and he takes at least one level in kindness by the end, leaving the question of who's better for her an open one.
  • Big Damn Kiss:
    • At the end of "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!", there is one between Rebecca and Josh.
    • Another one at the end of "Josh's Sister is Getting Married!", between Rebecca and Greg.
  • Big "NO!": In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?" when Josh asks Rebecca to marry him, right when she was having a breakthrough in therapy, Dr. Akopian lets out one.
  • Big "YES!": In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?" which is immediately followed by the Big "NO!" above.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Delivered to Rebecca by none other than Mrs. Hernandez in "Who Is Josh's Soup Fairy?", to great effect considering the character who says it.
  • Bilingual Bonus:
    • During the "JAP Battle," at one point, Rebecca raps, "So sheket bevaka shut the hell up!" Sheket bevakasha is actually Hebrew for "quiet please," so she is telling Audra to shut up in two languages at once.
    • In Season 4's "I Will Help You", Rebecca's mother mentions that she attended a summer camp for wealthy Jewish girls called Camp Kvetcha when she was young. This happens to sound an an awful lot like "kvetch", a Yiddish word that means "complain".
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor:
    • In one episode, Valencia is planning a party for a girl, who wants it to be themed after Riverdale, to which Valencia replies, "None of your friends are hot enough to be on Riverdale!"
    • In "I Need to Find My Frenemy", Heather says, "We're basically heroes! Dare to defy!", which was, at the time, the motto of The CW.
    • In the live concert special, while changing into her costume for the next song, Bloom says the balcony is able to see everything, and then winkingly says, "Dare to defy."
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 1 ends with Rebecca winding up with Josh. Though she is happy in the moment, Greg is devastated, and Josh is secretly horrified by her confession that she moved to West Covina for him.
  • Bi-Wildered: Darryl is initially confused when he's attracted to White Josh, as Darryl's always been attracted to women and has even married one, so he just assumes he's also gay. He later has an epiphany and realizes he's "both-sexual." After properly learning the term "bisexual," he sings a coming-out song called "Gettin' Bi" about bisexuality, even calling out people who think he's just gay.
  • Black Comedy: A lot of the songs contain dark humor, including "Feeling Kinda Naughty" (Rebecca wanting to kill Valencia and wear her skin) and "I'm a Good Person" (Rebecca threatening to gut someone "like a fish" if they don't say she's a good person).
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "I have friends, I definitely have friends".
    • Rebecca trying to be as blasé as Greg is trying to be.
      Rebecca: [Greg turns on the TV] Oh, The Way We Were. —I don't want to watch it. I'm sorry. I was just saying, "Oh, it's The Way We Were, blah."
    • Rebecca saying she has no underlying issues address and can't be held responsible for her actions in the season two opening titles. "Can Josh Take A Leap Of Faith?" makes it very clear, what with the whole "being charged with arson after abandoned" thing.
    • Newsflash, fuckwads: Rebecca is a good person! Agree or she'll gut your husband like a fish!
      Rebecca: [imagining] I always find time to be kind.
      Man: I'm choking [on food]!
      Rebecca: Sorry, so busy.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Rebecca takes nebulous life advice from butter commercials. Turns out the copywriter who worked on those commercials had just left his wife for a prostitute.
  • Boob-Based Gag: Heavy Boobs is this mixed with Truth in Television.
  • Book Ends: In the first and last episodes of Season 3, Rebecca summons people to the office's conference room with mysterious Google Calendar invitations. At the start, she's calling in all her friends and coworkers to announce her return and start plotting her revenge against Josh. At the end, she's trying to come clean to Josh, Nathaniel, and Paula about all the awful things she's done over the course of the show.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: In season 2, Paula and Rebecca have a fall out after Rebecca tries to include her in her new friend group with Heather and Valencia. Paula accuses Rebecca of being self-involved and not being there for her, while Rebecca accuses Paula of not trusting her and not giving her the chance of being there for her. In the song "You Go First", they acknowledge that both are correct, and neither of them are without guilt, but are both too prideful to apologize first. Paula refused and kept finding excuses to not tell Rebecca about her abortion despite Rebecca asking her many times and Rebecca is indeed one of the most self-absorbed people in the show and would quickly turn things about her.
  • Bowdlerise: Some songs were written with an explicit version in mind and subsequently reshot (or dubbed over) with a broadcast version. Some examples:
    • "I'm So Good At Yoga" changes "anal" to "butt stuff", "come" to "orgasm", “pussy” to “hoo-ha”, and "fuuuuuck you, you're fat" to "screeeeeew you, you're fat".
    • "I'm a Good Person" actually tweaks footage; "I come my good all over your face" with corresponding jack-off gestures gets changed to "I spit my good all over your face" with (mouth-)spitting motion. "Fuck You!" at the end includes both a knife point at Greg AND a middle finger, where in the broadcast version it's just the knife point and a "Screw you!" (Also, "fuckwads" gets turned to "douchebags.")
    • The 'Period Sex' was never shown in full on TV, mainly due to its very vulgar and squicky, and explicit lyrics, like thinking of period blood as a juice cleanse, and the words "You don't get to say, let me just put it in your butt". The full version is available on YouTube.
    • "My Sperm Is Healthy" had to replace all mentions of "cum", "jizz" and "nut" with more TV-friendly variants (like "bust") or resort to Unusual Euphemisms ("My sperm just aced the quiz.")
    • "Buttload of Cats" has an entirely different name for its explicit version: "Fuckton of Cats". It's not hard to figure out what the difference is.
  • Boy Band: Because Rebecca never got to see the boy band "Room Temperature" when she was a kid, she imagines Josh in a boy band. Specifically, a boy band made up of four Joshes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • During the song "I'm The Villain in My Own Story", Rebecca says that she's "the bad guy in her TV show." She also calls out the composer of the song, which she calls "ridiculously sinister." Naturally, "I'm The Villain in My Own Story" was written by Rachel Bloom. (And considering this is all happening in Rebecca's head, the in-universe composer might also be her).
    • In "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!", Rebecca and Dr. Akopian are on a plane to New York City, and Dr. Akopian tells Rebecca she never told her why she moved to West Covina. Rebecca turns to the camera with a "Here we go again" look. Cut to opening titles.
    • In the music video for "Love Kernels," Rebecca sings "This video used up our production budget." Then she says that they literally spent every cent, so now Darryl will be played by a broom on a stand.
    • The entire song "Who's The New Guy?" is built on this, using scapegoat excuses to pretend they're not referring to their show. (i.e. "Did we really need a new guy this far into the season? And by far into the season, I mean it's almost fall." and "Will he be here forever? Or just for two or three episodes? I mean, Karen's manic episodes." among others!)
    • If "Who's the New Guy?" breaks the fourth wall, "He's the New Guy" vaporizes it and tap-dances on its grave. Rebecca's excuses are far flimsier than anything from the former song, eventually culminating in the following line (sung while looking directly into the camera, no less).
      Rebecca: And by "singing this reprise", I mean "whatever, just don't think about it".
    • In the theme song for "I'm Not the Person I Used to Be," "Other Rebecca" says, "I miss the season one theme song." Fittingly enough, in the episode proper, both Valencia and Greg mention that they'll be in town until the end of the series... of holidays, while Rebecca struggles with Greg's new actor.
  • Broken Ace:
    • Rebecca is a great lawyer, a graduate of Harvard and Yale, and knows Mandarin. She was going to be made partner in her old, prestigious law firm. However, inside, she is a mass of self-doubt, self-hate, anxiety, and depression. When she screws things up with Josh, she ends up singing the song "You Stupid Bitch" to herself, even saying that she's done this a lot.
    • Josh teeters dangerously close to this. At the beginning of the series, he's unemployed with maxed out credit cards, and dating Valencia for 15 years without any indication of where he wants the relationship to go. In "I'm going to The Beach With Josh and His Friends", it's revealed he's been hanging with the same friend group, insisting on the same group dynamic and even the same music all this time. He even throws a fit when Rebecca starts seeing Greg in earnest and cuts ties with him, implying he's gotten so entitled to people's attention, he's hopeless coping without it.
    • Nathaniel is a driven and highly competent lawyer, rivaling the talents of Rebecca herself. Add in great looks, rich parents, and plenty of connections, and he should have it made, right? Well, his upbringing really did a number on him; he's constantly holding himself to impossibly-high standards in order to seek his father's approval, all while living in his father's shadow, and he's become extremely ruthless, callous, and emotionally stunted in the process.
  • Broke Episode: In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!" all of Rebecca's spending has resulted in her going broke. She sells her couch and even pawns the Garfinkle ring in order to buy a plane ticket to Hawaii.
  • BSoD Song: "You Stupid Bitch" is all about Rebecca's spiral into self-loathing and self-hatred.
  • The Bully: Tim and Jim, two lawyers who like to make things hard on Paula.
  • Busby Berkeley Number:
    • The "West Covina" song in the first episode ends with a large group singing and even a marching band... before the school board takes away their instruments due to budget cuts.
    • Also, the season 2 opening, especially the ending where the dancers arrange their oversized heart props to form Josh's face.
  • Call-Back: Several episodes in season 2 quote or make references to the songs of season 1.
    Scott: Rebecca's being selfish. After everything you've done for her —
    • Also, when Rebecca has to babysit Paula's son, who is a horny pre-teen obsessed with boobies, Rebecca tells him they're just sacks of yellow fat.
    • In the season 3 final, Rebecca states that she "wants to be held responsible for her actions", which the season 2 opening claimed she couldn't be, showcasing her growth.
    • One of the comments under the article about Rebecca in The Daily Covina in season 4 is by one of the members of the polyamorous triad Rebecca contacted back in season 2 and points out that she did so under false pretenses.
    • Similarly, the tweets prompted by the same article reference the class-action lawsuit she was involved with in season 1 and her suicide attempt in season 3.
    • Among the tweets is also one from Josh ex-girlfriend, Anna, about how Rebecca almost killed her cat in season 2.
    • Other of the tweets reference reveals of what Rebecca did prior to the show, as one comments that she slept with her college professor and the other that she's an arsonist.
    • "I Need to Find My Frenemy" is rife with callbacks to past songs from the show, including reprises of "The Math of Love Triangles" and "JAP Battle", and also some spoken ones, such as:
      • Heather and Valencia say they want to help Audra because it's "Sisters helping sisters...", "That's called 'sisterhood'", which are lyrics from "Women Gotta Stick Together".
      • When Rebecca calls Audra "crazy", Audra says, "Don't call me 'crazy', because when you call me 'crazy', you're just calling me 'in love'! BLAM!", which is the last line of the season two theme song.
      • At the casino, Valencia recognizes Denise Martinez as "that bitch I cannot stand", which is also a line from "Women Gotta Stick Together".
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Rebecca finally calls out her mother over her horrendous treatment of her in "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!" It turns out that her mother wanted her to call her out, because she wanted Rebecca to be strong enough to survive in the harsh world.
    • Likewise, she finally does the same to her dad in "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?", although unlike Naomi, he doesn't seem to care very much.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In season 2, Paula is unable to tell Rebecca about the fact she had an abortion. After the letter of recommendation fiasco, Paula grew disappointed in Rebecca, and realized that their relationship was rather one-sided. On the other hand, Rebecca correctly points out that Paula didn't tell her anything despite the fact that she asked her directly what was wrong.
  • Casting Gag: Several of the dancers in "Anti-Depressants Are So Not A Big Deal" actually were dancers in La La Land, which is the movie the song is primarily parodying.
