Sometimes a good new TV show doesn’t get its due. That might be due to a terrible title (Cougar Town) or marketing that doesn’t quite capture what makes a show special.
Take The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a dramedy about a gifted Harvard lawyer who gives up a promotion at a New York firm to move to dinky West Covina, California, after a chance meeting with her boyfriend from teen musical-theater camp.
On the face of it, the show sounds kind of sexist: A demented woman obsessed with a former flame she has no reason to believe she has a future with. The kind of woman who makes a major life change after seeing a margarine ad that asks “When was the last time you were truly happy?”
But Crazy Ex-Girlfriend goes much deeper than it’s title to make Rebecca Bunch relatable. Just two episodes in, and the show’s already turned out to be a crazy-addictive laugh-out-loud hour of television.
Here are nine reasons you need to be watching.
Rachel Bloom is building on the promise of her YouTube music
Before Crazy Ex-Girlfriend became a series, co-creator and star Rachel Bloom was making people laugh on her YouTube channel. There, songs like “Historically Accurate Disney Princess Song” and “I Steal Pets” mixed catchiness, adorable nerdiness and a touch of darkness. Crazy gives her bigger performances and production values.
Broadway nerds will have fun placing the castCW
As fits a musical show, the cast is full of Broadway veterans: Santino Fonana (Rogers & Hammerstien’s Cinderella), Gabrielle Ruiz (If/Then) and Obie winner Donna Lynne Champlin. The biggest treat is yet to come, though—Tovah Feldshuh took a break from The Walking Dead to film two episodes.
It admits that title sounds sexist and does plenty to make up for it
“Crazy” has a long history of being a word used to dismiss women and their concerns and that title caries that baggage. However, even with the occasional misstep, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend works to counteract its burdensome title. The series has given us a song about the extremes women are expected to go through to be ready for a date (when rapper Nipsey Hussle reads classic feminist literature and makes list of “Bitches To Apologize To.”) Josh’s girlfriend Valencia could be a caricature to justify Rebecca’s insecurities, but she’s actually a well-rounded character.
Rebecca may be awkward but this isn’t a cringe comedy
Rebecca embarrasses herself a lot but this isn’t one of those comedies where we’re supposed to embrace the discomfort and laugh. It’s clear she’s unhappy—and we’re rooting for her to find whatever brings her joy—but she’s got a lot going for her too.
The last time a TV show had original songs this funny, “The Simpsons” was at its peak
From singing the praises of a local Applebee’s to feeling inadequate over her yoga instructor’s flexibility, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend delivers some hilariously memorable numbers. We’re also treated to a variety of styles, from the old-school musical “West Covina” to the techno pop of “Feeling Kinda Naughty.”
Have you seen Josh Chan?CW
As the object of Rebecca’s obsession, Vincent Rodriguez III has the kind of good looks that makes her big life change almost understandable. (Almost.) The fact that he’s a Filipino-American actor isn’t a big deal—but it’s kind of a big deal.
It’s the realest portrayal of Southern California since SouthlandCW
TV usually plays up the glamour of So Cal—landmark architecture, sun-drenched beaches, legions of perfect bodies. The truth is, most of it’s a lot more like West Covina than Melrose. The nice strip mall is the one with a fountain (plus, maybe, a giant pretzel) and 45 minutes isn’t a long drive for a good restaurant. Even better, Rachel Bloom says she’s working to make the show match the diversity of the real West Covina, which is a huge step forward from a lot of TV shows.
Remember how our first impression of Jane the Virgin was way off base, too?CW
Last summer, when the CW was getting ready to debut Jane the Virgin, it sounded like a longshot: A soap opera about a virgin with an abstinence-preaching grandmother who gets accidentally artificially-inseminated? Not exactly appointment television. But Jane quickly proved to be one of the smartest, most addictive shows on TV right now. Not only did it tackle tough political topics like undocumented immigration and sex education with flair, it also earned the CW it’s first Golden Globe. So far, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been the perfect lead-in—just as witty, insightful and packed with great performances.
We’ve all been Rebecca at some point in our livesCW
We might not have packed out bags to chase an old flame across the country, but we all have at least one guy from our past we Facebook-stalk, if only to decide if that guy in the photos with him is his boyfriend or just a friend. The guy who makes us keep a really great potential boyfriend at arm’s length because “what if…”