We all get a little crazy after a breakup.
But Rebecca Bunch (created and portrayed by actress Rachel Bloom) from the musical comedy-drama series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, takes crazy to a whole new level. What you get is a show that’s hilarious, unapologetically feminist and uncouth, smart yet sassy, thought-provoking, and sometimes even painfully bittersweet and ironic. And since it’s a musical, we’ve some pretty catchy parodies thrown into the mix too.
The series, now entering its third season, features Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer who gave up her high-flying (but incredibly stressful) career in NYC to move to a backwater town in West Covina, California, for a relaxing change.
And it just so happens that her ex-boyfriend, Josh Chan, lives there.
Obsessed with getting Josh back into her life, Rebecca does all she can to win his heart, including getting close to his girlfriend Valencia (in season 1), and even breaking into her own house to get his attention. On the surface, this doesn’t feel feminist at all – a troubled woman drastically turning her life upside down for a man she barely knows. But look a little closer, and it’s about a woman battling with her own inner demons.
Her father left her and her mother when she was a young girl, her mother is an overbearing guilt-tripping narcissist, and she’s had a failed relationship which exacerbated her fear of abandonment and rejection. Rebecca is a strong and capable woman, professionally. But in her personal life, she is awkward, deeply insecure, in complete denial, and is too focused on her pain to see anything or anyone else clearly.
She holds feminist beliefs, and is able to articulate them (she is a successful lawyer after all). But at the same time, her entire social life is at war with her ideals. She wants things that goes against her feminist principles, and for that, she shows that she is simply human with her own vulnerabilities, dilemmas and insecurities, revealing more about us than we’d like to admit.
Founder and co-writer of the show, Rachel Bloom, claimed the new third season as her favourite. “It’s the kind we’ve wanted to do all along. The story Rebecca is telling herself is wildly different. In the first season she was telling herself, ‘Josh just happens to be here’. In the second she was saying, ‘I’m just a girl in love.’ This season she’s starting out with, ‘I am a woman scorned.’ The story she tells herself keeps changing, and that’s what makes the show so propulsive narratively,” said Bloom.
Through it all, the audience is rooting for Rebecca to wake up, come to terms with her childhood trauma of rejection and abandonment, and realize that she really doesn’t need a man to make her happy. It’s going to be a long and bumpy ride until she reaches that point, but until then, we’re going to buckle up and put on our best dancing shoes.