I’m so glad this weird and wonderful show is a part of my life. If you’re not watching it, you should be – if you’re not hooked, or at least intrigued, by the title, then see how you feel after the final refrain of ‘West Covina, California!’ The bold, bizarre brainchild of Aline Brosh McKenna and Rachel Bloom (who also stars), Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (hereafter CEXG) revolves around Rebecca Bunch, a successful lawyer who quits her job and uproots her successful but somewhat hollow life to follow her childhood sweetheart Josh Chan (aka the one that got away) to his hometown of West Covina – not that she would ever admit to it.
As season 1’s theme song declared, ‘the situation’s a lot more nuanced than that’, and we watch (sometimes between our fingers) as Rebecca makes new friends, enemies and bad choices; rinse and repeat. However, despite this the characters go on brilliantly complex journeys of personal growth and development, though not in a linear fashion. Their evolution involves as many steps back as leaps forward, just like in real life, and though they can be frustrating they are also deeply relatable and recognisable. Soon, the town of West Covina – once a smokescreen for Rebecca’s delusions, now an unlikely haven, and a home for her and her newfound friends, becomes home for us too.
This is by no means an exhaustive list – there are many wonderful numbers I had to leave out, like Devil Winds, Head in the Clouds and a recent ABBA-inflected ode to first love that is both worryingly catchy AND too explicit to sing in public (or recount here). The top 20 songs listed here are my own personal favourites, but even the ones that didn’t make it on this list are all brilliant in their own way, contributing to the narrative, the character development, or the meta commentary on the human experience in their own unique, unusual way. One of the most amazing things about this show is that different aspects appeal to different people, and that nobody’s favourites list will be the same because of that. Brimming with incredible actors and phenomenal writers, the show is at times relatable, sad, crude, cringe-inducing, heart-warming, funny and profound, and I genuinely cannot think of any other series like it. So without further ado, here are my personal favourites; I’d love to hear yours in the comments below!