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I first watched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend when it was added to the UK Netflix selection earlier this year; I was immediately taken not just by the eclectic cast of characters or the keen sense of humour, but also by the musical element. Each episode features two entirely new songs, and across the season there was a whole host of different genres, styles and homages on display. The songs are a real testament to the skill of Rachel Bloom, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s star and executive producer, as well as Adam Schlesinger, the series’ executive music producer.
Across the entire season, there were 49 songs - that’s an original song for every fourteen minutes of showtime. Here, then, are my personal top 5 favourites.
5) Settle For Me
Bloom has said she started with the “idea of doing a very musical-theater-feeling song with a very modern bite to it” for this particular song, focusing specifically on the image of “a Fred and Ginger number at a frat party where people would be dancing and then someone would throw up, but in the person’s mind it would become a fountain”. While that clearly didn’t make it through to the final song, the showtunes influence still remained, resulting in an entertaining musical number with impressive production values.
Settle for Me typifies one of the things I find most impressive about the musical aspects of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend – each song is more than just a joke, but also functions as an important character moment. The above is an essential step in the development of the relationship between Rachel and Greg, which proves to be a frequently entertaining (albeit frustrating) plotline across the course of the season, and I imagine will continue to be so into next year as well.
4) Sexy Getting Ready Song
This song featured in the pilot episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and immediately sets the tone for what is to follow. It’s a bitingly funny song that doesn’t shy away from certain realities, and it’s this general awareness which adds to the tone of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And, to be honest, makes it far, far funnier.
There’s also this extremely entertaining live performance, which Bloom, Donna Lynne Champlin (Paula) and Pete Gardner (Darryl) give a rendition of the song for an FYC television academy. Somehow, it’s even funnier in front of a live audience.
3) Oh My God I Think I Like You
I just think this one’s quite funny. Also, I really like the tune.
2) Gettin’ Bi
One of the more endearing aspects of the season was watching the developing romance between Darryl and White Josh. In a television landscape that often shies away from even using the term “bisexual”, and where it’s rare to see depictions bisexual men, this was a refreshing change of pace in terms of how wholeheartedly we see Darryl embrace his identity. (The production team had in fact consulted GLAAD representatives to discuss different preconceptions about bi people to incorporate into the songs.)
The song was heavily influenced by 80s music, and in particular the work of Huey Lewis. (This was Schlesinger’s idea; the piece, as originally conceived by Bloom, was to be a Broadway style song entitled Bi the Bi.)
1) Feeling Kinda Naughty
And this one is my favourite. It’s from the second episode, Josh’s Girlfriend is Really Cool!, and so immediately set the bar for the series quite high. This song is also, actually, why I began watching Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, because it hits such a specific note of absurd humour that I really couldn’t resist. In many ways, it has all the same entertaining aspects of Bloom’s earlier work, like her wonderful Ray Bradbury Song.
This one, I think, really emphasises quite how talented Rachel Bloom (and indeed the rest of the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend team) really are; to be able to consistently write creative and hilarious songs like this takes a lot of skill, and it’s clear that they all have it in spades. Today’s Emmy win for Bloom was undoubtedly deserved, and I can’t wait to see where she takes her programme next.
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