Thursday, February 13, 2020

Top 10 Songs From Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Season 3)

Now that the show has been over for almost a year... I think I've finally decided on my definitive list of the best songs from season 3. We'll give season 4 a bit more time to settle in. So here are my top 10!

10. The Buzzing From the Bathroom

In what could have been a tiny throwaway moment, a side character who's usually the butt of the joke suddenly realizes that, well, his wife hasn't been as magically swept away by his sexual performance as he thought she was, and far from sneaking off to "brush her teeth" after every time they have sex, she's almost certainly using a sex toy. It's the kind of joke that is often used on an annoying sitcom side character who thinks they're all that, but in this show the character gets an enormous, dramatic, "Empty Chairs at Empty Tables"-style ballad. (And they actually address the fact in a later conversation that if she was lying to him about how great their sex life all this time, that's at least partly on her! He can't fix what he doesn't know about!) This song itself is one of the more vocally ambitious tunes Crazy Ex has attempted, and I love that it's given to such a minor character. And the song is delightful.

Best line: "I'm haunted by the buzzing from the bathroom, like tinnitus of the loins."

9. The Moment Is Me

After being a college student for years, Heather finally accumulates enough credits that they force her to graduate, and she's not sure how to feel about it. To her horror, she is compelled to sing an inspirational musical theater song about it being her time to shine. It's hilarious, especially knowing Heather's characterization as a deadpan, too-cool-for-anything sidekick. The contrast between the expression on her face and in her voice and the High School Musical enthusiasm of the background dancers continues to be hilarious to me.

Best line: "'Cause the clock just keeps on ticking, it doesn't care that time goes by. (What?)"

8. I Go to the Zoo

Nathaniel lets down his guard more than ever this season, and one of my favorite moments of that is in this song, where he starts with a Drake-style "look at me and my money and how many women want to be with me" and it turns into a bizarre ode to the zoo. The video for it is even funnier, with these slow-motion "cool guy" walks past zoo animals.

Best line: "Sometimes even the zoo isn't enough, so then... I go to the aquarium. It's like a zoo for fishies."

7. F***ton of Cats

(Originally in the show as "Buttload of Cats," but as usual, I prefer the explicit version.)

Oh man, this song would have scored even higher for me if I had first encountered it in my single days. I was all about upbeat songs about being alone forever. And this one is hilarious. Rebecca has decided she's going to be single for the rest of her life, so she might as well just get started doing what forever-single women do: get Way Too Many Cats. The lyrics here are funny and clever, but the visual jokes and line deliveries are even more so, from the other cat customer's "And cats!" to the cat puppets to Rachel's exceptionally jaunty walk to the cat store. And this time around watching the video, I was really amused by the cat in the lower lefthand corner, which is either not a very pliable puppet or has a very unenthusiastic puppeteer, because it is not trying to match its mouth movements to the lyrics. (Most visible on "We gotta work on our collective image" around 1:40, where it opens its mouth four times in rhythm while the others enthusiastically mouth every line.) It's just such a fun upbeat song, and it's so much fun to sing along with.

Best line: "The ironic part is we're not that friendly. If you're lonely, we might make it worse. Also, we sleep like 16 hours a day. Have you considered getting a dog?"

6. Strip Away My Conscience

O for more fun songs for altos to sing! I partly like this song just because it's in such an amazing range for me, but it's also got such a great sleazy sound to it, and the lyrics play with the concept of "evil = sexy" in such an entertaining way. Rachel Bloom does an incredible job of taking sexual tropes and stereotypes and emphasizing them in a very funny way -- "The Math of Love Triangles," my favorite song from season two, is another great example of that. One of my favorite moments here (though I saved my favorite line for down below) is in between verses, when she does the "Stop hitting yourself" bit, demonstrating hilariously that this character does not have a sense of where that line is between hot and just mean.

Best line: "Innuendooooo!"

5. Nothing Is Ever Anyone's Fault

This song is one of my favorite examples of the narrative this show fights against -- the idea that nobody can control what they do, we are controlled by fate or our genes and don't have to take responsibility or make tough decisions. It's especially funny, though, when framed in terms of a big romantic ballad -- Nathaniel's transition from explaining how nothing is his fault to "I can't control that I'm in love with you" is hilarious, and Rebecca gets sucked into it partly because of the temptation of blaming all her issues on someone else and partly because it's a moment of romantic confession from him. Fortunately, by the end of the episode she's come to terms with the fact that she can't hide behind her diagnosis and her parental abuse anymore -- they may explain what she does, but they don't excuse those actions. Contrary to the song's lyrics, psychology is not a great excuse.

