A friend ranted about how much she hates Rebecca Bunch after I convinced her to watch the first season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Honestly, I was surprised at her reaction. Her dislike of Rebecca is comparable to her hatred of Rachel Green from Friends. Well, she does have a point. Even show co-creator Rachel Bloom said it’s okay to hate Rebecca Bunch.
Sure, anyone can warm up to an unlikable character as long as he or she has a decent backstory. Modern rom-com heroines need to have just the right amount of flaws to make them relatable. But for most of Season One, you can’t help but hate Bunch.
She insists she’s a good person in this musical number but most of us would beg to differ – that is until we get to the end of Season Two.
But if everyone’s inclined to hate Rebecca Bunch, how was the show able to develop a loyal following over the course of its initial run?
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is proof you don’t always need ‘balanced’ protagonists. The main cast (collectively known as the Gang) are the worst human beings you’ll ever meet. Despite this, the show has been renewed for a 13th season. So what do people see in these psychopaths? (Pretty bleak commentary on the human race here.)The worst persons you’ll ever meet. Source: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia Wikia
If I’d have to make a guess, it would probably be how we all can relate to the backlash coming from the Gang’s schemes. Face it, we all can be jerks sometimes. (Well, some more than others). But at some point, karma got back at us for something particularly nasty we did.
Modern rom-coms poke fun at classic rom-com tropes, and Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is no different.
The overarching theme for Seasons One and Two is the things that Rebecca will do in her pursuit of love. Although, it is more explicit in Season Two.
Actions have consequences. Like the Gang, Rebecca’s less-than-admirable actions come back to haunt her. It may take a while, but it will eventually catch up to her.
Rebecca’s struggle for redemption in later seasons tugs at your heartstrings. But it’s the regret and self-loathing she feels after karma ‘taps her on the shoulder’ that really packs the emotional punch. While most of us love a good comeback story, we’re more drawn to something that is universal: heartbreak and disappointment coming from questionable decisions.
You Stupid B**tch captures this sentiment quite nicely.
But do we really need to be reminded about how life can suck? Sometimes.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend dishes out some hard truths, but its main gimmick makes it easier for us to swallow.
Over-the-top original musical numbers referencing several movies and artists soften the emotional punch of their core messages. It doesn’t diminish its emotional impact, but it helps us recover faster from the initial recoil.
You’ll know what I mean after watching Settle for Me, easily the most relatable song in Season One. (Well, maybe except for those gifted with ridiculously good genes.)
I mean, how can she be so cruel to a self-deprecating guy who poured out his heart to her?! Please make it harder for us to hate you, Rebecca!
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is darker than most modern Rom-Coms. And Rebecca has more flaws than redeeming qualities throughout the show’s three seasons.
The show eventually tackles the reasons for her impulsiveness in later seasons. You’ll have to catch up to Season Three if you want to find out. (Don’t Google it. Have some self-control and let the show take you on an emotional coaster ride!)
But I’ll prefer a deeply flawed character to some cookie-cutter Rom-Com stereotype any day.
Did you enjoy this? Stop, you’re making us blush. Here are the best romantic comedy TV shows on TV right now.