NOTE: A spoiler for the show’s ending is in the first paragraph. Do not read if you plan to watch or are watching.
I have to credit my friend Nicole with introducing me to this show. When she edited How to be a Happy Bachelor, she mentioned the show as an example of a popular culture item that ultimately celebrates singlehood because, at the end, a not-so-single-at-heart character embraces singlehood. At first glance, it seems like brain candy, but it’s got some depth – and a good message.
To sum up the show arc, Rebecca Bunch, a wealthy New York City lawyer, moves to a town called West Covina, California in order to “be with” Josh, her old summer camp flame. Needless to say, things get complex (or, as Rebecca would say, “it’s a lot more nuanced than that”).
Her presence serves as a catalyst for just about every character in the show, including the three guys she dates: Josh, Greg, and Nathaniel. She spends much of the series hopping back-and-forth between these three dudes; finally, in the series finale, a ghost, appearing in the form of a therapist, shows her what her future would look if she ended up with either of them, and she’s not happy in any of them because as her future self tells her, “You don’t know who you are.”
After an episode in which she goes on one date each with the three guys, she decides to pursue a new love: music, which culminates in her singing and performing an original song at a Valentine’s Day open mic event. She has a speech in which she realizes that love does not have to be the end of the story, but rather a part of your story. It’s a healthy realization for her to come to, but I would also add it doesn’t even have to be that. But, at least, TV writers are attempting to make progress in this area: I guess they have to go through Calculus I to get through Calculus III.
I also loved the arcs of the supporting characters; some end up coupled and happy, others end up single and happy. Greg, who struggled with an alcohol problem in the first season, is now happily sober, happily single, and the owner of an Italian restaurant. Nathaniel, a miserable workaholic, got the strength to quit his father’s law firm and become the legal counsel for a zoo. And, when he had the monkey on his shoulder, I certainly did not say, “Hellwoooo, Chester.”
I could have done without White Josh’s (WiJo) comment to Greg during the open mic, “I will not be secure until you or Rebecca are married.” Fortunately, Greg has found enough strength to shut him down.
Did I mention that WiJo is “still single?” What’s up with that!?
My name is Craig. I'm an educator, writer, and unapologetic singleton. When not reading, writing, or teaching, I enjoy hiking, running, watching movies, going to concerts, spending time with friends, and playing with my cat/son, Chester.