Aline Brosh McKenna Q&A: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ co-creator
“She’s like a pebble in the pond,” explains writer/producer Aline Brosh McKenna as we chat via webcam (watch above) about the title character in her hit CW comedy “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” McKenna serves as co-creator and showrunner alongside star Rachel Bloom who plays Rebecca Bunch, a lawyer in New York City who abandons all to chase after her first-love Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III).
But McKenna believes there’s much more to the show than that. “It is about her quest for meaning and joy and happiness in the world. This is about her breaking out of other people’s pre-conceived ideas of what she should and shouldn’t be doing.” As she says with a smile, “we’ve likened it to ‘Breaking Bad.’ Walter White is chasing this meth business and Josh Chan is our meth, and like the meth that pulls Walter White down the rabbit hole, Josh Chan is the rabbit she’s chasing down the rabbit hole.”
“As her quest for happiness touches all of these other people’s quests for happiness and they start to question the assumptions they’ve had about themselves their whole lives. In season two what we’re starting to explore is what happens when these people discover this about themselves and now armed with that information they have to try and go into the world and live differently. “
For the writer/producer, the greatest challenge week after week has been “making the show tonally consistent” by striking that perfect balance between the comedy on one hand and the emotional elements on the other. “It is grounded emotionally in some sense, as it deals with some dark issues and it is very much a person’s coming of age,” she reveals. “The comedic stuff is often a contrast to the more emotional stuff we’re doing. But at the end of the day it is a comedy and things have to pull their weight comedically to make it into the show.”
Those comedic elements are often the buzzed-about musical numbers that are a prominent feature in every single episode. “The writing of the show leads the writing of the songs. We really work on the episodes and the stories and characters and then we hone in on the songs that we think best amplify then moments in the show.”
“We knew we were going to do two songs per episode. It ended up being actually 49 pieces of music, because we did two songs per episode but we also did a bunch of little additional musical things like “Josh’s Karate Dance” and “Joshua Felix Chan.””