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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend S1: I can't remember the last time I fell in love with a show as quickly as CEG, if I ever have. I can see why Crazy Ex-Girlfriend isn't a popular show: it's part musical, black comedy, and romantic comedy--three genres that are pretty niche but that I happen to love and think the show blends together pretty well. I initially enjoyed the show so much that when I was watching it at the library, my mom asked, " What are you watching? You haven't stopped smiling." and I feel bad for the people in the library who probably thought I was watching porn.

I enjoy lots of things about CEG but I'd say one of the most noteworthy aspects is that for being primarily a show about terribly flawed people generally acting terrible the show seems to be so much about championing healing and character growth. Rebecca and the other characters' change and development may be slow but it's there. I saw a recent article about TVs female antiheroes with one of the cited issues being that these women usually have unhappy endings and end up being punished, and while Crazy Ex-Girlfriend definitely falls into many of the traps described in that article I honestly believe Rebecca will have a happy ending. Not a stereotypical happy ending, but one that ends up with Rebecca in a better place than she was at the beginning of the show and at peace with herself.

Just typing that out for posterity so that when the show ends we can see if I end up being right or wrong.

Another aspect of the show I appreciate is how interesting the relationships are. Maybe not good or healthy but interesting which is true even of the main love triangle. Rebecca/Josh and Rebecca/Greg are both terrible relationships--with the show even making it clear that Rebecca's better off putting energy into her friendships and hobbies and not romance--they're both interesting. Josh is a great character (I like him a lot) and while Greg isn't nearly as good a character he still gets some great songs and is really riding the same wavelength as Rebecca. He's the character who knows Rebecca best after Paula--he knows how terrible she is and the two of them have quite a few songs together (important!). I know Greg/Rebecca isn't endgame but. Like Greg's UTI song is disgusting and Rebecca thinks it's funny because she's absolutely disgusting, too.

The only major issues I have with the show it that there's some stuff that's pretty racist--especially a few musical numbers--and that the back half of the season takes a huge hit in quality in terms of writing but I still found enough to enjoy.

Another noteworthy show I watched recently on Netflix is A Series of Unfortunate Events. I really enjoyed what I read of the books as a kid but lost interest in finishing the series because I found the VFD stuff confusing, saw a lot of the criticisms about the last few books, and just because. I wasn't planning to watch the show but somehow did anyway. I don't like the adaption overall but it does some really good, smart things, especially in terms of structure.

A Series of Unfortunate Events's biggest mistake, though, is splitting up each book into 2 episodes. An episode per book would've been pretty much perfect for a 13 episode Netflix season. But each book doesn't have enough substance for 2 hours and it shows (even the movie adapted the first three books). On its own, an episode per book would still be too long but with the added simultaneous VFD plotlines I think it would've been fine. I kinda loved the fake out with the parents, though. They want us to think that the Mother and Father fighting their way back to their children are the Baudelaires when it's the Quagmires. Having these storylines going on in the background really provides context, showing how the Baudelaires are only small parts of a much larger story. I also like how they include Lemony Snicket as a character and his narration.

If there's one thing I can say is that it me appreciate The Miserable Mill and made me interested in checking out the books again. I read and reread the first 3 but really need to reread the later books and finally read The End.

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Andy

March 2017

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