As I was looking for a new TV series to start a few years ago, a friend of mine recommended Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. I had heard about this show in passing but had never looked into it before. My friend knows that I love musical theater, and when she told me this show was a musical comedy, I decided to check it out. After a few episodes I was hooked! It offered a humorous yet genuine perspective of human relationships, and the songs were hilarious and relatable! At the time, only the first season was available on Netflix, and when the second season started, I began watching it every week. As the show continued, the topic of mental health became more prominent, and it was addressed truthfully and respectfully while maintaining a sense of humor. It forces viewers to look beyond the label of “crazy” and see an honest representation of life with mental illness.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is the story of Rebecca Bunch’s quest for happiness. She leaves her job at a New York law firm and moves to West Covina, California, where she hopes to reunite with her former summer camp boyfriend, Josh Chan. At a first glance, one might see this as a stereotypical “crazy ex-girlfriend” act, thus explaining the name of the show. But instead of writing Rebecca off as “crazy,” the show portrays her as a human being with valid thoughts and emotions. The pilot episode also reveals that she suffers from anxiety and depression, making mental health an important topic from the very beginning. And Rebecca is such a likable and relatable character! I’m sure that anyone, regardless of their mental health, can see themselves in her. Eventually, after hitting rock bottom, Rebecca receives a new diagnosis that isn’t normally represented in the media, which I’m glad to see. I believe that accurately portraying a variety of mental illnesses in film and television is a powerful way to fight the stigma and make it easier to talk about
mental health, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend does a fantastic job at this. The show’s creator, Rachel Bloom (who also plays Rebecca and writes the show’s songs), also suffers from mental illness, and she definitely knows how to address these issues with humor and heart.
Rebecca’s story is one of growth and self-discovery, and seeing her journey gives me hope. It reassures me that it’s okay if I don’t have all the answers to life’s big questions and that there are always people around me that I can turn to for support. Plus, the songs are hilarious and so relatable! I don’t know how many times I’ve thought “that’s completely me!” during a musical sequence. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is currently airing its fourth and final season on The CW, and the previous three seasons are available on Netflix for your enjoyment!
Have you seen Crazy Ex-Girlfriend? What other shows can you think of that talk about mental health and illness? How do you think they do with its portrayal?