  • Celebrity Paradox: Both Rebecca and Paula express admiration for The Wire in at least one episode, yet neither mention how familiar Dr. Akopian looks.
  • Central Theme:
    • Mental illness is a serious thing, you need to look for treatment, support and take care of it.
    • The influence parents have on their children, for better or worse.
    • Love will not fix everything in your life. There is no fix to your problems aside from facing them head on and dealing with them in a mature way instead of running away.
    • You will always be disappointed if you try to live life based on the stories you love, because life doesn’t make narrative sense.
  • Cerebus Call-Back: In the first episode, just after Rebecca moved to West Covina, we see her pouring her anxiety medication down the drain while her mother (at the time just a disembodied voice on the phone) irately tells her "this better not be like that suicide attempt in college". In season 3, said mother finds out Rebecca has been having suicidal thoughts again and begins drugging her without her knowledge. When Rebecca finds out and confronts her, she reminds her of that suicide attempt, but in a completely serious tone this time.
  • Cerebus Retcon: "I'm Just a Girl in Love," the second season's theme song, becomes this when the second season finale repeats several lines from the song in a flashback showing how Rebecca was charged with arson after she had been dumped by a prior boyfriend (who was not only married, but her professor). Her saying "I have no underlying issues to address" is specifically to the judge telling her that she needs to get mental help.
  • Cerebus Syndrome: If the episodes "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy" and "I Never Want to See Josh Again" are of any indication, the series stopped being a comedy about a "bubbly antihero" (as the creators put it back in Season 1), and became a full-on tragedy about a self-destructive woman whose entire life has fallen apart. The final scene of the latter episode is especially devastating to watch, where a completely broken Rebecca nearly kills herself with her mother's medication.
  • Character Development:
    • Played very realistically. Most of the primary characters manage to grow and develop over the course of the series, but that development is difficult, full of false starts, backsliding, bad decisions and repetition of old mistakes. The encouraging thing is that pretty much everyone makes progress in the end.
    • Lampshaded in season 4. When Rebecca is trying to choose between Josh, Greg and Nathaniel. All three of them have changed since their earlier, dysfunctional attempts at a relationship, so she lists "evolved" as a quality for each of them. Her friends note that seems to be a common theme.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The file Rebecca's ex, Trent gave Josh, and threw away in the Season 2 finale plays a part in 3x03: "Josh is a Liar". The file contained Rebecca being sent to a mental institute after trying to burn down her Harvard professor named Robert's apartment down (she had an unhealthy obsession with him). Josh shows the file to Father Brah, who then calls Paula to tell her this.
  • Childhood Friends: Josh, Greg, Hector, and White Josh have all known each other since elementary/high school, and treat each other with long-suffering affection. They've also known Valencia since those years, but she's mostly just tolerated.
  • Christmas Episode: "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dances Moves!" is a Christmas/Hanukkah episode (since Rebecca is Jewish). And it ends on a sweet group song called "California Christmastime."
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • The Fondue delivery guy, after Josh has realized that Rebecca was lying about the break-in at her apartment and can't come up with a good explanation for all her weird behaviour:
      Rebecca: [despairing] It's all ruined.
      Fondue guy: People think that, but actually the cheese does not congeal in transit. If you can get the word out about that, that would really help.
      Rebecca: Moments ago, he held me in his arms. And then just now, he could barely look me in the eye. All of my dreams may have just been shattered.
      Fondue guy: ...So this is not about cheese.
    • Greg, newly sober, resolves to apologize to Heather. Unfortunately, while there are a shitload of things he needs to apologize to her about, he picks the wrong one.
      Greg: So there's this thing in recovery where you own up to your mistakes. And I'm just starting to do that now, and I know I need to start with you.
      Heather: Oh, Greg, you do not have to do this.
      Greg: Please, just let me get this out. ...I am so sorry about the French fries.
      Heather: ...What?
      Greg: You know that time when we went out after seeing your friend's terrible band, and you ordered French fries and I ate all of them because I was wasted? When I think of myself doing that, I am... That was so selfish of me. And I'm sorry.
      Heather: Wow, I'm really glad — you reached out about that.
      Greg: You are?
      Heather: No, I don't remember that at all, but I will take your French fry apology and apply it to other stuff.
    • Heather and Josh have very different opinions on magic:
      Heather: You'll figure it out. I'm still figuring it out, and I'm obviously smarter and cooler than you.
      Josh: I don't think so.
      Heather: Uh, yeah. You do magic.
      Josh: Exactly.
      Heather: Exactly.
  • Couch Gag: In the fourth and final season, at the end of the theme song, "Other Rebecca" has a different speaking line each week. Some of the highlights:
    "My name is Debra."
    "I live in this park!"
    "I think I'm a fork! Uh-oh!"
  • Cringe Comedy: Rebecca's frequent lies to herself and others, Digging Herself Deeper, and general awkwardness lead to some incredibly uncomfortable, but hilarious, situations.
  • Curse Cut Short: In "I Give Good Parent," Rebecca raps about how she'll have the Chans eating out of her hand like they are eating her... at which point the verse cuts off. However, in the explicit version, this is averted. (Since the entire song is a pastiche of Nicki Minaj, this makes perfect sense.)
  • Dark Reprise:
    • The song "Settle for Me" gets two dark reprises. The first, in "I'm Going on a Date with Josh's Friend!", is Rebecca trying to convince herself to settle for Greg. And then, in "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!", it's by Heather saying that she doesn't want Greg to settle for her and that he needs to get his unresolved feelings for Rebecca resolved.
    • "Who's the New Guy?" was already somewhat dark to begin with, but "He's the New Guy" dials it up significantly. Being nervous about a new boss is one thing. Rallying your coworkers against him because you had a messy breakup is another thing entirely.
  • Darker and Edgier: Just compare the intro to season one with the intro to season three. After pursuing Josh for all of season one and being left at the altar at the end of season two, Rebecca fully embraces her crazy.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Rebecca barges into Greg's backroom in the "Josh and I Are Good People!" episode and is taken aback to see her hole-filled photo up on his dartboard.
    Rebecca: Wow, either you really hate me or you're super good at darts.
  • A Day in the Limelight: "I'm Almost Over You" focuses on Nathaniel's feelings with a subplot revolving around Maya, making it one of the only episodes, if not the first, where we almost never see Rebecca's point of view.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Greg is this in spades.
      Rebecca: How are you?
      Greg: I'm good. I'd ask how you are, but I already know: you're terrible.
    • Heather is also quite fond of this trope. If she's spectating someone else's song, she's liable to interject with snarky comments. When she's supposed to be singing an inspirational song about what she'll do after graduating, she can't help but convey her utter contempt for the entire thing.
  • Declining Promotion: The first episode has Rebecca not just turn down a promotion at the firm in New York, but quit it altogether to move to California.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype: Virtually every major character in the show is a deconstruction of some character type.
    • Rebecca is a romantic high achieving girl who chases after the man of her dreams in his little town in an attempt to conquer him. Naturally, she sees herself as the protagonist in a romantic plotline. Over time, she realizes that she's actually the Villain Protagonist, since she is the cause of most of the show's conflict. The actions that she thinks are romantic are really creepy, when viewed objectively, and her obsession with finding romantic love is deeply unhealthy, because she expects a relationship to change her fundamental unhappiness, instead of dealing with the roots of her problems.
    • Paula is the quirky best friend who is invested in her friend's love life and always available to help plan out zany schemes. This turns out to be really unhealthy, because this investment is rooted in desire to escape her own daily life, instead of dealing with her problems. The time she spends plotting with Rebecca causes her to ignore her own husband and kids, and she ends up pushing Rebecca into some of her worst actions. When she finally starts pursuing the career she wants and building better relationships with her family, she quickly regrets her fixation on Rebecca's love life.
    • Josh is presented as a sweet, uncomplicated, optimistic Nice Guy. Rebecca is certain that finding love with him would solve all her problems. The reality is that he's basically a Manchild who never progressed beyond high school. He has few ambitions, serious commitment issues and limited ability to handle anything serious in his own life. He also isn't that good of a boyfriend, either to Valencia or Rebecca.
    • Greg is the less popular, more brooding friend of Rebecca's love interest. He's sarcastic and cynical, but also smarter and more grounded than Josh, and he's the one Rebecca turns to for comfort when she gets rejected. All of this points to him becoming the real love interest. But both of them know that he's basically a replacement and he's constantly insecure that she doesn't actually want to be with him. His snarky nature actually reflects a self-sabotaging depression and untreated alcoholism which combine to make their relationship deeply toxic.
    • Valencia is the hot but shallow and self-absorbed Alpha Bitch who's dating Rebecca's love interest and doesn't seem to respect him. As we get to know her better, we realize that she's really just frustrated, having spent fifteen years trying to get Josh to commit to her and build a real life and relationship together, but she's still stuck in the same place, doing the same job, dating a guy who doesn't want anything to change. She treats Rebecca like a threat because that's exactly what she is: an accomplished and successful woman who blew into town and immediately started trying to break up her relationship. Meanwhile, her superficial attitude is strongly implied to be rooted in some deep-seated body image issues, while her pathological need to share things on social media is a form of coping mechanism.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Rebecca's mom ends up being one for Tough Love. She tells her daughter that she treated her the way she did in order to make her stronger and better capable of handling the real world, which is played as a moment of reconciliation. Problem is, Rebecca's deep and crippling emotional issues are clearly related to this style of parenting, and realizing her mother's philosophy doesn't actually make them any closer. In the end, Rebecca is only able to advance in her therapy when she learns to set limits with her mother.
    • Also, the Love Triangle, Betty and Veronica and Betty and Veronica Switch all get this treatment. Sure, Valencia is not a very nice person. However, when Rebecca finally starts to see things from her point of view, she realizes that SHE is the problem. Add to that, Valencia is repeatedly frustrated with Josh's behavior throughout the season to the point where she has to dump him.
    • The entire show is a Deconstruction of romantic comedies, being centered on a protagonist who is under the mistaken impression that falling in love with someone will make her happy.
    • And of course, the show also deconstructs the idea of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend. Since the title character is our protagonist, we get to see her thought processes firsthand, along with all of the personal issues that would drive someone to latch onto an ex so hard in the first place.
    • In the Wham Episode 2nd-season finale, the show manages to deconstruct and reconstruct itself. Flashbacks indicate that Rebecca has undiagnosed mental problems and imply that the musical numbers are, at least partially, her becoming dissociated from reality.
    • In a minor example, the show ends up deconstructing the idea of one character comically hating and putting down another character with Darryl and Maya. After several episodes of Darryl insulting and dismissing Maya for absolutely no reason other than the Rule of Funny, Maya snaps and points out it's a really shitty thing to do, she's done nothing to deserve the treatment and it makes her feel awful. Darryl apologizes and stops.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: The show aggressively deconstructs virtually every trope related to both romantic comedies and musicals, but also expands to deconstruct pretty much every genre it encounters. An excellent distillation of this comes in Season 3's "The End of the Movie", which is all about how life doesn't fit into any narrative structure, and any expectation of resolution or clear messages that we have from fiction are bound to be disappointed in the real world.
