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Monday, July 18, 2016

TV Review: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-) and The Deconstruction of The Rom-Com

Image result for my crazy ex girlfriend 

 Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015-)

Starring: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Santino Fontana, Donna Lynne Champlin
Created By: Rachel Bloom & Aline Brosh McKenna
Airing On: The CW 
 Rating: A
*Season 1 is on Netflix as of July 18, 2016*

Summary: Sad and bored, Rebecca Bunch, meets her teenage sweetheart years after they've broken up and moves to West Covina, California to be with him (even though she won't admit it).

My Thoughts: This show came to be a bit of a surprise when I began watching it. It was originally a filler between seasons of Law and Order, but somehow I grew addicted to watching. It was a breath of fresh air. From Rebecca's intensely bubbly attitude, to the cast breaking out in song randomly during the episode to it's slightly refreshing middle finger to romantic comedies, this show is something special.

As stated, we have our protagonist, Rebecca, drop everything in her life like her great job at a hot shot firm in New York to pick up and move to California where her former boyfriend now lives. And that's where the her being "crazy" part comes in. Sure it's not reasonable that she pick up and leave everything for some guy, but it's not just about him. Women in romantic comedies usually jump through hoops for guys and they aren't seen as "crazy" like Rebecca is, but that's because the women in those movies are wallpaper women. They're seen, but not really heard. They're characters that have little to no backstory and their whole existence is to find love and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is giving us that in the show, but in a completely different way. Rebecca is doing things same things those girls are doing, but why is she the crazy one? Why are the other girls in romantic comedies not seen as crazy, like she is. I feel like it's probably because unlike those other girls, Rebecca has substance. Rebecca is real. She messes up and she makes things awkward and ends up singing about it to make everything better and even if it doesn't fix things, she tries her hardest and moves on afterwards. At the end of a typical romantic comedy, the girl wins the guy and they ride off into the sunset or whatever, but here, things are different and this doesn't just go for Rebecca, but many other characters in the show.

Josh, the guy Rebecca is chasing, isn't your typical handsome, jock guy who is perfect. He has flaws. He gets mean, he makes mistakes and can apologize for them. In one episode, he even goes on a rant about how it's okay for him to have a bad day. In rom-com's, its not typical for these guys to have any sort of negativity. I mean, they're perfect. And even Greg, they guy we want Rebecca to be with, isn't perfect. He's a manic depressive, a cynic, an alcoholic, but more so, he and Rebecca click, more so than Josh, but neither of them are perfect. We can choose and pick either of them for her, but the choice is her's to make and as per typical rom-com movies/shows go, the show revolves around her doing so, but underneath all that lies more internal drama with Rebecca and the other characters which make them better than typical rom-com trope characters.

 And not only is Rebecca more fleshed out than your typical rom-com girl, what drives her insanity to find love isn't her. It's society. It's the people around her. Throughout the whole show, she has other people like her friend, Paula, or butter commercials or her family tell her what to do. The only thing she really did for herself was actually move and while the show revolves around her moving there for Josh, did she really?

In my opinion, she did not. Everyone is telling her she did, so eventually she believes it. Everyone keeps telling her to be with Josh, so she pursues him. It's in one episode that she tells Josh about how New York depressed her that I really got it. People can say it was an act so she didn't seem "crazy" as the show portrays her to be, but then again. We're all a bit crazy. Rebecca wanted to be happy, so she left the place that was making her sad. Is that so crazy? She just happened to move to the town that made the once love of her life happy because like her, that's what we all want: to be happy. Not to find love, or to get laid. To be happy and that's all she wants as well, people just keep telling her she needs to find love to do so. And it's a reflection of today's society. People tell us we need to find love to be happy, that we need to find someone else to make us whole and like us, Rebecca is in that same position. However, Rebecca, being in a romantic comedy type situation has more of an opportunity to do so and like our society, people are molding her into that rom-com girl that we see usually, but she doesn't fit that mold, which is why she's deemed "crazy." 

She's not crazy even through the macaroni face sculptures and homemade teddy bear. She just has feelings and this show tackles those feelings in a way I appreciate. Her abandonment issues, her depression, are all sung away and made off as punch lines, but some of the things she says and does really hit home with a viewer when things start to actually get serious. Here's a quote from the show: "You think I don't want to opt out of the hard things in my life. You think I don't want to unsubscribe from half the bad things in my life." And this hit home for me, personally. Sure, it was set up as joke, but it's so real. This show is so real, even if it makes it off to be a big joke.

However, the only joke that's it's really presenting is on the rom-com genre. It's giving you everything that you want in a rom-com and shoving it right in your face because while they're things society wishes upon people, it's not real. This show, however, is. I'm in love with this show. It's funny, it's original with a lot to say. Please give it a chance because I know I'll be tuning in for Season 2. 

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