Goodbye "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", the show that revolutionized popular depictions of mental illness

By Ylva Söderfeldt

The musical sitcom Crazy Ex-Girlfriend just finished its fourth and final season. Up until the end, fans were biting their nails and debating which of her three love interests the main character Rebecca would end up with. Throughout, we got to enjoy the creative, funny, and intelligent song and dance numbers the show has become known for. But there’s more than the musical element that sets Crazy Ex-Girlfriend apart from other sitcoms. In particular, it’s an unusual series in that it makes mental illness a central topic.

Of course, mental illness in not an uncommon theme for film or television. But characters with psychiatric illnesses are rarely the heroes, usually the villains. The idea we get from media about people with psychiatric disorders is that they’re either dangerous, ridiculous, or both. Even in a story set in a psychiatric clinic, such as One flew over the cuckoo’s nest, the patient-hero is not “truly” mentally ill. For all its criticism of oppressive sy…

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