Plot: Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) is a high powered lawyer with an incredible career in Manhattan and is about to become a partner in her prestigious firm, but she is a little preoccupied at the moment. A chance meeting Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), an ex from her summer camp days a teen, has sparked her imagination and she is certain true love has given her a second chance. But he is about to move to West Covina, California, so she is heartbroken, but then she decides to turn down the partnership offer, quit her job, and relocate across the country to chase him. Of course, he has no idea about her plan, but she is convinced she can just show up, start a new life there, and snare him back as her man, no problem. Once she arrives however, she learns he is in a serious relationship with a gorgeous fitness guru and she has to pivot, but she is still determined to make Josh hers once again.
Entertainment Value: As the show’s title would suggest, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is indeed about an imbalanced, impulsive ex who unleashes all manner of chaos, but this isn’t a mean spirited, stalker type narrative. More of a sweet, but unstable stalker type, which is just as much fun. This first season includes eighteen episodes, but wastes no time and by the end of the first episode, most of the exposition is done and the prominent threads are well established. The premise here is kind of a twisted take on romantic comedies, but is so much more than that. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a surreal cocktail of fearless humor, wild musical numbers, and no holds barred narratives, with a dynamic lead that is impossible not to either fall in love with or be terrified of. I appreciate how subversive the show is and it never shies from darker moments, but the writing always works and even in the most awkward, hopeless, and embarrassing situations, the show never fails to deliver consistent laughs. I can see how easily offended viewers might be put off, but if you like your humor with some edge, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend delivers. The episodes run just over forty minutes, but never run slow or feel stretched thin, as the show packs in all kinds of colorful, outlandish moments.
This show has a lot of moving parts, but the heart and soul of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has to be Rachel Bloom. She has the lead and really makes the most of it, you can tell this is a passion project for her and she is excellent in this role. Rebecca is an odd character with a lot of strange, sometimes dangerous quirks, but Bloom brings her to life with such offbeat charm and charisma, it is impossible not to love her, even if she’s trying to ruin the lives of those around her. The role requires a lot of non-glamorous situations, but Bloom is fearless and embraces all of these outlandish moments, even nailing the various over the top musical routines. The supporting cast is great as well, especially Donna Lynne Champlin as Rebecca’s partner in crime and Gabrille Ruiz as the bane of her existence, Valencia. Also in prominent roles in this season are Peter Gardner, Vincent Rodriguez III, Santino Fontana, and of course, Dr. Phil. I appreciated how time was taken to give some depth to the supporting characters, as they’re each given multiple threads separate from Rebecca’s main narrative. I had a blast with this first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and found it to be a unique, often surreal experience that certainly feels like a breath of fresh air in the genre.