Monday, 30 April 2018

Musical Monday #163

Okay, so here we are.  Season 3 of Crazy Ex Girlfriend.  It started out spectacularly.  The first episode was amazing and I think the second episode had FIVE songs in it, a series record, but after that, I’ll be straight with you, I did not enjoy season 3 as much as previous seasons.  But I don’t know whether this is the show’s fault or not, because the exact same thing happened with iZombie season 3. 

Both shows were recommended to me at the same time by Community fans.  I fell in love with both shows during their pilot episodes.  I binged the first two seasons on Netflix in a couple of days.  But when season 3 came around, it was put on Netflix the day after it aired in the USA so I had to watch it network TV style, i.e. one episode a week with dumb hiatuses for midseason finales and winter holidays and whatever other stupid reasons American TV has to torture me.  The experience of watching season 3 was so different from watching seasons 1 & 2 that I don’t know if the material was genuinely inferior or if it’s just much harder to care about something spread so thin and you can’t remember how it even started by the time it ends. 

But it is possible that season 3 is simply less good than season 1 and 2.  This happens to good shows all too often.  They catch seasonthreeitis.  Season one has a great premise and interesting characters and it’s all bouncy and fresh and it builds to a decent finale, season two continues with the side arc stuff that didn’t get wrapped up in season one, inverts season one stuff in a cool or meta way, while the characters are more developed and the show knows its strengths and builds to another satisfying finale.  But then in season three, they’ve got no original arc left, so they have to make up something new, they start playing around with the premise and the characters, afraid the audience will get bored, and they ruin it. 

Don’t believe seasonthreeitis is real?  Here’s a random selection of some shows I enjoyed that all lost their way in season three: Star Trek: The Original Series, Blackadder,  Due South, Star Trek: Voyager, Jonathan Creek, Arrested Development, Rev., The Flash, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,(and maybe X-Men Evolution, but I don’t really remember).  I’m pretty sure iZombie will be making it on to that list if I ever watch it again, but Crazy Ex Girlfriend may yet be saved by a rewatch in genuine binge style as TV should be enjoyed.

SPOILERS AHEAD.  You were warned.

Crazy Ex Girlfriend season 3 is certainly the darkest season to date, but so was season 3 of Bojack Horseman and that’s a damn masterpiece.  There’s no Greg of course, which would be okay if they hadn’t desecrated his memory, but they did and I kinda hate them for that.  This all led to Rebecca hitting rock bottom.  Each season has a moment where she’s at her lowest, in season 1 she went broke, realised that she was acting like a villain and ran back to New York, in season 2, having lost both Greg and Josh, she set fire to her apartment and tried to reinvent herself, and in season 3, after going completely off the rails, pushing everyone away and sleeping with Greg’s dad, she runs back to New York and then attempts suicide.  This leads to her properly addressing her mental health issues and pretty much forgetting about Josh, which all makes for deep and interesting character development, and I’m on board with that. 

However, the show does seem to forget it’s a musical at times.  Songs are shoved in halfway through an episode as a sort of afterthought, which is disappointing. 

Then there’s Nathaniel.  Now I don’t mind Nathaniel, at times I even like Nathaniel, like, y’know, when he’s pooped his pants or whatever.  If he’s pathetic, I feel sorry for him.  But I cannot STAND him as Rebecca’s new romantic interest.  I know that she’s always been pretty obsessed with sex, but their entire relationship is based on sex and nothing else.  With Greg she had a funny rapport and they got on as friends, with Josh they had an emotional connection and saw the best in each other, but with Nathaniel it’s just a physical attraction so I really don’t give a crap.  She pretty much uses sex as a barter with him in season 3, they compare him to Christian Gray which is horrifying, when she has to stop seeing him due to, oh yeah her mental health issues and suicidal stuff, he gets all petty and mean about it, and later he claims to love her while he spends eight months cheating on his serious girlfriend.  This is not a man we can ever sympathise with. 

Oh, yeah, and then there’s THAT episode.  In one ep, we skip EIGHT months.  The only reason for this appears to be so that the show can end with the traditional TV trope of a pregnant character having a baby in the finale.  It throws away so much potential character development that I’m not sure the show can ever recover from such a bizarre move.  Now I will certainly never be able to root for Rebecca and Nathaniel as a couple, while Valencia changed sexuality OFF SCREEN (remember when Darryl got an entire season arc devoted to his sexuality?).

Meanwhile, Darryl, who’s about to become a single father, is completely sidelined almost into oblivion, Rebecca’s relationship with her mum has been pretty much dismantled, Paula just keeps going through the same plot arcs over and over, Greg can pretty much never return now he kept complete radio silence through Rebecca’s suicide attempt and Josh is still here, wandering around in the background with no plot relevance.  Sucks to be him. 

So yeah, I dunno.  It’s pretty telling that my favourite songs from this season are all from the start, but there were some wonderful moments later on, I’d love to dig further into Rebecca as a character, just if Nathaniel would get lost that would be nice (Josh punching him out made me cheer in delight).  Maybe it’ll seem better after a rewatch.

Anyhoo, here are my favourite songs from season 3:

Let’s Generalize About Men from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge'.

Strip Away My Conscience from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'To Josh, With Love'

Where’s Rebecca Bunch? from Crazy Ex Girlfriend, episode 'Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Wants Revenge'

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