Welcome to “TV Take,” Variety’s television podcast. In this week’s episode, Variety senior features editor, TV Danielle Turchiano talks with Aline Brosh McKenna, executive producer of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,” which ends its four-season run on April 5.
With the finale looming, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is left to choose between three guys: one jerk, one “friend-zoned” guy, and one “dreamy high school quarterback.” McKenna says that in setting up such a clichéd final trope of a woman “choosing between romantic suitors,” the show was able to unpack it.
“It gave us a chance to get inside all of those tropes as we were engaging with this idea of a romantic choice being a culminative event in a woman’s life,” McKenna says. “What does that actually mean and what do they represent for her and what choice is actually in front of her?”
One of the trickiest parts of ending the show, she says, was making sure Rebecca’s character was given enough time to find closure among all the other storylines that had to be resolved.
“We consciously started and landed everybody’s journeys in slightly different places so that it wouldn’t feel overly convenient, that everybody’s landing their roundoff back handsprings on the same day,” she says.
Originally, the show’s fourth and final season was going to comprise of only 13 episodes, but when The CW ended up giving them 18, McKenna says that opened up the possibility of taking their time and being “a little more more ruminative.”
For instance, one episode of Season 4 was entirely dedicated to a road trip where everyone sings a Beach Boys song, while in another, Rebecca’s vaginal infections come to life as singing cats.
“That’s gonna sound so weird for people who have never seen the show,” McKenna jokes.
McKenna discusses filming the final episode of the show, which she directed, and figuring out whether to finish on a bombastic note, as in previous seasons, or whether to make it more “intimate.”
“If you’ve watched the show, Season 1 had a big wedding, Season 2 also had a big wedding…and Season 3 had a big fight stunt on the roof,” McKenna says. “But for this I knew the finale was going to be a more internal…it’s Rebeca’s personal journey, it’s a first-person show, so there’s a lot of internal exploration…we really go inside Rebecca’s brain.”
McKenna reveals that they also made a documentary, which is streaming on CW Seed, to give the audience a “detailed look” at their final 14 days on set.
“We wanted to show the day-to-day that goes into making something like this and the hundreds of people whose hard work and love and attention comes together to make something, and how Rachel and I collaborate, and what a female-led environment looks like,” McKenna says.
Later in the show, critics Daniel D’Addario and Caroline Framke preview BBC America’s “Killing Eve” Season 2 and FX’s “Fosse/Verdon.”