  • Delayed Diagnosis: In Season 3, Rebecca is finally diagnosed with borderline personality disorder, well into her 20s and long after she began exhibiting signs of mental illness. That's because, before then, she had been diagnosed with a number of other things such as anxiety and sex addiction, none of which got to the root of her problems.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: In "I'm Finding My Bliss," Rebecca is assigned a song by one of her favorite theatrical songwriters, and becomes concerned about the song's message, in which a brothel madame berates herself as "used" and insists that she won't have any worth until she finds a husband and gets "into the kitchen". The implications offend Rebecca so much that she rewrites the lyrics, much to her director's chagrin. The song Valencia sings, "I'm the Bride of the Pirate King," is even worse, as the lyrics are rife with implications of abduction, Stockholm Syndrome, Domestic Abuse, and outright rape, but the song treats it all as romance.
  • Deliberately Monochrome: The musical numbers that spoof old-timey media will sometimes be in black and white; for example, "Settle for Me" (Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers), "Maybe She's Not Such A Heinous Bitch After All" (1960s girl groups like The Ronettes), and "Sports Analogies" (the Rat Pack). Also monochrome is "Sexy French Depression", which parodies artsy French chansons.
  • Did Not Get the Girl: Neither Josh, Greg, nor Nathaniel end up with Rebecca as Rebecca chooses to work on herself rather than work on falling in love.
  • Disability as an Excuse for Jerkassery: Rebecca defies this in the season 3 finale. Nathaniel convinces her to plead temporary insanity for almost murdering Trent, but when on the stand, Rebecca makes a speech about taking full responsibility regardless of her borderline personality disorder and pleads guilty to all charges.
    • The season 4 premiere has Josh try to invoke this, assuming his self-absorption and obliviousness must be due to a disorder, and starts using unreliable internet sources to diagnose himself so he has an excuse.
  • Disgusting Vegetarian Food: Downplayed. When Rebecca tries to turn a new, healthy leaf, this includes eating mainly vegan and vegetarian food. When she and Greg go on a date to a taco festival, she insists on only eating vegetarian tacos, and while she seems to like them, Greg insists they can't compare to a juicy meat one. And sure enough, at the end of the episode, she completely abandons her healthy pledge and devours a pork taco before sleeping with a random dude.
  • Disney Acid Sequence: For three seasons, the show's musical numbers ranged from the almost diegetic to the dream sequence to the full-on Broadway, but it was always somewhat grounded in realism. Then, in season 4, we get singing pretzels.
  • Ditzy Genius: Rebecca. Despite being a brilliant attorney she has very little self awareness and keeps making the same mistakes, something obvious to almost every other character.
  • Don't Eat and Swim: One of Paula's terrible pieces of advice in "Face Your Fears" is to swim right after eating.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • In a gender-flipped version of the show, a man with mental issues who stalks his ex-girlfriend would be portrayed as the villain in a drama. This is acknowledged by Trent's character, who is madly in love with Rebecca and tries many of the same tricks she does. Underscored by the fact that he gets his own version of the Season 2 theme song "I'm Just A Boy In Love", which (apart from having fewer backup dancers) is exactly the same except for being about him instead of Rebecca.
    • "Horny Angry Tango" lampshades this in season 3.
      Nathaniel: I cannot slap you back! Because you are a lady!
      Rebecca: That clearly is a double standard!
      Both: But it's probably for the best.
    • In season 4, Rebecca apologizes to Josh for her inexcusable behavior, and says that if she'd been a man, she'd have been arrested immediately.
  • Dump Them All: The series finale shows Rebecca deciding to Take a Third Option, or rather, fourth option, by rejecting Josh, Greg, and Nathaniel to focus on herself and her blooming career as a songwriter.
  • Earpiece Conversation: When Paula's son's school principal attempts to wrongfully expel him due to his mental illnesses, Rebecca teaches her what laws she needs to reference to call his bluff. As Paula is nervous about forgetting what to say, Rebecca stands outside the window behind him flipping through cue cards to remind her exactly what she needs to say.
  • Easily Forgiven: Multiple examples, as many characters engage in behavior that crosses the line twice, but remain sympathetic.
    • Josh forgives Rebecca very easily, despite her doing some incredibly nasty things to him, including befriending his girlfriend just to get close to him, breaking into his apartment, peeing on his musical equipment, acting very rude to his parents, and so on.
    • Played with between Rebecca and Paula: their big argument during season 2 led them to act resentful towards each other for a few episodes, before Rebecca finally caves in and apologizes when she realizes that between the two of them she was the worst person. Paula forgives her, and Rebecca rebuilds their friendship by being there for her in her time of need.
    • Prior to his Character Development, Nathaniel was pretty much a sociopath, but everyone just gets over the terrible things he's done. The most striking example is him becoming friendly with Josh, despite the fact that he'd once plotted to murder Josh's grandfather.
  • The Eleven O'Clock Number: Discussed and parodied in the finale, when Rebecca defines the term for Paula and has a musical fantasy at 11:00 AM about her identity issues, aptly titled "Eleven O'Clock Number." It's a medley of a large number of songs, including most of the opening numbers, and effectively recaps the entire show.
  • Embarrassing Voicemail: Rebecca plays the spirit of the trope straight, if not the letter, when she accidentally sends a text intended for Paula (about her feelings for Josh) to Josh. Fortunately, she knows that he leaves his phone at home while he's at his martial arts practise, giving her time to break in and delete the message. Her entire office meeting agrees that this is the highest possible priority, and a judge gets her a police escort to Josh's building so that she can speed, while the other lawyers sing a glam rock song about this "Textmergency".
  • Eskimos Aren't Real: Alex, the Aloha Tech Store manager, doesn't think that VCRs exist.
  • Everyone Has Standards: When she is at camp, Rebecca is relentless bullied by the girls she is meant to help, but when she breaks down crying in front of them, the girls realize they might have gone too far and actually help her.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: The conceit behind "Sexy French Depression." (Also contains a large monologue in French about said depression.)
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song. All four of them.

    Tropes F-K 
  • Fanservice:
    • Rebecca often tries to play this up, often displaying shirts and dresses with lots of cleavage, in the hopes that she will meet Josh. When she finally does meet Josh, she is wearing old clothes and is called a "homeless" by his girlfriend.
    • She goes in for fanservice in a lot of the musical numbers, such as her Shakira impression in "Group Hang" and just about all of "Ping Pong Girl."
    • Rebecca's pole dance on the party bus in the ninth episode. And in "Josh Is The Man Of My Dreams, Right?" when the Santa Ana Winds blow open her shirt and expose her bra.
      Crazy Karen: Those are beauts.
    • Josh also wears a lot of shirts that show off his arms and chest.
    • White Josh frequently doesn't wear a shirt at all.
  • Fan Disservice:
    • "The Sexy Getting Ready Song", with seductive vocals, scantily clad women, ass blood, and a second-degree neck burn.
    • "Heavy Boobs." You'd think that a music video about women with giant breasts flopping around everywhere would be incredibly titillating. Instead, it showcases the issues women face and is decidedly not sexy.
    • Rebecca's pole dancing in "I'm Going to the Beach with Josh and his Friends" is treated as such in-universe.
    • Rebecca twirling and jiggling in her nice lingerie in "I Gave You A UTI" is almost this, because the song is about how it burns when she pees.
  • Finale Season: The show was designed to run for exactly four seasons, so the fourth (and final) one spends much of its time resolving character arcs and plot threads, i.e. Rebecca's unfinished business with Greg, who was Put on a Bus in season two.
  • Fight-Scene Failure: Real Life Fighting is Awkward is about how fights in real life are a lot more clumsy and well, awkward, than they are in movies and on TV.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Rebecca and Valencia. In season 1 they are enemies (due to being in love with the same man) come season 2, they both end up breaking up with Josh due to complicated circumstances. Rebecca attempts to befriend Valencia, who initially rejects her and is still hostile. Eventually they go to a festival where they have some weird drug trip and afterwords Valencia decides she does want to be Rebecca's friend.
    • Implied with Rebecca and Audra near the end: despite being long time enemies Rebecca decides to help her out in a time of need and the whole "JAP battle (reprise)" at the end suggests that not only are they declaring a truce, they might even have feelings for eachother.
  • Flanderization:
    • Josh starts out as a laid-back, sensible person who might not be as educated as Rebecca, but repeatedly acts as the voice of reason for her (e.g. when he points out that it's okay not to immediately have tons of friends in a new town), and deeply cares about things like counseling underprivileged kids at camp. As the show goes on, he basically becomes Joey: a narcissistic, dumb Manchild who, by the time of season 3, literally cannot remember what the word for a "grown up boy" is.
    • White Josh starts out as a bit of a ditz, but increasingly snarkier in addition to becoming the voice of reason.
    • Heather does this In-Universe to the Kardashian clan:
    Heather: Is she the tall one, the naked one, or the mom one? 'Cause if you're talking about the model one or the lip one, those are Jenners.
  • Flare Bartending: Josh watches some Youtube videos to learn to do this while working at Home Base. He seems to think he's much sexier doing so then he actually is. His friends can't stop watching him perform due to Bile Fascination.
  • Foreign Queasine: To impress Josh's parents when she's going to them for Thanksgiving, Rebecca cooks dinuguan. Paula's In-Universe reaction is this.
    Paula: Whew, something smells weird in here.
    Rebecca: Oh, uh, well, it's a Filipino dish called dinuguan. It consists of pork cooked in pork's blood. Do you want to try some?
    Paula: Uh, thanks, but I think I'm all full up from the wonderful smell.
  • Forever Fling: The plot centers on Rebecca upending her entire life to get back together with a boy she dated at summer camp as a teenager. She succeeds... at first.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!" Rebecca's car is towed due to not paying her lease. She is so bad at finance, however, that she thinks she can get money... by selling her car.
  • Formerly Fat: White Josh's obsession with working out apparently stems from being bullied as an overweight child.
  • The Four Loves: A major theme of "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" Rebecca has to learn that even if romantic love isn't working out for her, she has a lot of love in her life she's overlooking.
  • Fourth-Date Marriage: Deconstructed and played for drama over the latter half of season 2. Josh and Rebecca's whirlwind marriage is brought about by Rebecca's insecurities, she has an extremely difficult time rushing the wedding prep by herself until Valencia steps in, and in the end Josh starts having major doubts about their relationship and doesn't even show up to the wedding. As White Josh points out, they're the last two people who should be getting married anyway.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Season 3 song 'Where's Rebecca Bunch?', which is addressing what happened in the season 2 finale, namely that Josh jilted Rebecca at the altar to go to priest school. George suggests that if he were in Rebecca's situation, he'd kill himself. Rebecca tries to do this a few episodes later on a plane back to West Covina from her mothers house in New York when she found out that she had been secretly giving Rebecca anxiety medication.
  • Freudian Slip: "The least you can do is be honest with your mother-I mean friend."
  • From New York to Nowhere: Rebecca goes from bigshot New York lawyer to working in a small Californian city. Lampshaded multiple times; in her song "Where's the Bathroom", for example, Rebecca's mother dismisses West Covina as "Nowhere, USA".
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After Paula has turned formerly obnoxious sexist pig Tim into her fawning pet by letting him know that she won't reveal to the authorities that he's Canadian and on an expired visa, she orders him to go wash her car. As he meekly obeys, Mrs Hernandez watches him go with an approving beam.
    • In "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" during "Flooded with Justice" White Josh (as he is not one of the plaintiffs) is confusedly watching the plaintiffs break into song, he appears amused but lost and tries to halfheartedly join in.
  • Furniture Assembly Gag: In an attempt to do something nice for his girlfriend Valencia, Josh gets a table for their new apartment since she earlier complained they didn't have one. He recruits some friends to help him put it together, only for them to make no progress in twelve hours. When they finally get it together, she doesn't even like it.
    Greg: Josh, there's still time to bail... on the table, I mean. We were friends with you before we even met this table.
