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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/paq3y8/crazy-ex-girlfriend-another-shot
I’m usually someone who commits to my instincts when it comes to media. I rarely write things off, but usually can tell from an early engagement if I’m gonna be sick to my stomach or enthralled by something.
With that said, my definite example of this is Europa Universalis IV. A game I had a pretty unpleasant and frustrating first engagement with definitely had a curve to it that meant that, after a point, most play began to feel straightforward and easy. Once you internalise the strategic verb set that you need for that game, the rest is gravy — and it was a delightful ride.
Yaaaasss, Danielle is aboard the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend train (there’s dozens of us)! I’ve gravitated away from passive screen time in the past couple of years, but my wife and I maintain our weekly West Covina visits as appointment viewing. Watch this show people! It’s so freaking good!
Also, Eric Michael Roy (aka the personified Santa Ana Winds) is the most perfect human and I will not back down from this statement.
It’s hard to distill the essence of what early to mid 2000’s CW was like, but it was awful. Not even enjoyable train wreck awful, but some bizarre concoction of hyper earnestness and dry cynicism about teens written by a bunch of 40 year olds. It was almost impossible to tell when the show ended and when the Hollister ad began because every episode was a terrible mix tape of pop songs with callouts so you could download them then and there.
My then girlfriend now wife had a love/hate relationship with these shows, and when she got in to Veronica Mars, I just assumed it was more of the same. The concept of snarky teen detective was cringe worthy too. She made me watch it with her, and I slowly fell in love with it.
It still has issues for sure. It too has the dreaded problem of modern teens dropping references that only aging hipsters understand. But the mystery and the characters are just so good and it has one of the best father/daughter dynamics as well.
I really like Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, but I still feel weird about it basically being a comedy about a stalker. That being said, I have only watched the first two seasons so far so maybe I’m missing some important pieces.
I would say the first season of Buffy is probably the first example that springs to mind. It was extremely bad but when I eventually powered through it, it definitely worth it. If not for that experience, there would probably be a lot of shows I would have given up on (Farscape probably being the most relevant example since this is a Danielle thead).
The most recent season (3rd) really digs into that aspect of Rebecca’s personality. The show takes a serious turn but without losing its heart and humor, and I think it’s even better as a result. Definitely check it out!
In a world where my wife and I find few non-genre television shows we both enjoy watching, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is kind of unicorn. We both love it, and we both love talking about it.
It helps that it’s funny with a great cast and great songs, but I think the real beating heart of the show is treating Rebecca (and all the principles, really) interior life seriously. We see much of her own life from her own perspective so the weight of her actions aren’t always obvious, but it doesn’t just play off her neuroses or stalking for laughs. I mean, her antics are funny and Rebecca is herself a funny person but it doesn’t end there and the show seems dedicated to exploring the way all these interior realities bounce off and interact with each other. Maybe that’s really obvious, but I don’t think it’s something that many comedies are interested in.
I haven’t watched the third season yet but I can’t wait for it to come to Netflix.
I really wanted to like Veronica Mars, which is a favorite of my wife’s, but man does that show have glaring flaws. Primary among them is the absolutely backwards relegating of POC characters to do-nothing roles (like Wallace), or boring and borderline offensive stereotypes (like Weevil). I also could not at all relate to the city of Neptune, in which the scions of America’s richest families go to the same high school as gangbangers who have no upward mobility. And don’t get me started on how often you have to stare at Logan’s stupid, pampered face.
Now don’t get me wrong, the show has several bright spots, the brightest of which is Kristen Bell’s performance as Veronica. Basically her detective schtick, and the characters that interact with her in that capacity, makes that show far better than it has any right to be. Plus, Rob Thomas went on to make Party Down, so I can’t complain too much.
Sorry to rant at you like this. VMars is an infuriating show that I had to sit through 3 seasons and a movie, so I’m just a bit salty.
I’ll be honest, it can be really difficult for me as a straight white guy to pick up on some of those issues. I personally wouldn’t see Wallace as a do nothing role, but that’s probably got far more to do with my own personal perspective and experience than anything else.
It’s also very hard for me to go back to certain nostalgia pieces and look at them with a more critical lens. Watching Veronica Mars now is far less about the stories and the characters as much as it is bringing myself back to a specific place and time. Layer on to that it being a very specific place and time where I’m falling madly in love, and you can imagine why it’s kind of hard to cut through that to find the flaws.
Yes, certain things are inherently absurd. The rich elite going to public high school with a motorcycle gang, the fact that the richest kid in town with internet millions is driving a Nissan XTerra to school, the fact that loving father Keith Mars is seemingly alright with Veronica inserting herself into awful situations, the comical incompetence of virtually every adult in authority, all of it. To me it kind of inhabited a sort of comic book reality, we all agree that there isn’t any outright magic at play here, but the rules of plausibility are more like general suggestions.
I think Veronica Mars just hit at the right time and place and had the right mixture of things for someone like me to really click with it. That doesn’t forgive its issues, and I can absolutely understand why others would look at it and scoff for a multitude of reasons.