The CW’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has a questionable initial title and an even more questionable premise (New York lawyer moves to LA to stalk ex boyfriend she had ten years previously). It’s also a prime example not judging something by it’s cover. The musical comedy aspect might put people off, but underneath all that is a very funny, very witty show. The songs are incredibly funny and it has a very serious intent to explore mental health and morality. Which takes you by surprise.
But the show’s highlights are definitely it’s many songs. So here’s the top 20 songs from the first two seasons of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
WARNING: contains spoilers for seasons one and two.
20) The Sexy Getting Ready Song
The moment you realise that this show is a bit more than just comedy videos and actually having things to say. Whilst a parody of early 00s R’n’B along the lines of Aaliyah, the golden moment is when rapper Nipsey Hussle turns up for the usual rap verse. Only he stops, looks at how much effort Rebecca is putting into to look good and it completely changes his view on women. He even appears in a tag scene at the end in which he’s calling up every woman he’s ever mistreated. For this reviewer, this sold the level of humour that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was doing.
If anything, you can forgive the bad accents of this Spice Girls spoof for Gabrielle Ruiz’s delivery of the above line. Sometimes the show just wants to spoof something rather than explore characters; and the concept of “Girl Power” taking over the world gets placed in the most literal sense ever. So lyrics describe manifestos for a new world order and the hanging of Congress with hair braids. It definitely clicks the more you listen to it. Such fun.
18) Who’s The New Guy?
You can never accuse Crazy Ex-Girlfriend of lacking self-awareness. The show is constantly making meta-jokes that almost smash through the fourth wall. So the chorus of side characters have their own song based on new character Nathan (Scott Michael Foster) but constantly play on TV terms. It’s very funny and very witty.
17) It Was A Shit Show
Santino Fontana’s Greg was a love interest that was just as troubled as Rebecca. With Fontana’s contract over, he was written out of the show. But he gets his farewell show-stopping number in the only way the knows how: a “My Way” influenced song that pulls no punches. It’s simple and closes off Greg’s character arc and offers closure for his and Rebecca’s relationship.
16) Stuck In The Bathroom
Sidelined from the songs in the first season, Vella Lovell shines in the parody of R Kelly’s “Trapped in the Closest”. It’s a little short, and it gets nowhere near as crazy as the original (I don’t think the show’s writing staff have the energy to even try to take that challenge) but it’s brilliant as it helps propel the episode’s narrative in ways most songs don’t.
15) Greg’s Drinking Song
A revelation that doesn’t surprise that much, Greg is an alcoholic. It’s more about his self-realisation of his problem. His coming out to his friends take the form of an Irish drinking song detailing his exploits when drunk. The events describe start from the tragic (peeing himself) to the down right absurd (trying to take control of a plane midair). The juxtaposition of a genre linked to alcohol and Greg’s problems is handled brilliantly.
14) Cold Showers
“Ya Got Trouble” from The Music Man sees Harold Hill causing a small-town-frenzy about a pool table with the aim of getting money for a marching band. Robert Preston’s performance in the film and the song is lovingly paid tribute to by Bloom and co. as the same technique is used to get people to agree to a lawsuit against the Californian authority (I think). The over-exaggeration of the consequences of cold water leading to drugs makes sense; in the only way this show can.
13) Dream Ghost
I often feel this is incredibly underrated. The Dreamgirls references played up to full effect (even having Amber Riley turn up) as Michael Hyatt’s dream-version of therapist Dr. Akopian takes Rebecca on “a journey through time and space” via Diana Ross and The Supremes. Ricki Lake turns up at one point as backing vocalist. Bloom also has the best facial reactions in this video. The song also contains one of my personal favourite lines from the show: “This lady’s dreaming in Portuguese so I’m not sure what she wants!”
It makes sense in context. Honest.
12) I’m A Good Person
Being told that she and Josh are bad people, Rebecca tries to prove otherwise in this disposable yet incredibly funny song. The explicit version is superior, with some laugh-out-loud lines; but both contain the excellent visual gag of the sound technicians getting annoyed that Rebecca has dipped a $300 microphone into a glass of beer.
11) Flooded With Justice
As part of an extended plan to get closer to Josh, Rebecca manages to arrange the aforementioned lawsuit about water. As all hope seems lost, a lot of witnesses turn up and sing a long that’s a recreation of Les Miserables‘ “Can You Hear The People Sing”. The song is strangely uplifting, and goes on some weird tangents that hit their punchlines. The BJ Novak cameo works completely, and the main cast’s reaction are perfectly in character.
10) After Everything I’ve Done For You (That You Didn’t Ask For)
Paula’s first season finale showcase is the Chicago influenced song where she reveals all the stuff she did to help Rebecca. Donna Lynne Champlin is the show’s secret weapon and the work here is exemplary. It’s a key turning point in the relationship of the characters, and starts Paula’s character arc for season two in which she moves from sidekick to equal. It also helps with Rebecca’s gradual self-awareness of her actions; which as you’ll find out – is the basis of the show’s best songs.
