Rachel Bloom Interview: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Fourth and Final Season

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom
‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ star Rachel Bloom (Photo: Terence Patrick © 2018 The CW Network, LLC)

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna had always said they envisioned a four season show. Now they are getting to complete their fourth and final season of the musical comedy on The CW. I don’t know what I will do once there’s no more Crazy Ex-Girlfriend to watch, but hopefully they keep creating music and comedy.

During a final TCA panel, Bloom and McKenna revealed that first season and a half love interest Greg would be back, only he will now be played by Skyler Astin. A few more season four tidbits came up in the panel.

“We have Patton Oswalt coming back, and he’s singing a song this time,” Bloom said. “A lot of the people in his song are guest actors, so that’s definitely a headache for a line producer but a joy for us. I’m very excited to write more ensemble numbers for all of us to do together, not only because it feels like a culmination of all four years, but we’ve gotten very close as a cast, and anytime we can all do things together, it’s a real joy.”

Find out more about the final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend in this interview with Rachel Bloom at TCA. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns Friday, October 12, 2018 on The CW.

Rachel Bloom Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Interview

Are you thinking about what life will be like after this?

Rachel Bloom: “Yeah, I don’t know.”

Would you do this much work on another project?

Rachel Bloom: “Here’s the thing. I could do another show that I was involved in the writing and acting. I could never do another network show. The hard part for me is doing it all at once. The reading outlines and giving notes in the hair and makeup trailer in the morning, acting, and then in between turnarounds going to editing, I have to have a cable schedule next where I do one, one, one. I could maybe act in another network show but doing it all at once for a network show, and there are only a handful of people I’ve met who have had this schedule. I’ve talked a little bit to Tina Fey and Mindy Kaling about it and yeah, it’s very hard.”

When there’s no more Crazy Ex-Girlfriend music for us to listen to, what other music should we discover?

Rachel Bloom: “Oh my God. There’s so much music in the world that I’m still discovering. Father John Misty’s great. I love Dusty Springfield. There is so much great music and there is so much great musical theater. There are so many talented musical theater artists.

I just went to this musical theater showcase this weekend. Our writer’s assistant is an up-and-coming musical theater writer and his songs are amazing. His name is Alden Derck. There is so much but I, also probably, the second Crazy Ex wraps, one of the first things I want to do is release a new album full of just probably the dirtiest songs that I couldn’t do on the show. Because we can do dirty versions of the songs but at the end of the day, we only have so much time so it’s probably going to be an album called, like, Smut or something. I definitely feel shackled by not being able to say words like f***.”

How different would the show have been had Showtime picked up the pilot? Would the songs be dirtier?

Rachel Bloom: “Yeah. Oh, it would be dirtier songs. I like that we have structure, actually. I think it’s reined us in in a way but yeah, the songs would be dirtier, the sex scenes would be dirtier. I do miss the ability to make sex funny because there’s only so much we can show on a network. I think sex is hilarious. We hold it on this pedestal but at the end of the day it’s really gross and awkward. It definitely would have been a lot more awkward graphic-ish sex scenes, but I think the sensibility of the show would’ve been the same. Which is part of the reason I think Showtime passed.

The show has a lot of empathy for its characters and there’s hope to it. The show is about fulfilling happiness so there is an edginess in the show that always maybe wouldn’t have been there even if we were on a network because the tone is ultimately hopeful and happy.”

Did it become a challenge every week to make it as dirty as you could on network?

Rachel Bloom: “Yeah, oh yeah. Our standards and practices lady, Patricia Dennis, is here and just last week I was trying to get a song lyric through about a guy’s penis going soft during sex. I was like, ‘Well, it could be emotionally soft, Patricia.’ So, it’s always a debate because she’s just doing her job. You’re trying to avoid a violation of the FCC.

It is always a challenge, but it also pushes us in nice directions. I think that sex can sometimes be an easy go-to for comedians, especially myself so I think it sometimes makes us not go with the first thought idea and get a little more creative.”

What was your biggest dirty lyric victory during the run of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend?

Rachel Bloom: “Oh, it’s probably a tie between ‘tell me about your sins, shock me with their luridness. Let me be your pupil. Let me choke on your cocksuredness.’ And in the song ‘Tap That Ass’ the guy sang, ‘Where should we finish?’ And she says, ‘Please don’t finish on my chest.’ She’s talking about a chest of drawers. I’m amazed we got that in, amazed.”

A lot of people have been using gifs of you to express their emotions.

