How ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Turned a Recasting Problem on Its Head

Co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna weighs in on Skylar Astin’s debut as Rebecca’s ex and what that says about her mental health.

[Editor’s Note: The following contains spoilers from “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” Season 4, Episode 8, “I’m Not The Person I Used To Be.”]

On Friday’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) can’t recognize her alcoholic ex-boyfriend Greg (Santino Fontana) when he shows up at his high school reunion party after two years away. That’s because “Pitch Perfect” star Skylar Astin, not Fontana, now plays Greg.

“We wrote [Fontana] off the show because he voluntarily left. And he’ll be in ‘Tootsie’ on Broadway,” Bloom said during a panel for the show at the Television Critics Association press tour this summer. “But with an actor leaving, that left an exciting gap. His character has become like lore.”

With Becky in “Roseanne,” Aunt Viv in “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” or Darren in “Bewitched,” recasting a role isn’t usually acknowledged on the show, although the audience can’t help but be aware of the change. However, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” did the opposite and uses the recasting as an opportunity to comment on the changes that Rebecca went through this season as she sought therapy for her borderline personality disorder. She’s not the person Greg had met in the pilot, and therefore, the way she interprets the world is different. He’s also been through changes, seeking a new life of recovery and higher education in Atlanta.

“It seemed really fun to us to explore characters who haven’t seen each other in such a long time,” said co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna. “He’s a character who’s been in recovery for two years, and she’s been in a pretty serious recovery for a year herself. It seemed like a fun opportunity to revisit people who had really changed so much.”

Rachel Bloom and Skylar Astin, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Rachel Bloom and Skylar Astin, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

Rebecca’s friends have no problems recognizing Greg, which reinforces the idea that the audience has experienced the show through Rebecca’s skewed point of view. While it was known that the show’s many musical numbers take place in Rebecca’s head, it’s revealed that Rebecca is, in fact, a horrible singer. She just thinks she sounds amazing, and therefore, that’s what the audience has experienced.

Brosh McKenna said, “The show is very much a first-person show, and we commonly deal with her perceptual issues, that she sees the world, in a different way from other people… It seemed like for that reason, that [the recasting] made a lot of sense.”

As Rebecca and Greg catch up, neither is willing to dredge up a past that was fueled by chemistry, but tainted by their respective issues. They decide to start anew, which leads to the musical number “Nice to Meet You,” in which the two sing and dance through various meet-cute scenarios in the subway, at a bar, and the doctor’s office.

Vincent Rodriguez III and Rene Gube, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Vincent Rodriguez III and Rene Gube, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

The high school reunion also provides other opportunities to reexamine perceptions. Popular bro Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) was voted prom king in senior year, and he’s taken that responsibly a bit too seriously as the supposed leader of the school. However, he learns that his pal was actually voted prom king and didn’t want the role, so Josh the runner-up was crowned.

“Josh finds out that a linchpin of his identity never happened. That prom king thing has been a huge part of his identity,” said Brosh McKenna. “Josh has really had a lot of his conceptions about himself shift away over time. This is a hard one for him to swallow, but what he realizes is, like many of the challenges he’s experienced in life, this is actually an opportunity for him to move forward and do something that the high school hero doesn’t normally do.”

Read More:  ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Aline Brosh McKenna Picks TV’s Best Pilots — Turn It On Podcast

Josh starts with hanging out with a group of people he didn’t know existed at his high school: The Abracada-Bros, a group of magic enthusiasts that includes George (Danny Jolles), one of Rebecca’s former coworkers. This also leads to the musical number “What You Missed While You Were Popular,” which opens his eyes to his narrow high school experience.

Josh isn’t the only one to have their world shift after a revelation. His high school sweetheart Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz), who is now dating Beth (Emma Willmann), had a torrid affair with another student at the time and even wanted to run away with him after graduation. In a classic case of mixed connections, her note declaring her love got lost… only to be recovered at the reunion. In an elaborate reveal, it turns out that her old flame is Father Brah (Rene Gube, who also wrote the episode), the cool priest who has been advising Josh and his pals.

“That was something that the writers’ room had always talked about because she seemed like she’s never really been that happy with Josh,” said Brosh McKenna. “Also, we had always wanted to do an episode where we got into Father Brah and his past a little bit more to portray a priest in a way that is dimensional so that he’s not saintly, that you see that he has struggled a bit in his life to get to where he is, that he was a young dude just like everybody else and made this decision.”

Gabrielle Ruiz and Vella Lovell, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Gabrielle Ruiz and Vella Lovell, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

This episode marks the halfway point in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s” final season. Rebecca getting help, quitting her lawyer gig to run a pretzel shop, and seeing the world differently aren’t the only signs of progress from her early days of instability. Although she and this new Greg appear to be rekindling their romance, she confesses to him that shortly after he left, she spiraled out of control and slept with his father. Oops.

“He’s very upset, devastated, disgusted. But also, he sees that it took courage for her to say that, and that she probably wouldn’t have said that two years ago,” said Brosh McKenna. “She didn’t have to tell him. He actually sees in the moment that she’s also changed and she faces the emotional consequences. So, I think he admires that even as he kind of wants to barf.”

Rebecca’s story began with following her crush Josh Chan across the country to live in West Covina. Throughout these four seasons, she’s dated him, Greg, and the lawyer Nathaniel (Scott Michael Foster), and have subsequently split because of her issues. Now that she’s on the path to recovery and all three men are currently single in the same city, Brosh McKenna says that a love quadrangle could “indeed” be in her future, but would only confirm Rebecca’s broad trajectory.

There’s a happiness gap for her, and there always has been, between where she is and where she wants to be,” she said. “She’s going to continue to try and puzzle that out.”

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Boss Breaks Down Introducing Skylar Astin as the New Greg

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “I’m Not the Person I Used to Be,” the Season 4 midseason finale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” As the CW’s musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” prepares …

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “I’m Not the Person I Used to Be,” the Season 4 midseason finale of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” As the CW’s musical comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” prepares to sign off with a series finale in 2019, showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and her team of writers have been pushing […]

How Crazy Ex-Girlfriend re-met Greg 

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has never been shy about acknowledging the fact that it’s a TV show. In fact, peeling back the curtain to acknowledge the artifice has been one of the most reliably entertaining tools in a crowded toolbox. It’s yielded a seemingly e…

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has never been shy about acknowledging the fact that it’s a TV show. In fact, peeling back the curtain to acknowledge the artifice has been one of the most reliably entertaining tools in a crowded toolbox. It’s yielded a seemingly endless supply of recurring bits, self-aware title sequences and…

Read more...

Midseason TV 2018-19: Complete List of Premiere Dates for New and Returning Shows (Updating)

Winter is almost here and that means the holidays are right around the corner — and so is midseason TV.

While fall brought with it the returns of your favorite broadcast shows — and the debuts of many new ones — the colder months mark the time when many of those programs go into hibernation and fresh programming wakes up.

The Big 4 and The CW are beginning air midseason finales and gearing up to launch several new shows in the new year, which makes this as good a time as any for TheWrap to round up the list of premiere dates for the coming months.

We’ve got launch dates for NBC’s (formerly Fox’s) “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Titan Games.” On Fox, there is the return of Seth MacFarlane’s “The Orville” and the series premiere of “Proven Innocent.” The CW will debut “Roswell, New Mexico” and bring back “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” for its final season. And ABC will court you with Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor.”

Also Read: 27 Shows You Can Binge Watch Over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Photos)

See the full list of broadcast’s midseason premiere dates below.

Note: Not all networks (primarily ABC and CBS) have released their midseason dates, so TheWrap will continue to updated this schedule.

Sunday, Dec. 30
8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT “The Orville” (Fox, season premiere)

Tuesday, January 1
8 p.m. “The Gifted” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m. – “Lethal Weapon” (Fox, winter premiere)

Also Read: CW Orders Additional Episodes for Freshman Series ‘Charmed,’ ‘Legacies’ and ‘All American’

Wednesday Jan. 2
8 p.m. – “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back” (Fox, season premiere)
9 p.m. “The Masked Singer” (Fox, series Premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 3
8 p.m. “Gotham” (Fox, season premiere)
8 p.m. “The Titan Games” (NBC, series premiere)
9 p.m. “The Orville” (Fox, time slot premiere)
10 p.m. “The Blacklist” (NBC, Part 1 of season premiere)

Friday, Jan. 4
9 p.m. “The Blacklist” (NBC, Part 2 of season premiere/time slot premiere)

Monday, Jan. 7
8 p.m. “America’s Got Talent: The Champions”  (NBC, series premiere)
8 p.m. “The Bachelor” (ABC, season premiere)

Also Read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’: We Finally Have a Premiere Date and Time Slot for NBC’s Season 6

Tuesday, Jan. 8
8 p.m. “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC, season premiere)

Thursday, January 10
9 p.m. “A.P. Bio” (NBC, season premiere)
9 p.m. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC, season/new network premiere)
9: 30 p.m. “The Good Place” (NBC, winter/new time slot premiere)

Friday, Jan. 11
9 p.m. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW, season premiere)

Monday, Jan. 14
8 p.m. “The Resident” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m. ‘The Passage” (Fox, series premiere)

Also Read: ‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’ Season 6 Promo: Jake’s Got Moves, but Now Is Not the Time (Video)

Tuesday, Jan. 15
8 p.m. “The Flash” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Roswell, New Mexico” (The CW, series premiere)

Wednesday, Jan. 16
8 p.m. “Riverdale” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “All American” (The CW, winter premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 17
8 p.m. “Supernatural” (The CW, winter premiere)

Friday, Jan. 18
8 p.m. “Dynasty” (The CW, winter premiere)

