Crazy Ex-Girlfriend received a renewal by The CW in early April, marking the show’s fourth outing as its final hurrah. But that is by no means a bad thing.
Some spoilers for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend season 3 follows below.
The tale that Rachel Bloom and co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna were weaving about Rebecca Bunch, and the town of West Covina, California, was always going to be finite from its inception. Speaking to Vanity Fair in 2016, Bloom said that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend had always been planned for four “cycles.”
“We didn’t want to say seasons,” Bloom told Vanity Fair. “They were kind of like four sections of this person’s story.”
And so, that fourth and final cycle in Rebecca Bunch’s story has arrived. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend may never have hit the dizzying heights of the other ratings darlings of The CW, but what it has done over its lifespan is tell an incredibly accessible and important story about mental health and the ways in which it can impact your life – from the smaller, mundane ways, to huge, life-altering fashion.
Admittedly, when Crazy Ex-Girlfriend first premiered, I didn’t give it the shot that it deserved. I made a snap judgement based entirely off its title, exhausted of the prevalent titular trope when dealing with the ex-girlfriend narrative.
It wasn’t until a fellow Hypable staffer, Brook, gently recommended the show to me that I picked it up – sometime between the first season finale, and the premiere of season 2. I’d expected, unfairly, to give it a handful of episodes before setting it aside as “not my thing.”
Instead, what I was faced with was a show that was exploring ideas of anxiety, depression, and sexuality, and the ways in which your personal and professional life can feed into those in an increasingly unhealthy manner, that I had never experienced before. I felt flayed open and exposed in a way that no show had quite managed to do to me before.
As Rebecca experienced dizzying highs and catastrophic lows, I found myself likening it to moments in my life that had followed a similar path – admittedly without the stalking, attempted murder, and musical numbers. But, across the varied and flawed characters woven throughout Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, I saw a reflection of myself. How I struggled with my sexuality and identity, how I isolated my friends at times in a misguided attempt to remain in control of my life, putting a laser-point focus on specific aspects of my career to ignore that everything else was falling apart around me.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend takes a specific slice of Rebecca’s life, and follows it through its ugliest of moments. The story, of course, could (and would) have the legs to carry itself beyond season 4, but ending it at this point feels right.
Rebecca, and the other inhabitants of West Covina, have made huge strides in their lives. From coming to terms with their sexualities, what they want from a relationship, what career they want to pursue, and, yes, accepting that they suffer from poor mental health – whether or not that has a definitive diagnosis.
The third season saw Rebecca get a more accurate diagnosis following a failed suicide attempt. The build-up to that catalyst moment, and her reasoning for making the attempt, was perhaps the most devastatingly accurate and sensitively handled depiction of what might cause someone to reach that point.
Since that turning point, Rebecca has admittedly fluctuated in huge and destructive ways, culminating in an attempted murder charge after she got caught up in a fiction she created in her own head. But, in the finale, with an insanity-plea on the table, Rebecca rejects it and takes full and comprehensive responsibility for her actions. It was, perhaps, her greatest leap forward as a character, and for this particular chapter in Rebecca’s life, the natural place to close the book – perhaps with Rebecca finally taking steps in getting the assistance that she has needed for the longest time.
It may not be a happy ending, nor a neat one, but it will undoubtedly be something true to the heart of what Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has been touting throughout its run. We are messy, complicated, and flawed, but no less deserving of a fulfilling life. Whatever shape or form that might take.