“I’m just a girl in love! I can’t be held responsible for my actions!” So sings Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) as she dances through the title sequence for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend‘s second season. It’s a punchier, more thematic intro than last year’s opener, a manic cartoon that pitched the show’s premise: Miserable New York lawyer throws away everything (including meds for a mental condition) to chase a guy in the strip-mall sprawl of West Covina, California. The new overture sums up everything that was exceptional about the season’s first three episodes. They restate and refine the show’s perspective and produce sharp, zany entertainment. Bloom’s ingenious anti-rom-com was one of last year’s best shows. It might be even better this year.
Rebecca has finally bagged dream dude Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III), but happily-ever-after eludes them in the initial sweep of story. Their tenuous ‘ship forces Rebecca to confront her narcissism and self-debasement, yielding musical sequences that zing pop culture for enabling those issues with wrongheaded romantic fantasy. Desperate for more than mere “love kernels” from Josh, Rebecca imagines herself the object of his rapturous desire in “Ping Pong Girl,” a rock spoof of female objectification.
A major investment in secondary players creates an abundance of complex, character-driven conflict. Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) tries to wean herself off Rebecca’s dramas and pursues her law-school ambition, while Greg (Santino Fontana) seeks treatment for alcoholism. Heavy? Yes. But also hilarious. Paula’s soaring premiere ballad had me rolling during the verses (“maybe this dream won’t be like Ebola eating the flesh of its host”) and tearing up by the end. Like FXX’s You’re the Worst, Crazy Ex offers a wild and wise examination of love, friendship, and our responsibility to each other’s happiness and healing. You’d be crazy to miss it. A