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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Tackles Stigma on Mental Health, Therapy

Rockville, Md., Oct. 23 – Crazy Ex-Girlfriend on the CW just entered its third season. This season follows the main character, Rebecca Bunch, as she copes with being left at the altar when her fiancé suddenly decided to join the priesthood.

Writer, producer and actress Rachel Bloom says of her character, “She is going into this season saying, ‘I am a sexy, strong woman scorned.’”

To recap, Bunch followed her ex-boyfriend from when she was 15 years old to West Covina, Calif., where he now lives, after being comforted by the sight of him during a severe anxiety attack in an alleyway in Manhattan. Bunch has both anxiety and depression in the show, the medication for which is shown in the first two episodes as she tries to mitigate her symptoms, but is quickly abandoned when she moves to California, where she believes she will be cured by living in this new environment and winning back her ex-boyfriend, Josh Chan.

Bloom has anxiety herself. She’s written an essay in Glamour about her anxiety and recently participated in the Child Mind Institute’s My Younger Self campaign, giving advice to her younger self about living with anxiety and depression.

Season 3 has not yet directly dealt with Bunch’s own mental health issues, her medication or any coping mechanisms she may use yet. However, it has the potential to spark a conversation about the stigma around mental health and therapy. In the first episode of the season, two of the recurring characters discuss their relationship issues. They quickly decide they will see a licensed therapist together. The couple is open and communicative with each other and their therapist, which is a refreshing change from the norm in media around therapy, in which people refuse to communicate with their therapists because they believe that therapy will not work. That type of media portrayal becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the character goes into a downward spiral because they were unwilling to cooperate with licensed professionals who offered them help.

Also in the first episode is a musical number in which the characters ask, “Where is Rebecca Bunch,” because they have not seen the main character in more than two weeks and she has not responded to any outside communication.  Soon, the viewer realizes that Bunch has been in the middle of a depression, in which she has slept in the robes and hotel bed that were meant for her honeymoon for the past two weeks.

At the end of the season’s second episode, Bunch concludes that the only way to find closure after being left at the altar is for her to confront him in a manner that would publicly humiliate him like he had publicly humiliated her.  Bunch puts on her wedding dress and drives to the seminary where Chan is practicing to become a priest and berates him in front of the whole church congregation. However, in doing so, Bunch reveals all of the borderline controlling, obsessive and possessive behavior she had exhibited toward Chan without his knowledge before and during their relationship. Bunch gets in her car and after realizing what she had done, had a panicked look on her face as Chan shouts with relief, “it’s not my fault,” in the church.

Trailers of episode three show that next week’s episode may dive deeper into Bunch’s mental health issues.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs on Friday evenings at 8:00 p.m. ET on The CW.

Meet the Author

Theresa Maher

Theresa Maher is a Communications Fellow at RespectAbility and a junior at American University. Her drive to advocate for people with disabilities started young when she realized her mother's students in special education and her uncle with autism were not accurately portrayed in Hollywood.

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