So Much More Than Catchy Tunes: the Importance of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Yes, we know we are a couple of years late for praising the beautiful series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend since it has been enriching our lives since 2015 but, unfortunately, we also know that the current fourth season will be the final season. And since beauty never fades and goodbyes are mostly sad, let’s focus on the great things this series offers and give it the farewell it deserves.
Protagonist Rebecca Bunch (Rebecca Bloom) is a Yale and Harvard Alumni, who works as an attorney for a top New York City law firm, and appears to have a perfect life. As an unbelievably successful lawyer, she is earning good money and is about to be offered a partnership with the firm. But her diligent, cold businesswoman front is just a facade; the real Rebecca suffers from anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses- taking numerous pills to help.
One day she bumps into her first love from summer camp, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriquez.) He tells her that he is not happy in New York City and is moving back to his hometown of West Covina, California, which is 'just two hours from the beach.' Inspired by Josh’s love and passion for his hometown, Rebecca decides to follow Josh in search of happiness. She hops on a plane to Los Angeles, drives to West Covina, gets a job at Darryl Whitefeather's West Covina law firm, rents an apartment and flushes all her depression and anxiety meds down the sink.
Everything seems to turn out okay at first, she befriends her co-worker Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) and neighbour Heather (Vella Lovell) and tracks down Josh; only to find out that he is in a committed, fifteen-year-long relationship. In her turbulent process of finding her own happiness and reconnecting with Josh, she starts and on-off-again relationship with his best friend Greg (Santino Fontana) and experiences all sorts of adventures and fallout from Paula and her's absurd plans.
Admittedly, by the end season one/beginning season two, you start thinking ~ oh honey ~ at every one of Rebecca's unconventional plans to win Josh’s heart. While creative, the plans rarely work out, but the quirkiness and authenticity of the characters win every spectator round. Plus, the catchy songs in the series satirise and ironise today’s pop music culture AND social norms in a remarkable, entertaining way.
But the series is not just comprised of catchy songs and a humorous plot. It discusses important topics; exploring parents and their effects on their children, alcoholism, sexuality and mental health. Several main characters suffer from their parents’ inattentive, cold or abusive behaviour. Paula’s father is revealed to have abused her, which results in her low self-confidence. Greg suffered from the absence of his mother after his parents’ divorce, resulting in his cynical personality. Rebecca struggles with her father who has abandoned her, after leaving her controlling mother. Though Heathers' supporting parents and enabling behaviour seem to worsen her apathy.
Addictions, female sexuality and mental health issues are at the forefront of the series. Greg slowly develops a penchant for a drinking and at the beginning of season two, recognises his problem and joins a program for recovering alcoholics. Female sexuality is a prominent topic; the characters talking freely about their sexuality and health issues from menstruation or urinary tract infections.
Paula's decision to have an abortion in series two exemplifies how everyone should be treated after an abortion; her friends and family focusing on emotional welfare after the procedure, instead of judging her decision. The same goes for Greg as he tells his friends about his addiction; his friends are worried as opposed to judgemental.
Mental health plays an important role in the show, as Rebecca’s mental health issues were the reason she went to West Covina in the first place. Although she feels remarkably better after moving to West Covina and finally feels happy for the first time in a long time, she suffers from several setbacks and depressive periods. Her everyday behaviour is influenced by her mental condition, which has a negative impact on herself and her loved ones, though no one judges her for behaviours provokes by her illness.
All in all, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is so much more than just a rom-com series with catchy tunes. It represents important issues such as mental health, alcoholism and sexuality and, most importantly, shows them in an everyday context. The series demonstrates how everyone has a burden to carry, but should, nonetheless, be supported by their friends and family.
The fourth, and sadly final, season aired on October 12, 2018, on The CW. The first two seasons are also available on Netflix.