Amanda Konkle and Charles BurnettsSep 24, 2021
Perspectives on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Nuanced Postnetwork Television
Syracuse University Press 2020
The new collection, Perspectives on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: Nuanced Postnetwork Television (Syracuse University Press, 2021) by Amanda Konkle and Charles Burnetts explores the hit series with an off-putting title and a decidedly retrograde premise. The CW dramedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a surprising choice for critical analysis. But, loyal viewers quickly came to appreciate the show’s sharp cultural critique through masterful parody, and this strategy has made it a critical darling and earned it several awards throughout its run. In ways not often seen on traditional network television, the show transcends conventional genre boundaries—the Hollywood musical, the romantic comedy, the music video—while resisting stereotypes associated with contemporary life. The essays in this collection underscore the show’s ability to distinguish itself within the current television market. Focusing on themes of feminism, gender identity, and mental health, contributors explore the ways in which the show challenged viewer expectations, as well as the role television critics play in identifying a show’s “authenticity” or quality.
Rebekah Buchanan is an Associate Professor of English and Director of English Education at Western Illinois University. Her research focuses on feminism, activism, and literacy practices in youth culture, specifically through zines and music.