    WhiJo: The truth is, none of us even really like... the current table.
    Greg:' I hate this table.
  • "Gaining Confidence" Song: "Gratuitous Karaoke Moment". Maya and Nathaniel both start out shy and squeaky-voiced, and the lyrics mention that they are both "relatably off-key". Later, they sing that "it makes no sense but we're gaining confidence", which is reflected in Maya and Nathaniel's increasingly self-assured singing throughout the song.
  • Geeky Turn-On:
    • Rebecca and Greg hit it off in a spectacularly geeky conversation:
      Rebecca: So, once a week I Google trivia about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
      Greg: Shut up! I love that fire. That's, like, my favorite fire.
      Rebecca: No! Stop messing with me. I know it's weird.
      Greg: Why is it weird to be obsessed with the flash point that single-handedly ignited labor reform in the US?
    • Rebecca and Nathaniel bond over a shared love of Harry Potter. Rebecca later uses a simile about Snape to seduce him in "Strip Away My Conscience", and Nathaniel alludes to their Potter-based dirty talk in a conversation with WhiJo.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Of romantic comedies. While the setting appears to be the standard romantic comedy, all characters are deconstructions of the archetypes that compose it. The ultimate message of the series is that love won't solve all your problems, and fixating on romance as the sole source of happiness in your life is deeply unhealthy. Getting into a relationship isn't the end of your story, it's just the start of another phase of life. And if you aren't comfortable and happy with yourself to start with, falling in love isn't going to fix that.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel:
    • Played with. Greg is the safe option, as he is considerate, thoughtful and available... while also being sarcastic, deeply unhappy about the direction of his life, and quite possibly a problem drinker. Josh is about as dangerous as a basket of puppies, but he represents the "dangerous" option as he is heavily committed to Valencia.
    • Same goes for Josh after he admits to Father Joseph he's attracted to Rebecca. Rebecca is the dedicated, financially secure one, but Valencia is the childhood sweetheart he's most committed to.
  • Grand Finale: "I'm in Love" features Rebecca finally finding something that makes her happy: writing and performing the songs that are in her head, which were previously secret to almost everyone else. It also gives pretty much every main character closure, such as Valencia being engaged to Beth and Nathaniel quitting his job to work with a zoo. It does leave Rebecca's romantic future up in the air, though, but she's at least finally stable enough to seek it out.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When White Josh mistakes Darryl for gay in "Josh and I Work on a Case!," Darryl immediately says he isn't, then goes on to say that he loves how women feel and their skin. White Josh says that he sounds like a serial killer, but a straight one. However, the conversation ends up leading Darryl to discover that he is really bisexual.
  • Halloween Episode: Season 4's "I Am Ashamed" takes place around Halloween, has an A-plot about Rebecca's house being haunted, and even features a parody of the "Monster Mash."
  • Heel Realization: "I'm the Villain in My Own Story" is an entire musical number dedicated to this, after Rebecca realizes how scummy she's been for trying to break up the loving relationship between Josh and Valencia.
  • Helping Granny Cross the Street: During the song "I'm the film in my own story", Rebecca questions how she be the villain if she gives annually to UFICEF and "And just last week [she] helped a lady cross the street/Who was super old and deaf"
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The few times we hear Rebecca singing in "reality," it's clear that she can't carry a tune in a bucket. Her actress, meanwhile, is a very good singer, something she demonstrates in just about every episode since Rebecca sings much better in her imagination.
  • Hope Spot: Dr Akopian gets one in Season 2 Episode 10, when Rebecca is just beginning to realize that, maybe, her problems are her own issues, and can't be solved by anyone else... and then Josh comes in with the Garfinkel ring, and it's all screwed.
  • Hurricane of Puns: The season 4 song "Our Twisted Fate" sung by a pair or pretzels is a long series of pretzel puns:
    We've been a-salted by her yearning
    To make her life a cogent tale
    Sure, it's nice to be kneaded
    But, now, the whole thing's getting stale
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "I'm a Good Person" is all about Rebecca telling everyone how good she is... while threatening them with a knife to agree. "I'll gut your husband like a fish!"
    • Paula is also this in episode 7, where she says no one likes a stalker right before pulling out a pair of binoculars to watch Josh and Valencia from across the street.
    • It's even lampshaded in "I'm Going Back to Camp With Josh!" When Rebecca hears the lyrics "Put yourself first for him," she says, "If I put myself first for him, then, by definition, aren't I putting myself second?" The response is: "Don't think about it too hard."
    • Trent in "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" is in love with Rebecca and even uses many of her own mannerisms (like saying "So weird, right?" and trying to ingratiate himself with her, even having his own letter he wrote to her), but she's having none of it and kicks him out at the end of the episode.
    • The aim of yoga is to obtain inner peace, not to "let your mind go blank / And focus instead on how awesome / The yoga teacher is."
    • Anna takes Josh to her favourite coffee shop:
      Anna: Taylor loves this place. She brought me here with Lena, Cara, Gwynnie, Selena and Uzo. All really great girls, except Uzo is a little bit of a name-dropper.
    • The final Couch Gag of season four has the hairstylist working on Other Rebecca's hair, when the real Rebecca walks up and says, "See? Perfection is an illusion!", before talking to her own hairstylist.
  • "I Am" Song: All four theme songs reflect who Rebecca is at the time. In Season 1, she sings about who she is and why she came to West Covina; Season 2 has her sing about who she is as a lover; and Season 3 has her sing about her craziness. However, Season 4 is simply about her as a human being and not an archetype.
  • "I Am Great!" Song:
    • Played straight with Valencia's "I'm So Good At Yoga".
    • Parodied with "I'm a Good Person", in which Rebecca sings about how good of a person she is while forcing everyone around her at knifepoint to dance along.
    • Inverted with "You Stupid Bitch", an in-concert power ballad where she repeatedly insults herself.
  • I Am Spartacus: When Nathaniel replaces all the candy in the office kitchen with healthy snacks, and Darryl puts the candy back again, Nathaniel challenges Darryl to admit the truth. Paula and the other employees invoke this instead.
  • Identical Grandson: In "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!" the show opens with a flashback to Rebecca's ancestors traveling from Europe to America via boat. Said ancestors look exactly like Rebecca and her mother.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Each episode has "Josh" in the title somewhere. This is justified, as Rebecca bases nearly all her decisions on Josh's actions, so it's only natural that the episode titles would be patterned after him. Later subverted after Rebecca comes to the conclusion (for real this time) that her problems were never really about Josh — it's no longer the case from the middle of season 3 afterwards. The last episode to follow this pattern is titled "Josh is Irrelevant". However, it's soon followed by a similar pattern, this time with Nathaniel though.
    • With the exception of "Why is Josh in a Bad Mood?", Season One's episode titles end in an exclamation point.
    • All of Season Two's listed titles end in a question mark.
    • In season 4, episodes use "I" in their titles instead of another person's name.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • In the episode Josh Has No Idea Where I Am! Rebecca spends the entirety of a transcontinental flight reflecting on her life and how she ended up where she was. She eventually realizes that her feelings for Josh are just a halo effect. Josh reminds her of that summer at camp, and the reason why she was so happy back then is because it was the only time in her life when she stepped off the career path her mother set out for her and did things that she really enjoyed, including working on the camp musical. However instead of quitting her job and joining the community theater or something like that, she takes away from this that she isn't in love with Josh, so should date Greg instead. Even her dream therapist looks disappointed.
    • In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?", Rebecca starts to realize that being with Josh hasn't fixed any of her problems, and Dr. Akopian (the real one this time) is on the verge of helping her understand that her problems come from herself, not other people. Then Josh comes in and proposes, thoroughly distracting Rebecca and prompting her to run off in the middle of yet another therapy session.
  • Imagine Spot: The songs serve as these to whoever happens to be singing them.
  • Implausible Deniability: Rebecca resorts to this after Josh reminds her that she hates football.
    Rebecca: I don't hate football! I, I get why it's fun, it just... kind of propagates the ideology of physical dominance and the economic subjugation of the working poor. Plus the concussions. It should be illegal. LOL. [tinkling laugh]
  • Incoming Ham: Not the first time we see Tovah Feldshuh as Rebecca's mom in the show, but her introduction to West Covina is "Where's the Bathroom?", a klezmer Patter Song.
  • Insult Backfire: When Nathaniel berates his employees' work at the office by comparing them to universities:
    Nathaniel: I need Ivy League work here. [holds up file] This is Arizona State.
    Jim: Go Sun Devils!
  • Intercourse with You:
  • Internet Stalking: When Josh's ex-girlfriends Rebecca and Valencia learn that Josh is dating a girl named Anna, they fall into a rabbit hole of stalking Anna on the internet in hopes of learning everything they can about her. This is depicted in the song "Research Me Obsessively", where Anna's online images come to life and seemingly taunt the two. The lyrics go from light social media scouring to posing as a high school friend to gain access to her private social media to paying someone on the internet to do a background check.
    "Research me obsessively, uh huh!
    Find out everything you can about me
    You know you want to
    dig for me relentlessly, uh-huh!
    Using every available
    search tool and all forms
    of social media!"
  • Intimate Healing: Rebecca tends to over-rely on this, even when it's rather inappropriate, such as with her boss or her even her friend's dad. She gets better in season 4, where when she feels bad she instead prefers to.. amuse herself with gay porn.
  • Ivy League for Everyone:
    • Rebecca graduated from Harvard and Yale.
    • Marty, the big-haired grocery story employee is also a Harvard alum.
    • Nathaniel and his rebound girlfriend Mona are both Stanford grads.
  • Jerkass: Naomi Bunch. Practically everyone sentence she says to Rebecca makes you want to bitch-slap her into next year.
  • Jerkass to One:
  • Jewish American Princess: Averted with Rebecca, but perhaps played straight with her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Audra Levine. They even have a "JAP Battle," in which the concept itself is called offensive.note  The episode implies that young girls where Rebecca grew up were encouraged to act like this, and that Audra could break the cycle just like she did.
  • Jewish Mother: Rebecca's mother Naomi has been abusive and controlling for much of Rebecca's life, blaming her for her father walking out on the family, forcing her to become a lawyer, and criticizing her for attempting suicide for all the trouble it put her family through. She also happens to be Jewish. Deconstructed: Her mother deeply cares about her, but thinks she needs to be pushed to become strong for when the "Cossacks" inevitably come. When Rebecca finally stands up to Naomi, the latter is relieved and proud.
  • Job Song: In "Don't Be a Lawyer", Jim insists to AJ that being a lawyer is a thankless, gruelling job and that Crusading Lawyers have it worse because there's no money in human rights, environmental, or immigration law.
  • Just Plane Wrong: Rebecca flies from California to New York in an Airbus A380 (which hasn't been picked up by any US airline) that has the 3-3 configuration of a narrowbody plane (which the A380 famously isn't).
  • Karma Houdini: In the season 3 finale, Rebecca faces overwhelming guilt for doing all sorts of awful things and somehow always getting away with it.
  • Knight Templar: Brutally satirized in "I'm A Good Person". Rebecca sings about how she's such a good person and better than everyone else while at the same time acting like a total bitch (including not saving a man who is choking and threatening to slit another man's throat unless his wife agree's shes a good person.)

    Tropes L-P 
  • Late-Arrival Spoiler: Due to the amount of positive press coverage it's received, it's nearly impossible to go into the series without knowing that Rebecca actually is mentally ill.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During "Who's the New Guy?" the office workers of Whitefeather and Associates sing about the new boss Nathaniel, repeatedly referring to multiple elements in the show, such as its characters, episodes, seasons and ratings. The reprise in the next season does similarly, though it gives up near the end on the Bait-and-Switch.
