With so many incredible shows available on television and streaming services alike, it can be easy for some gems to be left out of TV Guides or missed when scrolling through Netflix. One show that stands out in particular is the criminally underrated “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which stars Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, a New York lawyer who upends her life to follow her high school boyfriend, Josh, his home in West Covina, Calif. (two hours from the beach, four in traffic), where she meets a host of new coworkers, friends, and has a number of adventures pursuing Josh and ultimately, her happiness. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” title (which is satirical and intentionally disarming) can be off-putting, making it easy to pass over this incredible show, but there are a myriad of reasons to start binging “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” right away.
1. It’s a musical
Honestly, there’s nothing like a musical. Not only are they excellent ways to drive a story, create a montage and show characterization, they’re also a lot of fun for most viewers. Tragically, the use of original songs in television is something that has rarely transcended beyond children’s shows.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” however, generally features at least two original songs per episode. They include a variety of genres and are often parodies of existing songs and artists including Nicki Minaj, Beyonce, the Spice Girls, Marilyn Monroe, and Frank Sinatra. The songs are comedic, often surprisingly relatable, and can even be risque, with explicit versions available on YouTube. My personal favorite is “We Tapped That A**,” during which two of Rebecca’s sexual partners tap dance around her apartment while bragging about their intercourse with her. When trying to find a place where they can “finish,” as in, perform the finale, Rebecca begs them not to do it on her chest — a literal armoire in her living room which they begin to tap dance on top of to her protests of, “No! You’ll scratch it!” It’s a little raunchy and a lot clever — a perfect mix.
2. It’s surprisingly feminist
The title of the show and the fact that its premise includes a woman uprooting her life to follow a man can turn people off from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and while the show is largely about Rebecca’s ridiculous scheming in her pursuit of Josh, it gradually builds relationships between Rebecca and female friends, and ultimately becomes a story of sisterhood and solidarity. Rebecca even learns to be friends with Josh’s other ex and the girls learn that it’s wrong to blame one another for the faults of their shared partner.
Rebecca is also a successful lawyer, easily outshining her male boss and coworkers at the firm she works at. Her long-term rival is also a successful, driven woman, and her best friend Paula, a mother of two, finds independence and purpose outside of her duties as a mother and wife.
The show also handles topics such as abortion in an honest and refreshing way — instead of making her reproductive choices an enormous decision that would deeply affect her psyche, the character who has one treats it casually and as the best solution for her.
3. Santino Fontana — or the Prince Hans of the Southern Isles — is there
That’s right, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” managed to snag the smooth and sensual voice behind “Frozen’s” Prince Hans, and while Santino’s character, Josh’s best friend — Greg, a self-destructive bartender with a drinking problem and a cat named Bruno, is not nearly as suave as Disney’s most handsome villain. You will most definitely be “Team Greg” by the end of season one.
More similarly to Prince Hans, Greg will break your heart in the end. Regretfully, Fontana left the cast during season two to be closer with his family in New York. Although his Sinatra-style farewell to Rebecca is devastating, a season of his excellent character development, quick wit, and the opportunity to hear Prince Hans gleefully sing about giving a woman a UTI makes it all worthwhile (and don’t worry, if you have to cancel your spin class because of the UTI, he’ll totally pay the cancellation fee).
4. It’s one of the most diverse casts on television
Although main character Rebecca is a white woman, the cast features an unusual and welcoming amount of diversity for western television. Several supporting characters, including Rebecca’s primary love interest — Josh, is Filipino. His girlfriend Valencia is Mexican, and Rebecca’s neighbor Heather is of mixed black and white descent. Furthermore, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is not afraid to show interracial relationships, and has featured interracial relationships where neither partner is caucasian, something that can be especially rare in the media.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is refreshingly comfortable using people of color as major characters and not resorting to portraying them as stereotypes. The character of Josh Wilson, a conventionally attractive white man who looks similar to Josh Chan, would normally be a shoe-in for the lead position, but instead is a supporting character who is is referred to only as “White Josh” by the rest of the cast.
5. It isn’t afraid to say — or sing — the word “bisexual”
Almost every show that features characters who show interest in people of multiple genders refuse to say the simple term “bisexual”. Frequently these characters say they “don’t like labels” or are portrayed as if they are just “slutty.” Many have criticized this portrayal, particularly bisexual individuals who already deal with the stigma that bisexuality doesn’t exist and that they should “pick a side”.
The character Darryl Whitefeather, however, turns this on its head. After meeting White Josh, a gay man who shows interest in Darryl and believes that Darryl himself is gay, Darryl defends his attraction to women and ascertains that he is not gay. Later, after finding himself checking out both men and women in a yoga class, Darryl proudly comes out to his colleagues as bisexual and even sings a song called “Getting Bi” with the bisexual flag as his backdrop.
6. It’s hilarious and relatable
Although the show’s premise feels far-fetched, and while nobody who watches “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” should aspire to be Rebecca. For all of her success, she can be selfish and reckless, and the show itself is often using her actions to satirize poor behaviors — they may often find themselves surprised by the amount of jokes made on the show that remind them of small, specific moments in their own life. Rebecca’s frequent musical outbursts often reflect these instances. She sings about having a girl crush on Josh’s girlfriend, which simultaneously involves her wishing that the girlfriend was her personal trainer and wanting to wear her skin like a dress. She has a one night stand with a stranger and desperately pleas for him not to harvest her kidneys. The small, quirky behaviors of Rebecca can be almost alarmingly similar to the intrusive thoughts we all sometimes feel creeping into our brain.
7. Rachel Bloom — the star and writer — is incredible
Maybe it’s redundant to mention that the writer and star of a show already deemed amazing and hilarious is also amazing and hilarious, but Rachel Bloom is such a unique individual it can’t be left unsaid.
Bloom’s Youtube channel,“racheldoesstuff,” is full of both “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” songs and original music videos, including the Hugo-Award nominated video, “F*** Me, Ray Bradbury.” While I wouldn’t recommend watching the official “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” music videos before watching the show for the sake of avoiding spoilers, listen to a few of her videos. I would especially recommend “LadyBoss” to gain a feel for what the show is like.
8. It features a unique and believable storyline about mental health and happiness
Obviously, you shouldn’t give up your dreams to pursue the man you love. That being said, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” portrays Rebecca not as abandoning her dreams, but rather realizing that the goals she had been striving for her entire life were ultimately causing her unhappiness. Although Rebecca herself may not realize it, the show consistently becomes less about her pursuit of Josh and more about her finding friendships, joy, and herself as she creates a new life in West Covina.
Furthermore, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” does not follow the time-honored tradition on television to feature characters who exhibit all of the qualities of a certain mental illness or learning disability but refuse to name the issue. Rebecca Bunch is open and aware that she suffers from issues such as depression and anxiety and the first episode features her having a nervous breakdown and turning to her prescribed pills, which she later flushes down the sink once she arrives in West Covina. I won’t spoil anything, but Rebecca’s mental health eventually plays a much larger and more serious role in the show.
9. It’s binge-able!
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” first two seasons are currently on Netflix and the show can also be viewed for free on the CW’s app. Season three has already began, but will be airing every Friday night at 8:00pm on the CW for those who are adept enough at binging to catch-up.
With so many reasons to watch “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and plenty of access to all of its quirky, musical fun, there is no reason not to be binging it right now,and falling in love with Rebecca and West Covina. You might feel a little bad about yourself after sitting in front of a screen for a week, but it’ll be worth it.