I’ve never written a ‘review’ before but I started re-watching ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ the other day and I’m starting to realise this time around what an amazing show it is. Especially after my little breakdown over Flynn.
One of my best friends once made a video about what depression feels like for her (link below) and I think everyone in their lives will have felt some of those emotions before, even maybe some together. But to feel all of these conflicting things all at once. It can drive a person insane. But I think one of the worst feelings, is to feel nothing at all. A week ago, after I’d finished crying and I managed to drag myself out of my chair. I felt nothing at all, an emptiness and that leads to confusion and fear. But I got through it in a few days. I have low patches, sometimes really low, but I can usually pull myself out of them and if I keep myself busy and productive then I can keep myself happy. But some people can’t do that, they get stuck in that low.
The show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ is, on the surface, a hilarious musical, satirical drama about a plucky young lawyer, Rebecca Bunch, who moves from New York to live her dreams in SoCal. And in this case her ‘dreams’ are definitely not about Josh Chan, her childhood sweetheart. Because to move to West Covina for Josh, now ‘that’d be strange.’
From the very first episode, ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ throws mental illness in your face. Rebecca is clearly struggling with depression and we see a mountain of pills kept in her bag. Even when offered a dream promotion at work she faces an existential crisis and in that moment, decided to drop everything and move across the country to follow Josh. Not that she’ll admit it.
It wasn’t until the end of season two, of my first run through, that I realised how clever Rachel Bloom, the creator and lead, has been to embed the issues of anxiety and depression into the show. The cheesy musical numbers provide a nice distraction from the fact that our clearly unstable lead is ignoring her problems. She pushes ahead with her ‘normal’ life, only to the detriment of her health. And in ignoring her problems she spins wild fantasies and lies which inevitably come back to bit her in the rear.
By airing all these issues in such a huge hit, Rachel is helping to humanise people suffering with mental health. She shows that sometimes people might not be entirely in control of their lives. She said herself that her own depression had invaded her brain like an alien and in Rebecca, this alien has been their for so long that it has become part of her. But it isn’t who she is and only by acknowledging her problems and asking for help can she ever hope to get rid of the monster that is depression.
The character is so relatable in the show that it’s hard not to be able to make comparisons between her and myself, even if Rebecca does take everything to the extreme. How many of us have put all of our effort into work to distract from our dull lives at home? I know I have. If I’m sat in the library writing an essay it means I’m not in my flat feeling lost and alone. Sure I didn’t move hundreds of miles to chase a childhood love but I’ve done my fair share of pining over a long lost fling. And I’ve definitely had days where I would love to buy a house a thousand miles away and start a new life but I’ve never had the budget for that.
The dark humour that permeates through the show not only shows the genius of Rachel Bloom but also serves to highlight some of the issues that millions of people face every day. And if people talk about it, then it becomes okay to talk about it and that is one of the best ways to help, to have an outlet for those damaging emotions building up inside.
I highly recommend ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ to all and I can’t wait for season three. And I would implore that if you watch it, you don’t do so superficially but see the effort that has gone into creating such an imaginative and important show.
https://youtu.be/BWB2ZVhWxU4 – ‘Depression’ by itsverypop