Netflix rec: "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Don’t let the name deceive you: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is one the most clever shows to come out in years and is available to stream on Netflix. 

I know what you’re thinking: that title sounds awful.  Well, wait until I describe it in detail, because it’ll sound a whole lot worse: a musical television show produced by CW about a girl who uproots her life and moves to California to be with the guy she truly loves.  Is that not enough for you?  What about if I add the fact that Santino Fontana, the man who was the voice of Hans in “Frozen”, is one the main characters.  Did I mention it was a musical?  Also that awful, awful title!

All of it adds up to make a show that you don’t want to miss.

Rachel Bloom (who is also the script-writer, song-writer, choreographer, and executive producer) stars as Rebecca Bunch, a Harvard educated 20-something-year-old who uproots her very successful life as a lawyer in New York to move to West Covina, California, where the love of her life, Josh Chan (played by Vincent Rodriguez III) is now living.  However, her and Josh only had a fling at a summer-camp they attended while in school and haven’t seen each other since.  Safe to say, this leads to Rebecca getting into some awkward situations.  The entire show is based around her stalking Josh, so uncomfortable feelings are bound to follow.

The situations Rebecca gets herself into are what really makes the show the laugh-out-loud event that it is.  “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” takes cues from shows like “The Office”, where the lovable main character gets himself into a sticky situation and then makes everything worse by trying to fix it.  Some of these situations include going on a date with Josh’s friend Greg (played by the standout Santino Fontana) to get closer to Josh, going to Josh’s Phillipino family’s Thanksgiving, agreeing to be the attorney for her boss’ custody case in order to prove she’s a good person and many, (seriously, so many) more.

Of course, the true cleverness of the show comes from the songs.  Bloom is incredibly talented and seems to be able to write parody songs of basically any genre.  Not only that, but the songs are genuinely good, with new lyrics to be caught all the time.  Whether it’s Ke$ha like “Sexy Getting Ready Song”, the showtune “Settle for Me”, the early 2000’s “A Boyband Made up of Four Joshes”, or the just plain odd and foreign “Sexy French Depression”, there hasn’t been a song in the show that hasn’t made me laugh or hum along. 

The choreography is also incredibly impressive, with everything from hip-hop to tap dance.  The show boasts performers with impressive performance resumes, such as Fontana playing Prince Charming in the most recent Broadway revival of “Cinderella” and Rodriguez being a professional dancer on the Broadway stage in many different shows.  Bloom is just all-around talented, so she also has very impressive dance skills.

While being a comedy, the show also has it’s dramatic moments, and deals with them very well.  Rebecca suffers from depression and anxiety, Paula (her new best friend) has a failing marriage, Greg feels trapped and as though he has plateaued, Josh’s current relationship is fairly abusive, and many other serious topics are touched on.  The show deals with these topics seamlessly, interweaving the comedy and the drama without flaw.  In that way, the show becomes very touching and allows the audience to really bond with the characters.

The show also boasts a tremendous cast.  From Bloom, who has very deservedly won and was just nominated for a second Golden Globe, to Rodriguez, who manages to be dumb, yet still likable, to Fontana, who boasts not only the best voice on the show, but one of the best voices on Broadway.

There is also a phenomenal supporting cast. Donna Lynne Champlin is Rebecca’s new best friend Paula, Pete Gardner is Darryl Whitefeather, Rebecca’s clueless new boss, and Gabrielle Ruiz as Valencia, Josh’s current California girlfriend, there is quality from top to bottom.  Fontana is probably the most recognized name, with Bloom mainly being known for writing and voicing the adult swim show “Robot Chicken”, but don’t let the lack of familiar names fool you: they all deliver.

So yes, while the title and everything else about the name sounds awful, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is anything but.  Season 1 is currently on Netflix, with Season 2 currently airing on The CW.  After just the first ten-minutes of episode one and hearing the first original song “West Covina”, I can guarantee you’ll be hooked. Just good luck trying to explain to friends that new show you’re watching.