Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend logo.png
Genre
Created by
Starring
Opening theme"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" performed by Rachel Bloom (season 1)
"I'm Just a Girl in Love" performed by Rachel Bloom (season 2)
"You Do/You Don't Wanna Be Crazy" performed by Rachel Bloom (season 3)
"Meet Rebecca" performed by the cast (season 4)
Ending theme"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (instrumental, season 1)
"I'm Just a Girl in Love" (instrumental, season 2)
"You Do/You Don't Wanna Be Crazy" (instrumental, season 3)
"Meet Rebecca" (instrumental, season 4)
Composer(s)
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
No. of seasons4
No. of episodes52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s)
  • Aline Brosh McKenna
  • Rachel Bloom
  • Marc Webb
  • Erin Ehrlich
  • Sarah Caplan
  • Michael Hitchcock
Producer(s)
  • Sarah Caplan
  • Rachel Specter
  • Audrey Wauchope
  • Rene Gube
Production location(s)West Covina, California
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time39–43 minutes
Production company(s)
DistributorCBS Television Distribution
Release
Original networkThe CW
Original releaseOctober 12, 2015 (2015-10-12) – present
External links
Website

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is an American romantic musical comedy-drama television series which premiered on October 12, 2015, on The CW.[7][8] The series was created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, and stars Bloom in the lead role.

On April 2, 2018, The CW renewed the series for a fourth and final season, which will contain 18 episodes.[9][10][11] It premiered on October 12, 2018.

Plot[edit]

Rebecca Bunch is a Yale- and Harvard-educated real-estate lawyer who works for a top New York City law firm. She panics when offered a partnership with the firm, and bumps into her first love from summer camp, Josh Chan, on the street. Josh tells her he could not make it in New York City and is moving back to his hometown of West Covina, California ("Just two hours from the beach, four hours in traffic"). While watching a butter spread commercial, Rebecca decides to follow Josh in search of happiness. She hops on a plane to Los Angeles, drives to West Covina, gets a job at Darryl Whitefeather's West Covina law firm, rents an apartment, and flushes all her depression and anxiety meds down the sink. She becomes friends with the firm's paralegal, Paula, and her neighbor, Heather, and begins an on-again-off-again relationship with Josh's friend Greg, all while trying to reconnect with Josh.

Cast and characters[edit]

  • Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer originally from New York City. Rebecca suffers from symptoms of depression and anxiety. She is prone to impulsive decisions and delusions. Rebecca tends to hallucinate when she's under emotional distress. Rebecca uproots her life and relocates to the suburb of West Covina, California, in an attempt to win back her crush, Josh Chan, whom she befriended in a summer camp ten years prior. Intelligent but often lacking awareness of appropriate behavior in a given situation, Rebecca comes across as socially awkward, selfish, self-centered, needy, and eccentric to those around her. In the third season, she is diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD).
  • Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan, Rebecca's object of her affection for much of the series. Josh demonstrates commitment issues in his relationship with Rebecca and is an oblivious person. Like Rebecca, Josh has a tendency to be self-centered and comes off as such to those around him. Josh has since improved as a person and had apologized to Rebecca for the mistakes he made in their relationship. He is currently on a journey of self discovery as he tries to find his path and what he wants in life.
  • Santino Fontana (seasons 1–2) and Skylar Astin (season 4)[12] as Greg Serrano, a smart but underachieving bartender and Josh's best friend, who has complicated feelings for Rebecca. He departs West Covina to attend business school at Emory University, partly as a way to get away from his destructive relationship with Rebecca, despite his feelings for her. Although he struggles with alcoholism throughout season 1, he comes to terms with his addiction in season 2. In "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy," it is revealed that Greg has a new girlfriend and is doing well. (main, seasons 1–2; also starring, season 4)
  • Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula Proctor, Rebecca's co-worker and new best friend. As a way to distract herself from her own failing marriage, Paula hatches schemes and gives questionable advice in support of Rebecca's pursuit of Josh, mostly to compensate for her lack of fulfillment from not pursuing her dreams when she was younger. She later begins to focus instead on pursuing her law degree. She and Scott have a tendency to be very neglectful parents which is a recurring gag in the show. A unique thing about Paula is that she has a wide array of gadgets at her disposal such as tracking devices that are obtained through various means legal or otherwise and her skills in tracking, spying, hacking, manipulation, blackmailing and coercion.
  • Pete Gardner as Darryl Whitefeather, Rebecca's sentimental, emotional and often clueless boss. A middle-aged divorced dad, he discovers he is bisexual and begins dating Josh Wilson. He is prone to feelings of loneliness and neediness over the fact that he originally lacked strong friendships and real personal connections with others. He later forms friendships with Maya, Nathaniel, Rebecca, and Paula, whom he considers his best friend. Darryl and White Josh are the only consistently stable romantic relationship in the show, though they eventually break up over Darryl's desire to have a baby. Despite having a good heart, Darryl is very forceful and often tries very hard to force his ideas, beliefs, and schemes onto others.
  • Vella Lovell as Heather Davis, Rebecca's "cool" college student neighbor, and later room-mate, who gives sage advice and discovers she has feelings for Greg. She lacks motivation for obtaining any form of achievement or self-sufficiency, due to the fact that her parents encouraged failure and coddled her. In season 3, Heather is forced by her college to graduate despite her wishes, and later becomes a regional manager for three Home Base bars as well as Darryl's surrogate.
  • Gabrielle Ruiz as Valencia Perez, Josh's controlling girlfriend and Rebecca's rival for Josh's affections. She initially had a strong resistance to forming relationships with women, as she saw them as competition, making her socially inept and disliked among her female peers. She feels unfulfilled and unsatisfied with her life after having devoted 15 years of her life to her relationship with Josh. A recurring gag in the show is that Valencia is believed to suffer from insecurities over her body image. It has recently been developed that Valencia is bisexual and she is now dating a woman named Beth. They are in a party planning business together. (recurring, season 1; main, seasons 2—present)
  • David Hull as Josh Wilson, Josh Chan's Caucasian friend, usually referred to as "White Josh" or "Whi-Jo", a laid-back fitness instructor. He begins dating Darryl after the latter comes out as bisexual. White Josh tends to be judgmental yet is one of the most level-headed, rational characters in his social sphere. He and Darryl break up over Darryl's desire to have a baby, but stay on friendly terms. (recurring, seasons 1–2; main, season 3; special guest star, season 4)
  • Scott Michael Foster as Nathaniel Plimpton III, a successful lawyer and Rebecca's new boss in season 2 after he buys equity in Whitefeather & Associates. He and Rebecca have a complicated relationship due to mutual dislike yet intense physical attraction to one other, and explore a relationship through part of season 3. He possesses an inferiority complex, feeling that he needs to live up to his father's expectations; he tends to become self-loathing and defeatist when he fails to do so. Nathaniel exhibits some sociopathic tendencies, evidenced in a season 3 episode by how he initially had no qualms about doing things that would be deemed by most as evil such as suggesting the murder of another character’s relative as revenge. (recurring, season 2; main, seasons 3—present)

