'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend': Rachel Bloom Breaks Down the 'True Meaning' of the Series Finale (Exclusive)
By Emily Krauser
Greg Gayne/The CW
Warning: Spoiler alert! Do not proceed if you have not watched Friday's series finale of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.
After all that time wondering who Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) will end up with on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, fans have an answer!
“Eleven O’Clock," which is, yes, Rebecca's take on an 11 o'clock number in a musical, brought us on our last journey with her, guiding us through the earworms that we both can't get out of our head and guided her arc over Crazy Ex-Girlfriend's four-year run. The only song in Friday's series finale, which in reality is made up of lines from a host of previous-sung tunes, it's a major moment for Rebecca. She's figuring out how to choose herself after trying on dozens of characters over the years, and she's lettingPaula Proctor (Donna Lynne Champlin) in on her secret -- that for all these years, when she starts staring off into the distance, she's been writing musicals in her head in order to figure out the biggest issues in her life. And it's almost always helped her move forward.
So when we see Rebecca going up at an open mic on Valentine's Day, one year after her three fateful dates with Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), Greg Serrano (Skylar Astin) or Nathaniel Plimpton III (Scott Michael Foster), fans are getting a bittersweet moment to say goodbye to the show, while Rebecca is taking a real chance and pursuing her dream, even if she can't sing yet to save her life. We also find out that she doesn't pick any of them, but don't worry, everyone's doing just fine.
Josh has matured and found a woman who loves him for exactly who he is, Greg is running his Italian restaurant in West Covina, and Nathaniel has quit the law firm and is reunited with his monkeys. We may not get to hear Rebecca sing her first song or find love with one of the guys we've all learned to love, but we do see her finally learning how to be happy.
Relieved that she could finally talk about the series' ending, Bloom told ET why this notion was so important.
"When we pitched the show, it always ended with her at a sh**ty open mic saying, 'This is a song I wrote.' Originally when we pitched the show, it wasn't this arc of her becoming a songwriter, it was almost like a twist. We made sure to add a line where it's not about the act of songwriting," she explained. "The point of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was not about everyone needs to be a writer. The point of it is, who are you inside and how do you externalize that? This was a person who, for many years, was trying on identities like they were outfits and was relying on outside narratives to tell her what she should be. For everyone on this show, their journey is really marrying their inside and their outside, which is the true meaning of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend."
"There was a world in which, and we never really considered this, if she were further along [in her journey], she could've been with someone or she did pick someone in that year, and it's just a nothing thing," the actress-producer adds of Rebecca's possible alternate future. "The point was always her finding herself inside. Yes, she had to do it alone, because she's still 15-year-olds at camp. It's only when she starts at that open mic that she kind of becomes an adult."
Don't take that to mean that you wasted your time shipping the flawed yet delightful protagonist with Josh, Greg or Nathaniel. During Rebecca's jaunt into the future with her Dream Ghost, we got to see what her life would look like if she ended up with any one of them, and if you looked closely during that mega open mic scene, you'd notice that her romantic future was left wide open. In the world of fictional West Covina, Greg and Nathaniel are both still single, and a few years from now, she could end up with either of them -- or any of the other men in the room.
The fact that we see Rebecca giving Greg the most thorough explanation is not supposed to be a hint that down the line she'll end up with him, however. According to showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna, any of the three guys would've been a good choice.
"It felt like all the guys had something wonderful to offer her and were parts of her..." McKenna told reporters earlier this week. "[Rebecca] spends the most time explaining to Greg what happened, and that's because the date at the end of their episode was probably the most groundedly connected, and so she felt like she owed him a little bit more of an explanation. And he's the one who's the most distressed, really. Nathaniel kind of knows it's coming and that the barn and the ring is not exactly what she wants, so that's why Greg gets a little bit more of an explanation than the other folks. Presumably, she also told Josh and Nathaniel the same thing, but we only see her telling Greg. [But] she wasn't leaving any of them for the other ones."
So will she end up with Josh, Greg or Nathaniel one day? That's not important to Rebecca's true journey.
"There's a world where two years from now she bumps into Nathaniel or who knows what happens to Josh and London. It's sort of not the point," McKenna reiterated. "Because the point that we were making is when someone says, 'Who are you?,' you don't say 'I’m Mike's wife,' 'I'm Tim's girlfriend,' 'I'm Lisa's girlfriend.' You say, 'I'm me and I do this, and this is what I believe and I like tacos and I'm in a book club and these are my best friends and I have a spouse.' I think the idea that it's a destiny and there's a happy ending and there's a kiss and then you're all set is not a good message actually for women or men."
Essentially, Bloom and McKenna really, really don't want you to take romantic love as the end all be all. Listen to Greg of yesteryear and "don't settle for me" -- or anyone.
To that end, this is what Bloom told ET she hopes Crazy Ex's legacy will be: "Not to view romantic love as something ethereal and out of one's control. I think that's the most interesting thing of what we're saying -- there are stories where no matter how cynical the story is, there's always like, 'But then there's love!' And it's like, no, that's a lie, that's bullsh**t. People get into trouble with putting romantic love on a pedestal above everything else. It's rooted in our lizard brain to want to reproduce. It's not this heavenly, ethereal thing, even though it feels good and we are social animals and having a partner is great. But the way that it's, 'Well, if you're in love, nothing else matters,' that's really dangerous."
In fact, the thesis was stated outright in some of the final moments of the series: "But whoever it's with, it won't be ending up with someone because romantic love is not an ending, not for me or for anyone else here. It's just a part of your story. A part of who you are."
'Til our next trip to West Covina, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.