The CW's new musical dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has me stumped.
I don't know what to make of the series that stars Robot Chicken writer and voice actor Rachel Bloom as a love-sick lawyer so hung up on her first boyfriend, a guy she dated for only two months as a teenager, that she turns her life upside down a decade later to be near him.
Cocreated and cowritten by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna, who wrote last year's big-screen adaptation of Quvenzhané Wallis' Annie, the hour-long show premieres at 8 p.m. Monday.
Initially written as a half-hour sitcom for Showtime, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has the sort of kooky, off-kilter, off-the-wall energy of such true TV originals as Pushing Daisies and Eli Stone. The musical productions are wonderfully surreal, if slightly grotesque. But the songs themselves are merely adequate. And judging from the pilot alone - the only episode the CW made available - the characterizations are shallow and the humor far too broad.
Bloom is impressive as the title character, Rebecca Bunch, a Harvard- and Yale-educated real estate lawyer in Manhattan who turns down a huge promotion after she runs into Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) for the first time since she fell in love with him at summer camp when she was 16.
Camp didn't turn out so well: Rebecca, an awkward, self-conscious would-be theater actor, professes her love to Josh on their last day. He just looks bored and a tad annoyed and blows her off.
Rebecca hasn't been happy since that dreaded day. She's clearly in psychiatric care - as all the pill bottles attest - and although she excels at her high-powered law firm, she feels no love for the work.
One day she happens upon Josh outside her office. It seems the hand of God is at work. But, alas, Josh tells Rebecca he's moving back to his hometown of West Covina, Calif., 19 miles east of Los Angeles, which he describes as a cross between Eden and Club Med.
So Rebecca does what any high-strung, desperate, lonely, self-loathing depressive would do in the same situation: quit her job on the spot and relocate to West Covina. Sadly - and here I apologize to the town and its inhabitants - the place comes across as an awful, run-down urban dump filled with ugly impersonal architecture and lots of sex shops.
Rebecca befriends one of Josh's bffs, bartender Greg (Santino Fontana), to get closer to her lost love, only to find out Josh moved back home to be with his (absurdly hot, smart, amazing, sweet) girlfriend, Valencia (Gabrielle Ruiz).
What's a (crazy, obsessed, depressive, self-loathing, high-strung) gal to do?
I guess that's what we're supposed to find out over the course of the season.
Trouble is, Bloom is so good at portraying Rebecca's somewhat alarming character flaws, I'm not so sure I want to find out. She's just a little too scary for me.
Premieres at 8 p.m. Monday on the CW.