Yes, the Show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Is Actually Pretty Feminist

Yes, the Show ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Is Actually Pretty Feminist

The CW premiered the show Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in October 2015 and it has already received incredible critical reception and won a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award in the past month. However, for most women, just hearing the name of the show might garner an incredibly harsh reaction. The term “crazy ex-girlfriend” being broadcasted on television weekly does not seem to do much for a modern woman in today’s society who is still fighting against the stereotype that in a relationship, or in this case after one, she is over emotional and clingy.

The premise of the show on the surface supports the idea that the main character, Rebecca Bunch, played by Rachel Bloom, is indeed a crazy ex-girlfriend hung up on somebody who does not want her. Her history is told through the show’s theme song: Rebecca was a lawyer in New York City, but things didn’t feel quite right with her job. She bumps into an ex-boyfriend named Josh she knew at summer camp ten years prior, who tells her that he is moving to West Covina, California. She decides to quit her job and follow him, getting a job at a new law firm and making new friends.

Okay, so this is about a girl who picked up her life and moved it across the country from a thriving big city to West Covina just to be with a guy she had a summer fling with? This in itself does sound a bit out there. To add on to it, Rebecca learns that Josh has a girlfriend and even attempts to get to know her along the way. This girlfriend, named Valencia, makes Rachel her nemesis and at one point tries to prove that Rebecca is a crazy stalker ex-girlfriend.

If one were to simply read the plot of each episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, they would be upset at the way Rebecca is portrayed. The feminism requires a bit of deeper digging, but upon watching the show it is evident that this show is not about Rebecca finding Josh and harassing him until he realizes that she is the only one for him. This show is about a woman finding herself in any way possible.

Rebecca is an incredible female character to have on television because she can act as the role model to many average women in the same situation who are struggling to cope. She tells women everywhere that they have a choice in making their lives better, and do not have to settle with a miserable life just because it pays the bills, as seen when she abandons a great job because she knows it is not making her happy. She also has anxiety and depression, which affect the way she processes certain situations. Perhaps one of the greatest parts of the show is that it is portrayed through Rebecca’s eyes, meaning that we get a look into how she feels and how she makes decisions. Sure, sometimes we want to slap her hand and tell her not to do something, but it is good to see how a normal female character gets through situations.

The funny thing is, even if the show was told through a male perspective, Rebecca would probably look just as crazy, only from a different angle. The fact that Rebecca isn’t perfect in her own eyes is not a problem but a testament to the fact that female characters on TV are allowed to have problems and depth instead of being the sexy side character.

The only part of the show that makes me angry as a feminist is how Rebecca and Valencia are put against each other: the crazy ex-girlfriend versus the current girlfriend. Obviously, Rebecca needs some sort of obstacle, but this resorts the show to being about two girls fighting over a boy. Valencia is sometimes made to look bad, controlling, or mean so that Rebecca will be put up in the viewer’s eyes. Being a feminist means realizing that both the female’s experiences are valid. After all, is Valencia not allowed to feel upset that another woman wants her boyfriend?

The name of the show seems to be its major problem. Sure, Rebecca is “crazy” and she is an ex-girlfriend, but those are two separate parts of her personality. Her life has not always revolved around an ex. In the end, reducing the show to be about Rebecca chasing Josh takes away from her character the most.


Cover image courtesy of CWTV.