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Remote Controlled: ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Boss Aline Brosh McKenna on Unpacking the ‘Crazy’ in Season 3

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety‘s executive editor of TV, Debra Birnbaum, talks with co-creator and executive producer of “Crazy Ex-GirlfriendAline Brosh McKenna.

McKenna, who also penned the scripts for “The Devil Wears Prada” and “27 Dresses,” teases that “we have a lot of fun stuff to deal with next year” as the show heads into its fourth season.

Considering the fact that series star Rebecca Bunch, who is played by co-creator Rachel Bloom, may be facing jail time when the show returns, McKenna notes that “this theme of dealing with all of the ramifications of her behavior since the beginning of the series is really coming to a head here [in the Season 3 finale], and I think sets up a nice question for next season which is: What does that look like for her to take responsibility?”

McKenna also recognizes the strength of Bloom as a performer in making Bunch so lovable that the audience forgives her for everything. “I remember in the first season we had a line where she passes a homeless person who asks for money,” she said. “And she says: ‘Oh, I’m sorry. I only have twenties. I got them from working.’ And I thought no one would ever be able to pull off that line. Then I thought: ‘No, it’s Rachel. She can pull anything off.'”

The love story of “Crazy Ex” also has not been with the many romantic interests Rebecca has pursued on the show, from Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III) to Greg Serrano (Santino Fontana) to Nathaniel Plimpton III (Scott Michael Foster). “In our show, her relationship with Paula has always been the main love story,” McKenna said. “The last moment of the pilot is when they find each other and hold hands. It’s a wedding of sorts. They kind of pledge themselves to each other.”

McKenna proposed that in addition to Rebecca owning up to the ramifications of her actions next season, Paula (Donna Lynne Champlin) will “also have to figure out how to sand off some of the edges of some of the morally dodgy things that she does.”

As the show was famously picked up by Showtime but ended up moving over to the CW prior to airing, McKenna further praises the home they ended up finding at the network. “Rachel just has a little ball of sunshine inside her soul,” McKenna said. “Her Tony Soprano light is much brighter. And so I think in some ways it works better on the CW because Showtime always wanted the show to be a little darker. And Rachel really, even when she embraces the darkest things, the meanest things, and the saddest things there is just a joy that leaks out of her that gives the whole thing some air under it.”

While McKenna and Bloom do “always start planning things way far in advance” and are looking ahead to next season at the moment, McKenna is proud that Season 3 unpacked the “crazy” part of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.”

“What was great about Season 3 is it felt like the meat of the matter in a way,” McKenna said. “She’s really grappling with the mental illness portion of [the title]. Because obviously, crazy is not a medically meaningful term. But she’s actually dealing with the ‘crazy’ part of it and it’s a very heightened season.”

Listen to this week’s episode here:

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday, and you can find past episodes here.

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