Uncategorized

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Binge Watch

First, let me say thank you to all of my wonderful, amazing readers. The Happily Ever Alpha: Falling for the Billionaire anthology boxed set had a terrific launch. We made it to #1 on Kobo and #4 on Barnes and Noble’s romance list. We stayed in the top 500 on Amazon with over 110 reviews in the first week. I understand we did well on Google and iTunes but I have no idea how to verify that. But overall, it was a thrilling week last week. We won’t know if we met our goal—hitting the USA Today and/or the New York Times bestseller lists—until midweek this week.

 

It’s agonizing! I hate waiting. The die is cast. My fellow authors and I gave it our all but there’s now nothing left to do. Waiting is tough. My concentration is low. I should be writing as I still have Abby and Shortie’s story to finish but it’s a struggle. So, instead, I binge-watched Crazy Ex Girlfriend! Now I need someone to talk to about it. Lucky you, blog readers!

 

Have you seen it? It’s a musical sitcom or a comedic musical about attorney Rebecca Bunch (planed by Rachel Bloom) who, after running into her summer-camp boyfriend, abandons her prestigious New York job to move to West Covina, California, which just happens to be her boyfriend’s hometown. It’s totally coincidental (not!) Once in California, she finds a job and a group of friends as she single-mindedly pursues her heart’s desire, Josh.

 

And interspersed in there are full-on musical production numbers with insanely clever, witty, subversive lyrics. This show is funny, smart, and has heart. It’s awesome. Seriously, I binge-watched it in less than a week. You should too! It’s got like 31 episodes total. You can do it!!

So, here’s the ex-boyfriend, All-American, bland Josh Chan (I’m not a Josh fan). He’s the object of Rebecca’s devotion. I like Josh. There’s nothing not to like about Josh, except that he’s a terrible match for super-smart, super successful Rebecca.

Here’s her fling, Greg, who happens to be Josh’s bestie. Greg (who voiced Hans in Disney’s Frozen) is smart but not driven like Rebecca. He’s snarky instead. He’s not my favorite. To quote his departure song, they are a bit of a s**tshow together. (Warning: adult lyrics ahead).

And here’s her new boss, Nathaniel, who is Draco Malfoy, if he became a California lawyer. He’s awful and vile. And I adore him. He’s as smart as Rebecca but has major daddy issues too. I totally want to see these two together for season 3. Not as an OTP but just as a train wreck worth watching!

The real OTP of the show is Rebecca’s friendship with her bestie, Paula, who becomes absorbed in Rebecca’s crazy life as a way of coping with her boredom and frustration in her own stale marriage. In the second season, Rebecca falls in with her girl squad as Paula pursues her own dream and the show handles that tension really well.

Here’s the Spice Girls send up: Friendtopia. Still makes me laugh.

There are other plot lines, including one of the best explanations of bisexuality ever and a loving relationship between two men that is pitch perfect. It’s an extremely addictive show.

When I was trying to analyze what makes the show work—because, to be clear, often the characters are not all that likable and make terrible decisions—I think there are two things: 1) Rebecca may be a total train wreck in her personal life but she’s a really awesome lawyer. We tend to root for competent people. Years ago, I wrote a vampire romance with a heroine cop who was dreadful at her job. It didn’t work for many reasons but that was one of the reasons the manuscript died on my hard drive. 2) The songs are clever, witty, and truthful. Her Sexy Getting Ready song is just one example of this. Great comedy often conveys profound truths. We learn while we laugh.

And here’s my favorite all time Crazy Ex Girlfriend song, just because 🙂

Uncategorized, Writing

More Lessons Learned from Watching Friends

Last month, I talked about watching the first two seasons of the sitcom, Friends, on Netflix. Now I’ve completed watching through the end of season five and I thought I’d share what more I’ve learned since then.

 

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1) Archetypes

Last time I talked about how Joey, Chandler, and Ross are archetype equivalents to Kirk, Bones and Spock (respectively). Now I wanted to talk about the girls. They are also a power trio called the Three faces of Eve. Phoebe equates to the playful innocent one, Rachel equals the hot and sexy one, and Monica is the calm and capable wife or team mom. Interestingly, Monica is the one who shown to be someone who could build a home life and is therefore a good match for Chandler. Rachel is definitely the hot one, the one we all desire to be. Phoebe veers toward being a manic pixie dream girl when the show highlights her eccentricities to the point of weirdness.

Utilizing archetypes with a twist is makes an effective story by combining a universal element with a unique spin.

 

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2) Comic Exaggeration

Over five seasons, the comic identifying characteristic for each individual becomes increasingly exaggerated. Joey starts out as somewhat dimwitted but by the end of the fifth season his stupidity is often played for laughs. Sometimes, I think he gets dumber every show. Phoebe was always eccentric but now she is just weird. Ross was always high-strung and type A but now he delves toward whiney jackass.

Some of these are due to the sitcom format. But it’s still a cautionary tale. Character quirks can quickly become irritating if exaggerated too far.

 

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3) Couples

At the end of the second season, Ross and Rachel became a couple. In a sitcom format, they couldn’t allow them to be a happy couple for long so by the middle of season three, they go “on a break” and never really reunite as a couple. So therefore the beta couple of the show, Monica and Chandler, become the main couple and the heart of the show within a single season. They get together in the finale of the forth season and are moving in together at the end of season five. Ultimately, their relationship is shown as a healthy example and much more interesting than the endless on off-again, merry-go-round of Ross and Rachel.

I’m still enjoying watching the show. I’ll report back at the end of season seven.