For a show that is largely focused on two female characters, Crazy Ex Girlfriend sure does have a lot of men. This may seem like an obvious conclusion, as the show is mostly about the romantic travails of the straight female main character, but the abundance of male characters isn’t just limited to Rebecca’s boyfriends. In Rebecca’s work, the only character that has any depth and storyline (aside from Paula, who doesn’t really count since she is the other main character of Crazy Ex Girlfriend) is her male boss, Darryl. While Darryl is bisexual, making him a type of male character that doesn’t get enough representation, the females of the office consist of neurotic Karen, whose defining trait is that she talks too much about her personal hygiene, and Mrs. Hernandez, who is literally mute. Neither of those women get any real character development or insight, whereas Tim, one of the most bland annoying white men ever seen on the silver screen, gets a whole subplot related to his deep dark secret of being an illegal (Canadian) immigrant. Most of Rebecca’s friends are men as well: While she does eventually strike up a real friendship with her neighbor Heather, she spends most of the first couple of seasons attempting to be friends with White Josh, Greg, Hector, as well as two other bros that are so bland I can’t even remember their names as I write this.
This discrepancy isn’t limited to Rebecca’s life, either. Though two mothers are introduced (Mrs. Bunch and Mrs. Chan), and Rebecca’s mother gets one hell of a mother-daughter episode, the parental figures with the most real impact are the fathers. Greg’s father is the reason why Greg stays in West Covina, gives him relationship advice, and ultimately provides him with the means to escape California. Never an explosive figure like Mrs. Bunch, Mr. Serrano is nevertheless a constant presence whose character has more influence on the outcomes of the show. In contrast, Rebecca’s father Mr. Bunch manages to have more of an influence and development than his ex wife though having just a fraction of her screen time (which is already limited). Through flashbacks, we learn about the complicated father figure he was and how his influence continues to sway Rebecca into so many decisions throughout the course of the show. Both father figures certainly fare much better than poor Mrs. Chan, who is reduced to a traditional mother who loves the idea of her son moving back in, and who can always be counted on to do the cooking for family events. In the end, through her role as a conduit from Rebecca to Josh, it is how she is influenced by the main characters than her influence on them that really defines Mrs. Chan.
I find myself left with the question, why does Crazy Ex Girlfriend fall so short in female representation after breaking so many feminist boundaries?
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