When Gina Rodriguez won the Golden Globe for starring as the titular character in Jane the Virgin, the CW, a network known for overwrought teen dramas, gained some respect and took a step forward in the world of female-driven television. Sure, Jane the Virgin has soap-opera elements, but really it’s a satirical comedy with a talented cast and its share of genuinely heartfelt moments.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend follows in those footsteps. Comedian Rachel Bloom created and stars in the hour-long comedy-musical about Rebecca Bunch, a prominent lawyer living in New York who runs into a former summer camp sweetheart and decides to drop everything and move to the small California town where he lives. She spends the first two episodes trying to convince everyone around her (and herself) that she’s not the type of “crazy” girl who follows an ex-boyfriend across the country, but, let’s face it, she totally is—and the show wouldn’t be any fun if she weren’t.
At first, I had misgivings about the concept. I have a problem with the notion that a serious career woman would put her life on hold to follow a boy to California. And a scene featuring the titular “crazy ex-girlfriend” dumping her antidepression meds into the sink doesn’t exactly present the most positive image of mental illness. But this show is all about suspending your disbelief (and there will probably be plenty of think pieces on these issues—I’ll step aside and let another writer tackle them).
I quickly gave up my gripes during the first musical number, an ode to West Covina, California, and a reminder that TV is allowed to be fun and whimsical. By the end of the first episode it was clear that our main character is embarking on a real journey of personal growth, and that Bloom has the charisma and emotional chops to keep us along for the ride, even while she’s singing a song about wanting to wear her ex’s current girlfriend’s skin as a dress. It has the two most important things a musical comedy needs to succeed: catchy songs and funny jokes—a smash cut to Rebecca and her new best friend, Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin), mistaking Vampire Weekend for a weekend cult getaway had me laughing out loud.
This new breed of television (and new breath of life for the CW) gives me hope that there are still plenty of good, original, female-driven shows to be had in this world, one crazy girl’s story at a time.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Mondays at 7 PM on the CW.