So last week I reviewed the premiere of The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and said that, while it had a smart, splashy pilot, it was the kind of show that — given the demand for two or three musical numbers and an hour’s worth of jokes every episode — “could quickly drop off in quality in succeeding weeks.” Well, The CW has made tonight’s and next week’s episodes available to critics, and I’m here to say: Keep watching. Or start watching. It’s good.
On Monday night, the show delves deeper into the challenges faced by Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) as she continues to pursue her dream man, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez). We get to know Josh’s girlfriend, Valencia, an attractive and flexible yoga instructor who inspires the night most elaborate musical number, a combination Bollywood/exercise-video parody.
The following week, Rebecca throws a party to get to know her neighbors better, but its purpose in terms of the series is to showcase the talents of Donna Lynne Champlin (who plays her work-pal Paula) and Rodriguez, each of whom gets a big production number. Champlin’s song about facing your fears is especially clever lyrically, Rodriguez’s one-man boy-band parody is very adroitly choreographed.
Show creators Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, along with songwriters Jack Dolgen and Fountains of Wayne’s Adam Schlesinger, are creating excellent songs filled with sly wordplay that moves the narrative along. I’m not yet convinced that the show has established Rebecca as not being crazy-obsessive about Josh: Despite the silly-smart opening credits in which Rebecca protests the show’s title (“The situation is a lot more nuanced than that!”) and the running joke that she boasts about attending Harvard too frequently, the character comes off as awfully focused on a guy who’s not that into her.
The question to that is: Does that matter? Which is to say, other than establishing Bloom’s feminist bona fides, does it prevent any viewer pleasure in watching Rebecca build her new California life? I suspect it doesn’t, and I’m in favor of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend being as crazy as it wants to be, because it clearly thrives when it’s least inhibited about what a girlfriend “should” be.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Mondays at 8 p.m. on The CW.