Also Read: TV Shows Each Net Is Most Thankful For: Viewers Really Gobble (Gobble) These Up

Sunday, Jan. 20
8 p.m. “Supergirl” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Charmed” (The CW, winter premiere)

Monday, Jan. 21
8 p.m. “Arrow” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Black Lightning” (The CW, winter/new time slot premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 24
9 p.m. “Legacies” (The CW, winter premiere)

Sunday, Jan. 27
7 p.m. “Rent Live” (Fox, live event broadcast)

Also Read: 2018 Holiday TV Specials: Here Are 21 Programs Sure to Make Your Days Merry and Bright (Photos)

Thursday, Jan. 31
9:30 p.m. “Will & Grace” (NBC, winter/new time slot premiere)

Friday, Feb. 15
9 p.m. “Proven Innocent” (Fox, series premiere)

Sunday, March 3
7:30 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers” (Fox, winter premiere)
8 p.m. “The Simpsons” (Fox, winter premiere)
8:30 p.m. “Family Guy” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m.  “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” (Fox, series premiere)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ratings: Falcons-Saints Thanksgiving Game Leads NBC to Easy Primetime Win

Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Ticks Up 2 Percent in Early Ratings

27 Shows You Can Binge Watch Over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Photos)

2018 Holiday TV Specials: Here Are 21 Programs Sure to Make Your Days Merry and Bright (Photos)

Winter is almost here and that means the holidays are right around the corner — and so is midseason TV.

While fall brought with it the returns of your favorite broadcast shows — and the debuts of many new ones — the colder months mark the time when many of those programs go into hibernation and fresh programming wakes up.

The Big 4 and The CW are beginning air midseason finales and gearing up to launch several new shows in the new year, which makes this as good a time as any for TheWrap to round up the list of premiere dates for the coming months.

We’ve got launch dates for NBC’s (formerly Fox’s) “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and “The Titan Games.” On Fox, there is the return of Seth MacFarlane’s “The Orville” and the series premiere of “Proven Innocent.” The CW will debut “Roswell, New Mexico” and bring back “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” for its final season. And ABC will court you with Colton Underwood’s season of “The Bachelor.”

See the full list of broadcast’s midseason premiere dates below.

Note: Not all networks (primarily ABC and CBS) have released their midseason dates, so TheWrap will continue to updated this schedule.

Sunday, Dec. 30
8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT “The Orville” (Fox, season premiere)

Tuesday, January 1
8 p.m. “The Gifted” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m. – “Lethal Weapon” (Fox, winter premiere)

Wednesday Jan. 2
8 p.m. – “Gordon Ramsay’s 24 Hours To Hell And Back” (Fox, season premiere)
9 p.m. “The Masked Singer” (Fox, series Premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 3
8 p.m. “Gotham” (Fox, season premiere)
8 p.m. “The Titan Games” (NBC, series premiere)
9 p.m. “The Orville” (Fox, time slot premiere)
10 p.m. “The Blacklist” (NBC, Part 1 of season premiere)

Friday, Jan. 4
9 p.m. “The Blacklist” (NBC, Part 2 of season premiere/time slot premiere)

Monday, Jan. 7
8 p.m. “America’s Got Talent: The Champions”  (NBC, series premiere)
8 p.m. “The Bachelor” (ABC, season premiere)

Tuesday, Jan. 8
8 p.m. “Ellen’s Game of Games” (NBC, season premiere)

Thursday, January 10
9 p.m. “A.P. Bio” (NBC, season premiere)
9 p.m. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (NBC, season/new network premiere)
9: 30 p.m. “The Good Place” (NBC, winter/new time slot premiere)

Friday, Jan. 11
9 p.m. “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” (The CW, season premiere)

Monday, Jan. 14
8 p.m. “The Resident” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m. ‘The Passage” (Fox, series premiere)

Tuesday, Jan. 15
8 p.m. “The Flash” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Roswell, New Mexico” (The CW, series premiere)

Wednesday, Jan. 16
8 p.m. “Riverdale” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “All American” (The CW, winter premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 17
8 p.m. “Supernatural” (The CW, winter premiere)

Friday, Jan. 18
8 p.m. “Dynasty” (The CW, winter premiere)

Sunday, Jan. 20
8 p.m. “Supergirl” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Charmed” (The CW, winter premiere)

Monday, Jan. 21
8 p.m. “Arrow” (The CW, winter premiere)
9 p.m. “Black Lightning” (The CW, winter/new time slot premiere)

Thursday, Jan. 24
9 p.m. “Legacies” (The CW, winter premiere)

Sunday, Jan. 27
7 p.m. “Rent Live” (Fox, live event broadcast)

Thursday, Jan. 31
9:30 p.m. “Will & Grace” (NBC, winter/new time slot premiere)

Friday, Feb. 15
9 p.m. “Proven Innocent” (Fox, series premiere)

Sunday, March 3
7:30 p.m. “Bob’s Burgers” (Fox, winter premiere)
8 p.m. “The Simpsons” (Fox, winter premiere)
8:30 p.m. “Family Guy” (Fox, winter premiere)
9 p.m.  “Cosmos: Possible Worlds” (Fox, series premiere)

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ratings: Falcons-Saints Thanksgiving Game Leads NBC to Easy Primetime Win

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade Ticks Up 2 Percent in Early Ratings

27 Shows You Can Binge Watch Over the Thanksgiving Holiday (Photos)

2018 Holiday TV Specials: Here Are 21 Programs Sure to Make Your Days Merry and Bright (Photos)

DGA Accused of Bias Toward Female Directing Teams by ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Director

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” writer-producer Audrey Wauchope has accused the Directors Guild of America of bias against female directing teams. Wauchope leveled the assertions Friday in the wake of longtime partner Rachel Specter not receiving directing credi…

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” writer-producer Audrey Wauchope has accused the Directors Guild of America of bias against female directing teams. Wauchope leveled the assertions Friday in the wake of longtime partner Rachel Specter not receiving directing credit for co-directing Friday’s segment with Wauchope. The DGA had no comment Friday, citing its policy of not commenting on internal […]

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Director Says DGA ‘Completely Erased’ Her Partner’s Contributions

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” writer Audrey Wauchope says her partner Rachel Specter will not be credited on their directorial debut due to a DGA bias against female directing teams.

“My #FemaleFilmmakerFriday goes out to my co-Director on tonight’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode @RachelSpecter. Rachel and I are a lifelong writing/directing team but due to a decision by the DGA which completely erases her from our work, she’s not credited on tonight’s episode,” Wauchope wrote on Twitter on Friday.

According to Director’s Guild rules, only one director can be credited on a project, with “few exceptions” made for “bona fide teams,” which a post on the DGA website defines as teams who “learned how to direct together, by actually doing it, and have, therefore, demonstrated that they perform the director’s duties as if they were actually one director.”

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Talks Season 4 Premiere and Rebecca’s ‘Complicated’ Quest for Self-Improvement

Wauchope and Specter, whose credits as a writing duo also includes “Cougar Town” and “One Tree Hill,” directed their first episode of television with Friday’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Wauchope continued, “we were told our ‘body of work’ was not great enough and when asked why we hadn’t directed more our answer was: We had children. And full time writing jobs. A career which we fought for after being let go for sexual harassment and pregnancy.”

“I could go on and on but the end result is still the same — we achieved something we’d dreamt of for years and only one of our names appears on the episode,” she wrote. “Because a board of people get to decide who constitutes a team that gets to make art.”

Also Read: Director’s Guild of America Reports Increase in Female and Minority TV Directors

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna both backed Wauchope’s tweets, with Brosh McKenna calling the DGA decision “distressing and confusing.”

“DGA, get your act together. @audreyalison and @RachelSpecter are a dual directing force to be reckoned with,” Bloom wrote.

“There are NO Female teams directing TV,” Wauchope noted. “The DGA had the chance to do the right thing here and put their money where their mouth is. Would it have hurt their union to allow two hardworking females to create together? No.”

Also Read: 41 Percent of First-Time TV Directors Were Women Last Season, DGA Study Finds

A spokesperson for the DGA did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

My #FemaleFilmmakerFriday goes out to my co-Director on tonight’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode @RachelSpecter. Rachel and I are a lifelong writing/directing team but due to a decision by the DGA which completely erases her from our work, she’s not credited on tonight’s episode. pic.twitter.com/yz9cRQjMC7

— Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) October 19, 2018

Furthermore, we were told our “body of work” was not great enough and when asked why we hadn’t directed more our answer was: We had children. And full time writing jobs. A career which we fought for after being let go for sexual harassment and pregnancy.

– Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) October 19, 2018

There are NO Female teams directing TV. The DGA had the chance to do the right thing here and put their money where their mouth is. Would it have hurt their union to allow two hardworking females to create together? No.

– Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) October 19, 2018

Also, the fact should not ever be let go that the people who hired us and spoke to the DGA on our behalf… all women. A thank you to our bosses @alinebmckenna @Racheldoesstuff and CBS exec @notyourpalley

– Audrey Wauchope (@audreyalison) October 19, 2018

Read this thread. DGA, get your act together. @audreyalison and @RachelSpecter are a dual directing force to be reckoned with. #CrazyExGirlfriend https://t.co/wsvNyuwzB0

— Rachel Weird Looser Who Needs a Bra Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) October 19, 2018

Thread.
Trying to help these ladies get properly credited was distressing and confusing. It kills me that the credit is incorrect. Rachel and Audrey directed together, every step of the way. https://t.co/ZbX3BMpMUG

— Aline Brosh McKenna (@alinebmckenna) October 19, 2018

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Talks Season 4 Premiere and Rebecca’s ‘Complicated’ Quest for Self-Improvement

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Santino Fontana Has Texted His Replacement Skylar Astin About Playing Greg

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” writer Audrey Wauchope says her partner Rachel Specter will not be credited on their directorial debut due to a DGA bias against female directing teams.

