Hilarious, witty, heartbreaking, and soul-crushingly real are terms that normally don't go together without a fight. But somehow, The CW's musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend keeps combining them in ways that keep me gaping at my television in delight and/or devastation. And there's no better example of how the series accomplishes this unlikely combination than the two songs it premiered during Monday's episode, "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!"
The first was "Textmergency," a frantic soundtrack for Rebecca (newly minted Golden Globe winner Rachel Bloom) racing to delete a revealing message she accidentally sent to her crush, in the style of an '80s hair metal band.
"Textmergency" — alternate title "Textastrophe," as per the band's constant arguments mid-song — features Pitch Perfect's Ester Dean, Undateable's Briga Heelan, Jeff Hiller, Ivan Hernandez, and the ghost of Steve Jobs cackling about how technology is making it easier than ever for people to make fools of themselves.
It is, in short, a beautifully weird and funny sketch. If Key & Peele were still on the air, its stars would've been smart to take notes.
And just when I thought
"Textmergency" "Textastrophe" would be the highlight of the episode, Bloom underscored her recent Golden Globe win by delivering her most stunning performance to date: "You Stupid Bitch."
By the end of the hour, all the wheels have come off. In her attempt to keep Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) from finding out how much she loves him, Rebecca falls down a rabbit hole of insecurity. She even ends up faking a break-in at her own house to cover her lies. Eventually, her unstable behavior — which stems from intense emotions and explicit anxiety disorders — scares off Josh in a real, possibly irreversible way.
And so in the comfort of her own head, Rebecca steps onto a stage to sing about "self-indulgent self-loathing." The song is a soulful, scorching ballad; "it's wonderful to be back here," she tells an invisible rapturous crowd, "even though I'm here, singing this song, a lot."
Though Bloom starts the performance by doing her best Barbra Streisand, all smiles and graciousness, the song quickly devolves into a startling, excoriating rant — and it's all directed at herself.
"You ruined everything, you stupid bitch," Rebecca howls, clutching at her heart. "You're just a lying little bitch who ruins things, and wants the world to burn … you're a stupid bitch. (And lose some weight.)"
Even though she gets the unseen audience to sing along with her as if they're waving lighters at a Celine Dion concert, Rebecca's self-hatred and desperate sadness is heart-wrenching — as in, it feels like someone just ripped out your heart and showed it to you, blood and guts and all.
Writing out the words to "You Stupid Bitch" doesn't do justice to Bloom's incredible performance as she spits out the harshest words Rebecca can find for herself, but they still pack one hell of a gut punch:
"Now he knows I'm not some innocent lamb. He sees me for what I am, which is a horrible, stupid, dumb and ugly, fat and stupid, simple self-hating bitch."
The Sound of Music, it is not. But 10 episodes in, it's clear that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is, without a doubt, one of the most honest and unique shows on television.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs Mondays at 8 pm on The CW. Previous episodes can be found on Hulu.