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
118October 12, 2015 (2015-10-12)April 18, 2016 (2016-04-18)
213October 21, 2016 (2016-10-21)February 3, 2017 (2017-02-03)
313October 13, 2017 (2017-10-13)February 16, 2018 (2018-02-16)
418[11]October 12, 2018 (2018-10-12)April 19, 2019 (2019-04-19)

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The series was originally developed for Showtime, and a pilot was produced, but Showtime opted not to proceed with it on February 9, 2015.[13] The CW picked up the series on May 7, 2015, for the Fall 2015–2016 season.[14] The series has been extensively reworked for The CW, expanding the show format from a half-hour to a full hour and adjusting the content for broadcast television, as the original pilot was produced for premium cable. On October 5, 2015, shortly before the series premiere, The CW placed an order of five additional scripts.[15] On November 23, 2015, The CW ordered another five episodes,[16] raising the total for season 1 to 18.[17] On March 11, 2016, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was renewed for a second season, along with eleven other CW series.[18] The second season commenced on October 21, 2016. The second season is shown in the UK on Netflix with episodes available the Saturday after the U.S. airdate. On January 8, 2017, The CW renewed the series for a third season, which premiered on October 13, 2017.[19]

Casting[edit]

On September 30, 2014, Santino Fontana, Donna Lynne Champlin, Vincent Rodriguez III and Michael McDonald joined Rachel Bloom in the series regular cast.[20] With the move to The CW, the series went through casting changes and McDonald departed the cast.[21] Shortly afterwards, Vella Lovell and Pete Gardner were added as regulars; with Lovell in the role of Heather, Rebecca's underachieving neighbor; and Gardner replacing McDonald in the role of Darryl, Rebecca's new boss.[22]

On May 23, 2016, it was announced that Gabrielle Ruiz, who portrays Valencia, was promoted to series regular for season two.[23] In November 2016, it was announced that Santino Fontana would be departing the series, with episode four of the second season resulting as his last as a series regular.[24]

On April 5, 2017, it was announced that David Hull and Scott Michael Foster, who portray White Josh and Nathaniel respectively, were promoted to series regulars for season three.[25]

Music[edit]

Each episode contains two to four original songs. These are usually sung by Rebecca or a character with whom she is having a direct interaction, parodying the musical theater conceit of characters bursting into song at significant moments in the plot. In "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am", it is revealed that Rebecca has these musical fantasies out of passion for her love of musical theater. In later episodes, several other characters sing while Rebecca is not present.

