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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Worth the Watch?: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ is a quality show I don’t want to watch


    Official poster for CW show “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Protagonist Rebecca is a neurotic lawyer who decides to ditch her job and pursue her ex-boyfriend, Josh.

    Watching television is escapism: sit down, turn on the TV and enter another world. Can’t get any simpler than that. Considering this, the test of a good TV show can be just as simple. Ask yourself: do I want to spend time in this world?

    This week I took on The CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girfriend.” The show was well-written, funny and overall of a  high quality, but I did not want to spend time in its world.

    “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is a better show than the title would suggest. Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), the crazy ex-girlfriend, is a neurotic lawyer who abandons her successful professional life in New York City to pursue an improved personal life — love life — by chasing her long lost ex-boyfriend Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) to West Covina, California.

    Let’s get this out of the way, Rebecca is crazy, and not just in the stereotypical, mildly misogynistic “crazy ex-grilfriend” kind of way. She is defined by her craziness rather than her ex-girlfriendness, which makes the show’s premise uncomfortable. Rebecca’s stalkerish pursuit of Josh can be downright unsettling. Rebecca’s got issues, and we get to watch as she burns her life down amidst musical numbers and classic sitcom tropes.

    Bad people are all the rage in today’s TV landscape. From “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” to the more recent “You’re the Worst,” terrible people make great television.

    However, when it comes to comedy, the golden rule cannot be violated, no matter how awful the characters. That comedy commandment: “No harm, no foul. Things shall always end up okay and no serious harm may come from shenanigans.” Rebecca violates this commandment.

    Halfway through the pilot season, Rebecca’s life is a house of cards awaiting a destructive breeze. After uprooting everything and moving across the country, Rebecca has placed her entire hope of happiness on ex-boyfriend Josh. To Rebecca, Josh represents the only time in her life she felt true happiness, a summer camp fling at the tender age of 16. Roughly ten years later, Rebecca is in a spot so rough that she feels compelled to give up everything and chase the ghost of that romance.

    That desperation breeds an unhealthy and repelling fixation on all things Josh, as Rebecca’s wellbeing is now at the whim of Josh’s affection. Josh holds the power to destroy Rebecca’s mental wellbeing. Every other character seems to be fine with this arrangement, but that does not take away from the unnerving nature of the show’s backbone. Rebecca’s new best friend Paula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin) is perfectly happy to help Rebecca “long con” her way into a relationship with Josh. Her neighbor Heather (Vella Lovell) has no qualms with observing Rebecca’s disturbing behavior as a project for her abnormal psychology class. 

    Abnormal psychology beats at the heart of the show, for better or worse. The show does so many things well that it leaves me wishing the conceit of the show was different. The writing is spot on and clever. The humor reaches “30 Rock” levels of clever and subtle jokes. Burnout Heather boasts she wasn’t good at school, and didn’t read school books because she was busy reading all of Salinger’s novels­ — all one of them.

    The writers skewer each episode topic, from female friendship to overcoming fears. The production value deserves merit for a CW show, especially for the ridiculous but hilarious original songs. The interspersed musical numbers are equally likely to leave you laughing out loud or singing along with the chorus. 

    These feathers in the cap of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” can’t outrun the good TV litmus test. While “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is a high quality show, I still don’t want to spend time in its world. I wish Rebecca all the best, and hope she can find happiness and a better life in West Covina, but I won’t be around if she does.

    Worth the Watch: No

    Follow Alex Furrier on Twitter.

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