Nov 24, 2017

[TV] Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Season 2 Review

We initially got on board watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend because of the music. The show is pretty much what happens when you turn a musical into a long-running romantic comedy television series in a great way. But initially there wasn't much else to enjoy apart from those musical interludes as the protagonist had lot of problematic moments and everyone seemed to be enabling here.

The second season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is when things really get serious and they get down to business in terms of presenting a more realistic story. The music remains as awesome as ever but now it really feels like the show is going somewhere serious and is using its viewership as a platform for something bigger. And it's all amazing.

Don't get me wrong - this is still a comedy and the show is crazy fun (I keep using the word "crazy" that it's starting to get weird) and the music really adds a special dynamic to things. But it's the writing that really brings things home into a truly special place.

Synopsis: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a romantic musical comedy-drama television series created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna. As of the time of the writing of this blog post, the show has been confirmed for a third season.

The season begins with Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) being forced to bunk in with Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) but it's not quite the romantic union she had hoped. He's still dealing with the fact that she had confessed that she had moved to West Covina just to be with him, which is a bit much. And as much as Rebecca has hope that things are going to go well, this isn't a fairy tale romance at all.

On the other hand it feels like Greg (Santino Fontana) has been missing in action for some time now and it turns how that he's getting help for his drinking. But the most recent trigger for his drinking has in fact been Rebecca and she's probably not the person that he needs to see. On the flip side Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) is determined to get into law school and elevate herself from  being "just" a paralegal.

What I Liked: First, the music really amped up several notches with some really great pieces and a lot of diversity in terms of song styles. Personal favorites include the Marilyn Monroe style "The Math of Love Triangles" and sillier pieces like "Period Sex" and "We Tapped That Ass". Donna had an amazing moment with "Maybe This Dream" and you have the Spice Girls style empowerment song of "Friendtopia". The brilliance keeps on going and going.

And then we have the writing element I was raving about at the beginning of this post. The "crazy" in the title didn't seem all that important at first since the sitcom-style zaniness sort of overrides one wanting to think about the serious issues with Rebecca's action. This season pushes home the point that maybe there is something wrong with her and it's going to take more than a boyfriend to fix things. And the fact that this comes forward in such a well thought-out manner is what helps make it so great to watch unfold.

And I totally didn't expect to love the return of Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz) to the show together with Heather (Vella Lovell). Who could have foresee this awesomeness?

What Could Have Been Better: Greg's departure from the show was a little weird and didn't quite feel organic to the show. I don't necessarily think that he was meant to be with Rebecca, but the exit just felt wrong. It was written as well as it could have been but it was clear that it was a decision external to the narrative.

I have very mixed feelings about the relationship between Darryl (Pete Gardner) and "White Josh" (David Hull). While it's nice to have a queer relationship on the show, it's a troubling one that has good moments and then a lot of absent moments because the Rebecca crazy train is just too big for anything else to share the spotlight. And thus at times it felt like bad representation of things.

TL;DR: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend really built on the success of their first season to tell a more developed narrative in this second season. It's everything you loved about the first season and so much more. Thus the season gets a great 5 songs about just about anything out of a possible 5.

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