A few of the songs on the show are shot twice, one clean version and an explicit version. The explicit versions are posted on Bloom's YouTube channel.[26]

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Original Television Soundtrack (Season 1 – Volume 1)" was released on February 19, 2016 in both explicit and clean versions. It includes all the songs from the first eight episodes of season one, alongside Bloom's a cappella rough demos of "Feeling Kinda Naughty", "I Have Friends", "Settle for Me," and "Sex with a Stranger" as well as Adam Schlesinger's demo version of "What'll It Be".[27]

"Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Original Television Soundtrack (Season 1 – Vol. 2)" was released on May 20, 2016. It includes all the songs from the last 10 episodes of season one, as well as demos of "JAP Battle", "I Could If I Wanted To", "Women Gotta Stick Together", "Group Hang", and "You Stupid Bitch".[28]

For season two, the songs were released as singles the day of their original airing. The full season two soundtrack came out on March 3, 2017. It featured every major song from season 2, as well as two deleted songs: "It's Not Difficult to Define Miss Deuche" and "Sex Toys," a solo for the recurring character Karen. It also included demos for "Santa Ana Winds", the theme song "I'm Just a Girl in Love", and "Rebecca's Reprise".[29]

All songs in season 3 were released as singles following their airing, with the exception of "The End of the Movie" by Josh Groban, which was featured in the episode, "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy". The full album was released July 20 2018 and includes a demo of “The End of the Movie” by Adam Schlesinger.

Themes[edit]

Mental illness[edit]

Arguably the most important recurring theme of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the show's portrayal of mental illness and treatment.[30][31][32][33][34][35] This aspect of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has garnered wide praise both throughout the film and television industry and within the show's own fandom.[36][37][38][39][40][41][42][43][44] Psychology Today has also acknowledged and praised this aspect of the show as well.[45]

In addition to the psychological evaluation and development of Rebecca, other major characters are similarly depicted as suffering from psychological traumas that influence their personalities and relationships.[46][47] Such characters include Valencia,[48][49][50][51] Paula,[52][53][54] Darryl,[55][56][57] Greg,[58][59] Nathaniel,[60] Scott,[53] and Heather.[61]

This has also inspired the show's fandom to engage in discussions of mental illness, specifically regarding social stigmas and treatment of said illnesses.[62][63][64][65][66]

Female sexuality and the reproductive system[edit]

Another defining feature of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is its frank portrayal of female sexuality and the reproductive system, both of which serve as sources of the show's cringe humor. In Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, both topics are largely normalized in conversation. In particular, female characters are portrayed as being sexually liberated and unashamed of their sexuality. In the episode "To Josh, with Love", characters have frank and honest discussions regarding female sexuality and clitoral stimulation.[67][68][69][70][71]

The reproductive system is given the same treatment in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Menstruation and diseases associated with female anatomy are often discussed without judgment, evidenced best by when Paula had an abortion in the second season and her friends and family focused on the emotional impact of her decision, rather than questioning or shaming it.[72][73][74][75][76][77][78][79]

Parenting[edit]

Parenting is a major theme depicted in the show, as many the personalities of several major characters are shaped by their parents' inattentive or cold, distant demeanors. In particular, Rebecca, Paula, Nathaniel, Darryl, and Greg are all affected by parents who exhibit these behaviors. Rebecca's overly critical and overbearing mother[80][81] and negligent father[82][83] has greatly impacted her sense of self and self esteem. In contrast, both Paula's[84] and Nathaniel's[85] fathers were revealed to have been emotionally abusive, resulting in both Nathaniel's inferiority complex and Paula's lack of self confidence. Greg's absentee mother[86][87] after his parents' divorce resulted in him resenting her and helped Greg develop his cynical personality.

On the opposite end of this spectrum is the way Heather's parents raised her. Heather's parents were very attentive, loving and supportive to the point they coddled her and never encouraged her to make anything of herself.[88][89] This ultimately resulted in Heather developing a lazy, aimless, unenthusiastic and somewhat apathetic personality, demonstrating the complexity of parenting.[90]

Reception[edit]

Critical reception[edit]

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has received critical acclaim, with critics praising the show's writing, musical numbers and Bloom's performance. At Metacritic, which assigns a rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the first season received an average score of 78 based on 23 reviews, which indicates "generally favorable reviews".[91] Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the first season a 97% positive rating, with an average rating of 7.67 out of 10 based on reviews from 58 critics, with the site's consensus stating: "Lively musical numbers and a refreshing, energetic lead, Rachel Bloom, make Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a charming, eccentric commentary on human relationships."[92]