    Rebecca: Why do you think that I'm singing this reprise? And by singing this reprise I mean, whatever, just don't think about it!
    • In "I'm Making Up For Lost Time," Rebecca remarks how she rarely goes anywhere outside West Covina, and even then only a few select locations like Home Base, her office, and Paula's house, and finds it especially how she's only ever in Paula's kitchen.If you don't get it... 
    • A mild Running Gag in "I'm Not the Person I Used to Be" has characters talk about coming to West Covina for the rest of the series...of holidays. They also refer to Valentine's Day as the finale of the series. Earlier in the episode, Rebecca also says that her returning feelings for Josh and Nathaniel is a lot like Season 2, by which she means the spring, and she discussing hearing the romantic trilling in the soundtrack in her head when these feelings emerge.
  • Leitmotif: Throughout the series, you'll hear snippets of songs accompanying certain characters:
    • The fluttering flute intro from "West Covina" for Josh
    • "Settle for Me" and "What'll It Be" for Greg
    • "Face Your Fears" and "Maybe This Dream" for Paula
    • "Women Gotta Stick Together" for Valencia
    • "Let's Have Intercourse" for Nathaniel
    • "West Covina (reprise)" and sometimes "You Stupid Bitch" for Rebecca
    • "The Moment is Me" for Heather
    • "I Have Friends" for sad moments
  • Lighter and Softer:
    • After the first 8 episodes, the show was given a full season due to great reviews. The Sadist Show elements were toned down and previously unsympathetic characters given a lot more development.
    • Season 4, while still portraying some heavy subject material, is fairly lighter than previous seasons because the characters are more mature and well-adjusted.
  • Lipstick-and-Load Montage: Parodied with The Sexy Getting Ready Song.
  • Location Song: "West Covina", the show's opening number, in which Rebecca explores West Covina, California for the first time. The tune later goes on to become a persistent motif for establishing shots.
  • Lousy Lovers Are Losers:
    • David, the husband of Rebecca's Sitcom Archnemesis Audra Levine, hooked up with her in college, and he was a really rotten lay. It's a Running Gag that every time he shows up Rebbeca mocks him for finishing quickly and having a small penis.
    • Fortunately not an issue for the three men Rebecca dates more seriously, as she lists "good in bed" on the pro side for all of them when making a pros and cons list in the last season. When a friend points this out to her, she says, "I'm very lucky." Then smugly adds, "Well, I'm an excellent teacher."
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Rebecca meets a quintet of them in "I'm Back at Camp With Josh!" They at first mock Rebecca rather ruthlessly and make her life hell, but when it becomes obvious that Rebecca has desperately low self-esteem, they feel bad for making fun of her, and step up to help her. Admittedly they give... questionable advice, but it's surprisingly nice of them.
  • Love Father, Love Son: Played for Drama. During a particularly low point Rebecca sleeps with her ex-boyfriend Greg's father, which is treated as heinous by everybody and strains her relationship with Greg when he comes back to town.
  • Love Theme: One for each man in Rebecca's life:
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The show deconstructs it; Rebecca's obsessive love for Josh and the lengths she goes to for it are manifestations of deeper mental issues. The season two opening is all about this trope, while the viewer fully knows it's full of Blatant Lies.
    Dancers: They say love makes you crazy
    Therefore you can't call her crazy
    'Cause when you call her crazy
    You're just calling her in love!
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Feeling Kinda Naughty" sounds like a Katy Perry song and starts off like one... before Rebecca starts singing about how she wants to lock Valencia in her soundproof basement and wear her skin. And use her baby teeth as a new retainer.
    • "Sex with a Stranger" starts like a traditional pop song about stepping into the club and taking a guy home... until Rebecca begins singing about how she hopes that he is not a murderer and won't harvest her kidneys.
    • "You Stupid Bitch" is a Whitney Houston-like ballad, but all about self-loathing and self-hatred.
    • "The Miracle of Birth" is a gentle folk song all about the horrifying aspects of giving birth. Paula intends it to be reassuring.
    • "I Wanna Be a Child Star" is an upbeat pop number about fame corrupting you very young and the tragic life a Former Child Star inevitably lives.
    • "Rush To Be A Bride" Just before her wedding, Rebecca and Paula celebrate by singing.. a decidedly unromantic, out of place, death metal themed song.
    • Greg's Drinking Song is a traditional cheery drinking song but it's about a serious alcoholic. His description starts with him peeing his pants and escalates rapidly to insulting his boss, stealing his cousin's truck, driving it, puking on his cat, having sex with a bush and trying to get into the cockpit to fly a plane.
  • Magical Negro: Parodied with the "Dream Ghosts", who give sage advice, wear big hairdos, and sing 60's style R&B for low pay and sub-par dental coverage. One of them is white, but she's played by Ricki Lake in a Shout-Out to Hairspray.
  • Makeover Montage:
    • In "I'm Going Back to Camp With Josh!" Rebecca gets a makeover from the girls at camp... all set to the song "Put Yourself First."
    • Later in season 2, she gets another one to the appropriately titled song "Makey Makeover".
  • Male Gaze:
    • Is there a reason that Rebecca's intro in "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!" was looking down her shirt as she's bent over putting her shoes on? Yes. The answer is the eye-candy.
    • It's also referenced in "Put Yourself First": the creepy cameraman taking photos of the girls is wearing a shirt with the phrase on it, just in case you weren't sure what he was supposed to represent.
    • Mentioned by name in the song "Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too" when Nathaniel and White Josh mention "Don't objectify us with your male and female gaze!"
  • Malicious Misnaming: Paula always calls Valencia by the wrong name. Also, Paula gets called Pamela by some Jerkass lawyers in the office.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: In season three, there's a few early mentions that Darryl wants a baby. By the last episode, Rebecca has donated an egg, Heather is the surrogate, Paula sings a beautiful, horrifying song about giving birth, and it ends up consuming a lot more character energy than Rebecca's diagnosis or recovery. There is even a time skip devoted almost exclusively to gestation, during which Rebecca apparently just repeats her mistakes and makes no progress in dealing with her disorder.
  • Maybe Ever After: Rebecca ends the series choosing to stay single and work on herself rather than focusing on romance, but the door is still left open for her to possibly end up with one of her three love interests in the future once she's ready for a relationship.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Outright discussed during the song "Dream Ghost", regarding whether the ladies are actual spiritual guides or merely hallucinations. This would also call to question how Rebecca could have a flashback about an event that she presumably wasn't there for.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • After Rebecca has lost the water supply case and Audra is lording it over her, she tells Audra that it's important to be happy. Audra tells her that she is happy, and that "This is what happy feels like," echoing Rebecca's line to herself in episode 1 when her firm offered her a promotion and she had a panic attack.
    • Greg and Darryl each describe Jayma's wedding the same way, but to Greg it's evidence of how absurd the wedding is, whereas to Darryl it's evidence of how wonderful the wedding is.
      Greg: A chain hotel with vaguely French decor, and Italian food is being served tapas-style while a Filipino girl is marrying a Jewish guy, all with a lightly Arabian Nights-style wedding. What was this Pinterest board called: "Ironic juxtaposition"?
      Darryl: A chain hotel with French decor and Italian food served tapas-style while a Filipino girl marries a Jewish guy in a lightly Arabian Nights-style wedding. It is so romantic.
    • In Season 4's episode "I'm on my Own Path", Rebecca's panic attack about returning to work exactly mirrors the one she had when she was offered a promotion back in New York.
  • Medium Awareness: "Where is Josh's Friend?" has Rebecca observing during the big musical number that said number blew their whole production budget for the episode.
  • Melancholy Musical Number: Parodied with "Sexy French Depression". Rebecca sadly sings about her depression and envisions her depression being French after watching a French movie on TV.
    Rebecca: Man... the French really know how to make depression look sexy.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Played with. Although the show acknowledges Rebecca's mental illness, it's played for comedy at first, as it fuels her obsession for Josh and thus the show's wacky hijinks. It takes a more serious turn in season 3, where a suicide attempt drives her to get rediagnosed. Meanwhile, other disorders (such as Karen's "manic episodes"), are still played for laughs.
  • Missing Mom: Deconstructed with Greg's mom: she left him and his dad and married someone else. However, she wanted to take Greg with her, but he was determined to stay with his dad. Greg realizes just how shitty he is treating his mom because of his own decision and decides to be nicer to her.
  • Mixed Ancestry is Attractive: In the first season, when Rebecca (a white Jewish woman) is infatuated with Josh (a Filipino man), she makes multiple comments about googling cute mixed-race babies. In "I'm Back at Camp With Josh!" she says they're much cuter than the "plain" ones, and in "Josh and I Work on a Case!" Rebecca and Paula look up mixed-race babies and fawn over them.
    Paula: Oh, I just love mixed race babies...I don't know. I still think Jewish and Filipino is the best mix.
    Rebecca: All right, Paula, come on, we got to get back to work...I mean, Nigerian and Greek is a close second.
    Paula: Oh, God, that's a beautiful baby.
  • Money Dumb: Rebecca is hinted to be one through the early episodes, wasting money without thinking about it, then it's confirmed in the Broke Episode of the first season. She was earning so much money in her previous job she never had to worry about managing it, and when she accepted a job with a much lesser pay, she soon went broke.
  • Motifs: Pretzels tend to show up as a symbol of West Covina in general and of Rebecca's hopes of becoming a happier and more complete person there in particular. Parodied in season four, when it turns out that the pretzels aren't happy about it.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Okay, Rebecca and Paula are admittedly breaking and entering Peggy Rose's pie shop, but Rebecca can't help turning it into something out of Mission Impossible. Lampshaded by Paula:
    Rebecca: [in front of the fridge; dramatically] I don't know, what if it's booby-trapped?
    Paula: Just open the door, Tom Cruise.
  • The Musical: A pretty rare example of this in a live-action television series. Almost every episode has a couple of musical numbers, usually with comic and/or obscene lyrics and staging that lampoon musical tropes while at the same time playing those tropes pretty much straight.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Subscribes to the All in their Heads hypothesis; where the musical numbers mostly exist in the characters' imaginations. Some, like "Once Indescribable Instant" from the season one finale note  and the Elliot Ellison songs in "I'm Finding My Bliss", are Diegetic. By the series finale, however, Rebecca is working on bringing the songs in her head into real life.
  • New Old Flame: The entire plot is fueled by Rebecca invoking this trope. After randomly bumping into her ex Josh in New York, Rebecca convinces herself that their time together was one of the best of her life, and moves to West Covina mostly to make him fall in love with her. Her success is decidedly mixed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Rebecca helps Josh with his job application for a tech store, but as a result Josh comes off as overqualified and is rejected.
  • No Bisexuals: Averted on every possible level. Darryl's coming out as bi is a multi-episode arc with a triumphant musical number. Maya mentions that she's bisexual casually, in passing. Outside of a brief mention that she's sexually fluid in season 4, Valencia's sexuality is never really addressed at all as we just see her dating Beth after the third season Time Skip. Additionally, both Rebecca and Heather, despite only dating men, make references to having some attraction to women.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Rebecca calls over Josh to hit on him under the pretense of needing help with her garbage disposal. She makes no mind of White Josh, who not only fixes the disposal, but is having a highly Fanservice-y Shirtless Scene as well.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Most of the benevolent things Rebecca does serve to get her closer to Josh and/or keep up a front of being more well-adjusted than she actually is. She does genuinely end up helping people but has to be reminded of her priorities.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Greg's dad's idea of a tasty snack is a glass of bourbon, a cigarette and a few slices of lardo.note  Lampshaded by Greg:
    Greg: Dad, what is this, a heart attack buffet?
