There’s always a bit of tragedy in musicals. After all, South Pacific, the musical Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) performs in the opening moments of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, is about an American nurse who struggles to accept the mixed-race children of the man she loves. We may all remember songs like “I’m in Love with a Wonderful Guy” but forget the sadness behind it.
As enjoyable as the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend pilot “Josh Just Happens to Live Here!” is – especially with its mid-point “Get Ready” hip-hop montage that so perfectly pinpoints the feeling of getting dressed for a date (her face breaking into tears after smoothing her Spanx-ed stomach nails it) – at times, it’s hard to watch.
Rebecca has been a miserable human being for the past 10 years. The audience is never let in on what has gradually made her so miserable (maybe it’s just adulthood in general), but her jadedness stems from the breakup of her high school boyfriend, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III). When she runs into him in New York City and her heart feels like exploding glitter, she decides to blow off her new partner promotion at the law firm she works at and move all the way to West Covina, California, which is two hours from the beach (or four with traffic).
In addition to a somber tone, there’s also a twinge of darkness that I hope the show explores further. Our first glimpse of Rebecca in her new West Covina digs shows her dumping prescription pills upon pills down the sink with a smile on her face. While we learn little about our heroine in 45 minutes, other than, you know, moving to West Covina where Josh just happens to live, this moment is so telling and interesting that I hope we see more of it in the future. Showtime passed on this show, but I hope that doesn’t prevent the series from exploring controversial themes even with a CW gloss.