“My #FemaleFilmmakerFriday goes out to my co-Director on tonight’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend episode @RachelSpecter. Rachel and I are a lifelong writing/directing team but due to a decision by the DGA which completely erases her from our work, she’s not credited on tonight’s episode,” Wauchope wrote on Twitter on Friday.

According to Director’s Guild rules, only one director can be credited on a project, with “few exceptions” made for “bona fide teams,” which a post on the DGA website defines as teams who “learned how to direct together, by actually doing it, and have, therefore, demonstrated that they perform the director’s duties as if they were actually one director.”

Wauchope and Specter, whose credits as a writing duo also includes “Cougar Town” and “One Tree Hill,” directed their first episode of television with Friday’s episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Wauchope continued, “we were told our ‘body of work’ was not great enough and when asked why we hadn’t directed more our answer was: We had children. And full time writing jobs. A career which we fought for after being let go for sexual harassment and pregnancy.”

“I could go on and on but the end result is still the same — we achieved something we’d dreamt of for years and only one of our names appears on the episode,” she wrote. “Because a board of people get to decide who constitutes a team that gets to make art.”

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna both backed Wauchope’s tweets, with Brosh McKenna calling the DGA decision “distressing and confusing.”

“DGA, get your act together. @audreyalison and @RachelSpecter are a dual directing force to be reckoned with,” Bloom wrote.

“There are NO Female teams directing TV,” Wauchope noted. “The DGA had the chance to do the right thing here and put their money where their mouth is. Would it have hurt their union to allow two hardworking females to create together? No.”

A spokesperson for the DGA did not immediately return TheWrap’s request for comment.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Co-Creator Talks Season 4 Premiere and Rebecca's 'Complicated' Quest for Self-Improvement

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend': Santino Fontana Has Texted His Replacement Skylar Astin About Playing Greg

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend': Skylar Astin to Play 'Reimagined' Version of Greg in Season 4

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Aline Brosh McKenna Picks TV’s Best Pilots — Turn It On Podcast

As The CW series enters its final season, McKenna recounts its journey, and why her favorite episode of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” is also one of its darkest.

Aline Brosh McKenna has always been a fan of the television pilot. First episodes are tricky, as they have to introduce characters and plot while servicing enough of a story to hook network executives — to pick up the series — and then audiences, to come along for the ride.

“I am really interested as a writer in how you lay out your story and how little you can use to do that,” the “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” co-creator told IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast. “A lot of the signature moments in a series happen in the pilot. I definitely am attracted to well-made pilot because it’s also the on-ramp. And I know in our show, the pilot is something we went back to frequently to say, ‘This is where we set the language of the show.'”

McKenna cites the pilots for Lena Dunham and Jenni Konner’s “Girls” and Vince Gilligan’s “Breaking Bad” as two of her favorites. But when asked to choose her favorite TV episode of all time, she zeroes in on “The Americans,” the story of Russian spies living as a family in suburban Virginia.

The genius of “The Americans” pilot, written by Joe Weisberg, is that it “upends your expectations, gender-wise,” McKenna said.

“Most people’s first thought would be to make it so [Philip, Matthew Rhys’ character] is the kick-ass one and [Elizabeth, Keri Russell’s character] is the more reflective one,” she said. “What’s incredible about that show to me is she is made of steel and he is made of mushy stuff. That episode, that first season, is very much about their marriage. It’s very compelling to see how they took marital issues and embedded them inside the thriller genre.”

In this edition of IndieWire’s TURN IT ON podcast, McKenna discusses why the pilots to those three shows stand out from the pack. She also reminisces on four seasons of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” and how she and Bloom had structured an end game for the show from the very beginning. Listen below.

Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

McKenna had spent most of her time in film (her credits include “The Devil Wears Prada”) when she turned to TV with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” The show stars Rachel Bloom as Rebecca Bunch, a New York lawyer who drops everything and moves to West Covina, Calif., on a lark to be close to an old boyfriend. Originally developed for Showtime, “Crazy Ex” eventually moved to The CW, and along with “Jane the Virgin,” helped redefine the network’s non-superhero, non-vampire voice.

“I would never write anything if I didn’t know the ending,” she said. “And that’s how I approached it the first time Rachel and I started talking about this show — ‘Where are we going ultimately?’ Because that’s super important to me as a storyteller. Rachel is very down for long-term story planning. It seemed to fall into these four chapters.”

In Bloom, McKenna said she found the right actress to explore some of the dark elements of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” Bloom’s inviting persona, and the show’s quirky musical numbers, gave the show license to go in unexpected directions.

“With Rachel, we have found that she is able to pull off doing heinous things and still be lovable,” McKenna said. “That has allowed us a lot of creative leeway. There’s a way a camera gets inside the soul of a person, and Rachel is this sort of joyful, sunny person. That is a little bit of a secret weapon in terms of us being able to go real dark or have her make terrible choices, knowing it’s Rachel who’s doing it.”

The show’s title, after all, is “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” — and it definitely took the title literally. “When we tested it, it was amazing how quickly people understood the show,” McKenna said. “I was really amazed by that. They understood exactly what she was doing. Everybody had a story to tell about a stupid decision they had made for a boyfriend, or a love relationship.”

Asked to choose her favorite episode of the series, she picks 304, “Josh’s Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy,” in which Rebecca seems to torch all of her relationships for good. “I know it’s dark, but at the mix Rachel and I laughed harder at that episode than anything else we have done,” McKenna said.

As Season 4 heads toward the show’s finale, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” promises to explore “themes of redemption, recovery, responsibility, rebirth, renewal and reality and other words that begin with ‘R'” to West Covina.

“[Rebecca] lives in reality this season in a way like she never has before,” McKenna said. “That has led to a lightness in the writers’ room. She was so delusional in the first season, and so aggressively delusional in the second season, and then in the third season she was in so much pain. Now she understands what story she’s in. She’s in a redemption story and she knows that for the first time. So everything seems different to her.”

That includes her ex-boyfriend Greg, and that’s by design. Originally played by Santino Fontana, the character left in Season 2 — and is now returning, played by a new actor: Skylar Astin (“Pitch Perfect”).

“A lot of it is based on, when you see an ex you haven’t seen in several years they seem like different people to you,” she said. As for preparing for the end of the series, McKenna said she’s not quite ready to say goodbye: “I’m not connected to the sadness yet.”

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” airs Fridays at 9 p.m. ET on The CW.

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‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator Talks Season 4 Premiere and Rebecca’s ‘Complicated’ Quest for Self-Improvement

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ended last season on a surprise cliffhanger, making it seem like Rebecca would plead guilty to a crime she didn’t technically commit and spend time in prison as a way of finally taking some responsibility for her actions.

But as the CW musical dramedy is wont to do, the Season 4 premiere episode flipped those expectations on their head, instead digging deep into the reality of Rebecca’s situation — voluntarily staying in prison as a symbolic gesture to atone for her past misdeeds is definitely not brave and romantic or even morally good  — and forcing its heroine to do the tough work of real self-improvement.

“That’s the thing, it’s not an easy thing to do,” said Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creator and co-showrunner alongside series star Rachel Bloom, in an interview with TheWrap. “In the first episode, she’s thinking she can go to jail and do some sort of penance and put everything under the same sort of umbrella. But what she learns is that it’s going to be a longer, more complicated road to taking responsibility.”

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: We’ve Got an Update on That Whole Broadway Musical Thing

That long, complicated road has already cost Rebecca a carefree trip to Hawaii and possibly her relationship with Nathaniel, two things the Rebecca who first moved to West Covina three seasons ago would’ve dropped everything for, accountability be damned.

“He wants them to just enjoy the fact that they love each other and have fun,” said Brosh McKenna. “That’s what’s most important to him, but she’s sort of striving for something higher.”

Rebecca’s path to self-actualization has been circuitous, to put it mildly, and is long from over, but Brosh McKenna and Bloom have been clear from the start that they’ve always known where she’s headed and where she ends up.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

The co-showrunners originally pitched the show in “four chapters” and Brosh McKenna says they’ve kept with that plan all the way through, thanks to the support from the network and a feverishly passionate — if slightly smaller than ideal — core fanbase.

“Our fans are amazing,” said Brosh McKenna. “We’ve got a very consistent, coherent group of people. And that’s one of the great joys of doing any show. When people find it and appreciate it, that’s a great feeling.”

Read TheWrap’s full interview with Brosh McKenna below.

Robert Voets/The CW

TheWrap: We ended last season on Rebecca trying to hold herself accountable for her actions, how would you describe her arc going into Season 4?

Brosh McKenna: She’s trying to take responsibility and trying to become a responsible human being. So the first half of the season focuses on her own personal journey toward redemption, making peace with her past and the things that she’s done. Then the second half of the season focuses on the love story, the multiple love stories.

The premiere sees her in jail, but she pretty quickly realizes that’s not going to cut it. So what does redemption look like for her?

That’s the thing, it’s not an easy thing to do. In the first episode, she’s thinking she can go to jail and do some sort of penance and put everything under the same sort of umbrella. But what she learns is that it’s going to be a longer, more complicated road to taking responsibility.

She ends up volunteering in the prison. Is that something she continues with?

Yeah, she does that through the whole season. We have a couple episodes where you see her there, but there are also episodes where she talks about it. We see her doing it from then on.