  • N-Word Privileges:
    • In one episode Rebecca refers to herself as a "Jewess". It's hard to imagine any gentile character other than a Politically Incorrect Villain calling her that.
    • In "JAP Battle (Reprise)" she points out that while "Jewish American Princess" is a term that enforces many negative stereotypes about Jews and women, they're also in the process of reclaiming it.
  • Obsession Song: "Feeling Kinda Naughty" turns into one about how Rebecca is obsessed with Valencia.
  • Ode to Apathy: The show parodies these with "I Could If I Wanted To", a slacker rock song in which Greg insists that he could totally be successful at a variety of different things if he actaully tried, but those things are all dumb and caring about them is stupid. However, it's very clear that he's just feeling insecure about getting a bad grade at college and that his deliberately apathetic persona just makes him look like a conceited, superior jerk.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • In "I Never Want To See Josh Again". Naomi steals Rebecca's laptop and starts snooping around on it with an impish smile, hoping to get some dirt she can lord over her daughter later. Instead, she finds out Rebecca was researching the least painful methods of suicide. The terror on her face makes it painfully clear this isn't a joke.
    • When Josh and Rebecca finally connect romantically at the end of season 1, an incredibly happy Rebecca confesses to him that she moved to West Covina just for him, telling him that she knew he was the solution to all of her problems. Josh is, understandably, not quite thrilled, as he is realizing that while he does love her, such behavior is very disturbing.
    • This is Rebecca's initial reaction when Trent tells her that she took his virginity. She shrugs it off quickly though, and they are at it again shortly after that.
    • Rebecca when she wakes up in bed with Greg's dad.
    • Rebecca in "I Will Help You" when she realizes she's falling back in love with both Josh and Nathaniel.
  • One-Steve Limit:
    • There's Josh, and then there's White Josh, who is called that because he looks like a white version of Josh. (Oh, and his name also happens to be Josh.)
    • Father Brah's real name is Joseph, same as Josh's father. However, the former is Only Known By His Nickname.
  • Only Sane Man: Played with. A character may think and act like they're the only sane man, but are eventually revealed to be Not So Above It All.
    • Greg often plays this role, commenting on the bizarre behavior of everyone around him, especially Rebecca. When he's around the rest of the cast, his flaws and insecurities become more apparent.
    • Paula is this to Daryl and the other lawyers at Whitefeather & Associates, as she's the levelheaded voice of reason trying to keep things running smoothly. Less so whenever she enables Rebecca's bad decision-making.
    • Nathaniel thinks he's this to the office and often complains that he's Surrounded by Idiots, but gets caught up in the drama just as much as his co-workers.
    • Heather is a straight example, serving as the voice of reason to Greg and Rebecca. While an extreme Deadpan Snarker, she's not afraid to call it like it is and generally later emerges as one of the most sane and sensible of the main cast.
    • White Josh is generally a friendly, mature sensible and caring guy, but he also isn't the slightest bit afraid to call out even his closest friends when they're in the wrong. He is guaranteed to serve as the voice of reason to anyone he is sharing a scene with. He's the one to make sure that his friends get home safe when they're drunk and that the aftermath from parties gets cleaned up. He's also one of the few people to figure out that Josh and Rebecca probably shouldn't be dating anyone, much less each other.
    • Cornelia, the lawyer who replaces Rebecca at the firm in season 3, is completely immune to all the insanity surrounding her. She doesn't even last the episode before everyone else's craziness pushes her to quit the firm.
    • Father Brah, who frequently gives Josh sound and reasonable advice regarding his personal life and relationships.
  • Overly-Long Gag: A short one, but the last shot of the season two opening credits stays On Rebecca's face (and her vacuous expression) long enough to make an actual human face start feeling creepy...
  • Painting the Medium: the show's Musical World Hypotheses remains uncommented on until the Season 2 finale, when it's finally explained as a Wham Episode: It's an "All In Their Heads" Hypothesis stemming from the fact that Rebecca is mentally ill, suffering from an as-then-undiagnosed case of borderline personality disorder.
  • Parental Love Song:
  • Parents as People: Paula. She may get wrapped up with Rebecca's shenanigans to the point of not giving time to her kids, but she visibly cares about them and stands up for her younger son when the school threatens to forcibly transfer him.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Face Your Fears" from Paula to Rebecca. It goes off the rails, though, when she starts singing about running with scissors and jumping out of buildings.
  • Pet the Dog: Rebecca has some pretty huge examples:
    • When Nathaniel first takes over, he threatens to fire some people just because he doesn't want to pay them. Rebecca pulls out all the stops to sue a cemetery for burying multiple people in the same grave in order to get more money for the company so they won't fire people. She succeeds and her friends all keep their jobs.
    • She agrees to donate an egg to Darryl after the previous donor bails. This unfortunately turns out to also be a case of No Good Deed Goes Unpunished as she has to take a bunch of hormones for the process which make her act crazy again
    • in season 4 she ends up in jail and at first wants to stay there as she feels she deserves to be there. Even after the case is dropped and she's declared innocent she is reluctant to leave. Valencia points out that her being in jail doesn't really help anyone Rebecca eventually leaves the prison and starts actually helping by providing free legal advice to the inmates
  • Plane Awful Flight: Rebecca's flight back to West Covina after her stay with her mother in New York is absolutely miserable, culminating in a suicide attempt. Admittedly that mostly stems from her rock bottom mood even before she steps on the plane, but Word of God is that they set the scene there because being on a plane is already depressing and uncomfortable enough under normal circumstances, let alone these extreme ones.
  • Playing Catch with the Old Man: Discussed trope in the episode "I Can Work With You" with the Rat Pack-style number "Sports Analogies". Josh and Nathaniel sing about a bunch of sports metaphors, including "you'll pitch and I'll catch", before eventually admitting these are all to cope with their troubled relationships with their fathers.
  • Pop-Up Texting: Commonly used when characters are texting each other.
  • The Power of Friendship: Despite all the awful things she does, Rebecca's friends never give up on her, mainly because they realize fully well she isn't dealing with a full deck. In season 3, she even tries to commit suicide due to figuring she's screwed up too bad and her friends must all hate her now she fails, and her friends come to comfort her in the hospital.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • At the end of the explicit version of "I'm a Good Person," Rebecca sings "Fuck you!" at Greg (although the explicit version also has her call people "fuckwads").
    • When confronting Valencia for posting a picture of herself in Jayma's wedding dress, Josh's cousin Ruby, whom Valencia pointed out almost never says anything, storms in and calls her a bitch.
    • One at the climax of "This Session is Going To Be Different" as well, perfectly encapsulating Dr. Akopian's clashing hope and frustration:
    It's gonna be different
    I can help her be different
    Sweet Jesus, it has to be different
    'Cause if it's not...
    I fuckin' quiiiiiiit!
  • Previously Overlooked Paramour: Deconstructed. Greg is set up for exactly this role, being less attractive and more cynical than Josh, but more grounded, smarter, and compatible with Rebecca. She explicitly notes that it's like the point in a movie where she realizes she's been chasing the wrong guy. But both of them have serious personal issues that they haven't resolved, which end up making a healthy relationship impossible. Eventually, once they've worked on their individual issues, the possibility of a relationship is left open, but never treated as inevitable.
  • Prisoner Performance: In the season four premiere, "I Want to Be Here", Rebecca goes to prison and organizes a theater class for her fellow prisoners. She's the only one who's really into it, and cares more about her class than getting out of jail. She tries to craft an original performance based on her fellow prisoners' stories a la Chicago, but everybody else's reason for being in jail is incredibly sad.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Implied from the title, but played with. Rebecca may be pretty fixated on Josh, but latching onto him is just a symptom of much deeper problems that go back pretty far. She is crazy, and she is Josh's ex-girlfriend, but she doesn't fit this trope because the latter is not the cause of her being the former. While she tries to fully embrace the trope early in season 3, Rebecca eventually realizes she can't go through with it.
  • Punctuation Changes the Meaning: One episode was about a nightclub either called Spider's or Spiders. Their advertising wasn't consistent with the apostrophe use, causing Rebecca to wonder if it's a spider-infested club or a club owned by a spider. The sign in front of the club says Spider's.

    Tropes Q-U 
  • Queer Colors: Darryl sings "Gettin' Bi", a song about his bisexuality and dispelling negative bisexual stereotypes. It is sung on a stage with the bi flag as a background and pink, purple, and blue lighting to fit. To a lesser extent, the lighting also associates it with the '80s, as the song is a Musical Pastiche of Huey Lewis and the News.
  • Questioning Title?: First-season episode "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?" and every episode in Season 2 has a title that ends with a question mark.
  • The Quiet One: Josh's cousin Ruby is pretty much mute.
  • Reference Overdosed: While the jokes themselves are rather light on Shout Outs, almost all songs are Pastiches, In the Style of or even outright Affectionate Parody of albums, songs, musical tropes and genres. To completely understand the jokes behind the songs, someone needs to listen to a lot of music and watch many musicals.
  • Relationship Revolving Door: Rebecca's individual relationships with Josh, Greg, and Nathaniel. They break up, but then feelings will eventually spark again, culminating in how they all ask her to choose between them in the last episodes.
  • Running Gag:
    • There is a running joke where a man will say, "I left my wife for a prostitute!" as the reason for his recent behavior. And then in "Josh and I Work on a Case!" The Tag at the end of several window washers exchanging gossip reveals that there's a prostitute going around breaking up marriages.
    • West Covina being 2 hours from the beach; 4 in traffic. In a Brick Joke when the gang goes to the beach they immediately hit traffic.
    • "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" has a running gag in which several characters ask why Paula is wearing Rebecca's bathrobe.
    • (Almost) every street address or business mentioned in the show is located "on East Cameron". Lampshaded in the second-season premiere when Rebecca learns Greg has been going to regular meetings at an address on East Cameron.
      Rebecca: What's on East Cameron?
      Paula: Literally everything.
    • A mini-version in "When Do I Get To Spend More Time with Josh?": Nathaniel continually mistakes Josh (or pretends to mistake Josh) for the guy that changes the water cooler. It then spreads to the rest of the office.
    Maya: Excuse me, sir. Before you go, would you mind changing the water cooler?
    Josh: [cheerfully] Mind? Nah. Love this stuff.
    Maya: Thank you.
    Rebecca: He's not... [Josh tosses the empty bottle on the floor and inserts the new one] ...Never mind.
    • The Truly Butter commercials and ads. Subsequently, Rebecca actually taking advice from them. Just as a fun fact, the flight stewardess in 3.05 is the woman who voices the butter commercials.
    • Valencia visually "playing" instruments during her solo songs, but clearly... not. Just take a look for yourself in "Women Gotta Stick Together" and "My Movement".
    • In a season 2 episode, Rebecca and Josh update their social media to announce their status as dating. Through the episode, people mention that they have announced their couple status even in social media and sites that shouldn't even have that possibility, including Wazenote , OpenTablenote  and Moviefonenote .
    • Whenever any character refers to the seminary as "Priest school", another character will mishear it as "pre-school". Exaggerated when Father Brah calls it that in Season 4, and everyone else in the room simultaneously mishears it that way.
