Sunday, April 1, 2018

She is risen! CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND's third season brings Rachel Bloom/Aline Brosh McKenna's brilliant show back to former glory

After the usual sophomore slump of a second season (not bad, mind you, but just a little "less"), CRAZY EX-GIRLFRIEND has bounced back to all of its buoyant glory, creativity and entertainment that knocked our socks off during season one. TrustMovies' spouse declares it his favorite television series of all time, and if I can't quite go that far, I must admit that it is up there with the very best.

The brainchild of its star Rachel Bloom (above) and writer Aline Brosh McKenna (shown at right), the series is comparable to The Mary Tyler Moore Show -- with which it has a surprising amount in common: the workplace and a bunch of wonderfully goofy and memorable characters, and a young woman heroine negotiating career and love. The differences are (1) a much more modern, internet-age time frame and all that entails and (2) a heroine who, rather than being re-active to all the people around her, is absolutely pro-active (or pro-negative) so that all those around her become satellites.

Plus -- and this of course is the clincher -- the show is dotted, episode after episode, with its own fabulously funny and entertaining musical numbers that comment trenchantly on all the characters, while giving each one the chance to perform and shine.

From their handling of one musical number after another, it seems clear that Bloom and McKenna must have an encyclopedic knowledge of musical theater (and a bunch of other musical genres, too), for their riffs and take-offs are simply and delightfully on-target.

Has there ever been a heroine quite as simultaneously enchanting and appalling as Rebecca Bunch? I doubt it. The word crazy in the title proves absolutely on the mark. Toward the end of season two, it sometimes seemed that our girl was going too far over the top. The particular beauty of season three is that it finally addresses Rebecca's craziness and even allows her to -- at least try -- to address it, too.

As with all the best series, the supporting characters grow and change in ways that make them ever more precious to us. And this show treats almost all its characters as something special -- whether they're friends, work-mates, love objects or blackmailing stalkers.

How Crazy Ex-Girlfriend movies its plot along so handily is another of its miracles. Eventually, you quit wondering and/or worrying about who is going to end up with whom and simply lean back and enjoy these wonderfully crazy (and just real enough to make you identify and quiver a bit) folk for who they are and what they might become.

I had thought perhaps season three would be the capper and finale. But no, there will be more. If the creators can keep their next season up to this level, we're in for a continuing and rare treat.

Originally shown on The CW (the cable channel owned jointly by CBS and Warner Brothers) and now streaming now on Netflix, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend can be seen -- binged or doled out in pleasurable mini-doses -- in all its three-season glory. 

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