The show has always dealt with Rebecca Bunch's mental illness, but the symptoms of her now-diagnosed borderline personality disorder were never as explicit or harmful as they were in the first half of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 3, which airs its midseason finale on Dec. 8. However, now that she's on the other side of a suicide attempt and actively seeking treatment, it looks like there will be a brand new beginning for Rebecca Bunch when Crazy-Ex Girlfriend Season 3 returns on Friday, Jan. 5.
It's no mistake that every episode title of Crazy-Ex Girlfriend up until now has included Josh's name. Her camp boyfriend was the reason Rebecca moved out to West Covina, California in the pilot episode. Even when she's been focused on other aspects of her life, she's always come back to Josh and looked to him to provide some kind of answers or meaning for her life. The midseason finale of Season 3, however, is titled "Getting Over Jeff" and marks that transformation of CXG from a satire of romantic comedies to a show about a different kind of relationship — one's relationship with themselves.
According to episode promos, it's going to be Paula's romantic obsession that takes center stage in the midseason finale, Jeff being her "one that got away." With Josh fading into the background, and Rebecca placing a renewed focus on herself, Crazy-Ex Girlfriend could end up looking a lot different for the second half of Season 3.
While the show may have been seen as a satire of romantic comedies at first, over the course of two-and-a-half seasons it has transformed into one of the strongest depictions of mental illness of television. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend isn't the only comedy on television to deal with mental illness — as evidenced by shows like You're The Worst and BoJack Horseman — CXG is approaching Rebecca Bunch's mental illness from a unique perspective. There are a handful of other characters who appear of have been confirmed to be living with borderline personality disorder, yet rarely does TV show a character actively trying to heal and confront their illness in a healthy setting.
One of the most surprising things about how the show has handled Rebecca's diagnosis may be how quickly she accepted it. Rebecca Bunch has been someone who, for so long, used denial as a coping mechanism (especially when it came to Josh). But when faced with her diagnosis, she made the choice to not only accept that she had BPD, but also to commit to addressing it. Rebecca Bunch has been seeing a therapist since Season 1, but without the knowledge that she suffered from borderline personality disorder, any attempts at treatment simply didn't have a lasting effect on her.
Now, as the show continues its third season, it looks like the primary focus of Rebecca's story could be about using therapy to try and find healthy ways to live with BPD. "Healthy living" may not sound like a comedy gold mine, but neither does "suicide attempt." Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has proven that it can find an empathetic, respectful way to pull comedy out of difficult topics and there's no reason to think that will change when the show returns. While there may be fewer jokes about trying to force a relationship that isn't working, expect plenty of comedy revolving around Rebecca's shifting relationship with her friends and co-workers thanks to her new diagnosis.
For fans of the show, the most exciting thing about Season 3 may be getting to see Rebecca finally be able to find some kind of happiness outside the specter of Josh. Ever since a fateful butter ad pointed her in Josh's direction, she's been mistaking romantic relationships for happiness ever since. Now that she's focusing on finding happiness within herself, fans may finally get to see a heroine who has been caught in an increasingly debilitating cycle since Season 1 finally get better.