9) Ping Pong Girl
Rebecca pretends to be an expert table tennis player to impress Josh, and fantasises about being an expert player in the guise of a 00s pop punk anthem in the vein of Bowling for Soup and Blink 182. Personally touching on a genre I grew up loving – the song plays on so many different tropes of the videos at the time. There’s also a few fun jabs at the masculinity on display before the punk chants turn from dude-based pursuits to talking about actual commitment. It’s also just so catchy.
8) I Give Good Parent
As a fan of co-writer Zach Sherwin’s comedy rap work; this continues his wit and technical rap ability on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. It’s a fun song, but the rhyme scheme and performances are top notch. Again, the explicit version is superior – revelling in some sexually charged lyrics and metaphors.
7) I’m The Villain In My Own Story
Name-dropping Disney, this song is the pitch-perfect tribute to the villain numbers from those classic films. With the lyrics commenting on the music and the little meta-realisations throughout. Self-realisation is a common thing with Rebecca; but this is the real first time where she’s doubting her own morality. It also works as commentary on the idea that whilst she’s the protagonist of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, she’s not the hero.
There’s a lot to go into in regards to that point, as many characters are blur their own morality lines on more than one occasion. But in terms of this song: it’s working a lot into Rebecca’s mental state and her arc in season one. Ruiz also manages to steal a song again with three words. This time it’s “I’m Kate Hudson!”
6) Settle For Me
This Ginger Rogers/Fred Astaire influenced number was nominated for a couple of Emmys. It looks beautiful, showcases Fontana’s top-dancing skills and helps lay out the foundations for what Rebecca and Greg’s relationship is. It’s an early example of the show going “yeah we know – we’re aware of the absurdity”.
5) I Gave You A UTI
I absolutely love this song. It’s hilarious. It’s in character for Greg and manages to poke fun at masculinity at the same time. Greg basking in the idea that he gave Rebecca a UTI is good enough, but then the song has him singing his own backing vocals, dancing with wooden spoons and just feeling a little too proud of himself.
Also, try to not keep singing “my penis is the reason you may die, die, die…” all time.
4) JAP Battle
I absolutely love Zach Sherwin. He strikes again as Rebecca faces off against Audra Levine: the embodiment of the life she left behind in New York. Another song that works on so many levels: the basic rap-battle dynamics are in play, the pun on the “Jewish American Princess” stereotype, the lyrical wordplay and the central metaphoric battle of Rebecca fighting her own past. The show’s ongoing exploration of self-discovery and self-awareness is quite evident here, as Audra is very much Rebecca without the foresight to see how unhappy and lifeless she is.
Also – Pete Gardner in the back. Watch it once, then focus on him – he steals this song without even being heard.
3) You Stupid Bitch
The juxtaposition of the A-list diva singing a strong torch song to a suspension-of-belief-testing stadium that’s quite possibly televised to millions to the self-telling off is a masterstroke of genius from Bloom and co. Rebecca’s latest breakdown matches the usual rhythms of intensifying anger and mirrors the passion of the genre in question. Many places online have people commenting about how they relate to this song, and the final shot of Rebecca alone, sat next to a broken window completes the message of the song.
2) We’ll Never Have Problems Again
1970s disco-pop and all the assorted happy tropes are masking the oblivious issues that will hit the Rebecca/Josh relationship. It’s colourful, catchy, has Heather soul-training outta there and hits the right notes for both characters. At this point in the series, the audience has a full grasp on Josh and Rebecca, so throughout this we can tell the not-so-subtle foreshadowing that the relationship between the two of them will not end well. But it’s perfectly in character for the both of them at this moment in time. Josh doesn’t want to grow up, and Rebecca is constantly in the belief that her goal of being with Josh will resolve all her repressed issues.
Plus: Heather soul-trains outta there. I can’t mention that enough.
1) The Math of Love Triangles
“Diamonds Are A Girl’s Best Friend” gets Bloom’s treatment in what’s easily the show’s best example of it juggling spoof, character exploration and music. Using a lot of math puns to explore Rebecca’s joy of believing she’s caught in the usual romantic-comedy love triangle. We know it’s not that two-dimensional, but the fun here is seeing Bloom’s Marilyn Monroe impression work her way through a fantasy where she doesn’t even attract a group of maths professors.
The lyrics are full of brilliantly cheesy/clever puns on triangles and moments where the professors question her intentions and grasp of the concept of maths. It’s a joy to re-watch and within the context of it’s placement in the series narrative, it’s a perfect creative decision.
What are your favourite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs? Let us know!