The second season continued to receive acclaim, with Bloom, Fontana and Champlin earning particular praise. The season holds a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 9.0 out of 10 based on 15 reviews. The site's critical consensus reads, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend remains delightfully weird, engaging, and even more courageous and confident in its sophomore outing."[93] On Metacritic, it has a score of 86 out of 100 based on 8 reviews, indicating "universal acclaim".[94]

The acclaim continued with season 3; this season in particular was widely praised for its portrayal of mental illness. The performances of Bloom, Champlin[95] and Foster were particularly praised. The chemistry between Gardner and Hull's characters was widely praised as well. The season holds a rating of 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 9.0 out of 10 based on 22 reviews.[96]

Margaret Lyons from the New York Times chose Crazy Ex-Girlfriend as one of her picks for the best TV shows of 2017.[97] The show was also listed as one of the top shows of 2017 by numerous critics from Variety, USA Today, The A.V. Club, The Guardian, The Independent, Business Insider, Paste, The Daily Beast, NPR, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and Vulture, among others.[98][99][100][101][102][103][104][105][106][107][108][109][110] Some of the notable critics include James Poniewozik and Maureen Ryan.

Critics' year-end lists[edit]

Ratings[edit]

Season Timeslot (ET) Episodes First aired Last aired TV season Rank Avg. viewers
(millions)
18–49 rating
(average)
Date Viewers
(millions)
Date Viewers
(millions)
1 Monday 8:00 pm 18 October 12, 2015 0.90[114] April 18, 2016 0.82[115] 2015–16 195 1.03 0.4[116]
2 Friday 9:00 pm 13 October 21, 2016 0.53[117] February 3, 2017 0.58[118] 2016–17 164 0.75[119] 0.3[120]
3 Friday 8:00 pm 13 October 13, 2017 0.62[121] February 16, 2018 0.60[122] 2017–18 206 0.80 0.3[123]
4 Friday 9:00 pm 18 October 12, 2018 0.40[124] TBA TBD 2018–19 TBD TBD TBD

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Recipient(s) Result Ref
2016 68th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Choreography Kathryn Burns ("I'm So Good at Yoga", "A Boy Band Made Up of Four Joshes" and "Settle for Me") Won [125]
Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen ("Settle for Me") Nominated
Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music Rachel Bloom and Adam Schlesinger Nominated
Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series Kabir Akhtar ("Josh Just Happens to Live Here") Won
Critics' Choice Award Best Actress in a Comedy Series Rachel Bloom Won [126]
Dorian Awards Unsung TV Show of the Year Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [127]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Actress Rachel Bloom Nominated [128]
Best Breakthrough Performer of the Year Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Rachel Bloom Won [129]
Gotham Awards Breakthrough Series – Long Form Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Won [130]
HMMA Awards Outstanding Music Supervision – Television Jack Dolgen Nominated [128]
OFTA Awards Best Actress in a Comedy Series Rachel Bloom Nominated [128]
Best New Theme Song in a Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated
People's Choice Awards Favorite New TV Comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [131]
Poppy Awards Best Comedy Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [132]
Best Actress in a Comedy Rachel Bloom Nominated
Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Santino Fontana Nominated
Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Donna Lynne Champlin Nominated
TCA Awards Outstanding Achievement in Comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [133]
Outstanding New Program Nominated
Individual Achievement in Comedy Rachel Bloom Won
Young Artist Award Recurring Young Actor (13 and Under) Steele Stebbins Nominated [134]
2017 69th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Original Music And Lyrics Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgen ("We Tapped That Ass") Nominated [135]
Artios Awards Best Casting in a Television Pilot and First Season Comedy Felicia Fasano, Bernard Telsey, Tim Payne and Tara Nostramo Won [136]
Dorian Awards TV Comedy of the Year Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [128]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Comedy Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [137]
Gold Derby Awards Best Comedy Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [138]
Best Comedy Actress Rachel Bloom Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Rachel Bloom Nominated [139]
Golden Reel Awards Best Sound Editing – TV Short Form Musical Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ("When Will Josh See How Cool I Am?") Nominated [140]
Gracie Awards Comedy – TV National Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Won [141]
Actress in a Supporting Role – Comedy or Musical Donna Lynne Champlin Won
Hollywood Music in Media Awards Original Song – TV Show/Limited Series Adam Schlesinger, Rachel Bloom, and Jack Dolgen ("We Tapped That Ass") Nominated [142]
Women's Image Network Awards Outstanding Comedy Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Won [143]
2018 Eddie Awards Best Edited Comedy Series (Commercial) Kabir Akhtar and Kyla Plewes ("Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge") Nominated [144]
GLAAD Media Award Outstanding Comedy Series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Nominated [145]
TCA Awards Individual Achievement in Comedy Rachel Bloom Nominated [146]

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