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Crazy Ex Girlfriend is leaving our TV screens this week, with the final episode of its fourth season dropping today on Netflix.

I have a confession to make. I nearly didn’t make it through the first season of Crazy Ex Girlfriend. There was a bit of a lag, especially during the phase with Josh’s job at the Aloha Tech Centre. it felt a little too sitcom-y. But I’m glad I stuck it out.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend is definitely one of those shows that takes more than one season to really come into its element (ala Parks and Rec). But it has now firmly cemented its place in my TV-loving heart. If you like musicals, and TV shows with a feminist leaning, and you haven’t watched Crazy Ex Girlfriend – where have you been??

I’ve been keeping these notes on my phone, sporadically updating them over the last couple of years. With the series coming to a close, I figured it was about time I turned those notes into a blog post about the things I like the most about Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend passes the Bechdel test with flying colours. In Rebecca’s friendship group there is not one, but many strong female characters. In a show whose main premise starts off about a relationship with a guy, it’s the female / female relationships that take centre stage and really shine. It’s a clear intentional move on the creators’ part and it’s great.

Rebecca has a waist and big boobs. JUST LIKE ME. And she looks great. I genuinely take a lot of style advise from her outfits. I love the casting of Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula for similar reasons. It is refreshing and exciting to see not one standardised version of the female body on Crazy Ex Girlfriend, but multiple representations of women. #paulaproctorforever

Period sex.

When Nathaniel, the mean but sexy boss that Rebecca is ‘supposed’ to become obsessed, with gets obsessed with her instead. Crazy Ex Girlfriend continually subverts the traditional narratives we are so used to seeing in the romance genre.

The songs. I’m not usually one for comedy songs but they are all truly very funny and fit really well with whatever is going on in the show. Some are just OK, then there are others that make me want to stand and do a fist pump over how downright clever and perfect they are.

A new theme tune every season. I’ve heard this described as brave and almost unheard of for a show to do. Not only does the Crazy Ex Girlfriend theme tune change to reflect where Rebecca is at emotionally at that point in the show, but it also very cleverly addresses and answers public opinion / criticism of the show too. Throughout the shows four seasons, it’s become a ‘thing’ to look forward to each new season and discover what the theme tune will be.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend got a lot of stick in the early days for belittling mental health by using the word “crazy” to describe someone foolishly perusing a love interest. But as the show progresses, so does Rebecca’s mental health struggles with some jarring portrayals of borderline personality disorder, suicidal thoughts, and the de-stigmatisation of anti-depressants. Crazy Ex Girlfriend perfectly illustrates that the situation is a lot more nuanced than that.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend is very human. Rebecca’s simultaneous idolisation and envy of Valencia in season 1 speaks to all of our innermost subconsciousness when it comes to curiosity about partner’s exes and the complexities of ‘Frenemies’ . Feeling Kinda Naughty is one of my favourite Season 1 songs for this reason.

As aware as Crazy Ex Girlfriend is about combating female generalisations, it also sheds a comic light on outdated male stereotypes. As Rebecca, Paula, Valencia, and Heather sing in the season 3 premiere: “Let’s generalise about men. let’s take one bad thing about all men, and apply it to all of them”.

Whi-Jo. In a similar vein to the above point, having “white josh” as a simple yet poignant nod to casual racism.

They changed Greg and it shouldn’t have worked, but it did, and even if it didn’t, the creators didn’t care. Original Greg AKA Satino Fontana, chose to leave Crazy Ex Girlfriend at the end of the first season. But not before cementing himself in the hearts of fans as Rebecca’s OTP. In Season four, New Greg rocks up, played by Pitch Perfect alum Skylar Astin. In a move that show writers Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna knew would be impossible to pull-off convincingly, they did it anyway with a ‘Who cares?’ shrug of the shoulders.

Fully matured in both in character development and ‘brand’, by season four, Crazy Ex Girlfriend has become an expert at playing on the qualities that the audience love. Season four includes some of my favourite episodes of Crazy Ex Girlfriend including:

An entire episode centred around vaginal thrush. And Cats the musical. What a time to be alive. And yet it manages to be the complete epitome of the Crazy Ex Girlfriend brand.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend‘s fourth season romantic comedy episode is everything. To quote Vulture’s review, ‘I’m Almost Over You’ is the episode that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been building up to for the past four years. I mentally clapped my hands with glee throughout the entire She’s All That / Devil Wears Prada / How to Lose a guy in 10 Days send up episode. Gratuitous Karaoke Moment shot right up to the top of my ‘Favourite Crazy Ex Girlfriend songs’ list in an instant. This is the episode that sums up Crazy Ex Girlfriend for me.

Nathaniel has a particularly poignant line at the end of the ‘I’m Almost Over You’ episode that reveals the inner workings of the show. Once his romantic comedy fever dream is over, he tells Rebecca,

“It was like I was trying on a persona to figure out something in my life”.

Not only is this way of life deeply ingrained into the psyche of Rebecca Bunch and the grondwork for all major plot points, it is also the impetus for the musical escapism, and the fundamental crux of Crazy Ex Girlfriend as a whole.

 

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