SPOILER ALERT: This story contains details of tonight’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Season 1 finale.
It’s been a long and winding road to tonight’s Season 1 finale for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. “We got picked up at, like the last minute, so we have been working, working, working,” says executive producer and co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna of her and star Rachel Bloom’s first TV series. In the midst of all that work, McKenna tells me that Season 2 will see new characters join the show and some old characters return.
Originally set on Showtime, then shifted over to the CW, where it became a half-hour and a bit less racy, the October 12, 2015 debuting and now renewed Crazy Ex just wrapped up its 18-episode first season with long desired love in the air – or did it? Add to that a wedding, a break-up or two, a friendship revived and of course some show-stopping songs and you have the McKenna directed and Rene Gube written “Paula Needs To Get Over Josh” episode.
Having won a Golden Globe for Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy and a Critics’ Choice Award for Best Actress in a Comedy Series for former Robot Chicken writer and YouTube star Bloom, Crazy Ex follows the romantic dreams and disappointments of her Rebecca Bunch characters. Suddenly relocating from a high powered law firm in NYC to West Covina, CA after bumping into her old summer camp boyfriend, Bloom’s Bunch sings, dances, stumbles and steadfastly stays with her attempts at finding true love – be it with the Vincent Rodriguez III-portrayed distant Josh or his conflicted pal Greg, played by Santino Fontana.
The Devil Wears Prada screenwriter McKenna chatted with me about where Season 1 ended, where Season 2 is going, new characters who are coming and what old characters who are coming back. She also postulated the idea of another collaboration with Bloom and what making a weekly TV series was like after working so long in features.
DEADLINE: The first thing I have to ask you, do the last moments of Season 1 mean that Rebecca and Josh finally get together, and true love is found?
ALINE BROSH McKENNA: Well, you know, we’re not really in the business of happy endings. We’re at least trying to get inside the characters where that they kind of figure out what’s going on underneath.
So you know, a lot of this episode is about how she wants to disappear into fantasy and sort of disappear into a narrative that is one of the conventional love stories that she grew up on. That’s what makes Rebecca feel comfortable. That’s what makes her feel good, and she’s always searching for that, and trying to fit Greg into that, but you know, Greg has his own issues and his own problems and he’s complicated and dark, and so he doesn’t fit very neatly into her narrative.
DEADLINE: So, I’ll take that as a No?
McKENNA: What do you think? You saw that last moment and the look on Josh’s face. It’s all sort of about Rebecca’s push-pull between her issues and they’re unresolved. Instead of dealing with her personal issues Rebecca’s chosen to kind of focus on her relationships with men, and that’s never a good idea.
DEADLINE: In a way that could be the summation of Crazy Ex Girlfriend…
McKENNA: Pretty much. Yeah.
DEADLINE: Having said that, is the finale where you and Rachel always wanted the first season to end or was it an evolution in progress?
McKENNA: This is very much always where we wanted to end. I mean, Rachel and I have really had the season planned out. We actually have the whole series planned out in our minds, so this is really always what our destination was.
DEADLINE: So, with that strategic plan, what can we expect going into Season 2 of Crazy Ex?
McKENNA: The tone will be the same and we’re still trying to explore all of these relationships and kind of deepen them – so you will see that in the second season. You know, our feeling is Rebecca’s predicament is always everyone’s predicament. So in the first season we were exploring some of the lies that she has told herself to survive. And, everyone that she touches sort of goes through a similar thing where they have to examine their own lives and the lies that they told themselves.
In the next season Rebecca’s going to continue to go through an identity crisis, and because her behavior has as huge effect on the other people on the show they’re going to continue to experience the same sort of identity issues.
DEADLINE: Will some new characters be coming on board?
McKENNA: We’re going to definitely see some new characters. We’re also going to bring back some of the beloved people who came and visited that we loved so much that we’d like to see again. There were so many wonderful people that we just loved and we want to bring back, so there’ll be some old favorites, and then some new relationships for her and for everybody.
DEADLINE: And who might some of those old favorites might be?
McKENNA: Well, Audra Levine’s coming back, who was a lawyer at Rebecca’s old New York law firm. Rebecca’s mom, played by Tovah Feldshuh, is coming back. Those are two that we know for sure. We’re working on story lines for both of them.
DEADLINE: Obviously you’re known for your feature work, writing the likes of The Devil Wears Prada and We Bought A Zoo with Cameron Crowe, but this is your first TV series…
McKENNA: Yeah (laughs)
DEADLINE: So what has that move from the big screen to the small screen been like for you?
McKENNA: It’s been really great. The thing about being a feature screenwriter is they listen to you when they’re in a good mood and they like you when they feel like it. Obviously the role of the writer in television is completely different, and so it’s just been very satisfying to be able to shoot the whole process and be a part of the whole process.
Also, I adore working with Rachel. She’s so spectacularly talented, and I feel so lucky every day to work with her, and we put together a team of people that are just really fantastic, so it’s just been really fun. But you know, I did do TV early in my career…
DEADLINE: But that was over 20 years ago…
McKENNA: Yes, it was 20 years ago, but I produced three pilots in my 20s, so I was familiar with the pace. You know, a pilot is only a week, and a show is week in week out, so I definitely had to adjust to that pace with Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
DEADLINE: Going forward, are you and Rachel looking at collaborating on any non-Crazy Ex projects?
McKENNA: God, we don’t have time. I mean, we’d love to and we were planning on writing a movie before we got picked up, but now we just don’t have any time. I’m amazed at all these people with like, additional industries who can do so much.
Maybe we will do something after this upcoming season but we got picked up like, at the last minute, so we have been working, working, working. Now we’re preparing for the second season. So, hats off to people who have multiple shows and multiple projects – I’m trying to get this train moving.