Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Started by Chris L, Feb 13, 2018, 05:30 pm

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Chris L

Feb 13, 2018, 05:30 pm Last Edit: Feb 17, 2018, 11:46 am by Chris L
I'm surprised there isn't already a thread on here about this show (assuming I didn't overlook it), because as far as I'm aware it's the only musical comedy sitcom on broadcast TV. Even if it weren't, it would probably still be the best. Every week they include at least two musical numbers, pastiching various genres, including Broadway. (The first season even had a version of "Rose's Turn" from Gypsy.)

Star Rachel Bloom is a triple-threat performer, who can sing, act and dance, as can the cast as a whole. The show is on the CW, but back episodes are on Netflix. You can watch the watch the current, third season on the CW site or app, but you'll probably have to wait a bit before they find their way to Netflix.

Here are a couple of musical samples from YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7mqn1jF_jEg

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x_rAmAYE-8I
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Chris L

Have I mentioned that Patti Lupone made a guest appearance as a rabbi? Here's a clip (with Tovah Feldshuh as Rachel Bloom's mother):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iLNa-ocdryY
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

nulipp

Feb 17, 2018, 09:38 am #2 Last Edit: Feb 17, 2018, 10:08 am by nulipp
Watched the very first episode this morning and loved it ... thanks a lot for giving me something else to binge watch 😃

(Though I need to binge watch the new season of "Mozart in the Jungle" first!!)
I chose, and my world was shaken. So what? The choice may have been mistaken, the choosing was not.

Jenniferlillian

Has anyone else been keeping up with this show? I think it only got progressively better. Since it's heading toward its endgame I was wondering what folks thought of musicals on television now that it's been done successfully (CXG, Gallivant, etc) Do younthink we'll see more?

Chris L

Hey, @Jenniferlillian! Good to see you stop by. The history of musicals on TV has been checkered (Remember Cop Rock?) and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, as good as it is, is one of the lowest-rated shows on TV, with under a million viewers per episode -- miniscule, by broadcast TV standards. I suspect either Warner Brothers or CBS owns the subsidiary rights, which is the only reason it's still on.

I love the show, but I'm not sure it's going to start a craze for serial musicals on television. Still, I hope I'm wrong. Rachel Bloom is an extraordinary talent, both as a performer and a creator, but I suspect she has her sights set on Broadway. And there are very few people who are quadruple threat performers, adept at songwriting, acting, singing and dancing, the way that she is. That also no doubt keeps production costs down. ;) 
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Chris L

By the way, @Jenniferlillian, be sure to check the thread that you started on The Good Place, another show that just keeps getting better. At least three of us have been discussing it in your absence and I'd like to see the thread start moving again (though it's a show that's extremely difficult to discuss without spoilers for those who haven't watched the first couple of seasons).
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Jenniferlillian

I saw ads for another musical tv show coming to the CW next Fall though. And Glee and Gallivant got produced (although the ratings were bad on the last one.) Flight of the Conchords did well too

Chris L

I'm glad to hear that the CW is going ahead with another musical series. They seem more willing than other broadcast networks to take chances, probably because they're at the bottom of the ratings heap. (And I suspect that either Warner Brothers or CBS will own the subsidiary rights to the show.)

Other musical shows may appear elsewhere, but it's not likely to be on the basis of Crazy-Ex's popularity, which is marginal at best. I love it, you love it and I suspect anyone else on this group who's seen it loves it, but we represent a niche audience at best. That's what I love about us.  8)
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Jenniferlillian

Here's the article about the new show. The music is going to be by the guys who wrote First date. 

Chris L

Nobody's Princess sounds promising. I know nothing about First Date, but it's nice to see that the CW is bringing in actual Broadway composers to do the score. Not surprisingly, Nobody's Princess is produced by CBS Studios, which means it can probably get by with fairly low ratings. I wonder if, like CBS's The Good Fight, they'll film in New York and use actual Broadway acting talent as well.

(I see that Fulwell 73, the production company contracting with CBS Studios, is based in London, so I suppose it's also possible that they'll bring in West End performers.)
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

scenicdesign71

Jan 02, 2019, 05:08 am #10 Last Edit: Jan 23, 2019, 06:57 pm by scenicdesign71
I finally started watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on Netflix over the weekend, and I'm now about halfway through the first season.  I'm enjoying it a lot, though I'm trusting that they won't try to extend its ostensibly-central plot premise (summed up in the title) beyond a single season at most.  At S1 Ep 10, I'm already a little impatient for this whole Josh thing to get resolved in some quasi-definite fashion.

But from the pilot's summer-camp prologue onward, it's been clearly established that Josh is a trigger, not a cause; I can imagine Rebecca's "craziness," more broadly, supporting another three seasons, and the characters surrounding her are richly-drawn enough (especially as embodied by the marvelous cast) to sustain interest.

