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Wednesday
Jul 18 2018

Soundtracking: "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"- Season 3

byChris Feil

Save for recognizing our belovedBig Mouth,this year'sOriginal Music and Lyrics nomineesare a bit of an underwhelming assemblage.So rather than examine this lineup,let's take a look at one of the more egregious omissions:Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Now,Emmy already has a lamentable history in overlooking the show - and never more so than voters completely ignoring this third season's multi-layered and vital look at mental illness.But the original song category has made some curious decisions in regards to the show.Season two's nominated "We Tapped That Ass"is delightful but soft compared to other options.We can't really begrudge the season one nomination of swooner "Settle For Me"but where was series-defining genius of "You Stupid Bitch"?The song category is perhaps proof that Emmy voters just don't get the highwire act that this show pulls off...

Season three was the show at its peak,pairing its genre-spanning musical sharpness with its hilarious micro-observations better than it ever had before.And it wasn't like songwriters Rachel Bloom,Adam Schlesinger,and Jack Dolgen didn't create some series' best songs to nominate.

"Let's Generalize About Men"kicked off the season with its most viral musical sequence,an electro pop female ode to reducing men to cliches for the ecstatic release of it.The song dives headfirst into its 80s candy while functioning as both satire and empowerment anthem,like a rosé with electrolytes and vitamin C.As ever,the show sneaks in social consciousness with a matter-of-fact bite,elevating a broad sequence such as this past its sketch comedy potential.It also helps that "Generalize.."is a total banger.Slam the repeat button.

But the series musical high belongs to the spectacular Donna Lynn Champlin for "First Penis I Saw".Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's sweetness can't be underestimated,often contrasting its supposed crassness with palatable pop sensibility.Such approachability helps break down taboos of our unspoken obsessions without losing its edge.Here it's the awkward yet sacred first glimpse of naughty bits,but the show has done this equally as well with issues of self-loathing and poor social skills.Most of all,the shows fascinations surprise in the commonality of their specificity,and this the show's universal peak example of that.

Yes,you should also consider this a continued stumping for the criminally unnominated Champlin.

Genre is also a tool to deliver certain subtextual messages in the show.Here in "Maybe She's Not Such a Heinous Bitch After All"60s girl-group sunshine evokes sanitized domesticity,the kind of music where we would never hear any person,let alone our mothers reduced to profanity.These subtle subversions of both musical genre and acceptable social behavior underline everything Rebecca internalizes about the tension between her and her mother.Not to mention how it accelerates the emotional high she is on,right before a low that became a game-changer for the series...

This season has sparked a number of brilliant pieces on the show's depiction of mental illness and Rebecca's suicide attempt,and this turn remains one of the bravest moves the show has taken.True to form,it musicalized it brilliantly in a way that further revealed the raw nerve of Rebecca's psyche and need to be loved with "A Diagnosis".The show is often at its bravest when it just lets her sing her heart out,singing about things we've never heard put to music but in a musical theatre sound that is familiar.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriendcontinues to take big storytelling risks and break rules,especially musically.If the show's silliness makes you consider it as anything other than deeply personal,this past season was one to shake you by the shoulders.And then give you a hug.

All Soundtracking installments can be foundhere!

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Reader Comments (7)

Well fucking done.The Emmys should be ashamed of themselves for ignoring this show ESPECIALLY this season.

July 18,2018 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

CEG is,quite simply,my favorite show on television.It's brilliant from top to bottom.Each season has been wonderful,but I totally agree that this most recent,slightly darker but still funny season was gangbusters.I LOATHE the Emmys for continuing to ignore this show!

July 18,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDennis

I agree completely,this is a totally brilliant series.

But its sitcom/romcom/psychological drama/musical/music video mashup is both a blessing and a curse.There are too many genres here for a lot of views to handle in the same show.I was initially dubious,and felt that the inspired musical sequences were great...but that the overall plotting and characters didn't match them.Everything eventually won me over,but it took sticking with the show through a period of adjustment.

CXG is so unique that it's a bit of a tough sell at a time when there are 500 scripted series competing for eyeballs.It's just a cult favorite now,but I suspect that it will eventually be discovered and beloved by waves of new fans going forward.It's way too good for that not to happen.

And there's a final season yet to come,so maybe it'll get some overdue awards love too.

July 18,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoctor Strange

'The First Penis' was my favourite.But I loved 'I Go to the Zoo' and 'Fit Hot Guys Have Problems too','Fuckton of cats' and 'This is my movement' as well.

So many great songs this season!

July 18,2018 | Unregistered CommenterSteve G

Couldn't get into this series,unlike seemingly everyone else on Twitter/TFE.It just never landed and the songs were cute,but too nudging and winking for my liking.

July 18,2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

The Emmys' reluctance to embrace Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - unquestionably one of the best shows on TV - isn't surprising,but the fact that there were ZERO nominations for it in Original Song this year is just ridiculous.

In addition to the songs you mention,there's the dead-on perfect parody songs "The Moment is Me","This is My Movement",and "I Go to the Zoo",the too-funny AND too-real (and too beautifully sung) "The Miracle of Birth",the brilliant meta-song "The End of the Movie",and the just all-around superb "Nothing is Ever Anyone's Fault"and "Strip Away My Conscience",a Fosse-esque ditty jam-packed with double entendres (including the best lines ever written for the series: "So tell me 'bout your sins/And shock me with their luridness/Let me be your pupil/let me choke on your cock-suredness".(And you're telling me not enough people in Hollywood of all places related to "Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too"?!?)

I can only imagine there was too much vote-splitting.Or maybe they just submitted the wrong songs (for last season they only submitted two,one of which was "We Tapped That Ass").Who knows.

Regardless,"A Diagnosis"absolutely should have won that category this year.

July 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDancin' Dan

The show was great this season,and "A Diagnosis"is a masterpiece...

July 19,2018 | Unregistered CommenterDoug

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