  • Satire/Parody/Pastiche: A lot of the songs of the show are pastiches of popular artists. They have all been listed on the Shout Out page.
  • Scatting: Calvin Young, when he takes Paula to a jazz club, starts scatting along to the music.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • This is how Rebecca's disorder most prominently manifests. She constantly denies that she moved to West Covina to date Josh or that she even wants to date Josh, before running across town to "spontaneously" bump into him at a location he checked into on Facebook. As shown in the song "I Have Friends", she has been this way since at least Middle School.
    • Josh has a happy-go-lucky laid-back image he really wants to maintain. He's willing to overlook Rebecca's zany behavior and Valencia's put downs to maintain it.
  • Serious Business:
    • Subverted in "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?". Rebecca tries making the Pie Contest Serious Business in order to give herself and Paula something new to base their friendship on, but it's clearly not that important to any of them.
    • Played straight in "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!" In the midst of a serious court case, all it takes is Paula showing everyone the titular text and suddenly it's the most important thing in the world, to the point where the judge presiding over the case offers to get Rebecca a police escort to help her break into Josh's place to delete the message from his phone.
    • In "When Will Josh See How Cool I Am?", donuts are this for the biker guys in Greg's AA meeting.
  • Sexual Karma: The only characters in the series mentioned to be bad in bed are Tim and Audra Levine's husband, and even the former manages to improve it after a quick attitude adjustment. All other characters have mutually satisfying sex and are at least redeemable. Lampshaded in season four, where Rebecca admits that she's been weirdly lucky in only dating guys who are great in the sack.
  • Shallow News Site Satire: "I Want to be Here" introduces a site called QuimblePop which has various quizzes and listicles, as well as schlocky original shows like Terrier Chef. Josh uses the site's quizzes to diagnose himself with various mental disorders, despite Hector telling him it's not exactly a reliable source, complaining about the result he got on one of their "Which Sex and the City Character Are You?" quizzes. In a later episode, Rebecca prepares for a babysitting job by printing out a Quimble Pop listicle on 37 ways to calm a baby.
  • Silent Credits: At the end of "I Never Want To See Josh Again." Which wraps up with Rebecca Driven to Suicide on a flight to Los Angeles. It is not played for comedy at all.
  • The Singing Mute: Mrs. Hernandez is The Silent Bob for the first season, never saying a word, though people around her do react like she's said something. The show is a musical and she does participate in some songs... but her solos are still silent and she's given subtitles so it is the only time the audience can hear her "talk."
  • Slapstick:
    • In her fantasy numbers, Rebecca is often on the end of a good deal of comedic violence, from the anal waxing in "Sexy Getting Ready Song" through the various physical humiliations of "I'm So Good at Yoga" to being boinked in numerous unlikely positions in "Oh My God I Think I Like You". In "Heavy Boobs", her boobs smack another dancer in the eye and give her "permanent retinal damage" and at the end of the song, Rebecca and all the dancers are moaning in pain from all the boob-swinging they've had to do.
    • In Season 4's "I See You", Heather struggles with Nathaniel to get a mysterious envelope off him. It bursts and the contents spill all over her. They're the ashes of his late nanny.
    • In "I Need Some Balance", Rebecca is desperate to have sex with someone but she gets a yeast infection. In order to cure it she gives herself a double dose of anti-fungal cream and uses various natural remedies, but while it cures the infection, it has certain unwelcome olfactory side effects.
      Jason: Did she pan-fry some trout? Is that what it is? No, it's not a river fish. Can't put my finger on it.
      Valencia: Nor should you.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Although the series starts out as a Deconstruction of rom-com tropes, it's actually mostly positive and optimistic, at least at the outset. Then, especially from mid-season 2, the peppy veneer slowly falls apart.
  • Slow Clap: At the end of "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!," the entire group of plaintiffs from around the San Gabriel Valley give Rebecca a slow clap for trying to help them all.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Aunt Myrnanote  is this in spades in "Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!" (due to her having competed on Star Search).
  • The Snark Knight: Greg feels like an unappreciated sane person who's doing uncharacteristically bad in a backwards town. it takes Heather of all people to make him realize his standards are way too high.
  • Snooty Sports: Nathan is introduced as an antagonist in the 2nd season. He's characterized as being largely about business, snootily looking down at the small-town residents of West Covina. The one visible chink in his professional facade is the fact he's obsessed with his water polo career from his elite school, providing a double-whammy of pretentiousness.
  • El Spanish "-o": A Mexican restaurant Rebecca goes to has a dish called "El Potato Soupo".
  • Stealth Insult: "JAP Battle (Reprise)" has Audra and Rebecca rap compliments at each other, which eventually evolves into yet another competition where each girl slyly indicates that she's better at compliments. This is lampshaded within the battle itself.]
  • Suicide by Pills: Subverted at the end of "I Never Want To See Josh Again." While flying home from a disastrous visit to her mother's house, Rebecca downs a bunch of her mother's anxiety pills in an attempt to kill herself. As her consciousness fades, Rebecca hallucinates the "HELP" button above her head to read "HOPE," convincing her to press it and get a flight attendant to help her before she dies. Rebecca gets medical treatment as soon as she gets home.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    • The first song, "West Covina":
      • The lyrics, "My life's about to change, oh my gosh / Because I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with... West Covina!" In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!," this is actually called back when Josh does a reprise of "West Covina" and sings, "It's Nirvana, it's Heaven, it's Mecca / Yes, I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with...West Covina!"
      • Later in the same song, the following line happens: "Look everyone, stop giving me the shakedown / I am not having a nervous—" and she cuts herself off at the last word before saying "West Covina" again.
    • From "This is My Movement": "My movement's getting stronger / There's no containing it / I can't wait any longer / I've really really got to shhhhhhhine a light on this issue!
  • Suicide Watch: In season 3, after Rebecca tries to overdose on anti-depressants, her group of friends stay in her house for a while to give her support and make sure that she is okay.
  • Surfer Dude: Josh, White Josh, Father Brah, and their friends. None are shown surfing, but the cultural indicators are there. Unsurprising for a work set two hours from the California coast (four in traffic).
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: A staple trope of the show, in spite of the amount of surreal Imagine Spots and musical numbers. One of the core themes of the story is Rebecca's initial inability to process that her actions have consequences, although they always catch up with her anyway.
    • In season one, it was a Running Gag that Rebecca would spend egregious amounts of money without a second thought. Then, in "Josh Goes to Hawaii", her careless with money catches up to her when it turns out she is now broke. It seems that her New York job would pay her so much, she never had to worry about savings, but not gaining nearly as much and spending frenetically caused her to go broke.
    • Rebecca and Josh's entire story arc throughout season 2. When they get together at the end of season 1, their relationship becomes sexual, but is still one-sided after Josh catches on that Rebecca was always obsessed with him and it does not in fact turn into the fairy tale she hoped. Even when they begin a real relationship that leads to an engagement in the second half of the season, Josh doesn't go through with the rash decision.
    • Season three starts out as a comedic revenge fantasy. Then comes the episode "Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy" to remind audiences that revenge is never funny or healthy in any way.
    • Season four opens with Rebecca in prison, where she asks her fellow inmates to explain why they're there, in a musical number that's a very obvious send-up of the Cell Block Tango from Chicago. In the spirit of the number, she eagerly expects their stories to be funny and scandalous; then she's met with the realization that the real reasons people go to jail are almost always mundane or depressing.
  • The Tag: Every episode, with the exception of "My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!", has one.
  • Take That!:
    • Greg's description of his Thanksgiving:
      Greg: "It was like Pearl Harbor meets the movie Pearl Harbor."
    • To, of all things, LinkedIn, after Rebecca has slept with the hippie guacamole guy:
      Hippie Guy: So, I'll call you?
      Rebecca: That's, that's okay.
      Hippie Guy: Text?
      Rebecca: [reluctant] Uh...
      Hippie Guy: Find you on Facebook?
      Rebecca: Take a hint, dude.
      Hippie Guy: [grins] LinkedIn it is. {leaves]
      Rebecca: Ah, dude, nobody is on LinkedIn!
    • Greg thinks it's pretty obvious that after Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk is a "one-trick pony".
    • Rebecca calls Cornell "the community college of Ivy League schools".
    • Paula scores a double-hit:
      Paula: Twilight! It's only the greatest love story since Shakespeare... In Love!
    • Rebecca says that Anna's salon is so exclusive that "I heard Mary-Kate Olsen had to pretend to be Elizabeth Olsen to get in."
    • "I Need Some Balance" is full of jabs at Cats (which serves as inspiration for the musical numbers of the episode). "Stop ruining my vagina like you ruined musicals!"
  • Take That, Audience!: The season four title sequence, with the Other Rebecca who's more like what Rebecca imagines herself to be like in season one, could be seen as friendly teasing of those viewers who think that the show isn't as entertaining as it was in its first season. Especially considering that the Other Rebecca is apparently just as messed up as the real one.
  • That Came Out Wrong: The joke in "I Love My Daughter", in which Darryl, in an attempt to show how his love for his daughter is in no way inappropriate, keeps making one Accidental Innuendo after another. note 
  • Those Two Guys: Tim and Jim, a pair of guys at Whitefeather & Associates who rag on Paula.
  • Three Minutes of Writhing:
    • "The Sexy Getting Ready Song" includes this as part of a parody of contemporary R&B.
    • As does "Sex with a Stranger".
    • "Put Yourself First" did this with five high school girls and a creepy Terry Richardson lookalike furtively snapping photos of them while wearing a shirt that says "Male Gaze".
  • Through the Eyes of Madness:
    • The musical numbers are played as if they're really happening, but many are also implied to be taking place within Rebecca's head. In later episodes, other characters start singing without Rebecca being present, implying her "madness" has spread to them.
    • Season 2 hints that the reason Mrs. Hernandez is The Voiceless is because Rebecca is too absorbed in her own problems to notice that Mrs. Hernandez does, in fact, speak.
    • In Season 4, Rebecca hasn't seen Greg in so long that she (and the audience) see him as a completely different person.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Ava Acres, who plays Rebecca's younger self in flashbacks and in adult Rebecca's occasional bouts of psychosis.
  • Title Drop:
    • In "That Text Was Not Meant For Josh!" Paula and her husband Scott don't just drop the title in conversation, they drop the entire expository theme song which is then followed by the title card.
    • Season 2's theme song is dropped similarly in "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?"
    • Rebecca says "Josh is irrelevant" in the episode of the same title.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • In "My First Thanksgiving With Josh", Rebecca eats a ton of spicy food at the Chans' party and then really badly needs the bathroom; luckily, we only witness the eventual aftermath.
      Rebecca: [lying facedown on her couch] Ohhh... my butthole's the gateway to hell.
    • Greg and Rebecca share more toilet humor in the first season finale; subverted as it's used to show about how much they have come to care about each other in spite of the fact that they're trying to behave like they don't:
      Rebecca: Hey, um, so, so the rea— The reason I, I, I came over, um, uh, was I, uh, I wanted to ... [Southern accent] Tell you that I...[sniffs] ...Did you fart?
      Greg: Yeah, I did. I, uh, ate a bean burrito out of the freezer from the 90s, 'cause I don't care, and, uh, I have a candle. Do you want it? I have a triple wick. I can get it. —I don't care, though.
      Rebecca: Nah, I don't care, I mean, it's, you know, it's the body. The body makes things. So I get it.
      Greg: I'm gonna, I'm gonna get it. [goes]
      Rebecca: [nodding] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, just, cool, um... I'll probably let one rip, too, 'cause farting is hilarious. It's classic humor.
