When I first saw this clip featured on Angry Asian Man, the first thought I had was, “Wow! Woman fantasizing about an Asian American man – you don’t see that on TV every day!” Crazy Ex Girlfriend is musical comedy about an unhappy and overworked attorney in New York who leaves New York and a law firm partnership to go to the diverse LA area city of West Covina to pursue her ex-boyfriend who dumped her during a high school summer camp. I then began to wonder – is this really progress? Isn’t the ex-girlfriend, played by Rachel Bloom, crazy? What if the Asian male lead, played by Vincent Rodriguez III, is a real loser? So I decided to watch a full episode.
Fortunately for Asian American males, Vincent Rodriguez III’s character, Josh Chan, is a likeable character, “a SoCal Asian bro.” He’s a pretty normal Asian American guy with no foreign accent and is seen making out with his Latina girlfriend. I have only gotten through the first episode (old episodes are available online), and I found it pretty entertaining. The Daughter didn’t like it, thinking it was trying too hard to be funny. My sister loved it, and explained to my why The Daughter, just graduated from college, didn’t like it while she did. Rachel Bloom’s character, Rebecca, is tired of the corporate rat race. All her achievements as a Yale and Harvard graduate haven’t brought her happiness. The Daughter, who doesn’t have a long track record in the work place, hasn’t yet experienced that feeling of work place disillusionment and can’t relate. My sister and I, who have both been through the corporate grind, definitely can. The one time that Rebecca remembers that she was happy was with Josh that one summer during high school, and the show hinges on her efforts to regain that happiness.
I am optimistic about the show. West Covina is well known for the numbers of Asians there, and its diversity is part of the “fish out of water” trope of the show. In this interview, Rodriguez hints that his character’s Filipino family dynamics will be shown. Showing Asian American, with shows like Dr. Ken and Fresh off the Boat, is a positive trend.
Rachel Bloom is one of the creators of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Vincent Rodriguez III is an actor from the heavily Filipino town of Daly City and has performed in New York stage productions and touring companies in ensembles and featured parts.