Had Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, been picked up by premium cable network Showtime, where it originally was developed and piloted, the show’s name likely would not have been the subject of a stern question at TCA. But it wound up with a series order on the CW, so the cast and creators took that question about its “use of the pejorative ‘crazy’ in the title.”
The series is about a young Manhattan lawyer (Rachel Bloom) who abruptly leaves her successful career to follow an ex-boyfriend to West Covina, CA. “I wanted to explore the ‘crazy ex-girlfriend’ and what people mean when they talk about that,” EP/creator Aline Brosh McKenna explained today at the TCA Summer Press Tour. She said what Bloom’s Rebecca Bunch character needs most in the series is a mom. She finds that maternal figure in West Covina, in the character played by Donna Lynne Champlin, who “is crazier than she is,” McKenna said, calling it “the magic of that relationship.” She also mentioned having written the screenplay for The Devil Wears Prada, in which, she said, she explored what it meant to call a woman a “devil” or “bitch.”
Bloom, meanwhile, a viral star with music videos that draw millions of streams, said that growing up she was the neurotic New Yorker who wanted to be on Broadway but was stuck living in Southern California and went through a period of depression during puberty that culminated in her wearing sweat pants to school and cutting her own hair. The other kids at her school paid the most popular guy to ask her out, as a prank, she said. “My sense of humor always tended toward the really dark and … listening to show tunes like Annie Get Your Gun was how I escaped Ryan getting paid to ask me out.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would have run for 30 minutes per episode on ad-free Showtime. As a one-hour comedy on the CW, it will run about 13 minutes longer per episode, McKenna said. A “bit of the profanity” in the original pilot was removed and “the sexy stuff has been toned down.” Every episode will have two or three musical numbers, and they will cover every genre, McKenna promised. Tap dance also will be featured.
“How many people on this panel can tap dance?” McKenna asked. “You don’t get that with every show,” she boasted of the show of hands, her cast including several Broadway vets. “Ask the panel of Blood And Oil, are they going to tap?” Bloom said to the journalists in the hall. “I assume that show’s about viscous liquids.”