Lovesick Rebecca Bunch is awkwardly obsessive about getting her ex back in musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
Rachel Bloom is adding a fun musical look and sound to TV. Season 1 Saturdays Vuzu AMP (*103) 19:30
Like a lot of young new stars, Rachel Bloom started out making people laugh with her comical YouTube music videos. That evolved into the premise for a quirky TV series called Crazy Ex- Girlfriend (2015- current) about young lawyer Rebecca Bunch, who’ll do just about anything to get her ex back – including move towns to be closer to him, lie, sleep with his best friend and befriend his girlfriend. But there’s a twist to this tale: Rebecca is obsessive, borderline stalkerish and quite crazy, which is the opposite of 29-year- old show star/creator Rachel, who’s been happily married for years.
How similar are you to your character? The show is like an emotional biography of me at my worst. When it came to love, I let myself be taken over by infatuation so much that all I cared about was getting that one person. It made me a worse person. I would lie. I was late to class because I would be up at someone’s apartment hours away from where I was supposed to be. How good are you as a girlfriend? [Laughs] I’m married and would like to think that I’m a sane wife. My hubby [comedian Dan Gregor] and I have been together for seven years. He’s a wonderful person and being with him has been steadying. It’s made me a way better person, as I think the person you’re meant to be with should do. Like I’m more like myself now with him, if that makes any sense. But this fear of being crazy, I think that I have tendencies towards anxiety and depression. It’s really scary when those take over. Love was often a way for me to escape being sad and escape the fact that I wasn’t happy, and so the fear of losing control over my own mind is why I like to fixate on crazy characters. Have you ever been a crazy ex? These crazy characters are like a wish fulfilment for me. I was always feeling crazy inside but I had enough self-awareness to go: Crazy character Rebecca can turn even a boring family feast into a sing-song occasion. “don’t seem as crazy as you are inside”. So I hold things back. The last time that I saw an ex, I got on my knees and just begged him to love me again. It was the most humiliating and pathetic thing. I identify with the idea of love making you pathetic and I’m ashamed of the ways that love made me pathetic because I’m otherwise a feminist and a strong, empowered woman. Being like “Please love me! Why don’t you love me?”… to this day I regret not punching him in the face. It’s what I really wish I could have done. So a lot of the crazy, ballsy stuff that Rebecca does, she has less of a social filter than I do. I envy it. I wish I had punched that guy in the face or gone with my gut instead of trying to keep all my emotions from bubbling to the surface. So what’s your definition of crazy? Letting your impulses take over where you have no control of them. And love? There are different types of love; this show is about obsessive love. I think this is about infatuation, which is very different from the type of love I have with my husband. If I summarised love, it’s an intangible magic bond. Tell us about being a YouTube video sensation. Everyone around me was doing it – writing and performing their own work and starting the YouTube thing, so I did it too. You can buy a nice camera for not too much. The first music video that I made cost $2 000. I got a cinematographer friend with lights and it looked professional. Now you can shoot it on your cellphone! And how much of this show do you actually write? Towards the beginning, I was writing most of it. Now I will usually do a pass on the draft and give notes. Most of the songs are still written by me. Each writer has a different episode, so it’s their episode. I still give notes. NB! See more on p65.
Our celebrity correspondent
Margaret Gardiner is a member of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Born in SA, the former Miss Universe winner now lives in LA. She’s written two books and regularly interviews showbiz’s biggest stars.