    • Season 3 has the musical number "This is My Movement", in which Valencia tries to communicate her passion for her current efforts to bring people together on social media. Unfortunately, her choice of words throughout the song make it sound like she's referring to a bowel movement instead, which Heather lampshades.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Valencia is the latter to her tomboyish business partner Beth, and by the time of "I'm In Love," they're partners in love.
  • Too Hot for TV: Certain musical numbers were filmed twice: once with clean lyrics and once with explicit ones that were too racy for the CW. The explicit versions can be found on Rachel Bloom's Youtube channel.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Rebecca starts out pretty nice, if rather odd. In season 2 and especially 3 she gets much meaner and crazier. By season 4 she is starting to get nicer, though this is due to her being diagnosed and getting treatment midway through season 4.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: After Valencia and Josh break up, and she becomes part of Rebecca's girl group, she becomes noticeably less aloof and self-involved. Though a lot of her early rudeness was colored by Rebecca's perception of her romantic rival.
    • In the episode "I See You", Nathaniel (with Heather's help), has an epiphany that he's alone and unloved because he's constantly mean, and makes a conscious decision to treat others better. Then actually follows through, with his normal level of aggressive ambition. He's obviously inexperienced (repeatedly announcing "I'm nice now!"), but he genuinely changes his behavior in positive ways.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The third season's Theme Song ends with Rebecca sitting on a toilet apparently watching said Theme Song on her phone, and then going, "What?" Though it works perfectly well as a throwaway gag, this is also a plot point: Rebecca's Plot Arc for the third season, which involves her coming to terms with—and, for that matter, acknowledging the existence of—her mental illness, ends with her watching a video of herself on her phone (a different one this time) and finally realizing what's going on.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • "Rebecca's Reprise" is one for "You Stupid Bitch", "I'm The Villain In My Own Story", "I Love My Daughter" and "We'll Never Have Problems Again"
    • A more subtle one happens in the season 3 finale. After Rebecca decides to plead guilty and go to prison, an instrumental version of "I'm a Good Person" starts playing in the background, which then continues into the credits.
    • Similar to the above example, an instrumental of "The Moment Is Me" plays when Heather walks down the aisle to marry Hector.
  • True Love Is a Kink: In "Oh my God I Think I Like You", Rebecca and Greg are Friends with Benefits, and their sex life is doing great, but Rebecca is starting to catch feelings, so as the camera shows him pushing her head down towards his waist she can't stop thinking about getting married to him on a hillside surrounded by ducks. Naturally, it's that she's far more disturbed by.
  • Truth-Telling Session: The episode "Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy" starts with one. Rebecca's friends finally learn the truth about Robert; when they confront her about it, she flies off into a spiteful rant and blurts out all the opinions she'd been holding back about them. Everyone's shocked and hurt, except Heather, who full-on admits that she's right.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Rare sympathetic example. Rebecca and Daryl offhandedly put Paula in charge of the office. She immediately puts her foot down and cracks the whip on everyone who's been annoying and bullying her the entire episode, insisting they get some of the years worth of back paperwork done. She actually finds out Tim, one of the office bullies, is in the country illegally, but draws the line at having him deported because he has kids. She settles for blackmailing him into washing her car instead.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?", Paula uses "smash your butterfly" as a euphemism for sex. Later on, after Rebecca yells out, "Do it, Greg, smash my butterfly!" in the bedroom, Greg says this:
    Greg: If you're going for obscure metaphors, I'm right there with you. I will crumble your zebra. I will sauté your giraffe. I will flambé your cockatoo.
    • Later, in the bar, when she offers to come and find him on his break, he says that she could help him to "zest the porcupine".

    Tropes V-Y 
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: "Josh's Sister Is Getting Married" has Rebecca pull out lollipops from her cleavage when she or someone else is feeling stressed. Mentioned in "Heavy Boobs" from the same episode:
    Here is a list of all of the objects
    That I can hold under my boobs:
    Stapler, 10 pencils, paperback copy of "Arabian Nights"
    Dog bowl, remote control, hard back copy of "Wuthering Heights".
  • Villain Song:
    • In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!," Rebecca has a rather meta-villain song called "I'm the Villain in My Own Story", which lampshades just how sinister the song sounds.
    • Paula's "After Everything I've done for You" song is basically her revealing all the sinister things she's done just to move the plot along.
    • "Where's the Bathroom?" serves as a good introduction song for the rather obliviously abusive Naomi. Though she learns from her mistakes later, she is undoubtedly a traumatizing figure for Rebecca.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Rebecca has one of these in "All Signs Point To Josh... Or Is It Josh's Friend?", leading her to believe that she is pregnant. She isn't. She ate an egg salad sandwich from the vending machine, and as Paula points out, "they ship those sandwiches in hot trucks from Colorado".
  • Waxing Lyrical: In "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!", when Paula and her husband talk about her dealings with Rebecca, the dialogue is basically the lyrics for the theme song (to underline the point, the scene ends with the series title card! - and the normal title sequence doesn't appear on the episode). This happens again in "Can Josh Take A Leap Of Faith" with the lyrics for the season 2 opening theme: it's a much darker turn this time, as it's her mother trying to defend her against arson charges in a flashback after she was dumped by the professor with whom she was having an affair.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Can Josh Take A Leap of Faith?" Josh leaves Rebecca at the altar to become a priest. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal that, back in college, Rebecca was having an affair with one of her professors, who happened to be married at the time. Despite his promises that he would leave his wife for Rebecca, he ended up dumping Rebecca instead, causing her to set fire to his home in revenge. She was then committed to a mental institution where she kept singing all the time. The fact that the show is a musical is symptomatic of Rebecca's undiagnosed mental disorder. Meanwhile, back in the present, Rebecca and Paula unite to ruin Josh. Hell of a way to end a season, huh?
    • "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy" and "I Never Want to See Josh Again" form a one-two Wham Episode conga line. In the former, Rebecca tears down all her friends, terrorizes Josh, and has Josh tell her he never wants to see her or he will call the cops, resulting in her lowest moment: sleeping with Greg's dad and then deciding to go back home to her mother. In the next episode, Rebecca is too depressed to do anything, so her mother secretly drugs her with anxiety medication. When Rebecca finds out about this, she leaves back to LA on a plane...and ends up downing the entire bottle of pills one by one. The episode ends with her finally asking for help from the stewardess.
    • "I'm Not the Person I Used to Be" sees Greg returning for the rest of the series (of holidays), albeit recast, and he and Rebecca try to start fresh and reconnect as friends. After they nearly fall for each other again, Rebecca drops the bomb about sleeping with his dad, which leaves Greg unsure what to think of Rebecca.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!" Rebecca is finally able to say to Paula in regards to Josh, "I love him so much." This indicates that she is less able to lie to herself.
    • In "When Will Josh And His Friend Leave Me Alone?", Paula's son Brendan's offscreen line when the doorbell rings, "Mom, I'll get it since you just had an abortion!"
    • The last two lines of season two immediately set the tone for season three.
    Rebecca: Josh Chan... must be destroyed.
    Paula: ...What did you have in mind?
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In the song "I'm the Villain in My Own Story," Rebecca sings, "Who is this song's composer? It's like ridiculously sinister. Like ridonkulously sinister."
    • In Greg's song "I Gave You a UTI", one line is "I'm so good at sex, your maidenship got wrecked", after which Rebecca is shown mouthing the word "maidenship" with a confused expression. Considering that (at least in the first season) song numbers take place in Rebecca's head, this is basically her going "wtf" at her own lyrics.
    • "The Moment is Me" consists entirely of Heather complaining about the triteness and cliches of the song she's forced to sing.
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Nipsey Hussle appears in "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," but as soon as he sees all the stuff Rebecca uses to get ready, he leaves, saying that he needs to apologize to a whole lot of "bitches." The stinger is him calling some "bitches" and apologizing to them.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: When Rebecca sleeps with Greg's dad, she leaves, horrified, while he's still asleep and never tries to contact him again. We see her deep shame about it, but don't see his reaction. Eventually subverted in the next season, when it's revealed that he considers that night to be his 'rock-bottom' moment, and immediately quit drinking and started attending AA meetings.
  • Womanchild:
    • It's implied that Rebecca hasn't matured much past her teen years.
    • Josh still acts like a break-dancing Big Man on Campus despite having few prospects and almost no ambition to succeed.
    • Hector still lives with his mom, and it's clear that, apart from the dating-like subtext, their relationship hasn't changed very much since he was a kid.
    • Heather is the The Slacker variation of this, having stayed in community college for way too long and making very few concrete life choices. It doesn't stop her from dispensing advise.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • The entire theme of the show is Rebecca thinking she's the heroine in a grand romantic story but (mostly) not grasping how she comes off, or that she's in a black dramedy musical TV series rather than a romantic comedy film.
    • Paula likes to pretend she's the sassy best friend in a campy Romantic Comedy and Rebecca is the lead. This leads to bad advice on how to get Josh and/or destroy Valencia. Or destroy Josh.
    • The second season has Rebecca thinking she and Josh are now totally in love and having a fun romance. Josh, having realized how Rebecca was stalking him in the entire first season, is now concerned he's in a horror story stuck with an insane woman.
    • The third season has Rebecca embracing the horror story genre, staying with it even after being reminded that the villain usually dies at the end. When it doesn't turn well, Josh Groban sings that it is "The End of the Movie," and she leaves West Covina.
  • Yandere: For a show called "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", it would be perfectly normal for anyone not familiar with it to expect the eponymous character to be this. As it turned out, Rebecca avoids the "violent" part of the trope (well, most of the time, see below), but fits the Stalker with a Crush part to a T, and her schemes, while not nefarious, can take ridiculous proportions just so she can spend more time with Josh:
    • She threatens with physical violence a kid in order to find out about Greg's whereabouts.
    • During the Triceratops drug trip, she imagines herself as, well, a triceratops, and in her hallucination she rips Josh's heart out and feast on it in a very bloody fashion. When she wakes up, she straight up says that she wants to kill Josh. Uh-oh.
    • After taking Nathaniel's nasty comments about Josh for a whole episode, on top of being stressed over the threat of seeing people get fired if she didn't fulfill his objectives, she snaps, takes a pen and jumps on him, fully intending on stabbing him. Interestingly enough, later on she asked Josh to recreate this event as foreplay.
    • Season 2 finale gives us another example, and a quite poignant one at that: it is revealed that Rebecca actually is a bona fide Yandere. Back in law school, she was in love with her married teacher, who led her on and ultimately decided to stay with his wife, taking full advantage of her. Rebecca's reaction was to set his place ablaze. What follows is a slow downward spiral in which Rebecca is prosecuted for her actions and ends up in a mental facility in which she is on pills every day and is singing to herself. And now, she has been rejected again and left at the altar, no less. Now there is no doubt that she is, in fact, unhinged, no longer on meds, and potentially dangerous to others.
    • The start of Season 3 mostly plays these tendencies for laughs, as it turns out Rebecca's pretty bad at coming up with revenge schemes when she's actually trying. Until Josh finally gets around to reading the file Trent gave him and shares it with Paula, causing Rebecca to feel like everyone has turned on her. At that point, she goes completely off the rails and starts stalking Josh like the villain in a slasher movie.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" is this, only without the Christmas. Dr. Akopian serves as Rebecca's "dream ghost."


Research Me Obsessively

Rebecca and Valencia go to some deep lengths to find out more about their ex's new girlfriend.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (1 votes)

Example of:

Main / InternetStalking

Media sources: