Someone finally figured out that it's possible to combine physical comedy, intelligent dialogue, wacky characters, fantastic writing, borderline-raunchy humor and Broadway musicals into a TV show. (I know! What took so long?)
Title: “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”
Year it began: 2015
Where it can be seen: CW, Netflix
Typical episode length: 40-43 minutes
Number of episodes: 31 (new season starts Friday Oct. 13)
Who’s in it: Rachel Bloom, Donna Lynne Champlin, Vincent Rodriguez III, Pete Gardner, Vella Lovell, Gabrielle Ruiz.
Brief plot description: A successful-in-work-but-not-love lawyer from New York City leaves the Big Apple and her career behind for West Covina, Calif. to pursue her summer camp crush from years earlier.
Why it’s worth watching: When the premise of a show is so unusual that you have a hard time finding something comparable, you may be on to something. Co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna have taken that premise and turned it into one the most original shows ever produced.
Bloom is a revelation, a direct show-business descendant of Carol Burnett with possibly even more musical comedy talent, and a deeper fondness for finding the line for "acceptable" and then jumping over it. (Go on YouTube and look up some of the videos she has done.)
She and every other cast member have theater pedigrees and can - and do - sing and dance. The show revolves around Bloom's character, Rebecca Bunch, and her obsession with Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), whom she met as a teen at summer camp. A chance meeting years later in Manhattan leads her to the spontaneous decision to chuck her life and move to West Covina, where Josh lives and where she joins a law firm.
There she meets the woman who will become her BFF/mother figure, office manager Paula Proctor (played by the amazing Donna Lynne Champlin of Rochester), who also serves as Rebecca's self-appointed love coach. The fact that Josh is already in a serious relationship when she arrives does little to slow her pursuit and leads to encounters - sexual and otherwise - with a host of West Covina's more colorful residents.
The show's theme song - different ones for seasons 1 and 2 - may make you long for the days when all shows cared about theme songs, and each episode also has musical numbers related to what's happening on that episode, with titles such as "Oh My God I Think I Like You," “I Love My Daughter (But Not In a Creepy Way)” and "Sexy Getting Ready Song."
There's a reason this show has won critical acclaim and why Bloom won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of the title character. But it has not come close to winning over a huge audience. Talk about crazy.