• Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Is a Delight…But Is It For Families?

    by  • September 15, 2015 • Broadcast Decency, Paley2015, Paleyfest • 2 Comments


    This upbeat musical romantic comedy has great potential as a family show…but also the possibility of becoming more adult.

    At summer camp in 2005, Rebecca Bunch is crushed when her boyfriend Jason breaks up with her. Ten years later, Rebecca is an incredibly accomplished but dissatisfied attorney. Offered a position as the youngest partner in her firm, she is on the point of accepting – and then she runs into Jason on the street. Learning from a brief conversation that Jason is giving up the rat race and returning to his home, Rebecca impulsively abandons her career and moves to West Covina, California, where she gets a job in a small law firm and begins stalking Jason…much to the consternation of Jason (who has a girlfriend) and his buddy Greg (who is attracted to Rebecca). Also in the mix is Paula, a middle-aged paralegal who admires Rebecca’s courage at giving up everything for love, and becomes her mentor and confidant.  

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is filled with an upbeat tone, delightfully satrical comedy, tremendously talented musical performances, and a central story about love and romance – elements which could make it a treat for families. But like Fox’s Glee, there may also be some issues to concern parents. In the first episode, there is some unsettling dialogue; when her mother picks Rebecca up from summer camp, Rebecca calls her a “stupid cu—” (the rest of the word is silenced), and her mother replies, “Anything happens, we go right to the abortionist!” Later in the episode, during one musical montage Rebecca visits a strip club, and in another she gets ready for a date, with a few mildly graphic song lyrics about waxing and suchlike. It is also implied she has sex with Greg, merely to get him to tell her about Jason.  Language contained multiple uses of “ass” and “bitch.”

     At a Paley Center panel, star and co-creator Rachel Bloom stated that the program was created for premium cable, and originally contained nudity, sexual content,  more explicit language, and a much more cynical edge to its humor (as might be expected from Bloom’s past hit videos on YouTube, like an original song titled, “Pictures of Your Dick”). These elements were removed to meet the CW’s broadcast standards – and ultimately, Bloom has found the changes to be positive ones. “On broadcast, you can’t curse a lot, and you can’t have nudity. But because of the success of Jane the Virgin, CW embraced our show for its joyful, bubbly, light-hearted side.”  In the premiere, there was only a little negative content; but parents should be aware that it is possible the program could become more explicit in the future.  

    As with the best musicals, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend also explores deeper themes, among them Rebecca’s quest both to be loved by others, and to learn to love herself, and the way we all may be driven to seek such love. With its likeable cast, upbeat tone, and wonderful musical performances, it is no wonder that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is being hailed as the breakout hit of the 2015 season. The program does have the potential to be a positive family show; but whether it will follow that path, or go down a more explicit one, has yet to be seen.

    Crazy Ex-Girlfriend premieres Monday, October 12 at 8:00 p.m. Eastern on the CW.



    Christopher Gildemeister is the PTC’s Head of Research Operations. He began as an Entertainment Analyst at the PTC in 2005. From 2007-2016, he was Senior Writer/Editor, responsible for communicating the PTC’s message to the public through newsletters, columns, and the PTC Watchdog blog. Dr. Gildemeister holds a Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America.

    2 Responses to Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Is a Delight…But Is It For Families?

    1. Jacqueline Dowland
      October 10, 2018 at 12:23 pm

      Her ex is named Josh, not Jason.

    2. Anne Dardis
      September 18, 2015 at 8:02 am

      This is not a program I would watch nor is it anything I would want my children to watch!

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