Boring day where you have nothing to do and just can’t find a show on Netflix to binge?
Boy do I got a fix for you, with this:
Crazy Ex Girlfriend, the musical-comedy brought to us by the CW!
Now, I’ll start out by saying something rather blunt: This show is crazy, weird, and legitimately insane. There’s no other way to say it. Rachel Bloom, the mastermind behind the show as well as the protagonist, has crafted a zany musical comedy full of great humor and a lot of heart. It has good critical reception and a growing cult following, but despite it’s quality it had some of the worst ratings of any primetime show on The CW, even having lower viewership than Jane The Virgin. I understand the show really only fills a niche, but it should have higher viewership. “Why?”, you may ask. “What makes this show worth my time.”
I’ll start off with a brief summary. Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is a brilliant New York lawyer who never got over her high school crush. She spends her days making incredible money and working very hard, but is ultimately depressed. One day she runs into said crush Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) who raves about moving to West Covina, California. Rebecca, in a crazy impulsive decisions, decides to leave her high paying job and move there as well. There she meets a cast of colorful characters that are almost as inane as her while she tries to get Josh to fall in love with her. These characters include her obsessive and techy best friend Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin), Josh’s bitchy and unpleasant girlfriend Valencia (Gabriella Ruiz), Josh’s judgemental yet loveable best friend Greg (Santino Fontana), and many more.
Yes the show gets as cringey as it sounds, and you will feel second hand embarassment.
The show embraces this though, especially as each character (either large or small) gets a hint of insanity and awkwardness. Paula is a wonderful best friend character that is obsessed with getting Rebecca her story book ending but goes to ridiculous heights, going as far as putting tracking devices on Josh’s mother. Greg is your stereotypical “too cool for school” type that gets made fun of relentlessly throughout the show and ends up being an awesome character. Josh is portrayed as so unbelievably dumb and oblivious that it’s comical that someone as intelligent as Rebecca is obsessed with him. I’d go into more characters, but those are the most important.
Perhaps the show’s best quality is its self awareness. The show never takes itself seriously at all, with relatively simple plotlines and great subtle running gags. One of the best running jokes is that Greg is a bartender, and the bar he works at is built in to a little league baseball stadium. It’s a subtle joke that’s never really brought to the forefront, which makes it all the more hilarious. In conjunction with this, the “bar crew” trope of the bartender character having a consistent cast of characters he talks to while working is played around with. His “crew” is Josh Chan and a fifth grader named Chris (Jacob Guenther.) The biggest sign of this style of humor comes in the show’s theme song, which oozes with charm as a talking sun says Rebecca is “so broken inside.” This sort of blunt humor and charisma bleeds into the rest of the songs in the show as well.
I did mention this show was a musical, right? Well, it most certainly is and it uses each well-composed song to great comedic effect. The show transverses genre and topic matter at the tip of a hat, with one episode having Greg brag about giving Rebeccas a UTI in an showtune style and another episode having an upbeat bubblegum pop song where Rebecca pathetically brags about all the friends she “totally” has. Each song is ridiculous and full of meta humor, leading to a rather enjoyable time. Perhaps the best example of the show’s humor in song is the “Sexy Getting Ready Song” where Rebecca shows the ugly truth about how girls get ready for a date. Just watch it to see the amazingness that it really is. You won’t regret it.
The thing that keeps the show together is the shocking amount of heart it has. Throughout the series characters go through legitimate developmental arcs and have tenders moments that make you care about the characters. This is vital as it keeps the show from being too dense with jokes and allows time to breath and appreciate the great caracters you are given. Perhaps the best of these comes from Greg and his father, as Greg gives up his business school money to pay his dad’s hospital bills. The dad, the typical stoic, booze drinking, cigar smoking character, tells Greg how much he loves him in an honestly touching moment. This show is not only hilarious, but it can tell a story.
This show really is just awesome. It’s funny and it’s ridiculous but has a solid emotional core. That’s really all there is too it. I reccomend adding it to your Netflix Instant Queue soon, and I hope you enjoy the binging.