I thought I was super late to the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend party, but turns out the ratings say otherwise, and since the finale of season two just aired and it’s all available to watch on Netflix…
Oh my god, you need to watch Crazy Ex Girlfriend.
Crazy Ex Girlfriend is laugh out loud funny, with great characters and heaps of diversity and originality. The colors are bright, the songs are catchy, and somehow, underneath that, it’s a serious treatment of mental illness with far better representation than you usually ever see.
It’s one of those shows that’s hard to describe, beyond “no, seriously, watch it.” It’s a musical tragi-comedy about Rebecca, a high-flying New York lawyer who bumps into her summer camp boyfriend, Josh, and immediately decides to move to his small California town to try and win him back. And, despite that premise, it is one of the wittiest and most feminist shows out there right now.
I actually texted a friend in excitement when I started watching the show, because “omg there’s a character on TV right now who’s vegging out, and she’s not wearing makeup or a bra. She actually looks like she’s vegging out.” The show is dedicated to the idea that 1) women can be funny, 2) women can be multifaceted, 3) mental illness is serious, and 4) seriously, screw the patriarchy and its bullshit. Rebecca is one of those characters that you don’t necessarily always like identifying with, because she has serious issues and does very harmful things to both herself and others, but wow do you ever identify with her at times. She’s a farcical character who ends up in farcical situations, but there’s a lot of pathos for her, and even when her plotlines are over the top, the emotions behind them feel painfully real.
Meanwhile, she’s surrounded by a hugely diverse cast of characters. This past season, they even had a string of episodes that didn’t feature a single straight white male character, and I didn’t even notice until it was pointed out to me, because the cast is just incredibly diverse by default.
And the show always has the theme of mental health in the background. In the first episode, when Rebecca moves to California, she throws all of her pills away, because her mental health is totally going to be fine from now on, and the show’s treatment of this sets the tone for the rest of the series. Rebecca is in denial about her illness, but we know, and the show makes clear, that she has a lot of demons that she’s going to have to face one day. It never lets you forget that behind all of Rebecca’s chaotic and often hilarious misadventures, there is a woman in serious emotional pain, with huge mental issues that she’s desperate to avoid. And, turns out, love really doesn’t conquer all.
And then, of course, there’s the music. The show has invoked and parodied many different music styles, from Chicago to the Spice Girls, Ed Sheeran to My Way, and it presents the perfect combination of great singing, great emotion, and hilariously relatable lyrics. There are musical feminist critiques, like “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” and “Put Yourself First (In A Sexy Way)”, ‘ouch, I shouldn’t relate to this’ songs, like “I’m A Good Person” and “I Have Friends”, and genuine heartbreakers, like… well, those would be spoilers.
I seriously cannot recommend this show enough, especially in the current depressing climate. It’s so much fun and so absorbing, while also being feminist, intersectional and progressive as all hell. Like your comedies with pathos and satirical bite? Then you need to watch this.