Also Read: CW Boss Mark Pedowitz Is ‘Disappointed’ With TV Academy Over No Love for ‘Crazy Ex,’ ‘Jane’

Are she and Nathaniel done, broken up after their disagreement in this episode?

In that moment they are, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

What’s going on in his head in that moment? Why does he lash out at her like that?

He doesn’t have the same — he thinks her desire to be accountable is kind of annoying. He wants them to just enjoy the fact that they love each other and have fun. That’s what’s most important to him, but she’s sort of striving for something higher. She’s on her own path to redemption and trying to figure out the extent of her own privilege. These are all things he doesn’t want to do.

Is that something he’ll have to reckon with as the season progresses?

He does. And not just in relation to her, but also just for himself in terms of his own life. Learning how to do some of those things not just for her and their relationship, but for himself.

Scott Everett White/The CW

How would you describe Paula’s relationship to Rebecca this season? We’ve seen her try to disentangle herself from Rebecca a few times in the past, but will they find a way to create a healthier relationship?

In the first episode, you saw that Paula has a different idea about accountability and how one should be accountable. So they’ll clash in that respect, but she does appreciate the gesture that Rebecca made in the last season to try and make things better with Paula. To kind of acknowledge the things she’s done and how she’s been inconsiderate. Rebecca is engaged in an honest attempt, from episode one on, an earnest attempt to try and make sense of her life and the things that she’s done. And Paula sees that. But Paula is not flawless in her own behavior, and she has her own stuff to think about. She has her own issues.

Josh goes on a bit of a journey to figure out his life in the premiere, which ends up with him in therapy. Where does that take him this season?

Well, he’s trying to be introspective, which is something that that type of character — and you know, all of our characters are sort of tropes that we’re trying to explore — isn’t usually very introspective. This episode is sort of his first attempt to figure out who he is and what sort of role he’s played in the things that have happened to him.

Also Read: Watch Rachel Bloom’s ‘Super Chill’ Reaction to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s’ Emmys Snub (Video)

When should we expect to see Greg pop back up?

Episode 8.

Was it ever part of the conversation to have Santino Fontana return or was it always planned as a new actor?

Well, we felt like we had sent off the Santino version of the character and completed that arc. For us it didn’t really make sense to bring him back unless we were re-conceiving the character in some way. So for us, we were thinking about if he was going to be different, he would literally be played by someone else. That would make it really clear that he’s different now, so then what does that mean for her? That’s what really sparked our interest in having the character back. And we reached out to Santino to make sure he knew we were doing that so he wouldn’t be shocked to see it.

Can you tease what role he’ll play in the story?

He and Rebeca have a lot of unresolved tension and issues, which is fun for us. And he’s got a lot of interesting relationships with Josh and Nathaniel and all those other guys. It’ll be fun to have all those characters in play at once.

John P. Fleenor/The CW

You put out a call for guest stars on Twitter. Did you get a lot of responses?

We got deluged with responses. It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of cameos this year.

How do you work them all into the season?

Well, we can’t. But as we’re writing, if something comes up and it fits someone who’s expressed enthusiasm for the show, we can try to make it work. And if it works, it works, but there’s a lot of wonderful people who’ve expressed interest. We can’t accommodate everyone, but we really make an effort if we have those smaller parts to try and invite someone who’s been especially supportive of the show.

Do you have a favorite guest star this season?

Yeah, we have Elayne Boosler on the show, and I’m a huge, huge fan. So I was very excited that it worked out. She’s sort of a somewhat overlooked comedy icon to women. But I’m pleased to say that she seems to be experiencing something of a resurgence, because she has a box set out and there was an article in the New York Times this week about how she’s something of an overlooked legend of ’80s stand-up comedy.

Can you tell us who she plays?

She plays someone from Naomi’s past.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Star Rachel Bloom on Why Orgasms Are So Elusive in Hollywood (Video)

You and Rachel have been really open about the four-year plan from the show, pretty much from the beginning. Have you strayed from that original plan at all?

Well, we always pitched the show in four chapters, and we always had an idea of what the end scene is. All of that’s never changed. Obviously, some of the particulars have changed, but we’ve always been very clear about the journey. Even from back when we first pitched the show in 2014.

Was it ever open to conversation to keep it going for longer?

No, never. I have to say, I’m almost glad it’s not a bigger hit so there isn’t the pressure to do more episodes. We got convinced to do the extra five, but there isn’t a lot of corporate thirst to expand shows that are that low-rated. So that’s been great.

But even so, the fans of the show do seem to be especially dedicated.

Yeah, our fans are amazing. We’ve got a very consistent, coherent group of people. And that’s one of the great joys of doing any show. When people find it and appreciate it, that’s a great feeling.

Robert Voets/The CW

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ratings: The CW’s ‘All American’ Gets Benched in Debut

The CW Renews ‘Burden of Truth’ and ‘The Outpost’ for Season 2 Runs in Summer 2019

CW Orders More Scripts for New Series ‘All American,’ ‘Charmed’ and ‘Legacies’

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” ended last season on a surprise cliffhanger, making it seem like Rebecca would plead guilty to a crime she didn’t technically commit and spend time in prison as a way of finally taking some responsibility for her actions.

But as the CW musical dramedy is wont to do, the Season 4 premiere episode flipped those expectations on their head, instead digging deep into the reality of Rebecca’s situation — voluntarily staying in prison as a symbolic gesture to atone for her past misdeeds is definitely not brave and romantic or even morally good  — and forcing its heroine to do the tough work of real self-improvement.

“That’s the thing, it’s not an easy thing to do,” said Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creator and co-showrunner alongside series star Rachel Bloom, in an interview with TheWrap. “In the first episode, she’s thinking she can go to jail and do some sort of penance and put everything under the same sort of umbrella. But what she learns is that it’s going to be a longer, more complicated road to taking responsibility.”

That long, complicated road has already cost Rebecca a carefree trip to Hawaii and possibly her relationship with Nathaniel, two things the Rebecca who first moved to West Covina three seasons ago would’ve dropped everything for, accountability be damned.

“He wants them to just enjoy the fact that they love each other and have fun,” said Brosh McKenna. “That’s what’s most important to him, but she’s sort of striving for something higher.”

Rebecca’s path to self-actualization has been circuitous, to put it mildly, and is long from over, but Brosh McKenna and Bloom have been clear from the start that they’ve always known where she’s headed and where she ends up.

The co-showrunners originally pitched the show in “four chapters” and Brosh McKenna says they’ve kept with that plan all the way through, thanks to the support from the network and a feverishly passionate — if slightly smaller than ideal — core fanbase.

“Our fans are amazing,” said Brosh McKenna. “We’ve got a very consistent, coherent group of people. And that’s one of the great joys of doing any show. When people find it and appreciate it, that’s a great feeling.”

Read TheWrap’s full interview with Brosh McKenna below.

Robert Voets/The CW

TheWrap: We ended last season on Rebecca trying to hold herself accountable for her actions, how would you describe her arc going into Season 4?

Brosh McKenna: She’s trying to take responsibility and trying to become a responsible human being. So the first half of the season focuses on her own personal journey toward redemption, making peace with her past and the things that she’s done. Then the second half of the season focuses on the love story, the multiple love stories.

The premiere sees her in jail, but she pretty quickly realizes that’s not going to cut it. So what does redemption look like for her?

That’s the thing, it’s not an easy thing to do. In the first episode, she’s thinking she can go to jail and do some sort of penance and put everything under the same sort of umbrella. But what she learns is that it’s going to be a longer, more complicated road to taking responsibility.

She ends up volunteering in the prison. Is that something she continues with?

Yeah, she does that through the whole season. We have a couple episodes where you see her there, but there are also episodes where she talks about it. We see her doing it from then on.

Are she and Nathaniel done, broken up after their disagreement in this episode?

In that moment they are, but it’s a little more complicated than that.

What’s going on in his head in that moment? Why does he lash out at her like that?

He doesn’t have the same — he thinks her desire to be accountable is kind of annoying. He wants them to just enjoy the fact that they love each other and have fun. That’s what’s most important to him, but she’s sort of striving for something higher. She’s on her own path to redemption and trying to figure out the extent of her own privilege. These are all things he doesn’t want to do.

Is that something he’ll have to reckon with as the season progresses?

He does. And not just in relation to her, but also just for himself in terms of his own life. Learning how to do some of those things not just for her and their relationship, but for himself.

Scott Everett White/The CW

How would you describe Paula’s relationship to Rebecca this season? We’ve seen her try to disentangle herself from Rebecca a few times in the past, but will they find a way to create a healthier relationship?

In the first episode, you saw that Paula has a different idea about accountability and how one should be accountable. So they’ll clash in that respect, but she does appreciate the gesture that Rebecca made in the last season to try and make things better with Paula. To kind of acknowledge the things she’s done and how she’s been inconsiderate. Rebecca is engaged in an honest attempt, from episode one on, an earnest attempt to try and make sense of her life and the things that she’s done. And Paula sees that. But Paula is not flawless in her own behavior, and she has her own stuff to think about. She has her own issues.

Josh goes on a bit of a journey to figure out his life in the premiere, which ends up with him in therapy. Where does that take him this season?

Well, he’s trying to be introspective, which is something that that type of character — and you know, all of our characters are sort of tropes that we’re trying to explore — isn’t usually very introspective. This episode is sort of his first attempt to figure out who he is and what sort of role he’s played in the things that have happened to him.

When should we expect to see Greg pop back up?

Episode 8.

Was it ever part of the conversation to have Santino Fontana return or was it always planned as a new actor?