Certainly the device of using musical fantasy to represent its characters' variously-disturbed inner lives hasn't yet worn itself out.  ("Emotional overflow," as in the traditionally-defined function of song in musical theatre, or "certifiable dysfunction"?  Or, are the writers suggesting: "tomayto/tomahto"?  One of their best gambits so far has been to stealthily suggest that Rebecca herself may not be the only nutjob in this cast of characters).  Indeed, it's not coincidental that, as soon as anyone on this show starts singing their feelings, they tend to become both more interesting and incrementally less easy to nail down as clear-cut "types".  The principle seems to be that, insofar as a perfectly stable and coherent personality would be, by definition, a perfectly static and predictable one, we're all a little nuts.  But using music as the vehicle for this premise, without rendering it as "crazy is a state of mind!  be yourself!" treacle (by no stretch are we encouraged to view the heroine flushing her meds, in the pilot episode, as a good thing), is a neat trick.  And while there's also the broader suggestion that the whole cartoonish world of the show may essentially be a function of Rebecca's own disturbed perspective, the fact that this latter device isn't pursued altogether consistently raises interesting questions that I'm happy to not have answered anytime soon.

It's the "ex-girlfriend" part of the title that gives me pause.  It's actually impressive that, over seven hours of watching (so far), I haven't yet lost patience entirely with the flimsiness of the Rebecca-Josh plot -- but, even granting a shred of identification with her addiction to disastrous choices more generally, my forbearance does have limits.

Still, at this point I'm far too intrigued to give up: surely, to have lasted as long as it has, the writers must have plenty more surprises up their sleeve.  Scanning (i.e., not even properly skimming, so as not to spoil too much) the show's Wikipedia entry, I was encouraged by the mention that its third season -- not a moment too soon, I'm guessing --
Spoiler: ShowHide
explores the topic of Rebecca's medical diagnosis, borderline-personality disorder, in more depth.
 


Chris L

@scenicdesign71 - I think that, with perhaps a tiny bit of help from Wikipedia, you've predicted the show's future arc fairly well. No, they don't dwell forever on Rebecca's obsessions with Josh. And yes, they take her mental problems seriously, or as seriously as you can take anything in a comedy, by forcing her to deal with her own instability, if only after an heroic effort at denial on her part. When she finally got a diagnosis I thought it was a bit simplistic, at least in the way they portray it, but it's still a genuine diagnosis.

The musical numbers wear gradually thin over time as they desperately try to pastiche every form of music from the last century and occasionally even specific songs (there's a great one at the end of the first season), but it's always fun to watch for the next musical cue and try to guess exactly what it is that they're pastiching (pasticheing?) At times the songs fulfill the traditional musical theater role of advancing the story and/or characters, though occasionally they just seem to throw in a song to fill out the episode quota of between two and four songs apiece. They also play games with the opening title sequence, which changes every season (I still miss the one from the first season), and by the third season they find one that they can alter, slightly, in every episode. (I hope these aren't major spoilers. There are also a lot of significant plot developments and some surprise guest stars that I haven't mentioned.)
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

Jenniferlillian

Chris, I thought the musical numbers only got stronger honestly. Some of my favorite songs happened in the last two seasons. I think the show does something remarkable- for such a broad comedy, it treats mental illness, sexuality and a host of other topics with nuance and compassion that tv doesn't usually manage. 

Now I'm waiting for folks to catch up on Netflix because I NEED TO TALK ABOUT THE SHOW IN LIGHT OF THE ENDING... sorry. Got too excited. 

Chris L

Apr 24, 2019, 09:07 am #13 Last Edit: Apr 24, 2019, 01:31 pm by Chris L
Honestly, it ended the way I expected it to. Early in the season...

SPOILERS:
Spoiler: ShowHide
...I realized that she couldn't end up with any of the guys who were courting her (isn't that a nice old fashioned way to put it) for general thematic reasons and would have to work on herself first. Otherwise the show was making essentially an arbitrary choice and putting Rebecca back in her old cycle. So I spent the final episodes watching them tease us with the possibility that she was going to choose one while pretty convinced she wouldn't. In fact, I think I would have been pissed if she had.

Another way to put it is that everybody else on the show changed. To have Rebecca change, she had to stop obsessing over guys.
But us, old friend,
What's to discuss, old friend?

scenicdesign71

At long last:
Well over a year after bingeing the show's first season and a half on Netflix, and then randomly dropping it partway through S2 -- I finally picked CEG back up again last week and watched the remaining two and a half seasons (plus the concert special, for good measure).

I don't really have anything to add to what's been said -- just that I'm a little sad it's over.