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Love Deconstructed: The Brilliance of “Crazy Ex Girlfriend”

In 2016, Rachel Bloom and her writing and producing partner, Aline Brosh McKenna birthed the singular greatest tv series in the history of humankind, “Crazy Ex Girlfriend.” The series merges melodrama, dark comedy, and cultural satire. It centers around Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer who relocates to California for Josh Chan, an ex boyfriend she met at camp at fifteen. With the help of her co-worker and partner in crime, Paula Proctor, the series catalogues the perils and pitfalls on romantic love. Aside from it’s brilliantly crafted situational humor and impeccable musical numbers, this show’s destruction of the relationship between culturally constructed romantic ideal and the grisly reality of its impact on a human’s psyche makes it uniquely and beautifully heartbreaking.

In the first season, we witness Rebecca’s reunion with Josh, which culminates with them having sex in the penultimate episode. Throughout the next season, we see Rebecca go from practically unattainable highs to the fiery depths of self loathing, which are inextricable from Josh’s vague and conflicting signals that control her emotional swings. After a failed wedding, Rebecca realizes that romantic love will not fix her self hatred, her sadness, or her mental illness. The vast majority of films and tv shows center around the notion that a romantic partner will fix deep rooted personal issues while also valorizing the plight of romantic suffering. As someone who has taken many nightly bike rides while crying and listening to The Smiths, I can certainly attest to the strangely satisfying pain that comes with the unerring pulls of unrequited or complicated love.

One of my all time favorite songs in “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” is “Love Kernels.” Never in my life, have I felt so personally victimized by a song. It personally resonates with anyone who has dealt with the crazy, melodramatic rollercoaster that is romantic yearning. This brilliant desert themed number satirizes the strange joy of being slowly starved in a pit of sad romantic frustration.

One thing that “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” does very brilliantly is take the culturally constructed ideals of romantic love and our obsession with them, and then brilliantly satirize them and call attention to their absurdity (“Love Kernels” is a good example). The reality of idealizing a relationship, valorizing romantic suffering, and thinking that a single person can fix someone’s mental health issues is really quite harrowing. 

As someone who tends to be both romantic and self destructive, this idea was very revolutionary for me and it made me question what life would be like without our society’s obsession with love as the ultimate cure? As brilliantly grotesque and wonderful as relationships are, in the end all one really needs is themselves and their own strength, along with a healthy dose of self deprecating humor. This is exactly what “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” provides.

Professional rodent. https://twitter.com/therecklessfish
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