Well, we felt like we had sent off the Santino version of the character and completed that arc. For us it didn’t really make sense to bring him back unless we were re-conceiving the character in some way. So for us, we were thinking about if he was going to be different, he would literally be played by someone else. That would make it really clear that he’s different now, so then what does that mean for her? That’s what really sparked our interest in having the character back. And we reached out to Santino to make sure he knew we were doing that so he wouldn’t be shocked to see it.

Can you tease what role he’ll play in the story?

He and Rebeca have a lot of unresolved tension and issues, which is fun for us. And he’s got a lot of interesting relationships with Josh and Nathaniel and all those other guys. It’ll be fun to have all those characters in play at once.

John P. Fleenor/The CW

You put out a call for guest stars on Twitter. Did you get a lot of responses?

We got deluged with responses. It’s been great. We’ve had a lot of cameos this year.

How do you work them all into the season?

Well, we can’t. But as we’re writing, if something comes up and it fits someone who’s expressed enthusiasm for the show, we can try to make it work. And if it works, it works, but there’s a lot of wonderful people who’ve expressed interest. We can’t accommodate everyone, but we really make an effort if we have those smaller parts to try and invite someone who’s been especially supportive of the show.

Do you have a favorite guest star this season?

Yeah, we have Elayne Boosler on the show, and I’m a huge, huge fan. So I was very excited that it worked out. She’s sort of a somewhat overlooked comedy icon to women. But I’m pleased to say that she seems to be experiencing something of a resurgence, because she has a box set out and there was an article in the New York Times this week about how she’s something of an overlooked legend of ’80s stand-up comedy.

Can you tell us who she plays?

She plays someone from Naomi’s past.

You and Rachel have been really open about the four-year plan from the show, pretty much from the beginning. Have you strayed from that original plan at all?

Well, we always pitched the show in four chapters, and we always had an idea of what the end scene is. All of that’s never changed. Obviously, some of the particulars have changed, but we’ve always been very clear about the journey. Even from back when we first pitched the show in 2014.

Was it ever open to conversation to keep it going for longer?

No, never. I have to say, I’m almost glad it’s not a bigger hit so there isn’t the pressure to do more episodes. We got convinced to do the extra five, but there isn’t a lot of corporate thirst to expand shows that are that low-rated. So that’s been great.

But even so, the fans of the show do seem to be especially dedicated.

Yeah, our fans are amazing. We’ve got a very consistent, coherent group of people. And that’s one of the great joys of doing any show. When people find it and appreciate it, that’s a great feeling.

Robert Voets/The CW

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” airs Fridays at 9/8c on The CW.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ratings: The CW's 'All American' Gets Benched in Debut

The CW Renews 'Burden of Truth' and 'The Outpost' for Season 2 Runs in Summer 2019

CW Orders More Scripts for New Series 'All American,' 'Charmed' and 'Legacies'

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Boss on Rebecca’s Lessons: ‘She Has A Long Way to Go’

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “I Want to be Here,” the fourth season premiere of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” The final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” started with Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) in …

SPOILER ALERT: Do not read if you have not yet watched “I Want to be Here,” the fourth season premiere of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” The final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” started with Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) in prison after shoving her stalker ex Trent (Paul Welsh) off of a rooftop. She went into prison willingly, as an […]

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Co-Creator On Tonight’s Final Season Debut, The End & The Musical That May Follow

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about the fourth and final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, debuting tonight.
“We had the general trajectory and the sort of general movements of four chapters in our mind when we started and we have mostly st…

SPOILER ALERT: This article contains details about the fourth and final season of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, debuting tonight. "We had the general trajectory and the sort of general movements of four chapters in our mind when we started and we have mostly stuck to that, " admits Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna of the blueprint she and Rachel Bloom had for the crisp musical dramedy that premieres its fourth and final season tonight on the CW. The Bloom penned…

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Star Rachel Bloom Lambasts Brett Kavanaugh: “He’s F***ing Lying” – New Yorker Festival

It took an audience member with a question late in a New Yorker Festival panel on “The Female Gaze” to inspire three renowned women writers of television, fiction and poetry to address the most agonizing recent example of male vs. female ex…

It took an audience member with a question late in a New Yorker Festival panel on “The Female Gaze” to inspire three renowned women writers of television, fiction and poetry to address the most agonizing recent example of male vs. female expression: the Brett Kavanaugh Senate hearings. Pulling no punches, Rachel Bloom, co-created and star of the CW series Crazy Ex-Girlfriend lamented what she saw as the dichotomy between the testimony of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford and…

Listen: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Bosses on the Final Season, Plus ‘Happy Together’ EP Ben Winston on Harry Styles

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera. In this week’s episode, Variety’s associate features editor of TV, Danielle Turchiano…

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera. In this week’s episode, Variety’s associate features editor of TV, Danielle Turchiano, talks with “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna about the final season of their CW musical comedy. […]

Les Moonves: The End Is Truly Nigh & It Won’t Be With A $100M Exit Payout

EXCLUSIVE: With a new round of sexual assault allegations against Les Moonves being reported by the New Yorker today, the clock is ticking even faster and more furious on the final hours of the CBS CEO’s reign and when the end soon comes it won’t be wi…

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‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Santino Fontana Has Texted His Replacement Skylar Astin About Playing Greg

Skylar Astin has been getting some tips ahead of his debut as a “reimagined” Greg Serrano ahead of the upcoming final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Santino Fontana, who played Greg in Seasons 1 and 2, says that he and Astin are friends and have been texting about the role.

“I love Skylar! He’s a buddy of mine,” the actor said recently to Vulture. “We’ve been texting, we’ve got a whole back-and-forth going. We’re brothers from the same mother. That’s what I’m calling it. Brothers from the same mother.”

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

The recasting was announced at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour by showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and creator and star Rachel Bloom.

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” McKenna said. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Bloom added that the switcheroo will “be a great statement on how our perception of people changes.”

Also Read: Watch Rachel Bloom’s ‘Super Chill’ Reaction to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s’ Emmys Snub (Video)

“Greg is sort of a barometer for how much Rebecca has changed, because she will have not seen him in 2 years. Skylar is lovely, and we’re so excited,” she added. “It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation, where suddenly it’s a different person… Rebecca’s going to call it out and be like, ‘This person’s different, what the f—?’”

The decision to recast the character came due to Fontana’s schedule starring in “Tootsie” on Broadway, but Bloom said the opportunity to revive an “almost mythic figure” from the show for its final season was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” returns to The CW for its fourth and final season on Oct. 12 at 9 p.m.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: We’ve Got an Update on That Whole Broadway Musical Thing

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

Watch Rachel Bloom’s ‘Super Chill’ Reaction to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s’ Emmys Snub (Video)

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Star Rachel Bloom on Why Orgasms Are So Elusive in Hollywood (Video)

Skylar Astin has been getting some tips ahead of his debut as a “reimagined” Greg Serrano ahead of the upcoming final season of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

Santino Fontana, who played Greg in Seasons 1 and 2, says that he and Astin are friends and have been texting about the role.

“I love Skylar! He’s a buddy of mine,” the actor said recently to Vulture. “We’ve been texting, we’ve got a whole back-and-forth going. We’re brothers from the same mother. That’s what I’m calling it. Brothers from the same mother.”

The recasting was announced at this summer’s Television Critics Association press tour by showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna and creator and star Rachel Bloom.

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” McKenna said. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Bloom added that the switcheroo will “be a great statement on how our perception of people changes.”

“Greg is sort of a barometer for how much Rebecca has changed, because she will have not seen him in 2 years. Skylar is lovely, and we’re so excited,” she added. “It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation, where suddenly it’s a different person… Rebecca’s going to call it out and be like, ‘This person’s different, what the f—?'”

The decision to recast the character came due to Fontana’s schedule starring in “Tootsie” on Broadway, but Bloom said the opportunity to revive an “almost mythic figure” from the show for its final season was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” returns to The CW for its fourth and final season on Oct. 12 at 9 p.m.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend': We've Got an Update on That Whole Broadway Musical Thing

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend': Skylar Astin to Play 'Reimagined' Version of Greg in Season 4

Watch Rachel Bloom's 'Super Chill' Reaction to 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's' Emmys Snub (Video)

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Star Rachel Bloom on Why Orgasms Are So Elusive in Hollywood (Video)

Robert Redford says he’s retiring from acting (for real this time)

Welcome to Development Hell, the fiery pit into which we fling recent developments in casting, distribution, and everything else that’s new and mildly interesting in the Boschian phantasmagoria of the entertainment industry.Read more…

Welcome to Development Hell, the fiery pit into which we fling recent developments in casting, distribution, and everything else that’s new and mildly interesting in the Boschian phantasmagoria of the entertainment industry.

Read more...

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Here’s Why Skylar Astin Will Play the ‘Reimagined’ Greg in the Final Season

TCA: Plus, more details on Patton Oswalt’s return and Rebecca’s trajectory.

On “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” the love story of Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) and Greg (Santino Fontana) never did follow any typical trajectory for romance, and the final season will put a new face on it again, literally. At the Television Critics Association press tour on Monday, co-creators Rachel Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna reveled that Greg will return, but he’ll be recast with Skylar Astin of “Pitch Perfect” fame.

Greg — the brainy, alcoholic bartender who had smoldering chemistry with Rebecca — left midway through Season 2 so he could pursue schooling and recovery away from Rebecca in Atlanta. When he left, it was clear that they still had feelings for each other, but they were problematic, as outlined in the song “Shitshow.” Greg’s return with a new face will highlight how one’s perception of another person can change to mirror Rebecca’s own changes.

Bloom said, “We wrote [Fontana] off the show because he voluntarily left. And he’ll be in ‘Tootsie’ on Broadway… but with an actor leaving, that left an exciting gap. His character has become like lore.” Therefore, the show wanted to try a “different angle” for the return of the “mythic figure.”

