WHAT IT’S ABOUT Watch Friday’s first two minutes. Or next week’s first two minutes. Those quickie recaps of Season 1 set the stage for new moves in this hour comedy that’s one of TV’s freshest treats.
Is it crazy? Is she crazy? Why do they burst into song? Because “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” needs to express feelings too intense for words.
This clever show is indeed about the ex: Great lawyer/weird person Rebecca (co-creator Rachel Bloom) has moved cross-country to California to chase her teen-years summer camp crush, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), still a totally buff/utterly dense dude. It’s also about the crazy: Rebecca has too many behavioral quirks to count, and her aide in Josh-chasing, paralegal Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin), can exhibit her own. Josh’s sardonic best friend, Greg (Santino Fontana), is drawn to Rebecca expressly because she uses him to chase Josh.
Except that, last season, Greg and Rebecca did get together. Then she and Josh got together. And Greg disappeared. Where he is, and why he is, and how the three of them next intersect, will unfold (life-changingly) over this season’s first two (sex-filled) weeks.
Bloom & Co. explain it all (hilariously/dramatically) in the show’s signature musical numbers — Rebecca’s wannabe sultry “Love Kernels” is a Calvin Klein commercial turned Wes Anderson movie, while Sade-style jazz underscores bedroom doubts. Next week, Josh’s power-pop “Ping Pong Girl” offers the rad rhyme “She and I should give a 30-mortgage a whirl.” Paula gets her own yearning princess ballad, and Greg’s merry-olde-pub drinking song becomes one of the more demented ditties of our age.
MY SAY Yet, for all its jam-packed insanity, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” can be one of the tube’s most perceptive and moving shows. It’ll drop the line “I had a sushi burrito after karate,” or introduce a dinosaur-donut-eating biker named Guardrail. Then it’ll get seriously soul-deep about facing our most profound failings.
While those around her are doing that, to change their lives in intrinsic ways, Rebecca’s addled brain is busy parsing every word for any, well, kernel of what she wants to see. She misses the bigger picture that others start piecing together, as this second season gives her triple-threat cast the chance to show their acting chops.
Rebecca really is “crazy,” in clinical ways — her brain chemistry needs medical help — but she’s essentially good-hearted. As is everyone here. They’re all earnestly trying, in myriad weird ways, to make a do-no-harm go of everyday life.
BOTTOM LINE “Crazy Ex” is thus endearing, even inspiring, as well as totally bonkers. But hey, aren’t we all?