This article contains spoilers for “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”
10. “I’m Just a Girl in Love” (Season 2 theme)
Each season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” comes with its own theme song, and this flouncy ‘30s screwball routine is the best of the four. As rows of women with giant hearts affixed to their backs swan around, protagonist Rebecca Bunch (co-creator and songwriter Rachel Bloom) insists, “I have no underlying issues to address/I’m certifiably cute and adorably obsessed!”
They might say love makes you crazy, but “I’m Just a Girl in Love” is an impressive summation of the raw, prickly satire undercutting Rebecca’s season two fixations.
9. “West Covina” (Season 1, Episode 1)
How do you kick off a run of over 150 original songs that cover everything from musings about period sex to “La La Land”-inspired tap dancing about antidepressants? If you’re “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the answer to that question starts with a $40,000 pretzel prop.
As Rebecca drops her dull New York City life after a run-in with her summer camp ex Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), the song assembles the atmosphere of West Covina in a classically sweeping musical theater number. The song ambitiously contrasts Rebecca’s starry-eyed expectations for her new life with the reality of the humdrum suburban locale — which, as we’re reminded, is “only two hours from the beach!”
8. “We Tapped That A**” (Season 2, Episode 4)
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” has historically found success — particularly in early seasons — in creating songs that married the elevated performance stylings of early Hollywood with the show’s penchant for reflecting the characters’ states of mind. “We Tapped That A**,” finds a weary Rebecca seemingly confronted by her two recent ex-lovers — Josh and Greg Serrano (Santino Fontana).
They proceed with an innuendo-filled Frank Sinatra and Dean Martin routine about all the places where they’ve fornicated with her. In one of the show’s most memorable song endings, they cheekily “finish” on Rebecca’s chest… of drawers.
7. “Friendtopia” (Season 2, Episode 6)
We’ve all heard the Spice Girls’ punchy “girl power” anthems, but what if you and your friends, like, actually decided to take over the world? In the loosely Britpop world of “Friendtopia,” a girls’ night translates into staging a coup, hanging Congress and diverting all agriculture into making rosé. It’s a wickedly fun song with just enough interjections of “zig-a-zow!”
6. “Settle For Me” (Season 1, Episode 4)
It’s a testament to the show that a song about settling for a white guy named Greg is… more than a little romantic? In the hands of other writers, a song about Josh’s self-patronizing best friend asking Rebecca out early on could easily become a manipulative slog. Instead, it quickly transforms into a tongue-in-cheek waltz in the likeness of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.
5. “The Math of Love Triangles” (Season 2, Episode 3)
Romantic comedies’ love triangles are often littered with recurring asides and swooning delusions of grandeur that can entice or aggravate viewers. As in many occasions — especially in the first few seasons — Rebecca turns to pop culture representations of issues with which she finds herself struggling.
In this case, a spot-on parody of “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend” finds her making geometry-based puns about her predicament in Marilyn Monroe’s trademark kitten voice. While a chorus of mathematicians try to rationalize her superfluous remarks, the song has a ball poking at the aesthetic allure and realistic pitfalls of the love triangle.
4. “Getting Bi” (Season 1, Episode 14)
“Getting Bi” has arguably received the best out-of-context exposure out of any “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” song, and for good reason. Showcasing a middle-aged father’s (Pete Gardner’s Darryl Whitefeather) coming out in an upbeat Huey Lewis-esque number is revelatory in of itself.
But, along with providing several peppy one-liners skewering myths about bisexuality, “Getting Bi” highlights the show’s whip-smart explorations of often-maligned topics — and how well it works when well-incorporated into the narrative. Either way, the song is an absolute joy to watch.
3. “We’ll Never Have Problems Again” (Season 2, Episode 10)
Dancing in a direct “Soul Train” homage, “We’ll Never Have Problems Again” finds Josh and Rebecca trying to convince themselves and everyone else that their new stab at coupledom is blissfully uncomplicated. That’s glaringly false, but when it comes to how well the song nails both its production value and role in furthering the story, everything — from the heart-festooned ‘70s jumpsuits to roommate Heather’s (Vella Lovell) well-timed interjections — is “smooth sailing.”
2. “Let’s Generalize About Men” (Season 3, Episode 1)
In an uncanny coincidence, “Let’s Generalize About Men” came out the same week as the 2017 Harvey Weinstein allegations. The riff on “It’s Raining Men” succeeds in both subverting men’s common generalizations about women and critiquing common problems within mainstream feminism — such as infantilizing and easily excusing gay men. With its neon-styling and electronic synth, it doesn’t hurt that the song has all the trimmings of a real ‘80s pop hit.
1. “You Stupid B***h” (Season 1, Episode 11)
Have you ever found yourself reeling after an ex you’d been stalking rejected you? Even worse, has that rejection forced you to face your own toxic behavior patterns and undiagnosed mental health issues? Maybe not, but it’s astounding how well “You Stupid B***h” captures the encroaching pain of self-loathing.
A glittery concert hall dress and a rapturous imaginary audience can’t distract Rebecca from the gravitas of her situation, and this raw ballad is careful to empathize without letting her off the hook. It’s an extremely difficult tone to balance, especially given that the song is able to distance itself from its singer enough to fit in some genuine laughs.
“You Stupid B***h” mines everything that makes the show so special — its ability to explore difficult subjects through singular musical numbers, its experimentations with tone and its nuanced take on the mental illnesses and expectations of happiness with which women are often faced. Rebecca introduces the song by telling viewers, “You guys know this one,” and given the deeply human searching at the heart of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” we do.
Edited by Joe Cross | email@example.com