Showrunners: Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna
Main Cast: Rachel Bloom, Vincent Rodriguez III, Donna Lynne Champlin, Pete Gardner, Scott Michael Foster, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Ruiz, David Hull
Notable Guest Stars: Josh Groban, Rory O’Malley, Tovah Feldshuh
Episode Length: 40–43 Minutes
Season two of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was a series game changer for many reasons. Not only did Rebecca lose Josh to the life of priesthood, but we finally saw her live up to the show’s name when her mother quotes the season’s theme song during Rebecca’s trial, forcing viewers to look at the upbeat tune in a whole new context.
“She’s just a girl in love. She can’t be held responsible for her actions.” Rebecca was literally crazy, and this was only the tip of the iceberg.
Going into season three, I expected the story to be mainly Rebecca getting her revenge on her ex-fiance. But, this season winds up being more about Rebecca’s mental health.
Sure, she does embrace her villainous side (resulting in a hilarious montage inspired by Swimfan), the guilt weighs down on her, resulting in her attempting to commit suicide on a plane.
For a show that can be so hilarious it feels like a Saturday morning cartoon, this season handled mental illness quite well with a fantastic episode whose title clearly explained the show’s intention: “Josh Is Irrelevant.” Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is about Rebecca’s journey to happiness, and, despite what the past two seasons showed us, Josh is irrelevant to that story. No one made her do all the outlandish things she’s done the past few years. It’s time for her to take responsibility for her actions.
Unfortunately, that comes with consequences. One is that once she finds herself with a proper diagnosis, she falls into bad habits almost immediately, not really learning her lesson until the final episode, featuring a surprise visit from Trent (which only confirms that the male version of Rebecca is way more dangerous). The last three episodes were quite solid in terms of storytelling, but they definitely could’ve used an extra episode to properly get the narrative across so it wasn’t so rushed. Sacrificing some of Rebecca’s extravagant schemes could’ve helped, and maybe this season would’ve felt less of a downer.
The other issue is that most of the characters that were used to being in the forefront got pushed to the background this season, even disappearing for an episode or two without a trace. On the other hand, this season really showed how Rebecca impacted the lives of everyone around her for the better all thanks to a well done time jump. I don’t want to spoil it, but just know White Josh has a dog and Valencia has some new arm candy. I just wish we saw more of the West Covina residents.
While this may not have been the most cheery season, it was definitely the cleverest, with constant callbacks to previous episodes and songs peppered throughout the narrative, resulting in some brilliant reprises. Allison Shoemaker from AV Club explained it best with her brilliant article on how Crazy Ex-Girlfriend revisits some of its songs:
“A reprise is no longer just a reprise. A reprise is now, with apologies to Don Draper, a time machine. They’re songs that send us back through the personal history of Rebecca Bunch (Bloom), encouraging us to consider personal growth (or lack thereof), the evolution of relationships, and the significance of her own memories. Sweeney Todd brings “Ah, Miss” back after a long, bloody act, and it hits hard. But Crazy Ex-Girlfriend brought back “Face Your Fears” after almost 40 episodes, after well over two years, and that’s another story. It does what a reprise is supposed to do, connecting one moment to another through music, but the moment to which it sends us back is one from years ago. The path that connects those two moments is a long one, and in forging those connections, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is pushing a familiar button and getting a result that’s far from ordinary.”
A melody here. A line there. This season is a present for both longtime fans and those who just binged the past few episodes.
With the songs as memorable as ever (you can check out my favorites below and be on the lookout for a top 10 of the series soon), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is at the top of its game. The CW would be foolish not to renew it for a fourth (and, according to the showrunners, final) season, especially after that shocker of a finale.
How Does It Compare to Previous Seasons? While not as upbeat or cartoonish as the previous two seasons, the writing is just as clever and laugh-out-loud funny, with many callbacks sprinkled in that are sure to delight fans.
Best Episodes: “Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy,” “I Never Want to See Josh Again,” “Josh Is Irrelevant,” “Nathaniel and I Are Just Friends!”
Where to Watch: The first two seasons are available to watch on Netflix, and thanks to The CW’s deal with the streaming website, season three should be up within the week. Select episodes are also available on the CW’s website and app.
Grade: 4.3 out of 5 Singing Cat Puppets
For more of our full season TV reviews, click here!