Premiered November 30, 2015.
“Man, the holidays blow when you're old. I'm not even allowed to sit on Santa's lap anymore.”
As Hanukkah approaches, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is preparing for her a holiday visit from her mother Naomi (Tovah Feldshuh). Since her mother is Jewish, Rebecca takes down all her Christmas decorations...
and replaces them with symbols of Hanukkah.
She is afraid her judgmental mother will not approve of her friends and her new life in West Covina, California. Rebecca most definitely doesn’t want Naomi to know she gave up her high-paying job in New York and moved to West Covina in romantic pursuit of Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III).
She is also hoping that her mother will give her the Garfinkel ring, a family heirloom.
Elsewhere, Josh tells his friend Greg (Santino Fontana) that he no longer enjoys the holiday season because he has too many adult responsibilities, like working double-shifts at his job.
Greg isn’t happy either, he’s dreading the annual lavish "Christmas Eve Eve" dinner at his mother Shawna’s (Mel Harris) home in Beverly Hills. He believes Shawna left him when he was a kid and has never forgiven her.
Greg later runs into (Rebecca’s neighbor) Heather (Vella Lovell), who is working as an elf at the mall. Heather says she loves big holiday gatherings and wants to attend the dinner. Greg agrees to bring Heather, so someone besides him can witness his mother’s monstrosity.
Will Naomi blow up at Rebecca and ruin their Hanukkah celebration? Can Greg make it through dinner at his mother’s house? Will Josh find a way to enjoy the holiday season?
Plus, Darryl (Pete Gardner) gets upset when he’s the only one in the office who is observing National Christmas Sweater Day!
This episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend leans into holiday anxieties and contrasts between childhood and adulthood. Rebecca desperately wants to impress her mother and is willing to go to extremes with her “level 5 Mom pleaser” tendencies.
She goes so far as to enlist her best friend Paula to pretend to be a British Jew in order to impress Naomi. In point of fact, Donna Lynn Champlin -- who plays Paula -- hits this scene out of the park! “Tea and matzo, anyone?”
Greg is dealing with familial awkwardness of a different sort and his feelings about his mom turn out to be unwarranted. Heather has to shake him out of his lack of appreciation in her inimitable deadpan fashion -- plus she gets to enjoy free food. “The whole reason I came here was because I thought you were cute and they were going to be terrible. But YOU’RE terrible and they’re cute.”
Josh grows up a bit when he learns that a group of teenage hip-hop dancers worship him as "Mr. Chan," since he danced for the same dance troupe in high school. This makes it easier for him to enjoy the holiday season.
The holiday setting provides great opportunity for songs (the show IS a musical, after all) - including Tovah Feldshuh’s klezmer inflected “Where’s The Bathroom?” and the appropriately Beach Boys-esque “California Christmastime,” which features the entire cast singing and dancing its way through the West Covina Mall.
“My Mom, Greg’s Mom, and Josh’s Sweet Dance Moves” is charming, witty and hilarious and is highly recommended as is the entire Crazy Ex-Girlfriend series.
3 and a half candy canes and 3 and a half dreidels.
J.A. Morris says:
I agree with most of what my co-blogger wrote. This is one of my favorite episodes of this great series.
One thing I appreciate about “My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!” is that I think it could work as a good introduction to the series, which isn't always the case with holiday episodes. The storylines about difficult family interactions and holidays being less fun as we age are certainly relatable to a lot of people. So this episode can be enjoyed without knowing all the backstories of the characters.
It’s also nice to see another holiday episode that includes Hanukkah and acknowledges that not everyone celebrates Christmas.
Both songs in the episode are very catchy and funny. “California Christmastime” has become one of my favorite modern Christmas songs. The closing performance of the song always makes me smile and it’s been on my holiday playlist every year since this episode aired.
And Tovah Feldshuh's performance of "Where's The Bathroom" is hilarious.
As the episode's title promises, Vincent Rodriquez III, who plays Josh, gets to show off his "sweet dance moves."
Fans of the 1980s series thirtysomething will appreciate that Greg’s mother Shawna is played by Mel Harris, who played Hope Murdoch Steadman on that series.
"My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!” is highly recommended for all fans of Christmas and Hanukkah programming and it gets my highest rating If you’re not already a fan of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, this episode will make you a fan!
J.A. Morris’ rating:
4 dreidels and 4 candy canes!