Best line: "I understand what makes me frightened and sad, so now I still do bad things, but are they actually bad? No! Because nothing is anyone's fault!"

4. My Sperm Is Healthy

So I got to the top four on my list and texted Jacob saying, "I'm stuck. All of these songs are my favorite. What do I do?" He helpfully responded, "Choose the one you like the least!" So I guuuuuesss that's this one but the top four on my list are all gold.

Anyway, "My Sperm Is Healthy." Rebecca's boss Darryl has decided he wants to have a baby with a surrogate, so he gets himself tested to make sure the odds are good before he starts the process. In this song, he gets the results of the tests back, and, as you can guess from the title, it's good news. I laughed out loud when the song begins with his co-worker Mrs. Hernandez going, "Ugh, this is going to be gross," because, yes, it is, but it's also kind of glorious. It takes the musical tropes of guys bragging about their sexual prowess and uses them to instead empathize with a middle-aged man who loves being a parent so much that he wants another one even without a partner. Darryl's glee at learning he can indeed father a child is infectious. This is another one where the explicit version is funnier to me, but there's no video version of that one, so you get the CW-approved version.

Best line: The string of Tom Hanks puns out of nowhere. "I'm in a league of my own, just like Tom Hanks / Not a cast away when I blast away / That thing I do is inseminate you."

3. Fit Hot Guys Have Problems Too

This season saw the unexpected buddying up of Nathaniel and White Josh as they both got over breakups that they denied meant anything to them. They bonded over their obsessive gym workouts, but it's not until this song that they (and, halfway through, Josh Chan) bond over their broken hearts, and perform a song about how just because they're attractive doesn't mean they don't have issues of their own to deal with. But, of course, since it's Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, they also do it while showing off the attractive bodies they're usually so proud of and use as a defense against the world's cruelty... until it doesn't work anymore. (...CXG had an unusually high number of stripping songs this season. And they were all good.)

Best line: "It's just hard to process emotions with our clothes on."

2. I've Got My Head in the Clouds

And now for a much less sex-related song than the last two... this one is about religion! Or, rather, about using religion to run from your problems. Josh Chan has decided to become a priest so he doesn't have to deal with the stress of relationships. This does not turn out to be a sustainable plan, but for a short while he's happy about how great it is that being one of God's top guys will mean all his problems will be automatically solved and he'll never be sad or confused about anything again. (Incidentally, I like that in dealing with this issue, the show doesn't look down on religion -- it's very reminiscent of Mother Superior in Sound of Music's, "These walls were not built to shut out problems. You have to face them.") Anyway, Josh is channeling Gene Kelly here with some killer dance moves, and the whole thing is so joyous and fun and silly that it always makes me smile.

Best line: "Whoa! That's what you look like?" "It's what YOU think I look like! Now let's dance!"

And before I get to my #1, my runner-ups included...
  • After Everything You Made Me Do (That I Didn't Ask For) - Rebecca's vengeful reprise is so intense and fun.
  • A Diagnosis - A beautifully relatable song about "Oh my gosh, we'll finally figure out what's been wrong with me and it'll be OK!"
  • Without Love You Can Save the World - Rebecca's enthusiasm is fun, whether she's wholeheartedly pursuing love or wholeheartedly running away from it to save the world like in this song.
  • I'm Just a Boy in Love - Season 3 Trent = Season 2 Rebecca and it's amazing.
But my actual #1 song of the season was...

1. Let's Generalize About Men

This is just so ridiculously fun. More than any of the others, it's the one that I've found myself playing at the end of a difficult day at work. Even if my frustrations had nothing whatsoever to do with any men, there's a dramatic, upbeat aggressive tone here that channels the exact right mood for me. It's also an incredibly funny tune about our tendency to generalize when we need to feel better about a situation. It even hits on the stereotype of the sassy gay best friend - they get to be generalized about as well in this song. (...Yay?) It's funny and delightful and maybe the MOST fun one to sing along to on this list. Such good stuff.

Best line: "Why do men never listen and always think about themselves, as opposed to women who always listen and never think about themselves?"

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