“The episode where he comes back we’ll play with perception,” said Bloom. “It feels like a reimagining, not a recasting… We’re going to call it out. It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation.”

Brosh McKenna added that the episode will be shot from the first-person point of view. “Perceptually it’s part of the story,” she said.

Although Fontana’s stage career is flourishing, this is not the case of his being unavailable to do “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” This was a deliberate choice by the show to take a “leap and experiment.” That said, Fontana was the first person they called once they decided to take this approach so that he was aware.

Check out more information revealed about the final season:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

Theme Song: Following tradition, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” will shoot a brand-new theme song for the new season. Bloom had previewed it by singing it on a panel at Comic-Con in July. On Monday, she revealed that the 1970s/‘80s sitcom-inspired opening sequence will have one element that will change each episode. Other series that have done this include “The Simpsons” (the couch gag, Bart’s chalkboard line, and Lisa’s sax solo) and “Bob’s Burgers” (the names of the store next door and the pest control van).

Patton Oswalt: As announced at Comic-Con, the comedian’s creepy security guard character Castleman will be back, but this time he’ll sing. He’ll be in one of the many group numbers this season, and this one will include numerous guest stats. On Monday, Oswalt tweeted that he would be rehearsing the dance number the next day.

Rebecca’s Mental Health and Romance: When last we saw Rebecca, who had decided to take responsibility for her actions and reject a plea of insanity for an attempted second-degree murder charge, despite surviving a suicide attempt and being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This year, she’ll be playing catchup. The second half of the season will deal with her romantic life.

“She’s settled, and then chaos starts around her and she finds herself in a bunch of romantic comedy [situations],” said Bloom.

Brosh McKenna noted that previously, Rebecca had been a catalyst for others – Greg learning that he’s an alcoholic and Josh coming to terms with his own stuff. Now it’s Rebecca’s time.

What I Really Want to Do Is Direct: Both co-creators will be directing this season. Bloom will helm the penultimate episode, while Brosh McKenna will direct the finale.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” will return for its fourth and final season on Oct. 12 on The CW.

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: We’ve Got an Update on That Whole Broadway Musical Thing

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and series creator Aline Brosh McKenna just gave reporters an update on that whole Broadway musical adaptation thing they were apparently working on.

“‘Twas a bit premature on my part,” Bloom admitted of her February Instagram announcement, when she touted meetings in New York City for the stage version of their CW show. “It’s not not happening. It’s just, you know, Broadway’s hard.”

“We’ve talked a lot about it and we kind of took a first round of meetings to explore that universe,” McKenna added at Monday’s Television Critics Association press tour. “We’re busy figuring out this end of the TV chapter, but we are definitely intending to do a play.”

“I just wanted the ‘Likes’ on Instagram,” Bloom said. She got more than 11,000 for the effort, which our readers can see below.

Also Read: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

“Bathroom selfie with @abmck [McKenna] on this Galentines Day,” Bloom’s Instagram post read. “We’re celebrating it by doing our first round of NYC meetings for the ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Broadway musical. Coming to Broadway in probably 2150 because that’s how Broadway works I think.”

Here’s the post that accompanied that caption:

Also Read: Don’t Expect a ‘Riverdale’ Crossover With ‘Chilling Adventures of Sabrina’ on The CW

Earlier during the TCA panel, Bloom and McKenna explained the odd-but-apparently-creative choice to recast Santino Fontana’s role of Greg in favor of new star Skylar Astin.

“When Rachel and I were conceiving the show we had always sort of intended that Greg and Rebecca’s romance would end sort of where it did,” McKenna said.

But much like the show has continued to explore the character of Josh despite the end of his romance with Rebecca, McKenna and Bloom wanted to find new ways to incorporate Greg despite Fontana’s departure at the beginning of Season 2.

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” McKenna continued. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

CW Boss Mark Pedowitz Is ‘Disappointed’ With TV Academy Over No Love for ‘Crazy Ex,’ ‘Jane’

Why ‘Wayward Sisters’ Spinoff Died: ‘Supernatural’ May Be Jared and Jensen,’ Says CW Boss

Despite Latino ‘Magnum,’ CBS Reboot Has No Latinx Writers, Says Showrunner

CBS’ New ‘Magnum PI’ Is ‘Doing an Homage’ to Tom Selleck’s Mustache in Episode 2

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” star Rachel Bloom and series creator Aline Brosh McKenna just gave reporters an update on that whole Broadway musical adaptation thing they were apparently working on.

“‘Twas a bit premature on my part,” Bloom admitted of her February Instagram announcement, when she touted meetings in New York City for the stage version of their CW show. “It’s not not happening. It’s just, you know, Broadway’s hard.”

“We’ve talked a lot about it and we kind of took a first round of meetings to explore that universe,” McKenna added at Monday’s Television Critics Association press tour. “We’re busy figuring out this end of the TV chapter, but we are definitely intending to do a play.”

“I just wanted the ‘Likes’ on Instagram,” Bloom said. She got more than 11,000 for the effort, which our readers can see below.

“Bathroom selfie with @abmck [McKenna] on this Galentines Day,” Bloom’s Instagram post read. “We’re celebrating it by doing our first round of NYC meetings for the ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Broadway musical. Coming to Broadway in probably 2150 because that’s how Broadway works I think.”

Here’s the post that accompanied that caption:

Earlier during the TCA panel, Bloom and McKenna explained the odd-but-apparently-creative choice to recast Santino Fontana’s role of Greg in favor of new star Skylar Astin.

“When Rachel and I were conceiving the show we had always sort of intended that Greg and Rebecca’s romance would end sort of where it did,” McKenna said.

But much like the show has continued to explore the character of Josh despite the end of his romance with Rebecca, McKenna and Bloom wanted to find new ways to incorporate Greg despite Fontana’s departure at the beginning of Season 2.

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” McKenna continued. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Related stories from TheWrap:

CW Boss Mark Pedowitz Is 'Disappointed' With TV Academy Over No Love for 'Crazy Ex,' 'Jane'

Why 'Wayward Sisters' Spinoff Died: 'Supernatural' May Be Jared and Jensen,' Says CW Boss

Despite Latino 'Magnum,' CBS Reboot Has No Latinx Writers, Says Showrunner

CBS' New 'Magnum PI' Is 'Doing an Homage' to Tom Selleck's Mustache in Episode 2

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’: Skylar Astin to Play ‘Reimagined’ Version of Greg in Season 4

Skylar Astin will join the cast of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” in its fourth season as a “reimagined” version of Greg, showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna said Monday.

“When Rachel and I were conceiving the show we had always sort of intended that Greg and Rebecca’s romance would end sort of where it did,” McKenna told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.

But much like the show has continued to explore the character of Josh despite the end of his romance with Rebecca, McKenna and co-creator and star Rachel Bloom wanted to find new ways to incorporate Greg despite Santino Fontana’s departure at the beginning of season 2.

Also Read: Watch Rachel Bloom’s ‘Super Chill’ Reaction to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s’ Emmys Snub (Video)

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” she said. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Greg was written off the CW series in the fourth episode of the show’s second season, when the character got sober and chose to return to school. Brosh McKenna said at the time that the characters final goodbye was the natural culmination of his decision to break off his “unhealthy” relationship with Rebecca and leave West Covina.

Also Read: Rachel Bloom Says ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Will End After Season 4

Bloom said the choice to recast the character was keeping with the “experimental and playful” spirit of the show. The fact that Greg looks different will become part of his and Rebecca’s story.

“As you’ll see when the show airs, it’ll be a great statement on how our perception of people changes,” said Bloom. “Greg is sort of a barometer for how much Rebecca has changed, because she will have not seen him in 2 years. Skylar is lovely, and we’re so excited.”

“It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation, where suddenly it’s a different person,” she continued. “Rebecca’s going to call it out and be like, ‘This person’s different, what the f—?’”

Also Read: Rachel Bloom on Why ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Was Driven by Anger This Year

The decision to recast the character came due to Fontana’s schedule starring in “Tootsie” on Broadway, but Bloom said the opportunity to revive an “almost mythic figure” from the show for its final season was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“With an actor leaving unexpectedly, it suddenly left this really exciting gap of his character’s almost become like lore on the show,” she said. “Every time we mention Greg [fans are] like, ‘Oh, is he coming back?’ So we have this really unique opportunity to bring back this almost mythic figure and look at it from a different angle.”

“We reached out to Santino to let him know that we were doing that. We obviously [are] huge huge fans of him, and incredibly grateful,” McKenna said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch Rachel Bloom’s ‘Super Chill’ Reaction to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s’ Emmys Snub (Video)

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Star Rachel Bloom on Why Orgasms Are So Elusive in Hollywood (Video)

Rachel Bloom Says ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Will End After Season 4

Skylar Astin will join the cast of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” in its fourth season as a “reimagined” version of Greg, showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna said Monday.

“When Rachel and I were conceiving the show we had always sort of intended that Greg and Rebecca’s romance would end sort of where it did,” McKenna told reporters at the Television Critics Association press tour.

But much like the show has continued to explore the character of Josh despite the end of his romance with Rebecca, McKenna and co-creator and star Rachel Bloom wanted to find new ways to incorporate Greg despite Santino Fontana’s departure at the beginning of season 2.

“Rachel and I had always been exploring bringing back that character and sort of trying to figure out a way to do it that suited our show,” she said. “So now bringing the character of Greg back, he is part of our storytelling. It’s a plot point in the story that the character is reimagined and so he’s going to be played by a different actor, which is Skylar.”

