I’ll be honest, when I first started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I did not see the appeal. I felt that the comedy show was playing into all of the stereotypes of crazy exes, female friendships and not to mention those god-awful musical numbers. But after watching the first season, mostly as background noise while doing chores, I actually found myself genuinely caring about the characters and what was happening. Don’t get me wrong, I did still speed through 90% of the songs every season though.
Premise: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Rebecca, serendipitously meets her high school love on the streets of New York as she’s experiencing burnout. He mentions that if she’s ever in West Covina (where he’s from) that they should hang out. Rebecca takes this as a divine sign from above and moves to West Covina, enmeshing herself into his life.
What I liked about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
- Portrayal of Mental Illness: At the beginning of the series, I’ll admit that I was hesitant about the way that mental illness was portrayed. Rebecca was deemed as being clingy and crazy right off the bat, which as someone who’s been called a ‘crazy’ ex before, that didn’t sit well for me. However, as the show progressed Rebecca was able to grow and not only accept her mental illness but also learn to thrive with it.
- Complexities of Relationships: We all know that relationships are hard. Sure, there are some out there that have the ideal ‘fairytale’ relationship but for most of us, that’s not the case. Rebecca hopped from suitor to suitor throughout the show, hoping to find salvation with one of them but was never able to. Each main guy, Josh, Greg and Nathaniel, all represent something different for her as do the relationships in our own lives.
- Josh was the consummate young love that was never able to develop fully – an idealized love.
- Greg was authentic, raw and even uncomfortable at times because he would call Rebecca out all while fighting his own demons- a more adult, but tragic love.
- Nathaniel accepted Rebecca, ‘crazy’ and all, while even indulging in it at times – an unhealthy, flawed love.
- Real Life Topics – I was not expecting a light hearted show to talk so openly about heavy, life altering topics like suicide, abortions, alcohol addictions, etc. Sure, a lot of shows breeze over these topics – it’s not uncommon. But the way these subjects were approached in the show were refreshing. At many times, I felt like these were conversations that I’d had before with friends or that were intimately familiar.
- Gal Pals – Rebecca forms unlikely alliances throughout the show at first to ascertain a better position in Josh’s life; but, ultimately these gal pals become her second family. Paula represents a motherly figure to Rebecca and tries guiding her through the mess that is her life. Valencia, the enemy turned best friend, is as authentic as they come. She knows Rebecca is a mess but also asks her to be a better, higher version of herself. Heather, a one-off experience, adds a level of normalcy to the group – keeping them all grounded throughout the shenanigans. Each friendship goes through a dramatic change during the course of the story – from enabling Rebecca’s behavior to holding her accountable and supporting her to be better.
- I’m a firm believer in the power of a strong girl group of friends – even though this is something I’ve struggled with maintaining in my own life.
- You Don’t Need a Man – The best moment of the entire series was when Rebecca finally realized that she didn’t need a man or relationship, to be whole. She had begun loving herself in a wholly pure way which allowed her to create her own love for herself. At the end of the day, if we’re not actively dealing with our shit, it’ll be hard to find happiness in someone else.
- Rachel f*cking Bloom – Talk about a powerhouse of a woman. Bloom, who plays Rebecca in the series, was co-creator and writer on the show. Authentically, Bloom has been diagnosed with anxiety, depression and obsessive compulsive disorders, similar to Rebecca. She also is not your typical main character/love interest – she’s curvy, short and real – something that they portray accurately throughout the show. (See hit song Heavy Boobs from season 2)
I went into this show thinking it was going to be a horrific, hack job of stereotypes but finished the series with a huge level of appreciation for Bloom and the story that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend told. If you’re looking for a fairly light-hearted show to binge through, give this a shot!