For the uninitiated, the CW show centers on Rebecca Bunch (Bloom) who, frustrated with her life as a single, high-powered lawyer in New York City, decides on a whim to move to West Covina, Calif., to try and get back together with her summer camp ex-boyfriend Josh, whom she recently ran into on the street. Cut to her starting at a new, low-budget law firm in California while attempting to ingratiate herself with her ex and his crew in an attempt to win him back.
Golden Globes 2016: See the Full Winners List
The plot is intriguing, but the show really thrives on its original musical numbers -- usually three an episode -- that let viewers peek inside characters’ head and the wild fantasy land that comes along with that. Bloom was creating viral tunes on YouTube prior to the show, and it’s obvious she knows her way around a good pop number. The songs are typically some kind of parody of a particular genre (rap wars, sexy mood music, “inspirational” girl groups), but the trick -- also smartly deployed by Amy Schumer on Inside Amy Schumer -- is that they’re also really, really catchy. A digital soundtrack dropped last week with nearly two dozen highlights from the series so far, and I non-ironically listen to it every day.
Take "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," an early standout. Much like many of the best numbers from the show, it expertly skewers society's rules and expectations for women and wrings tons of laughs from the "funny because it's true" premise. There's even a rap break in the middle, along with some pointed commentary about how we talk about women in music. A win all around.
The tunes run the gamut from basic ditties full of clever wordplay ("I Give Good Parent") to more emotional numbers that give fans ~feelings~. In a recent episode, when Rebecca's plans to win back her ex come crashing down, she lets her disappointment out with the solo number "You Stupid Bitch," which contains a powerful refrain of self-loathing that will be all-too-familiar to many people -- women and men alike.
After songs like that, it's easy to call Rebecca crazy, but the show succeeds by listening to its theme song, which declares “it’s actually a lot more nuanced than that.” And indeed, over the course of 13 episodes so far, the central conceit of the show has broadened in really interesting ways -- not the least of which is that the last few hours have explored the fact that this whole moving-across-the-country-for-a-guy-you're-not-dating thing isn’t just a goofy premise; it's seriously disturbing people’s lives. In an era of television that falls over itself to praise antihero men on prestige shows, it’s a cool revelation to watch a woman be this damaged and destructive. (See also: "Sexy French Depression.")
For those who are missing the golden days of Glee or are getting a bit bored with Empire, this is the music + television combo that is worth making time for, no matter how packed your DVR is. While anchored by Bloom's considerable talents, the whole cast is full of strong performers, who manage to rep a variety of song styles. Vincent Rodriguez III (Josh) has charm for days, and Santino Fontana, who Broadway fans are likely already obsessed with, particularly shines in throwback, dance-heavy numbers.
Bottom line: There is a song about "group hangs" in the style of Shakira; I can't imagine what else you're waiting for.