Greg was written off the CW series in the fourth episode of the show’s second season, when the character got sober and chose to return to school. Brosh McKenna said at the time that the characters final goodbye was the natural culmination of his decision to break off his “unhealthy” relationship with Rebecca and leave West Covina.

Bloom said the choice to recast the character was keeping with the “experimental and playful” spirit of the show. The fact that Greg looks different will become part of his and Rebecca’s story.

“As you’ll see when the show airs, it’ll be a great statement on how our perception of people changes,” said Bloom. “Greg is sort of a barometer for how much Rebecca has changed, because she will have not seen him in 2 years. Skylar is lovely, and we’re so excited.”

“It’s not a Becky on ‘Roseanne’ situation, where suddenly it’s a different person,” she continued. “Rebecca’s going to call it out and be like, ‘This person’s different, what the f—?'”

The decision to recast the character came due to Fontana’s schedule starring in “Tootsie” on Broadway, but Bloom said the opportunity to revive an “almost mythic figure” from the show for its final season was too good of an opportunity to pass up.

“With an actor leaving unexpectedly, it suddenly left this really exciting gap of his character’s almost become like lore on the show,” she said. “Every time we mention Greg [fans are] like, ‘Oh, is he coming back?’ So we have this really unique opportunity to bring back this almost mythic figure and look at it from a different angle.”

“We reached out to Santino to let him know that we were doing that. We obviously [are] huge huge fans of him, and incredibly grateful,” McKenna said.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Watch Rachel Bloom's 'Super Chill' Reaction to 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's' Emmys Snub (Video)

'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Star Rachel Bloom on Why Orgasms Are So Elusive in Hollywood (Video)

Rachel Bloom Says 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Will End After Season 4

CW Boss Mark Pedowitz Is ‘Disappointed’ With TV Academy Over No Love for ‘Crazy Ex,’ ‘Jane’

CW chief Mark Pedowitz is “disappointed” in the Television Academy for the amount of Emmy love it has (or hasn’t, really) given “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin.”

“We know what’s going on,” Pedowitz told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We know the affection and affinity that both those shows have.”

“I’m more disappointed in some way, shape or form that Aline [Brosh McKenna, the ‘Crazy Ex’ showrunner] and Rachel [Bloom] and Jennie [Snyder Urman, the ‘Jane’ creator] and Gina [Rodriguez] and their teams and their casts never got the accolades they deserved from the Academy,” Pedowitz said of the two female-centric series. “I’m disappointed that they didn’t recognize the great work they did, the great work our superhero shows did in terms of the action and special effects. And I’m more amazed by the fact that the Academy could not recognize ‘Crazy Ex’ for any original music, given the fact that they do original music week in and week out.”

“I’m disappointed for them and my whole team that we never got that recognition, and I hate to say it, we deserved it,” he added.

When asked for his theory as to why, Pedowitz said his corporate P.R. team wouldn’t let him share. Smart.

Also Read: CW Boss Explains Why ‘Wayward Sisters’ Spinoff Died: ‘Supernatural’ May Be Jared and Jensen’

Neither show has pitched an O-fer though over their entire runs. “Crazy Ex” has been nominated for and even won a pair of Emmys before.

In 2016 and 2017, the Rachel Bloom-led series was nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. In 2016, it won for editing and choreography, and was also nominated for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

“Jane,” which stars Gina Rodriguez, was nominated for best narrator in both 2016 and 2015. Anthony Mendez didn’t win either year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

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CW Boss Explains Why ‘Wayward Sisters’ Spinoff Died: ‘Supernatural’ May Be Jared and Jensen’

Despite Latino ‘Magnum,’ CBS Reboot Has No Latinx Writers, Says Showrunner

CBS’ New ‘Magnum PI’ Is ‘Doing an Homage’ to Tom Selleck’s Mustache in Episode 2

CW chief Mark Pedowitz is “disappointed” in the Television Academy for the amount of Emmy love it has (or hasn’t, really) given “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” and “Jane the Virgin.”

“We know what’s going on,” Pedowitz told reporters Monday at the Television Critics Association press tour. “We know the affection and affinity that both those shows have.”

“I’m more disappointed in some way, shape or form that Aline [Brosh McKenna, the ‘Crazy Ex’ showrunner] and Rachel [Bloom] and Jennie [Snyder Urman, the ‘Jane’ creator] and Gina [Rodriguez] and their teams and their casts never got the accolades they deserved from the Academy,” Pedowitz said of the two female-centric series. “I’m disappointed that they didn’t recognize the great work they did, the great work our superhero shows did in terms of the action and special effects. And I’m more amazed by the fact that the Academy could not recognize ‘Crazy Ex’ for any original music, given the fact that they do original music week in and week out.”

“I’m disappointed for them and my whole team that we never got that recognition, and I hate to say it, we deserved it,” he added.

When asked for his theory as to why, Pedowitz said his corporate P.R. team wouldn’t let him share. Smart.

Neither show has pitched an O-fer though over their entire runs. “Crazy Ex” has been nominated for and even won a pair of Emmys before.

In 2016 and 2017, the Rachel Bloom-led series was nominated for Outstanding Original Music and Lyrics. In 2016, it won for editing and choreography, and was also nominated for Outstanding Original Main Title Theme Music.

“Jane,” which stars Gina Rodriguez, was nominated for best narrator in both 2016 and 2015. Anthony Mendez didn’t win either year.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Don't Expect a 'Riverdale' Crossover With 'Chilling Adventures of Sabrina' on The CW

CW Boss Explains Why 'Wayward Sisters' Spinoff Died: 'Supernatural' May Be Jared and Jensen'

Despite Latino 'Magnum,' CBS Reboot Has No Latinx Writers, Says Showrunner

CBS' New 'Magnum PI' Is 'Doing an Homage' to Tom Selleck's Mustache in Episode 2

The Worst TV Show Titles Ever – IndieWire Critics Survey

Somehow “Shasta McNasty” and “Love Monkey” didn’t get mentioned.

IWCriticsPick

Every week, IndieWire asks a select handful of TV critics two questions and publishes the results on Tuesday. (The answer to the second, “What is the best show currently on TV?” can be found at the end of this post.)

This week’s question: Which show has had the most unfortunate or just plain bad title? (Old and new upcoming shows are fair game.)

Joyce Eng (@joyceeng61), GoldDerby

Well, you already know how I feel about “Magnum P.I.” Incorrect or unnecessary punctuation is a huge pet peeve of mine, as are needlessly long titles and ones that were basically generated from Mad Libs. ABC has been the worst offender of all of these, and while I can rant about “How to Live with Your Parents (For the Rest of Your Life)”, I’ll go with “Selfie.” Because the only thing worse than being saddled with a terrible title is a good show being saddled with one and unable to overcome it.

Allison Keene (@KeeneTV), Collider

Instead of focusing on one TV show, I want to focus on a network: ABC. ABC has an unfortunate history of great comedies with terrible titles that were canceled before their time, likely because those titles turned off potential viewers: “Happy Endings,” “Trophy Wife,” “Don’t Trust the B- in Apt 23,” “Selfie,” “Cougar Town,” and maybe even “Downward Dog” (the title is clever, but most people assumed it was a yoga show). They’re all great shows! I weep for what could have been.

Read More:The 4 Worst TV Show Titles of Fall 2018 and Suggestions on How to Fix Them

Alan Sepinwall (@sepinwall), Rolling Stone

My first impulse is to say “Cougar Town,” but that show managed to run six seasons, so the title, while horrible (and utterly non-applicable starting with episode 7), wasn’t that crippling, and it also provided fodder for a running gag in the opening credits. “Trophy Wife,” on the other hand, was DOA thanks to a title that was meant to be ironic, but that scared away viewers who might have liked the very smart, warm, and utterly non-cynical show that it actually was.

"Trophy Wife"

“Trophy Wife”

ABC

Daniel Fienberg (@TheFienPrint), The Hollywood Reporter

Too many of the answers are too obvious. I already answered “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” when we did the show that seemed like the worst idea conceptually, but the title could also count given that the title of the movie was already a punchline before the movie was a bomb, so it had a silly title AND one tainted by failure. “Cougar Town” is too obvious. “Trophy Wife” is too obvious. [ABC, for what its worth, is really, really prone to bad titles and I’ll let Liz Miller “celebrate” ABC’s love of generic titles. Hi, “Deception.” Bye, “Deception.”] NBC’s upcoming “New Amsterdam” has an awful title because it was a title that was already used for a semi-recent failed show and also says nothing at all about the current show and is, in fact, probably a barrier-to-entry because it sounds both foreign and old, when the show is neither.

Every once in a while somebody on Twitter will say that they refused to watch a show because the title rubbed them the wrong way and that ticks me off, in the few instances in which the show is/was actually good, because why is it hard to just not keep saying the title of the thing you’re watching over and over. Don’t stop yourself from watching a show you want to watch because its title is bad. For my actual answer to the question, I’m going with ABC’s “Uncle Buck,” if only if it caused me to get into wars with commenters who insisted that because THEY didn’t previously know that “buck” was a popular racial slur, surely there was nothing wrong with ABC applying the name to an African-American comedy. My only feeling is that if a title provides no particular value to a show, and the “Uncle Buck” brand surely had no positive impact on “Uncle Buck,” and the word “buck” was, indeed, verifiably a racial slur… Maybe just don’t do it! What’s the harm in not being a wee bit racist when you can avoid it?

"Uncle Buck"

“Uncle Buck”

ABC

Liz Shannon Miller (@lizlet), IndieWire

I once asked Judd Apatow a few years ago how he felt about the title of the Netflix comedy “Love,” and he laughed. “You can take a word that everyone uses and make it a title — like ‘Joy.’ It’s like how I love when I see a diner and it’s just called ‘Food.'”

