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There exists an oft-forgotten network on television that currently airs some of network TV’s most promising and purely enjoyable shows. That network is The CW. And while the ratings challenged network doesn’t get nearly as much ink as its bigger, alphabetic competitors like ABC and NBC, The CW is slowly turning itself into a network that gets harder and harder to deny. It kicked off the recent superhero renaissance on television a few years back with Arrow, then followed that show’s success to debut the even more successful The Flash. Jane the Virgin was one of last season’s most critically adored shows, earning the network its first ever Golden Globe nominations. And this season, The CW continues their hot streak with a crazy ex-girlfriend.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a comedic force to be reckoned with from the mind of Rachel Bloom, an Upright Citizens Brigade alum who started making waves on YouTube with her hilarious songs and videos. She hit the digital jackpot when she released a video that would go viral and enter her name into a pantheon of up and coming comics to watch: “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury.” With an alternative teen rock vibe, outlandishly explicit lyrics and a video that borrows elements from Britney Spears’ classic “…Baby One More Time” video, is it any wonder that “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury,” an R-rated ode to the renowned sci-fi writer, blew up the Internet?

 

With the success of “Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury,” Bloom started putting out and creating more videos that followed her trend of musically scathing comedy. From these, it’s easy to see how her style and chops have translated into Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, a show about a depressed and unstable 20-something who quits her high-paying job to move to West Covina, CA after running into an old boyfriend she dated briefly at summer camp a decade ago.

If that premise sounds a bit dark for a comedy, well, you’d be right. Crazy-Ex Girlfriend is not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to the laughs. Bloom’s character Rebecca Bunch is arguably the most unlikable and awful person to front a network comedy in a while, and clearly has some deep-rooted mental issues that she ignores, all in the pursuit to win back the affection of a clueless ex.

 

Questionable name aside, the show is an absolute delight. The cast is full of veteran musical theatre actors, which is great, because this show is a musical comedy through and through. And I don’t mean in the same vein as Glee was. All of the songs performed on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are original pieces of comedic brilliance, something you’d expect from The Lonely Island or Saturday Night Live’s digital shorts. Oftentimes, these immaculately produced numbers are the highlight of a given episode, spoofing off of current Top 40 trends, borrowing the conventions of typical musical numbers and then turning them on their head for meta comedic effect.

 

Take “The Sexy Getting Ready Song,” a sharp, satirical look at how women prepare for a date, complete with a rap breakdown where the rapper becomes too horrified with the patriarchal pressures women feel to look sexy for men to even finish his verse. That brilliant jam was just in the first episode. Since then, there’s been the psychotically homicidal Katy Perry-esque song “Feeling Kinda Naughty” about having a girl crush on her ex-boyfriend’s current girlfriend, the sheer ebullience of “Settle for Me” which has been the show’s best twist on a classic musical number and the pitch-perfect parody of Beyonce’s “Partition” video in “Sex with a Stranger.”

 

By bringing her YouTube viral sensibilities to a network sitcom, Bloom has created this year’s most effervescent and addictive new program. Lest you think all the comedy lies in these polished musical numbers, think again. The writing is full of witty takes on pop culture and an unapologetic drive to go to some pretty uncomfortable places to score some jaw-dropping, knee-slapping laughs. By mining the innately unfunny to resonate on an emotional and cathartic level, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has delivered some painful and stinging moments of comedy that hurt and feel oh so good.

From fucking Ray Bradbury to creating, writing and starring in the best new comedy series this year, Rachel Bloom is an undeniable talent that deserves your recognition. If you’re a fan of musical shenanigans, viral videos, the digital power of YouTube that permeates through her program or just brilliant comedy, give Crazy Ex-Girlfriend a chance. On paper, it’s a hard sell. But don’t judge this delightfully wacky show by its cover. Bloom has created a masterwork of comedy that borrows from the success and ideals that initially turned her into a viral star. Hopefully this star will find new light outside of YouTube.

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