Rachel Bloom: “That’s so cool.”

Are you worried about taking the show out of context?

Rachel Bloom: “Our fans are really smart. If you don’t like the show, I feel like people quit after the first couple episodes. I think for the most part, I really trust our fans and it’s really cool to me that people identify with my character.

You go through thinking not only you’re unique, but your problems and your neuroses are unique. The more I especially do these live shows, I meet people who are just like me. You realize we all have a lot of the same fears, if only we talked about it more. I’m talking about general depression/anxiety but even just unhappiness and insecurity. The worst part is feeling like you’re the only person feeling these things. The more I do the show and the more specific we get with the characters, in a wonderful way the less unique I realize everyone is. We’re all in this thing called life together.”

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend star Rachel Bloom
Rachel Bloom as Rebecca (Photo: Greg Gayne © 2018 The CW Network, LLC)

Was television the best place for you to be at that point in your career?

Rachel Bloom: “Yeah. I think TV taught me a great structure. I was a musical theater kid. I learned sketch comedy. The way I learned sketch was almost a very rigid structure and not in a bad way. It was just very like what’s the game of your scene? How do you play the game of the scene out? It was very writing focused and then on this show it’s been a real mix of that sketch structure I learned with sitcom writing structure. And then also with zigging where we should zag. I’ve learned a lot of that from Aline [Brosh McKenna] because she’s had a lot of fun skewering the tropes that she often wrote or was tasked to write in film. It’s been really fun to continue to use structure but then break it in strategic ways.”

Did you ever reach out to Santino Fontana to see if he wanted to come back?

Rachel Bloom: “We wrote him off the show because he voluntarily left, and now he’s going to be in Tootsie on Broadway. That’s one of our favorite movies. We are such a fan of his. I’m sure it’s going to be amazing. But with an actor leaving unexpectedly, it suddenly left this really exciting gap of his character has almost become like lore in the show. Whenever we mention Greg, there’s, like, ‘Oh, is he coming back?’ And so we have this really unique opportunity to bring back this almost mythic figure and look at it from a different angle and write it in a unique way. And the episodes where Greg comes back, we are going to be playing a lot with the ideas and themes of perception, how he sees her, how other people see each other.

It really, really feels so exciting and new for us. And in a way, because our show is a little meta, not only with musicals but TV, is even though it’s a reimagining, not a recasting, we truly see it as that. It is kind of a fun comment and Rebecca will notice it as people in TV shows being recast and we are going to call it out.

We don’t want to spoil it too much, but we’re so excited. It is not only like a big leap and feels experimental and playful like our show, but as you will see, when the show airs, it will be kind of a great statement on how our perception of people changes. And Greg is sort of a barometer of how much Rebecca has changed, because she will not have seen him for two years, and Skylar’s lovely. We’re so excited.”

Is this the fourth season you’d always planned from day one?

Rachel Bloom: “Yeah. And every season was always a different lens of what it meant to be a crazy ex from the inside out, and this was always and there are network executives around town who know how our series ends if they remember it or care. Most of them probably don’t because they passed. But this season was what we pitched, which was the fourth phase, which is kind of recovery and starting from scratch, and in a really fun way, every season of our show kind of feels like a mini new show, so it always feels fresh and it always feels new.

The first season was very much about her creating this romantic comedy because of her inner chaos, and we’re very excited for the second part of the season, not to spoil too much. She’s settled, and then the chaos starts happening around her and she finds herself in the middle of a bunch of romantic comedies. As a television fan, I like it when shows have a clear plan and a clear ending. And I feel like a lot of shows get successful, and they want to continue for as long as possible. And then, for a fan, it’s a bummer because you can feel the show kind of peter out.”

What can we look forward to in the final season theme song?

Rachel Bloom: “I actually sang it at Comic Con, our Comic Con panel, and it is kind of an almost like 1970s, 1980s typical sitcom opener, including a clip show with the kind of song sounds like a mix of a sitcom opening and not like a spearmint a Doublemint gum commercial. And, really, the essence of it is how it’s hard to boil someone down into a single theme song. We actually have an element of the theme song that you will see will be changing every episode, which will be very exciting for fans.”

Where will Rebecca’s borderline personality diagnosis go in the final season?

Rachel Bloom: “We want to be realistic of, especially when you have something like borderline personality disorder it’s a personality disorders, they are still finding out about them, but it’s a learned pattern of thinking and behavior. So, it not something you solve overnight. Mental health, it’s an ongoing process.”