It’s almost a good thing the wedding in the second season finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend wasn’t successful, because there’s something about the title Crazy Happily Wedded Wife that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Of course, Rebecca Bunch’s (Rachel Bloom) happiness has never truly been tied to a man, something she’ll have to tackle head on when she begins plotting for revenge on Josh Chang (Vincent Rodriguez III) after he left her at the altar.
Rebecca is on a mission when the show returns, co-creator/star Bloom and co-creator/showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna told Rotten Tomatoes before the October 13 third season premiere. Here are 10 things to expect when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns.
“It’s the promise of the premise,” Bloom said. “We can finally, in a way, do what inspired the show, which is the idea of someone trying to be evil, someone trying to get revenge. We address that overtly in the first episode.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is still a comedy, but with an unstable protagonist it can get as dark as it wants to be — and it wants to get very dark this year.
“It’s a more intense, high stakes environment,” McKenna said. “It was a little bit lighter and fluffier in the first season when she was just pretending to run into [Josh] and then last season when she just was convinced that they belonged together. This is definitely an escalation.”
Movies like Fatal Attraction, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle and Basic Instinct, from which season 3 draws inspiration, are considered “erotic thrillers.” The sex was as big a component as the violence, so Rebecca gets sexy.
“The first two episodes I would say are some of the sexiest ones we’ve ever done,” Bloom said.
The season one theme song explained how Rebecca moved to West Covina to pursue Josh. For season two, a Busby Berkeley-style number professed that she was in love with him. A new theme song will represent Rebecca’s new focus and questions.
“You see the [theme] songs as the story Rebecca’s telling herself,” Bloom said. “This is such a propulsive season plot-wise, the song, as you’ll see, will explore the idea of Rebecca searching for the story to tell herself.”
“He’s down for anything,” Bloom said. “He’s very malleable and can find creative things within limitations. ‘Okay, here, we’ll get this shot, just run and gun it.’”
Josh thinks he’s found his calling in the priesthood, but if you’ve known Josh for two seasons already, he’s as likely to stick with that as he was to stay with his fiance, Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz).
“Josh doesn’t know what he wants,” Bloom said. “He is an aimless dinghy adrift at sea. He knows something was deeply wrong with Rebecca but he doesn’t want to lose the story he’s telling himself which is that he’s a good guy. Those two really, really clash in this season.”
Plus, the minimum requirements for priesthood might be enough of a deterrent to Josh.
“It’s a very long time before you get the robe and the collar,” McKenna said. “You have to get a Masters in Divinity first. People think it’s just you show up and they hand you the outfit. It’s not like joining some sort of social club. It’s an intellectual, spiritual endeavor. It’s not someplace you run when you’ve had problems with your girlfriend.”
Bloom confirmed that the first scene of season 3 is right after the wedding, and McKenna added that there is a clever sort of time jump-cum-recap of the story so far.
“There’s a song right towards the beginning of the show and we have an interesting way of showing where we’ve been and where we’re going,” McKenna said. “It’s one of our bigger musical numbers and had a lot of pieces. We shot it for two and a half days. It’s the medieval villagers song so it does a bit of what a curtain raiser would do in a play.”
Along with a new mission comes different sorts of musical numbers. Bloom hinted that the season three songs could be more akin to the murder trial stylings of Chicago.
“I would say coming up there’s a kind of Kander and Ebb-esque sexy number,” Bloom said.
McKenna added, “The songs map the emotions of the character, so when you have more intense emotional stuff going on for the characters, you’re able to do more intense genres.”
Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) is still Rebecca’s best friend, but the new law student has her own stuff going on.
“I think she’s learned a lot about her enabling of Rebecca, but Rebecca’s been very hurt and Paula has her own issues with men and her own issues with romantic disappointments,” McKenna said. “What I think is interesting about this season is the angel and the devil on Paula’s shoulder, knowing what might be the healthier path but maybe not always following that.”
Plus, Paula’s husband had an affair and she still needs to deal with that.
“Paula is still trying to recover from the infidelity,” McKenna said. “We didn’t want to gloss over that. For someone like her who has trust issues to begin with, it’s a difficult thing for her to get over so she’s still struggling with it.”
Rebecca still has a day job, and when she goes into the office, there’s plenty of drama to distract her from Josh.
“Darryl (Pete Gardner) said to White Josh (David Hull) in the season finale, ‘Let’s have a baby,’ which is a big thing to say,” Bloom said. “We actually spend quite a lot of time in the office this season. We get to know people in the office a little bit more. We have a story that I’m a big fan of coming up that heavily involves both Maya (Esther Povitsky) and the character of Tim (Michael McMillian).”
Friendtopia may end up lasting longer than the actual Spice Girls, because Valencia, Heather (Vella Lovell), Paula and Rebecca remain united in girl power and even have a song together in the season premiere. Many of season three’s stories will require all four friends to work together.
“We have a lot of stories with the four of them coming up,” McKenna said. “We don’t want to portray, like, all of a sudden their issues completely go away so they still have things to navigate. Yeah, we’re dealing with four women who’ve not had tons of female friends before forming this group.”
Rebecca’s mother, Naomi (Tovah Feldshuh), was at her daughter’s wedding in the season finale, and while she’s not there to help Rebecca pick up the pieces, she will return a little later in the season.
“Yes, she’s coming back,” McKenna said. “She’s quite embarrassed. She takes it personally, as she talks all things personally. She believes it’s a direct reflection on her and that’s what matters.”
Given Rebecca’s relationship with Naomi, it could take a while for them to be able to face each other.
“As you’ll see, Rebecca does not include her mother emotionally,” Bloom said. “Her gut is to kind of exclude her mother from a lot of things. We will learn what her mother thinks of these things midway through the season. She blames Rebecca, always. This is humiliating for her.”
Both Bloom and McKenna were disappointed their costume designer, Melina Root, did not receive an Emmy nomination this year, but it hasn’t deterred Root from bringing her A game to season three.
“The opening number, everyone’s in Disney garb. It’s just basically straight out of Beauty and the Beast,” Bloom said. “That just goes to prove there are many aspects of all award shows that are not a meritocracy. If it was a meritocracy, the costumes on our show, no one’s doing it better.”
Root has won Emmys for costuming That ’70s Show and 3rd Rock From The Sun. For Crazy Ex-Girlfriend she brings to life different musical eras every week.
“We have a real super ’80s thing coming up,” McKenna said. “I was really devastated that she didn’t get nominated for an Emmy, honestly, because she does so much. We have a conventional show and then two or three musical numbers. So somebody who’s created costumes for 82 musical numbers, and she does it really in a very specific, thorough way without ever compromising.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns Friday, Oct. 13 at 8 p.m. on The CW.