Crazy Ex-Girlfriend ended its first season this past Monday on a high note. The show, created by Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, stars Bloom as the titular ex-girlfriend, Rebecca Bunch. After running into a high school ex-boyfriend with whom she remains infatuated, Rebecca impulsively decides to move from New York City to West Covina, California to be closer to him. With its rapid-fire comedic delivery and thoughtful songs, the show manages to convey mental illness in a meaningful and complex way.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend belongs to the oft-mocked and rarely successful genre of television musicals. Whether dramas or comedies, one of the genre’s major weaknesses comes from the simple fact that they’re television shows. In a feature film, more time and money could be spent on a small number of songs to craft scenes that help to develop the characters and show off their deepest emotions. Television musicals attempt the same thing, but have to craft enough songs to last a whole season and with much smaller budgets. Constance Grady also writes at Vox about how other TV musicals like Glee and Smash lost credibility by completely changing character personalities to make them fit with a particular song. In contrast, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s songs are always appropriate to a character’s personality.
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