I’m a big fan of cancelled television. Out of all my favorite shows, very few ran past season 2. And mostly this is great because it allows me to assume a false sense of superiority over others while still binge watching Netflix, but occasionally this can be sad because I’ll be watching something and I’ll know full well no one else is watching, and I’ll be dreading the day when the network calls it quits.
Because of this, I must entreat all of you to watch Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on The CW. I know, it has the worst title, and it’s on The CW, but hear me out.
Alison Shoemaker of The AV Club points to the unlikelihood of it ever existing: “There are jazz hands and key changes. There’s a joke about asshole-waxing. The concrete sparkles, the ensemble dances, and the word ‘abortionist’ gets used in the first five minutes.” The show’s creator Rachel Bloom also stars in it. She created a name for herself on YouTube with blissful song parodies like the surprisingly excellent “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury”. If the jazz hands and ensemble dances didn’t already clue you in, the show is a full-blown musical and what blows my mind is that she writes two to three new songs every week. One second we’ll be sending up Beyoncé’s “Partition” and the next we’ll be doing Fred Astaire. Also she is only two years older than me, which I don’t understand.
Here’s “Sex with a Stranger”, the Beyoncé send-up. “Hey, sexy stranger, let’s go to my place / And please don’t harvest my kidneys”:
The premise is thus: Rebecca Bunch is a young, successful lawyer in New York about to be offered a promotion where she will make even more money than she’s already making, but she’s deeply unhappy. Interpreting a chance encounter and a seriously strange butter commercial as a sign from God, she decides to move to the small town in California where her ex-boyfriend from summer camp is moving, despite only having spoken to him once since she was sixteen and knowing literally no one else there.
I will be real and tell you a good 90% of my enjoyment of this show is based on the insanely talented Santino Fontana of Broadway and Frozen*. His eyebrows alone are doing God’s work. I have watched his song, the Fred Astaire send-up I mentioned earlier, at least fifteen times over the past week. The lyrics are so tightly written: “Sugar jugs, I’m so bereft / Demeaning terms are all that I have left / Of my masculinity / So settle for me.” AND HE TAP DANCES.
I know what you’re saying, musical shows are terrible. But this is so different, I tell you! The songs actually move the plot forward!
It has many flaws: It’s predictable, the writing can be a little too on-the-nose, but it’s one of weirdest, most ambitious things I’ve seen in a long time. Please watch it so when I start singing “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” I will have someone who understands.
*Anyone who has talked to me about Frozen can confirm that I have always believed Prince Hans’ upper harmonies to be perhaps worth losing your entire kingdom over.