March 5, 2018  (Web Review)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Complete First Season

Warner, 4 discs, 756 min., not rated, DVD: $39.99

Reviewer rating: 3.5/4

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a musical comedy series for the modern world. Rachel Bloom (the show’s creator, along with Aline Brosh McKenna) stars as Rebecca Bunch, a neurotic, workaholic corporate lawyer who leaves the competitive New York culture and moves to the (fictional) inland California city of West Covina to stalk her teenage crush, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III). Rebecca joins a small law firm (where she is ridiculously overqualified), becomes best friends with a middle-aged paralegal (Donna Lynne Champlin) who will be her co-conspirator, and plots to steal the charming underachiever Josh from his longtime girlfriend Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz), a sexy yoga instructor who is even more self-absorbed than Rebecca. Broadway star Santino Fontana costars as the nice guy with low self-esteem who Rebecca keeps snubbing, and Pete Gardner is her divorced boss struggling with his sexual identity. Rebecca is not the only psychological and emotional mess here, and the series explores everyone’s issues in deliciously clever songs (many written by pop-meister Adam Schlesinger of Fountains of Wayne) and creative production numbers. The show is both funny and clever, finding humor in heartbreak and satire in the gulf between dreams and reality—and doing so with style, wit, and sassy musical numbers. Although it earned low ratings for a network series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend enjoys a small but devoted following and has been a critical darling since it debuted in 2015 (the second season is also currently available on DVD). Compiling all 18 episodes from the 2015-16 first season, this is highly recommended. (S. Axmaker)