“Love,” “Crashing,” “Girls” — we get it Judd, you like one-word titles. And while conceptually these titles are nice in their simplicity, they make our lives as critics and editors a living hell on a logistical level, and also while they do make bold statements, there’s something to be said for finding perhaps two words that have never been combined together for a title and seeing what happens.

A shout-out here to Hulu’s “Casual,” which is a better title than “Love,” but it’d be lovely to imagine a world where there was a more exciting title for what I keep hearing is one of the best TV shows around. I like “Casual,” but the title just doesn’t stick in my brain. (Sorry.)

Damian Holbrook (@damianholbrook), TV Guide Magazine

“Sex Box.” I mean, come on. That was the perfect storm of bad TV meets bad title. The WEtv game show based on a much better British series mixed “Love Connection”-type questions with post-coital pillow talk by having couples discuss their relationship troubles AFTER presumably banging it out inside a huge cube on stage. Because nothing saves a relationship like making the beast with two backs inside a high-tech shipping crate and then chatting about intimacy with a stranger without even getting to wash up.

April Neale (@aprilmac), Monsters & Critics

For a past pick, without a doubt, it was FX’s “Terriers.” Despite the genius premise, casting, and overall writing, the show title confused the heck out of the general viewing audience. People were hoping it was a detective canine rambunctious little ratter and couldn’t get past the fact Donal Logue had two legs and not four.
For a recent and current bad title choice, I vote “Dr. Pimple Popper” simply because there’s no subtlety here, you understand there’s going to be a Gallagher-esque “don the plastic raincoats” POV despite all the heartwarming backstories of people living with ginormous poppable things on their bodies. A better title would be “Dr. Lee, Pore Whisperer,” a bit less in-your-face (heh!).

Todd VanDerWerff (@tvoti), Vox

I’m sure you expect me to talk about “Cougar Town” or “Terriers” or something like that, but no, I want to talk about my favorite title for a TV show ever, and almost certainly one of the most inexplicable titles for a TV show ever: “No Soap, Radio.” It’s based on the punchline to a joke where the punchline is that, literally, the punchline makes no sense. It’s also one of the weirdest shows I can think of, set in a hotel where a different sketch comedy series seemed to be happening in every room. But can you imagine succeeding with a title like “No Soap, Radio”? Neither could “No Soap, Radio,” as it was canceled after five episodes.

Jacob Oller (@JacobOller), Paste

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” is the brainchild of a retiree and it’s not hard to tell. If TV shows were subject to Gene Siskel’s famous question of “Is this film more interesting than a documentary of the same actors having lunch?” then “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee” would be the mind-numbingly literal, Panic! at the Disco-entitled answer. Any ridiculous title, anything that attempts branding at all, deserves more respect than a show that, whenever I have to talk about it, makes me describe it like a grandmother explaining a snippet of a program she saw in a doctor’s waiting room. It doesn’t help that the title opens the show up to even more mockery than its premise, giving detractors a perfect little Mad Libs template for jokes.

Clint Worthington (@alcohollywood), Consequence of Sound, Freelance

I remember seeing billboards for CW’s “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” absolutely everywhere in the months leading up to the show’s premiere in 2015 and thinking, “Oh boy, another hokey sitcom that dabbles in stereotypes of women being mentally unstable, needy psychopaths!” Thankfully, as creator/star Rachel Bloom remarks in the lyrics of the first season’s theme song, “the situation’s a lot more nuanced than that.” What CW’s marketing (and that unfortunate title) sold the audience was a Farrelly Brothers-level rom-com; what we got, thankfully, was one of the funniest, catchiest breaths of fresh air TV has seen in a long time. A musical romantic comedy that, yes, still dealt with a woman reacting in flighty, unhealthy ways to the possibility of reuniting with her ex, CW’s cult hit about lovesick Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) and the intersection between her love life and mental health is as honest and lovely as it is side-slappingly hilarious, with songs you’re like to hum to yourself while glancing back at those billboards and wondering what your problem was in the first place.

Rather than being a sitcom version of “Fatal Attraction,” “Crazy-Ex Girlfriend” investigates the relationships and media tropes that made us roll our eyes at the title of the show, sight unseen. It’s a shame that audiences didn’t pick up on the cleverness of the title before writing it off – otherwise, the critically acclaimed but poorly rated show might have the viewership it deserves.

Rachel Bloom, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Robert Voets/The CW

Ben Travers (@BenTTravers), IndieWire

There are plenty of bad titles attached to bad shows, and, while those deserve constructive criticism as well, the bad titles that really rile me up are the ones attached to good shows; titles that could be an impediment to viewing for a series that deserves the easiest access possible. Titles like “Cougar Town” and “Trophy Wife” are infamous already, so I’ll highlight one more error from the good folks at ABC: “Don’t Trust the B- in Apt. 23.” The rhyme simply isn’t enough to justify how alienating this title is for newcomers: Is it a mystery about an unnamed woman in Apt. 23? Is it a show about an antihero who’s isolated herself? Is it a quirky sitcom with winning performances and a soft heart? There’s no way anyone asked themselves that last question, and that’s the problem; no matter how you spin the title, what you’re left with is a bad person and an apartment number — that’s not good enough. I’m glad this show has snagged a second-life on Netflix and other streaming outlets, but I wish its initial run would’ve been given a better shot.

Q: What is the best show currently on TV?*

A: “Sharp Objects” (four votes)

Other contenders: “Pose” (two votes), “Big Brother,” “GLOW,” “The Great British Baking Show,” “Succession” (one vote each)

*In the case of streaming services that release full seasons at once, only include shows that have premiered in the last month.

‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Season 4: Patton Oswalt Returns and Rachel Bloom Demos the New Final Season Theme Song

The Comic-Con crowd in San Diego was treated to details of the upcoming season and behind-the-scenes stories.

A musical show with dancing and singing set in West Covina, Calif., may not be the most obvious fit Comic-Con, but one thing that “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” shares with the more genre-friendly shows is a rabid fan base. Therefore, star Rachel Bloom and co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna took to the dais in San Diego Thursday night to regale its fans about the show and tease details of its upcoming fourth and final season.

Cast member Michael McMillan, who plays Rebecca’s co-worker Tim, got a temporary promotion as moderator of the panel, which he called, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: The Final Curtain Call,” in honor of the last act of the series. The self-proclaimed “garden-variety white man” kicked the session off by introducing the gag reel for the most recent third season. Then Brosh McKenna did a shout out to fans in the audience who had cosplayed as characters from the show, including Broom Darryl and Rebecca as the “Love Kernels” cactus.

Read More: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Creators Reveal Their Original Season 3 Pitch and Their First Plans for the Show’s Ending

The critically acclaimed series had been planned as a four-act story from the very start, and despite some unexpected detours along the way, Brosh McKenna insisted, “The very end, the last scene, has remained the same. Generally, directionally we knew what every chapter of the four was going to be.”

Although the panel tried to keep spoilers to a minimum, a few tidbits were dropped here and there. Here’s what’s coming for Season 4:

A Bunch of Happiness

Rachel Bloom, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Rachel Bloom, “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

The CW

In the most recent season finale, Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) decided to not enter a plea of insanity for an attempted second-degree murder charge, despite surviving a suicide attempt and being diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). This was a major step for Rebecca by rejecting the “crazy” label and taking responsibility for her actions.

Bloom said, “I think her challenge is now putting together the pieces… the lessons that she’s learned and putting it into practice. How do I marry the internal and the external? The show is about inner happiness.”

Bloom also writes her first-ever episode on her own this season and found the process “nerve-wracking.”

Patton Oswalt Is Back

If you’ve been hankering for the return of a certain creepy security guard, well you’re in luck. Brosh McKenna announced, “In this season, Patton Oswalt is coming back and he’s singing a song.”

Oswalt showing off his singing chops will be a big leap for his character who was only briefly seen in a tag at the end of an episode last year. The actor and “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” superfan had tweeted out his support for the show, and thus Castleman (Oswalt) was born. In his brief but memorable appearance, the security guard Castleman had caught Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) climbing out of a grave she had just robbed (long story), and blackmailed her into going on a date with him to the aquarium. How the character returns and what the song entails remains to be seen… and heard.

Read More: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Boss on Rebecca’s Fateful Decision, the Time Jump, and the Show’s End Game

“Cell Block Tango,” Sort Of

With Rebecca landing in jail at the end of last season, a song set behind bars has to happen, right?

“Oh, you have no idea. A lot of people have requested ‘Cell Block Tango,'” she said, referring to the song that takes place in prison in “Chicago.” “This is the one time we kind of took [the request] into accont. This is relevant in a way that we are excited for you to see.”

New Theme Song: Meet Rebecca

Each season of the show had introduced a new theme song that reflected something about a current point in Rebecca’s life. Bloom walked the Comic-Con audience through her concept for the new theme song by half singing, half talking through the action. Take a  look:

“It’s super anticlimactic when you go through the stage direction,” she noted.

Long Live “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

Although this is the final season, Brosh McKenna reminded fans that it would be a meaty one. With only 42 episodes under their belt, the final 18 episodes of Season 4 will constitute one-third of the total episodes when the series is finally done. That’s a significant chunk of storytelling left for Rebecca Bunch.

That said, Rebecca’s world won’t end completely once “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” makes its final curtain call on The CW. Brosh McKenna said they would consider a play version of the show, and Bloom noted that the current live show will continue to tour, and some songs may continue the journey of the characters.

“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” will return for its fourth and final season on Oct. 12 on The CW.