i think ultimately one of my favorite things about crazy ex-girlfriend is that it’s a story about stories. it’s a television show about television shows; it’s a musical about musicals; it’s a romantic comedy about romantic comedies.
throughout the show we see how these genres have the potential to do great harm. the messages they send, the power structures they reinforce, the boxes they try to fit people into: all of these things can contribute negatively to a person’s mental health or life decisions. at the beginning of the show, rebecca has bought into the stories she grew up on, she has internalized the messages they sent her, she has defined herself as a character in a story (the hero in her own story, if you will).
but none of these stories offer what rebecca truly needs, which is self-love and self-understanding. instead they offer roles, personas, and caricatures, which she tries on and casts aside in a desperate effort to understand herself in relation to the world and people around her. she’s the hero! no, she’s the villain! no, she’s just a girl in love! no, she’s the crazy ex-girlfriend! she’s in a fairytale! no, she’s in a rom-com! no, she’s in a horror movie! no, she’s in a buddy-cop tv show (coming soon to cbs)!
what ends up freeing rebecca from this mindset is her realization that she does not have to be bound to the stories she was fed as a child, that she can actually write her own stories. when she returns to the musicals she loved as a child and realizes they are deeply problematic, her impulse is not to bury her feelings of discomfort in order to enjoy them, nor is it to abandon musical theatre altogether; rather it is to rewrite those musicals to say what she wants them to say. and in the end, she decides to write her own musicals, her own songs, her own stories. and it is through this process that she finally finds what she was missing in those other stories: not a role but a self, who is too hard to summarize but still worth meeting.
i really like that ending, for rebecca and for this story about stories. because yes, stories can hurt, they can damage, they can mess you up for life. but they can also heal, they can liberate, they can empower. maybe life doesn’t make narrative sense, but we still can and should tell stories about it. let’s just make sure they’re good ones.