Maybe now that Rachel Bloom has won a Golden Globe for her work on The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend you’ll give the show that chance you keep thinking about. I know, I know, the title. Yes, the title is the number one thing people tell me has kept them from watching this show. I’ve tried telling them that they’re stupid but that doesn’t seem to work. So let me just say it’s subversive and very self aware. Those are words people like, right? They sure makes me feel smart at least. So just look at it this way, the title is like a filter that helps get the smarties and cool kids through. It’s like knowing the secret menu at In-N-Out Burger. It’s like wearing your sunglasses at night.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was definitely my favorite new show of the fall season, and I’m not just saying that because Rachel Bloom is a comic I know, who took me to see The Danish Girl premiere with her. Although look at this awesome photo of us. I’m right next to celebrity! It’s like I’m that kid in Almost Famous.
But that aside, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend just manages to hit my personal favorite tone of comedy: a sublime blend of dark humor with an absurdly silly tone. When dark and silly meet, I become a very happy lady. And when dark and silly meet while also making huge feminist strides and also not spoonfeeding its progressive attitude to the audience, I just want to dance. And on that note I’m in luck because this show is also a musical. So, with the series returning from winter hiatus, I wanted to look back on my favorite songs from the first half of the season:
1. Feelin’ Kinda Naughty
This song from the second episode is far and away my favorite. It’s the first thing I talk about when gushing to my friends about why they HAVE TO WATCH this. Remember what I said earlier about dark and silly meeting? This is where they do unspeakable things to each other that kids can only watch through scrambled TV signals. That still happens, right? I’m “with it.”
2. What’ll It Be
The second major song to feature the pipes of token nice guy Santino Fontana, this song nails his Greg a lot more than the catchy friendzone anthem of “Settle For Me.” While that song feels like it could drop right into a real broadway musical, this piano ballad is where he really starts to stand out. Executive Music Producer Adam Schlesinger blends Billy Joel with Ben Folds in a song that doesn’t skew as much to the comedy as most of the other music, but helps sell why the show works as an hour long dramedy as opposed to simply a half hour sitcom.
3. I Have Friends
There’s almost nothing more funny than sad children. But take sad children and make them super peppy and give them way too much confidence in how sad they are? Even better. Mean spirited songs can only take a show so far though, so what makes this song a favorite is the way it cheerfully addresses the superficiality of titular character Rebecca Bunch’s desire to be liked, both as a kid and as an adult.
4. Where’s the Bathroom?
Like me, you’ve probably sat and watched The Walking Dead and thought “What if Congressperson Deanna Monroe talk-sang her lines to a traditional Jewish score?” Well, here it is! Some of my favorite numbers in musicals are the ‘villain’ songs, like “This Jesus Must Die,” “Master of the House,” or “Washington On Your Side,” and Tovah Feldshuh’s on-screen introduction as Rebecca’s overbearing mother is a fine addition to that roster. The calm bridge in the middle only helps to sell the sheer exhaustion of Rebecca’s entire life with her mom.
5. California Christmas Time
I could write another long paragraph here about the way this song really gets what it’s like to celebrate Christmas in Southern California, and something something brilliant self-aware satire. I could do that, or I could admit that sometimes I’m a giant child and this song is here because of the “Chestnuts” pun. It’s worth it.
Riley Silverman is a comedian and writer and might possibly be just a little into style and fashion and Doctor Who. You can follow her on Twitter.