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5 Shows like Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Musical Comedies

Roxanne_Sancto_itcher_contributorShows like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ are hard to define. It’s like a bit of Disney, a musical, an over-the-top MTV music video, and a sitcom all wrapped up in one. If you’re looking for more imaginative TV shows that mix music, comedy and heaps of creativity, try ‘Ally McBeal’ and ‘Mozart in the Jungle’. ~ Roxanne Sancto

Turns out, my real life is garbage but my fake life is AH-MAZING…

Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is a successful, driven and loving single woman, working herself up in a prestigious New York law firm. But she’s not happy. In fact, she’s absolutely miserable. She hardly sleeps and feels down in the dumps until one day, she randomly runs into her high school sweet heart, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III).

When Josh tells Rebecca about his life in West Covina, California, she spontaneously decides to move there. Not because Josh lives there, of course. I mean, that would just be weird. That would totally make her the crazy ex-girlfriend, right?

If you like goofy, romantic comedy series like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ in all its musical glory, you might enjoy a little sing and dance to the shows mentioned below!


Shows Similar to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’…

‘Ally McBeal’ (Fox, 1997-2002)

Ally McBeal was lucky. Or so she thought. She met the love of her life, “the boy next door”, Billy (Gil Bellows), when she was just a little girl. She was convinced their love would last forever, but it barely made it to high school. But Ally wasn’t going to give up that easily. Instead, she followed him to law school.

When Ally joins the Cage and Fish law firm, she is delighted to find Billy working there. That is, until he introduces her to his beautiful wife, Georgia (Courtney Thorne-Smith). Suddenly, the Cage and Fish offices become home to bitch-fights, bad singing, mid-life’s crises and self-pity.

TV series like ‘Ally McBeal’ are comically off-beat and unique in that they incorporate running-gags and a lot of memorable musical moments such as John Cage’s (Peter MacNicol) channelling Barry White whenever he wants to “get it on”, Vonda Sheppard’s nightly performances, and Ally’s many theme-songs.

Similarity Match: 85%
Both Ally and Rebecca follow their former high-school sweethearts, in the hopes of rekindling their romance. But Rebecca is naïve and positive, whereas Ally is whiney and sad.

‘Flight of the Conchords’ (HBO, 2007-2009)

Bret and Jermaine are two former shepherd boys from New Zealand who have moved to America, hoping to find their big break as a folk duo. They’re not exactly cool and they don’t seem to be overly enthusiastic personalities. Until they break into song that is – that’s when Bret and Jermaine truly shine.

The fact that they’re not as suave as you’d imagine most musicians to be, makes for fun lyrical content – whether they’re trying to prove their street-cred with ‘Hiphopapotamus vs. Rhymenoceros’, or trying to save face with ‘Not Crying’.

They may not have impressed many labels – or women for that matter – but luckily, they can always count on their number one stalker/fan, Mel (Kristen Schaal) to have their back.

Similarity Match: 80%
Jermaine, Bret and Rebecca all have the tendency to express their thoughts and feelings through songs. ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ has more of a shiny, sitcom feel than ‘Flight of the Conchords’.

‘Smash’ (NBC, 2012-2013)

Broadway writing team Julia (Debra Messing) and Tom (Christian Borle) are working on an exciting new project: the new musical ‘Bombshell’, which is based on the life of Marilyn Monroe. And they’ve found the perfect girl for the part: Ivy Lynn (Megan Hilty). Or so they thought.

As Julia and Tom, director Derek (Jack Davenport) and producer Eileen (Anjelica Houston) try to get the ball rolling in getting Bombshell off the ground, their personal lives and the drama between the stars prove to make the process rather difficult.

According to USA Today’s Robert Bianco: “Unless you’re allergic to musicals in general and Broadway in particular, you should find that a compelling central story, a strong cast, an out-of-the-procedural-mold premise and some rousing, roof-raising numbers more than compensate for any lingering problems.”

Similarity Match: 65%
Series like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ merely use musical elements for comic effect, whereas ‘Smash’ entirely revolves around a musical. Both shows incorporate several relationship dramas.

‘Mozart in the Jungle’ (Amazon Studios, 2014- )

Loosely based on Blair Tindall’s ‘Mozart in the Jungle: Sex, Drugs, and Classical Music’, this show brings classical music into the modern age, with a little help from Rodrigo de Souza (Gael García Bernal).

When the bratty, oversexed but highly talented Rodrigo is appointed the new maestro of the New York symphony, he is welcomed with mixed reviews. Chair of the board of directors, Gloria (Bernadette Peters) is excited by the opportunity to create something fresh, whereas former maestro Pembridge (Malcom McDowell) is appalled by Souza’s approach and overall vision.

‘Mozart in the Jungle’ follows the lives of professional musicians trying to break through the concrete jungles of New York with a new, inspired take on classical music. They may be professionals, but that doesn’t mean they won’t allow their love lives to get in the way at times.

Similarity Match: 50%
Although ‘Mozart and the Jungle’ does follow several messy (non)relationships, it is not the central focus of the show. But in both shows music plays an important role.


If You Like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’, You Will Like…

Series similar to ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ stand out in that they have a fresh, creative approach to comedy in general. The musical moments are often portrayed in settings reminiscent of MTV music videos or even Fred and Ginger style dance routines, which bring a new sense of energy and visual attractiveness to these shows.

If you’re looking for British humour in a musical setting, try ‘Blackpool’.

‘Blackpool’ (BBC, 2004)

Ripley (David Morrissey) is a man with a plan. He wants to turn his Blackpool arcade into a lavish, Las Vegas-style casino, complete with musical entertainment, beautiful hostesses and the whole shebang.

But unfortunately for him, his plans are put on hold when a young man is found murdered in his arcade. When DI Peter Carlisle (David Tennant) is brought in to investigate, he goes head to head with Ripley: not just in terms of trying to prove he is the murderer, but also in an attempt to win over Ripley’s wife…

Just like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’, ‘Blackpool’ features songs as narratives or slapstick moments. But on ‘Blackpool’ it’s not just love at play – murderous games are being played too.


Sing a Little Song, Do a Little Dance

Sometimes, crappier life situations are a lot easier to handle when you put a positive spin on them. It may sound ridiculous to you right now, but just stop and rewind: remember Rebecca’s “I have Friends” song? Ok, so… Need I say more?

If you know of more TV shows like ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ that invite you to sing a little song and do a little dance in your living room, let us know!

My name is Roxanne Sancto and I’ll be writing all things music, book and movie related for itcher mag. I also write for New Heroes & Pioneers’ upcoming Festival and Culture magazines, to be launched in the spring of 2014. I am the co-author of The Pink Boots and am currently working on two new novels. I love music, literature, cinema, crafting, yoga and animals.
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