The ex-girlfriend isn't crazy, she's depressed and lonely


Rachel Bloom, Golden Globe-winning co-creator, star and executive producer of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend - a musical romantic comedy TV show with two Emmys - was a lonely child. She struggled with making friends, being bullied, depression and anxiety.

"I don't see children as innocent, because I was bullied by them so much," she says, her voice hard. "I think that children are just little adults. I associate childhood more with cruelty and pain than innocence and happiness."

Ahead of her critically acclaimed show's second series hitting screens on Sunday, the Californian 29-year-old YouTube star-turned-TV sensation says that being forced to the margins made Jewishness attractive.

"As someone who felt left out of a lot of tribes as a kid, I clung to the things I could say I was part of - and that was Judaism.

"My grandparents, who I spent a lot of time with, were not religious at all, but they always talked about being Jewish.

I wasn't batmitzvahed, but I know every single celebrity who's ever said anything antisemitic," she says, laughing.

"I've never felt that the religion was shoved down my throat, so I've always felt very happy and warm to be part of this group of people which prides itself on being an other, and lives in that feeling of otherness."

Bloom's Jewish character in the show, Rebecca Bunch, is a New Yorker who has followed her pushy mother's path all her life, only to suffer a mental breakdown when offered a promotion at a high-flying law firm.

A chance meeting in the street with ex-boyfriend Josh Chan, prompts her sudden move across the country to California, where Josh lives.

Bloom is quick to clarify that the show's title was tongue-in-cheek. "The term 'crazy,' especially when you're a woman, is very loaded. It's meant to be deconstructed and exploded. The whole show is a deconstruction of a cheesy romantic comedy.

"Everyone starts off as a stereotype, and we enjoy exploring the nuances, the grey areas in each person.

"If you're going to have a show about a girl who drops everything and moves across the country, the cheesy way to do it is: 'She's bored and sad'.

"The reality is that, if somebody did this, they would be very depressed - they would at least have depression. And looking at the depression and anxiety issues of myself, my friends and people in my family, it just felt like it was the only way to do this show.

"We explore the realism of a girl who is in crisis, not in a cutesy way, but legitimately depressed and unhappy, and who does not understand how to pursue her own happiness."

Rebecca is relentlessly critical and yet deluded, telling herself she is not in love with Josh but treating their every interaction as a make-or-break situation.

"Josh is a Southern California Asian bro who comes from a large, loving family. This is exactly what Rebecca craves.

"Women are sold a bill of goods that love will solve everything," Bloom explains, "but then we're also told to have a career. There are so many conflicting messages thrown at women; it's hard to navigate them all. That was a central focus, even when we pitched the show - the essential confusion of being a woman.

"People come up to me all the time to thank me for putting mental health on TV. It's great - it's been really wonderful.

"It just shows that relatability is not in these vague 'people being good at their jobs' thing that mainstream TV still tries to shove down our throats; it's in specificity.

"The more specific you are, the more you'll relate to people - and I'm really proud of that."

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