Going into its second season on Friday night, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend arrives with Golden Globe and Emmy awards and the kind of expectations that could lead up to disappointment if the new episodes aren’t as splashy and novel as the first season’s were.
Co-creator and star Rachel Bloom has a nice way of dealing with this pressure. In the season premiere, she lets herself — and by extension, her audience — take a deep breath and measure exactly where we are with her Rebecca Bunch, the young woman who has moved across the country to be with the guy she’s pretty sure she’s in love with, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III).
At the end of last season, Rebecca had finally achieved some intimacy with Josh, at the expense of her potential romance with Greg (Santino Fontana), the guy we kinda sorta know she’s really meant for. The new season picks up right where the first left off, with Rebecca and Josh still excited and nervous about their new closeness. But it’s clear that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wants to explore the rest of its adept cast more thoroughly, and so we learn about a newly admitted struggle for Greg, as well as the hopes and dreams of Rebecca’s best friend, Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin).
The whole thing comes wrapped in music: a couple of typically clever original numbers and incidental touches, such as a novel use for Scott Joplin’s ragtime touchstone “The Entertainer.” Even the show’s theme song undergoes a rethink; as Rebecca explains, it’s “an emotional thesis statement for myself.” It’s this kind of self-consciousness — tart and pointed, yet not excessively vain — that gives Crazy Ex-Girlfriend its lift. We’re inside what Rebecca refers to as “my woman-brain,” and that’s a place where TV in general, in dealing with female protagonists, has not ventured nearly enough. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend seems poised in every sense to take on that challenge.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Friday nights at 9 p.m. on the CW.