I’ve been feeling sick with no obvious cause (yay! autoimmune diseases are such a joy!). This naturally leads to some binge watching of TV shows. Netflix Streaming UK, as it was driven brutally home on my recent trip to Spain, has about the suckiest catalog around (even for Netflix Streaming). One title that I was skeptical about was Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. The title along, even if ironic, is rather a turn off. However, I read a recommendation and checked it out. I’m hooked.
It’s a musical (as any review will talk about). It’s a real musical. The songs are original, diverse (musically and thematically), and very well performed. All the singers are phenomenal and they have some incredible dancers as well. The whole cast really commits. Like The Mindy Project, a good chunk of the show is playing off (in a variety of ways) the trops of romantic comedies. There’s a delicate balance that needs to be maintained between mocking romcoms, ironically mirroring them, redeeming them, and depicting the realistic(ish) relation people have to them.
The songs are really awesome, though often a bit “talky”. Not just because there a smidgeon of rap and talk songs, but because they don’t try to make the lyrics “song like” a lot of the time. For example, consider “I Have Friends”:
I have friends, I definitely have friends
No one can say that I do not have friends
I have friends, I definitely have friends,
friends, friends, friendly friends,
time to meet my friends
Oh yeah! I have friends, I definitely have friends
Objectively, I can say that I have all the friends
Love it! (I’m a sucker for modal modifers like “definitely” and “objectively” in songs.)
I’m not super happy by the panoply of “loser” friends (which leans a bit heavily on facial disfigurement), but the main bits of the song is so cheerful, optimistic, and desperate that it works.
There’s often a “literal music video” vibe, as in “The Sexy Getting Ready Song”:
It’s the sexy getting-ready song
The sexy getting-ready song
I’m fluffin’ and flouncin’
I’m gigglin’ and layin’
Sexy getting-ready song
Really, I could post almost every song from season 1. There’s a complete playlist on YouTube, but it’s worth getting them in context first.
The star and main creator, Rachel Bloom, was a YouTube comedy singer before this show, and I’ve been finding those more hit and miss. But “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury” is pretty good:
“I Steal Pets” is my favourite thus far: