Series / Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

I was working hard at a New York job making dough, but it made me blue.
One day I was crying a lot and so I decided to move to...
West Covina, California, brand new pals and new career!
It happens to be where Josh lives, but that's not why I'm heeeeeere.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
What? No, I'm not.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
That's a sexist term.
She's the crazy ex-girlfriend!
Can you guys stop singing for just one second?
She's so broken insiiiide!
The situation is a lot more nuanced than that!
Okay! We get it!
Crazy ex-girlfriend!
— The first season's theme song. The second season and third season have their own theme songs.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a 2015 musical dramedy, airing on The CW, and starring Rachel Bloom (of "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury" fame), and created by Bloom and Aline Brosh McKenna (the writer of The Devil Wears Prada).

The show is about Rebecca Bunch (Bloom), a successful, overworking and severely depressed young real-estate lawyer in New York. On the verge of a major promotion and nervous breakdown, she happens to run into her old ex-boyfriend from summer camp and latches onto those childhood memories as the last time she was truly happy and carefree. She therefore decides to impulsively quit her job and move to West Covina, California in pursuit of a fresh start in life (and not coincidentally because her ex lives there). All while bursting into song.

Aside from Bloom, it also stars Vincent Rodriguez III as Josh Chan (the aforementioned ex-boyfriend), Santino Fontana as Greg (Josh's friend), Gabrielle Ruiz as Valencia (Josh's long-term girlfriend), Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula (Rebecca's co-worker and friend), Pete Gardner as Darryl Whitefeather (Rebecca's new boss in her West Covina law firm), and Vella Lovell as Heather Davis (Rebecca's neighbor).

Created originally for Showtime, the show moved to the CW with a few cast changes. It is known for its colorful characters, most of which share some sort of Ambiguous Disorder, and its catchy songs, most of which can be found on Rachel Bloom's YouTube page. In February 2016, two soundtracks for the first season have been released. And there's one for season 2 as well.

In 2016, Rachel Bloom won both the Golden Globe and the Critics' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy (of which Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is both).

In April 2018, Crazy Ex Girlfriend was renewed for a fourth season, which will be the show's last.

Nothing to do with the Miranda Lambert song, by the way.

This series contains examples of:

    open/close all folders 

    Tropes #-E 
  • '80s Hair: Usually seen when parodying an eighties-style number.
  • A Cappella: Paula's husband is in a barbershop quartet called the "West Brovinas."
  • Abusive Parents:
    • Rebecca's mother is extremely controlling of her and blames her for her father walking out on them. And her father is counts on a different level.
    • Season 2 introduces us to Nathaniel, whose father fulfills the mental and verbal aspect of this.
  • Adult Fear: In "I Never Want To See Josh Again". Naomi steals Rebecca's laptop and starts snooping around on it with an impish smile, hoping to get some dirt she can lord over her daughter later. Instead, she finds out Rebecca was researching the least painful methods of suicide. The terror on her face makes it painfully clear this isn't a joke.
  • All Jews Are Cheapskates: Apparently inverted with Rebecca. She has no problem throwing around money, buying a treadmill desk or spending $10,000 to become a camp counselor at Josh's camp... up until the point where she realizes she's broke. This lasts all of an episode, at the end of which payday rolls around and Rebecca goes right back to throwing money around.
  • All Lesbians Want Kids: Gender-swapped with Darryl and White Josh. Darryl wanted to have a child with White Josh, who didn't want any children, and they break up because of this. Even after their breakup, Darryl continues his pursuit to have another child.
  • All Take and No Give: In season 2, after their relationship began getting rather strained, Paula blurts out to Rebecca that she has always given everything to her, but never got anything in return, citing as an example the letter of recommendation that Rebecca gave her way after the deadline.
  • Alpha Bitch:
    • Played with in Valencia. While she is beautiful, ice-cold, and petty, she doesn't have friends outside of Josh's friends (who tolerate her at best). Later stops applying altogether.
    • Audra Levine actually calls herself one in "JAP Battle Rap".
    • In "Josh Is Going To Hawaii!", Rebecca realises that Valencia thinks that Rebecca is this.
      Valencia: Josh, I am really, really hurt, but, God, I...I knew something was going on. I mean, she's [sniffles] smart, and, and different, and [bitter chuckle] interesting. So, I get it.
  • Ambiguously Bi:
    • The reason Rebecca and Valencia's friendship goes south is because Rebecca kisses her, though that may be just due to her desperate need for affection. Rebecca also goes to a strip club and watches a female stripper perform in the pilot. She offhandedly admits in season three that she may have "tendencies."
    • Heather seems to be a fan of Lawyered-Up Rebecca in "Josh and I Go To Los Angeles!"
    Heather: Man, she looks hot in her little legal outfit, right? I'd pound that gavel.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Most characters show traits of this, but Rebecca in particular has serious problems with dealing with other people as Lampshaded by herself and everyone in the show, and actually a minor plot point early in season 1 — Heather is writing a term paper on Rebecca for her abnormal psych class, but in the end she decides she'd rather just be her friend instead of labeling her. Subverted when she finally gets another diagnosis, and is revealed to have Borderline Personality Disorder.
    Darryl's ex-wife: What the hell is wrong with you?!
    Rebecca: Off the top of my head? I'd say low self-esteem, a lack of maternal affection and a genetic predisposition for anxiety and depression.
  • An Aesop: Rebecca's first season arc, as well as the direct aesop for "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am" is that there are many kinds of love, and it can come from unexpected places. Love isn't only romantic, and you can be loved by your friends and family.
  • Analogy Backfire: "We have kind of a like, a Sam and Diane thing going on, except it's, um, unpleasant and unsexy."
  • Angry Mob Song: "Flooded with Justice," a pastiche of Les Misérables "Do You Hear the People Sing?"
  • Anti-Love Song: "Settle for Me" is all about how Greg knows he's not what Rebecca really wants, but that she should settle for him anyway. Or at least that's how she interprets what he's saying.
    • "Without Love You Can Save the World" discusses all the things Rebecca could have done if she hadn't spent so much time and energy trying to pursue Josh.
  • Anti-Christmas Song: Although "California Christmastime" can be read as a straight-up celebration of Christmas, it can also be read as this:
    Well, you can take your snow and shove it,
    This is our Christmas, and we love it!
    It’s 100 degrees, this elf is Vietnamese,
    That’s the way that California does it!
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!," Valencia asks Rebecca "Why are you even here?"
  • Aroused by Their Voice: The explicit version of "The Sexy Getting Ready Song" ends with the lines "whisper your dick hard." The line is cut in the broadcast version.
  • Aside Glance: One-Shot Character and Only Sane Person Cornelia gives one when her storyline reaches the breaking point and her dysfunctional coworkers start competing for her attention like a group of middle schoolers — right before breaking into her own musical number (which, as the creators previously confirmed, is a sign of Rebecca's craziness creeping into someone's mind).
  • Background Halo: When Valencia forgives Josh for kissing Rebecca, she stands up in front of a big picture of the Virgin Mary and, naturally enough, acquires one of these.
  • Batman Gambit: Rebecca advising Josh to tell Valencia that Josh kissed Rebecca. It hinges on the conviction, shared by everyone, that if Valencia were to find out that Josh had kissed anyone other than her, she would never forgive him and would break up with him on the spot. It fails, because Valencia does forgive Josh.
  • Battle Rapping: In "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" Rebecca and her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Audra Levine engage in a "JAP Battle" (JAP standing for "Jewish American Princess").
  • Beta Couple:
    • In the first and second seasons, White Josh and Darryl provide a sweet and straightforward counterpoint to the turbulence of Rebecca's personal life.
    • Hector and Heather step up as this in the back half of season three, being nice and supportive with each other as Rebecca and Nathaniel go through a Will They or Won't They? plot.
  • Betty and Veronica: Played with. While characters maintain traits of one or the other, the lines are not really clear-cut. It's really a case of constantly shifting Betty and Veronica Switch.
    • Josh (Archie) between Rebecca (Betty) and Valencia (Veronica). While Rebecca is the cheerful old flame and Valencia is strikingly attractive and cold, the former is a sophisticated big-city career woman while Valencia is the Girl Next Door.
    • Rebecca (Archie) between Josh (Betty) and Greg (Veronica). Josh is the friendly, naive ex-boyfriend who is emotionally taken, while Greg is the sarcastic new guy who is available and mostly reliable compared to Josh.
    • Rebecca (Archie) between Josh (Betty) and Nathaniel (Veronica). This love triangle is more straightforward, as Nathaniel is ruthless, wealthy, and everything Rebecca attempted to escape in New York.
  • Bi the Way:
    • After Darryl sings what could be the anthem for this trope, Maya says that she is so glad to work in a place that will accept her bisexuality.
    • At some point during Season 3's Time Skip, Valencia of all people ends up in a gay relationship. The only details we get are that they met for a business partnership and are apparently happy together, so it's not clear how the romance started or what Valencia identifies as now.
  • Big Damn Kiss:
    • At the end of "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!", there is one between Rebecca and Josh.
    • Another one at the end of "Josh's Sister is Getting Married!", between Rebecca and Greg.
  • Big "NO!": In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?" when Josh asks Rebecca to marry him, right when she was having a breakthrough in therapy, Dr. Akopian lets out one.
  • Big "YES!": In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?" which is immediately followed by the Big "NO!" above.
  • Big "SHUT UP!": Delivered to Rebecca by none other than Mrs. Hernandez in "Who Is Josh's Soup Fairy?", to great effect considering the character who says it.
  • Bilingual Bonus: During the "JAP Battle," at one point, Rebecca raps, "So sheket bevaka shut the hell up!" Sheket bevakasha is actually Hebrew for "quiet please," so she is telling Audra to shut up in two languages at once.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Season 1 ends with Rebecca winding up with Josh. Though she is happy in the moment, Greg is devastated, and Josh is secretly horrified by her confession that she moved to West Covina for him.
  • Black Comedy: A lot of the songs contain dark humor, including "Feeling Kinda Naughty" (Rebecca wanting to kill Valencia and wear her skin) and "I'm a Good Person" (Rebecca threatening to gut someone "like a fish" if they don't say she's a good person).
  • Blatant Lies:
    • "I have friends, I definitely have friends".
    • Rebecca trying to be as blasé as Greg is trying to be.
      Rebecca: [Greg turns on the TV] Oh, The Way We Were. —I don't want to watch it. I'm sorry. I was just saying, "Oh, it's The Way We Were, blah."
    • Rebecca saying she has no underlying issues address and can't be held responsible for her actions in the season two opening titles. "Can Josh Take A Leap Of Faith?" makes it very clear, what with the whole "being charged with arson after abandoned" thing.
    • Newsflash, fuckwads: Rebecca is a good person! Agree or she'll gut your husband like a fish!
      Rebecca: [imagining] I always find time to be kind.
      Man: I'm choking [on food]!
      Rebecca: Sorry, so busy.
  • The Blind Leading the Blind: Rebecca takes nebulous life advice from butter commercials. Turns out the copywriter who worked on those commercials had just left his wife for a prostitute.
  • Book Ends: In the first and last episodes of Season 3, Rebecca summons people to the office's conference room with mysterious Google Calendar invitations. At the start, she's calling in all her friends and coworkers to announce her return and start plotting her revenge against Josh. At the end, she's trying to come clean to Josh, Nathaniel, and Paula about all the awful things she's done over the course of the show.
  • Bowdlerise: While the show has done its part in Getting Crap Past the Radar, some songs were written with an explicit version in mind and subsequently reshot (or dubbed over) with a broadcast version. Some examples:
    • "I'm So Good At Yoga" changes "anal" to "butt stuff", "come" to "orgasm" and "fuuuuuck you, you're fat" to "screeeeeew you, you're fat".
    • "I'm a Good Person" actually tweaks footage; "I come my good all over your face" with corresponding jack-off gestures gets changed to "I spit my good all over your face" with (mouth-)spitting motion. "Fuck You!" at the end includes both a knife point at Greg AND a middle finger, where in the broadcast version it's just the knife point and a "Screw you!" (Also, "fuckwads" gets turned to "douchebags.")
    • The 'Period Sex' was never shown in full on TV, mainly due to its very vulgar and squicky, and explicit lyrics, like thinking of period blood as a juice cleanse, and the words "You don't get to say, let me just put it in your butt". The full version is available on YouTube.
  • Boy Band: Because Rebecca never got to see the boy band "Room Temperature" when she was a kid, she imagines Josh in a boy band. Specifically, a boy band made up of four Joshes.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • During the song "I'm The Villain in My Own Story", Rebecca says that she's "the bad guy in her TV show." She also calls out the composer of the song, which she calls "ridiculously sinister." Naturally, "I'm The Villain in My Own Story" was written by Rachel Bloom. (And considering this is all happening in Rebecca's head, the in-universe composer might also be her).
    • In "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!", Rebecca and Dr. Akopian are on a plane to New York City, and Dr. Akopian tells Rebecca she never told her why she moved to West Covina. Rebecca turns to the camera with a "Here we go again" look. Cut to opening titles.
    • In the music video for "Love Kernels," Rebecca sings "This video used up our production budget." Then she says that they literally spent every cent, so now Darryl will be played by a broom on a stand.
    • The entire song "Who's The New Guy?" is built on this, using scapegoat excuses to pretend they're not referring to their show. (i.e. "Did we really need a new guy this far into the season? And by far into the season, I mean it's almost fall." and "Will he be here forever? Or just for two or three episodes? I mean, Karen's manic episodes." among others!)
  • Broken Ace:
    • Rebecca is a great lawyer, a graduate of Harvard and Yale, and knows Mandarin. She was going to be made partner in her old, prestigious law firm. However, inside, she is a mass of self-doubt, self-hate, anxiety, and depression. When she screws things up with Josh, she ends up singing the song "You Stupid Bitch" to herself, even saying that she's done this a lot.
    • Josh teeters dangerously close to this. At the beginning of the series, he's unemployed with maxed out credit cards, and dating Valencia for 15 years without any indication of where he wants the relationship to go. In "I'm going to The Beach With Josh and His Friends", it's revealed he's been hanging with the same friend group, insisting on the same group dynamic and even the same music all this time. He even throws a fit when Rebecca starts seeing Greg in earnest and cuts ties with him, implying he's gotten so entitled to people's attention, he's hopeless coping without it.
    • Nathaniel is a driven and highly competent lawyer, rivaling the talents of Rebecca herself. Add in great looks, rich parents, and plenty of connections, and he should have it made, right? Well, his upbringing really did a number on him; he's constantly holding himself to impossibly-high standards in order to seek his father's approval, all while living in his father's shadow, and he's become extremely ruthless, callous, and emotionally stunted in the process.
  • Broke Episode: In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!" all of Rebecca's spending has resulted in her going broke. She sells her couch and even pawns the Garfinkle ring in order to buy a plane ticket to Hawaii.
  • B.S.O.D. Song: "You Stupid Bitch" is all about Rebecca's spiral into self-loathing and self-hatred.
  • The Bully: Tim and Jim, two lawyers who like to make things hard on Paula.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Rebecca, at least half-literally: Even in New York, she had made partner before she decided to move to West Covina; in West Covina, what little we do see of her actually working shows that her knowledge of real estate law is unparalleled. However, the show is mostly about her outside of work, and occasionally how her personal issues steamroll very quickly into her work.
  • Busby Berkeley Number:
    • The "West Covina" song in the first episode ends with a large group singing and even a marching band... before the school board takes away their instruments due to budget cuts.
    • Also, the season 2 opening, especially the ending where the dancers arrange their oversized heart props to form Josh's face.
  • Call-Back: Several episodes in season 2 quote or make references to the songs of season 1.
    Scott: Rebecca's being selfish. After everthing you've done for her —
  • Calling the Old Man Out:
    • Rebecca finally calls out her mother over her horrendous treatment of her in "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!" It turns out that her mother wanted her to call her out, because she wanted Rebecca to be strong enough to survive in the harsh world.
    • Likewise, she finally does the same to her dad in "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?", although unlike Naomi, he doesn't seem to care very much.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: In season 2, Paula is unable to tell Rebecca about the fact she had an abortion. After the letter of recommandation fiasco, Paula grew disappointed in Rebecca, and realized that their relationship was rather one-sided. On the other hand, Rebecca correctly points out that Paula didn't tell her anything despite the fact that she asked her directly what was wrong.
  • Cerebus Call Back: In the first episode, just after Rebecca moved to West Covina, we see her pouring her anxiety medication down the drain while her mother (at the time just a disembodied voice on the phone) irately tells her "this better not be like that suicide attempt in college". In season 3,said mother finds out Rebecca has been having suicidal thoughts again and begins drugging her without her knowledge. When Rebecca finds out and confronts her, she reminds her of that suicide attempt, but in a completely serious tone this time.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The file Rebecca's ex, Trent gave Josh, and threw away in the Season 2 finale plays a part in 3x03: "Josh is a Liar". The file contained Rebecca being sent to a mental institute after trying to burn down her Harvard professor named Robert's apartment down (she had an unhealthy obsession with him). Josh shows the file to Father Brah, who then calls Paula to tell her this.
  • Childhood Friends: Josh, Greg, Hector, and White Josh have all known each other since elementary/high school, and treat each other with long-suffering affection. They've also known Valencia since those years, but she's mostly just tolerated.
  • Christmas Episode: "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dances Moves!" is a Christmas/Hanukkah episode (since Rebecca is Jewish). And it ends on a sweet group song called "California Christmastime."
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • The Fondue delivery guy, after Josh has realized that Rebecca was lying about the break-in at her apartment and can't come up with a good explanation for all her weird behaviour:
      Rebecca: [despairing] It's all ruined.
      Fondue guy: People think that, but actually the cheese does not congeal in transit. If you can get the word out about that, that would really help.
      Rebecca: Moments ago, he held me in his arms. And then just now, he could barely look me in the eye. All of my dreams may have just been shattered.
      Fondue guy: ...So this is not about cheese.
    • Greg, newly sober, resolves to apologize to Heather. Unfortunately, while there are a shitload of things he needs to apologize to her about, he picks the wrong one.
      Greg: So there's this thing in recovery where you own up to your mistakes. And I'm just starting to do that now, and I know I need to start with you.
      Heather: Oh, Greg, you do not have to do this.
      Greg: Please, just let me get this out. ...I am so sorry about the French fries.
      Heather: ...What?
      Greg: You know that time when we went out after seeing your friend's terrible band, and you ordered French fries and I ate all of them because I was wasted? When I think of myself doing that, I am... That was so selfish of me. And I'm sorry.
      Heather: Wow, I'm really glad — you reached out about that.
      Greg: You are?
      Heather: No, I don't remember that at all, but I will take your French fry apology and apply it to other stuff.
    • Heather and Josh have very different opinions on magic:
      Heather: You'll figure it out. I'm still figuring it out, and I'm obviously smarter and cooler than you.
      Josh: I don't think so.
      Heather: Uh, yeah. You do magic.
      Josh: Exactly.
      Heather: Exactly.
  • Cringe Comedy: Rebecca's frequent lies to herself and others, Digging Herself Deeper, and general awkwardness lead to some incredibly uncomfortable, but hilarious, situations.
  • Curse Cut Short: In "I Give Good Parent," Rebecca raps about how she'll have the Chans eating out of her hand like they are eating her... at which point the verse cuts off. However, in the explicit version, this is averted. (Since the entire song is a pastiche of Nicki Minaj, this makes perfect sense.)
  • Dark Reprise: The song "Settle for Me" gets two dark reprises. The first, in "I'm Going on a Date with Josh's Friend!", is Rebecca trying to convince herself to settle for Greg. And then, in "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!", it's by Heather saying that she doesn't want Greg to settle for her and that he needs to get his unresolved feelings for Rebecca resolved.
  • Darker and Edgier: Just compare the intro to season one with the intro to season three. After pursuing Josh for all of season one and being left at the altar at the end of season two, Rebecca fully embraces her crazy.
  • Dartboard of Hate: Rebecca barges into Greg's backroom in the "Josh and I Are Good People!" episode and is taken aback to see her hole-filled photo up on his dartboard.
    Rebecca: Wow, either you really hate me or you're super good at darts.
  • Deadpan Snarker:
    • Greg is this in spades.
      Rebecca: How are you?
      Greg: I'm good. I'd ask how you are, but I already know: you're terrible.
    • Heather is also quite fond of this trope. If she's spectating someone else's song, she's liable to interject with snarky comments. When she's supposed to be singing an inspirational song about what she'll do after graduating, she can't help but convey her utter contempt for the entire thing.
  • Deconstructed Character Archetype:
    • Rebecca is a romantic high achieving girl who chases after the man of her dreams in his little town in an attempt to conquer him. Naturally, she is the protagonist of a romantic tale, here, she is a Villain Protagonist, since she is the cause of all the troubles that happened, her otherwise romantic actions are closer to a Stalker with a Crush than anything else and love isn't going to fix her problems, since she has genuine mental illnesses that she refuses to treat.
    • Paula is the quirky best friend who is invested in her friends love life. Here's the issue: this investment is clearly unhealthy and it comes from Paula trying to escape her reality than anything else and this also makes her ignore her kids and husband. Not only that, but she also pushes Rebecca into some of her worst actions.
    • Josh appears to be the epitome of a Nice Guy who would offer Rebecca a nice loving relationship. He is not, he is a Manchild, with commitment issues and can hardly make Rebecca any happier than she is right now, and she is just deluding herself thinking that Josh is actually better than what he is. He also isn't that good of a boyfriend, neither to Valencia, nor to Rebecca.
  • Deconstruction:
    • Rebecca's mom ends up being one for Tough Love. She tells her daughter that she treated her the way she did in order to make her stronger and better capable of handling the real world. Considering how messed up Rebecca is at the start of the show, one could argue that it didn't really work.
    • Also, the Love Triangle, Betty and Veronica and Betty and Veronica Switch all get this treatment. Sure, Valencia is not a very nice person. However, when Rebecca finally starts to see things from her point of view, she realizes that SHE is the problem. Add to that, Valencia is repeatedly frustrated with Josh's behavior throughout the season to the point where she has to dump him.
    • The entire show is a Deconstruction of romantic comedies, being centered on a protagonist who is under the mistaken impression that falling in love with someone will make her happy.
    • And of course, the show also deconstructs the idea of the Psycho Ex-Girlfriend. Since the title character is our protagonist, we get to see her thought processes firsthand, along with all of the personal issues that would drive someone to latch onto an ex so hard in the first place.
    • In the Wham Episode 2nd-season finale, the show manages to deconstruct and reconstruct itself. Flashbacks indicate that Rebecca has undiagnosed mental problems and imply that the musical numbers are, at least partially, her becoming dissociated from reality.
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Almost every single trope directly related to the roots of romantic comedies are deconstructed brutally and to the highest degree, and every archetype of the story and characters will also suffer degrees of deconstruction.
  • Double Standard: Abuse, Female on Male:
    • In a gender-flipped version of the show, a man with mental issues who stalks his ex-girlfriend would be portrayed as the villain in a drama. This is acknowledged by Trent's character, who is madly in love with Rebecca and tries many of the same tricks she does.
    • "Horny Angry Tango" lampshades this.
    Nathaniel: I cannot slap you back! Because you are a lady!
    Rebecca: That clearly is a double standard!
    Both: But it's probably for the best.
  • Easily Forgiven:
    • Josh forgives Rebecca very easily, despite her doing some incredibly nasty things to him, including befriending his girlfriend just to get close to him, breaking into his apartment, making him believe he got her pregnant, peeing on his musical equipment, acting very rude to his parents, and so on.
    • Played with between Rebecca and Paula: their big argument during season 2 led them to act resentful towards each other for a few episodes, before Rebecca finally caves in and apologizes when she realizes that between the two of them she was the worst person. Paula forgives her, and Rebecca rebuilds their friendship by being there for her in her time of need.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier If French: The conceit behind "Sexy French Depression." (Also contains a large monologue in French about said depression.)
  • Excited Show Title!: Every episode of Season 1 except for "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?" ends in an exclamation point, underlining Rebecca's manic nature. See also "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?" below.
  • Expository Theme Tune: The theme song. All three of them.

    Tropes F-K 
  • Fanservice:
    • Rebecca often tries to play this up, often displaying shirts and dresses with lots of cleavage, in the hopes that she will meet Josh. When she finally does meet Josh, she is wearing old clothes and is called a "homeless" by his girlfriend. She goes in for fanservice in a lot of the musical numbers, such as her Shakira impression in "Group Hang" and just about all of "Ping Pong Girl."
    • Rebecca's pole dance on the party bus in the ninth episode. And in "Josh Is The Man Of My Dreams, Right?" when the Santa Ana Winds blow open her shirt and expose her bra.
    Crazy Karen: Those are beauts.
    • Josh also wears a lot of shirts that show off his arms and chest.
    • White Josh frequently doesn't wear a shirt at all.
    • Every single moment in "Strip Away My Conscience." It IS a Chicago parody, after all.
  • Female Misogynist: Valencia sees other women as competition who are just jealous of the attention she gets from men. "Women Gotta Stick Together" is almost nothing but her insulting or berating other women.
  • Flanderization:
    • Josh starts out as a laid-back, sensible person who might not be as educated as Rebecca, but repeatedly acts as the voice of reason for her (e.g. when he points out that it's okay not to immediately have tons of friends in a new town), and deeply cares about things like counseling underprivileged kids at camp. As the show goes on, he basically becomes Joey: a narcissistic, dumb Manchild who, by the time of season 3, literally cannot remember what the word for a "grown up boy" is.
    • Heather does this in-universe to the Kardashian clan:
    Heather: Is she the tall one, the naked one, or the mom one? 'Cause if you're talking about the model one or the lip one, those are Jenners.
  • Foreign Queasine: To impress Josh's parents when she's going to them for Thanksgiving, Rebecca cooks dinuguan. Paula's In-Universe reaction is this.
    Paula: Whew, something smells weird in here.
    Rebecca: Oh, uh, well, it's a Filipino dish called dinuguan. It consists of pork cooked in pork's blood. Do you want to try some?
    Paula: Uh, thanks, but I think I'm all full up from the wonderful smell.
  • Forgot to Pay the Bill: In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!" Rebecca's car is towed due to not paying her lease. She is so bad at finance, however, that she thinks she can get money... by selling her car.
  • The Four Loves: A major theme of "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" Rebecca has to learn that even if romantic love isn't working out for her, she has a lot of love in her life she's overlooking.
  • Fourth Date Marriage: Deconstructed and played for drama over the latter half of season 2. Josh and Rebecca's whirlwind marriage is brought about by Rebecca's insecurities, she has an extremely difficult time rushing the wedding prep by herself until Valencia steps in, and in the end Josh starts having major doubts about their relationship and doesn't even show up to the wedding. As White Josh points out, they're the last two people who should be getting married anyway.
  • Foreshadowing: In the Season 3 song 'Where's Rebecca Bunch?', which is addressing what happened in the season 2 finale, Josh jilted Rebecca at the altar to go to priest school. George suggests that if he were in Rebecca's situation, he'd kill himself. Rebecca tries to do this a few episodes later on a plane back to West Covina from her mothers house in New York when she found out that she had been secretly giving Rebecca anxiety medication.
  • Freudian Slip: "The least you can do is be honest with your mother-I mean friend."
  • From New York to Nowhere: Rebecca goes from bigshot New York lawyer to working in a small Californian city. Lampshaded multiple times; in her song "Where's the Bathroom", for example, Rebecca's mother dismisses West Covina as "Nowhere, USA".
  • Funny Background Event:
    • After Paula has turned formerly obnoxious sexist pig Tim into her fawning pet by letting him know that she won't reveal to the authorities that he's Canadian and on an expired visa, she orders him to go wash her car. As he meekly obeys, Mrs Hernandez watches him go with an approving beam.
    • In "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" during "Flooded with Justice" White Josh (as he is not one of the plaintiffs) is confusedly watching the plaintiffs break into song, he appears amused but lost and tries to halfheartedly join in.
  • Gag Boobs: Heavy Boobs is this mixed with Truth in Television.
  • Geeky Turn-On: Rebecca and Greg hit it off in a spectacularly geeky conversation:
    Rebecca: So, once a week I Google trivia about the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
    Greg: Shut up! I love that fire. That's, like, my favorite fire.
    Rebecca: No! Stop messing with me. I know it's weird.
    Greg: Why is it weird to be obsessed with the flash point that single-handedly ignited labor reform in the US?
    • Rebecca and Nathaniel bond over a shared love of Harry Potter. Rebecca later uses a simile about Snape to seduce him in "Strip Away My Conscience", and Nathaniel alludes to their Potter-based dirty talk in a conversation with WhiJo.
  • Genre Deconstruction: Os romantic comedies. While the setting appears to be the standard romantic comedy, all characters are deconstructions of the archetypes that compose it. One of the biggest messages of the show goes head on against what happens on most of the genre's stories: Love won't fix all your problems, there's no happily ever after and all relationships demand work, furthermore, you need to be ready for a relationship, and if you're not in a good head space, it will only cause further misery.
  • The Gentleman or the Scoundrel:
    • Played with. Greg is the safe option, as he is considerate, thoughtful and available... while also being sarcastic, deeply unhappy about the direction of his life, and quite possibly a problem drinker. Josh is about as dangerous as a basket of puppies, but he represents the "dangerous" option as he is heavily committed to Valencia.
    • Same goes for Josh after he admits to Father Joseph he's attracted to Rebecca. Rebecca is the dedicated, financially secure one, but Valencia is the childhood sweetheart he's most committed to.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: The song 'Sexy French Depression' has a twofer.
    • Je me branle sur un film porno en me demandant comment ces filles ont pu en arriver là, Rebecca says (on the Subtitled broadcast) she watches porn only to see what happens in the porn stars life to see what led them to do porn, the real translation is that she masturbates to porn, girl porn. Considering nobody says the word 'masturbate' on The CW...
      • The lyrics, "Je peux résoudre mes problèmes en faisant des fixations sur tous mes cafouillages et toutes les façons de foutre en l’air ma vie au-delà de toute réparation Si je réfléchis assez sérieusement je finirai par avoir la réponse, mais j’ai oublie quelle était la question". The real translation has the word 'fuck' in it (nobody swears on Network TV), whilst the broadcast is basically Rebecca saying she'll thinking about all the mistakes she's done.
  • Have I Mentioned I Am Heterosexual Today?: When White Josh mistakes Darryl for gay in "Josh and I Work on a Case!," Darryl immediately says he isn't, then goes on to say that he loves how women feel and their skin. White Josh says that he sounds like a serial killer, but a straight one. However, the conversation ends up leading Darryl to discover that he is really bisexual.
  • Heel Realization: "I'm the Villain in My Own Story" is an entire musical number dedicated to this, after Rebecca realizes how scummy she's been for trying to break up the loving relationship between Josh and Valencia.
  • Hollywood Tone-Deaf: The few times we hear Rebecca singing in "reality," it's clear that she can't carry a tune in a bucket. Her actress, meanwhile, is a very good singer, something she demonstrates in just about every episode since Rebecca sings much better in her imagination.
  • Hope Spot: Dr Akopian gets one in Season 2 Episode 10, when Rebecca is just beginning to realize that, maybe, her problems are her own issues, and can't be solved by anyone else... and then Josh comes in with the Garfinkel ring, and it's all screwed.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • "I'm a Good Person" is all about Rebecca telling everyone how good she is... while threatening them with a knife to agree. "I'll gut your husband like a fish!"
    • Paula is also this in episode 7, where she says no one likes a stalker right before pulling out a pair of binoculars to watch Josh and Valencia from across the street.
    • It's even lampshaded in "I'm Going Back to Camp With Josh!" When Rebecca hears the lyrics "Put yourself first for him," she says, "If I put myself first for him, then, by definition, aren't I putting myself second?" The response is: "Don't think about it too hard."
    • Trent in "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!" is in love with Rebecca and even uses many of her own mannerisms (like saying "So weird, right?" and trying to ingratiate himself with her, even having his own letter he wrote to her), but she's having none of it and kicks him out at the end of the episode.
    • The aim of yoga is to obtain inner peace, not to "let your mind go blank / And focus instead on how awesome / The yoga teacher is."
    • Anna takes Josh to her favourite coffee shop:
      Anna: Taylor loves this place. She brought me here with Lena, Cara, Gwynnie, Selena and Uzo. All really great girls, except Uzo is a little bit of a name-dropper.
  • "I Am Great!" Song:
    • Played straight with Valencia's "I'm So Good At Yoga".
    • Parodied with "I'm a Good Person", in which Rebecca sings about how good of a person she is while forcing everyone around her at knifepoint to dance along.
    • Inverted with "You Stupid Bitch", an in-concert power ballad where she repeatedly insults herself.
  • I Am Spartacus: When Nathaniel replaces all the candy in the office kitchen with healthy snacks, and Darryl puts the candy back again, Nathaniel challenges Darryl to admit the truth. Paula and the other employees invoke this instead.
  • Identical Grandson: In "My Mom, Greg's Mom, and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!" the show opens with a flashback to Rebecca's ancestors traveling from Europe to America via boat. Said ancestors look exactly like Rebecca and her mother.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming:
    • Each episode has "Josh" in the title somewhere. This is justified, as Rebecca bases nearly all her decisions on Josh's actions, so it's only natural that the episode titles would be patterned after him. Later subverted after Rebecca comes to the conclusion (for real this time) that her problems were never really about Josh — it's no longer the case from the middle of season 3 afterwards, starting with "Getting Over Jeff."
    • With the exception of "Why is Josh in a Bad Mood?", Season One's episode titles end in an exclamation point.
    • All of Season Two's listed titles end in a question mark.
  • Ignored Epiphany:
    • In the episode Josh Has No Idea Where I Am! Rebecca spends the entirety of a transcontinental flight reflecting on her life and how she ended up where she was. She eventually realizes that her feelings for Josh are just a halo effect. Josh reminds her of that summer at camp, and the reason why she was so happy back then is because it was the only time in her life when she stepped off the career path her mother set out for her and did things that she really enjoyed, including working on the camp musical. However instead of quitting her job and joining the community theater or something like that, she takes away from this that she isn't in love with Josh, so should date Greg instead. Even her dream therapist looks disappointed.
    • In "Will Scarsdale Like Josh's Shayna Punim?", Rebecca starts to realize that being with Josh hasn't fixed any of her problems, and Dr. Akopian (the real one this time) is on the verge of helping her understand that her problems come from herself, not other people. Then Josh comes in and proposes, thoroughly distracting Rebecca and prompting her to run off in the middle of yet another therapy session.
  • Imagine Spot: The songs serve as these to whoever happens to be singing them.
  • Implausible Deniability: Rebecca resorts to this after Josh reminds her that she hates football.
    Rebecca: I don't hate football! I, I get why it's fun, it just... kind of propagates the ideology of physical dominance and the economic subjugation of the working poor. Plus the concussions. It should be illegal. LOL. [tinkling laugh]
  • Incoming Ham: Not the first time we see Tovah Feldshuh as Rebecca's mom in the show, but her introduction to West Covina is "Where's the Bathroom?", a klezmer Patter Song which if you haven't already clicked the link after reading "klezmer Patter Song" then there's no helping you.
  • Insult Backfire: When Nathaniel berates his employees' work at the office by comparing them to universities:
    Nathaniel: I need Ivy League work here. [holds up file] This is Arizona State.
    Jim: Go Sun Devils!
  • Intercourse with You: Parodied with "Sex with a Stranger."
  • Ivy League for Everyone:
    • Rebecca graduated from Harvard and Yale.
    • Marty, the big-haired grocery story employee is also a Harvard alum.
    • Nathaniel and his rebound girlfriend Mona are both Stanford grads.
  • Jewish American Princess: Averted with Rebecca, but perhaps played straight with her Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Audra Levine. They even have a "JAP Battle," in which the concept itself is called offensive.note  The episode implies that young girls where Rebecca grew up were encouraged to act like this, and that Audra could break the cycle just like she did.
  • Jewish Mother: Rebecca's mother Naomi has been abusive and controlling for much of Rebecca's life, blaming her for her father walking out on the family, forcing her to become a lawyer, and criticizing her for attempting suicide for all the trouble it put her family through. She also happens to be Jewish. Deconstructed: Her mother deeply cares about her, but thinks she needs to be pushed to become strong for when the "Cossacks" inevitably come. When Rebecca finally stands up to Naomi, the latter is relieved and proud.
  • Karma Houdini: In the season 3 finale, Rebecca faces overwhelming guilt for doing all sorts of awful things and somehow always getting away with it.

    Tropes L-P 
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: During "Who's the New Guy?" the office workers of Whitefeather and Associates sing about the new boss Nathaniel, repeatedly referring to multiple elements in the show, such as its characters, episodes, seasons and ratings.
  • Lighter and Softer: After the first 8 episodes, the show was given a full season due to great reviews. The Sadist Show elements were toned down and previously unsympathetic characters given a lot more development.
  • Lipstick and Load Montage: Parodied with The Sexy Getting Ready Song.
  • Location Song: "West Covina", the show's opening number, in which Rebecca explores West Covina, California for the first time. The tune later goes on to become a persistent motif for establishing shots.
  • Lovable Alpha Bitch: Rebecca meets a quintet of them in "I'm Back at Camp With Josh!" They at first mock Rebecca rather ruthlessly and make her life hell, but when it becomes obvious that Rebecca has desperately low self-esteem, they feel bad for making fun of her, and step up to help her. Admittedly they give... questionable advice, but it's surprisingly nice of them.
  • Love Theme: One for each man in Rebecca's life:
  • Love Makes You Crazy: The show deconstructs it; Rebecca's obsessive love for Josh and the lengths she goes to for it are manifestations of deeper mental issues. The season two opening is all about this trope, while the viewer fully knows it's full of Blatant Lies.
    Dancers: They say love makes you crazy
    Therefore you can't call her crazy
    'Cause when you call her crazy
    You're just calling her in love!
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
    • "Feeling Kinda Naughty" sounds like a Katy Perry song and starts off like one... before Rebecca starts singing about how she wants to lock Valencia in her soundproof basement and wear her skin. And use her baby teeth as a new retainer.
    • "Sex with a Stranger" starts like a traditional pop song about stepping into the club and taking a guy home... until Rebecca begins singing about how she hopes that he is not a murderer and won't harvest her kidney.
    • "You Stupid Bitch" is a Whitney Houston-like ballad, but all about self-loathing and self-hatred.
  • Madness Mantra: "I am happy. This is what happy feels like."
  • Magical Negro: Parodied with the "Dream Ghosts", who give sage advice, wear big hairdos, and sing 60's style Rhythm and Blues for low pay and sub-par dental coverage. One of them is white, but she's played by Riki Lake in a Shout-Out to Hairspray.
  • Makeover Montage:
    • In "I'm Going Back to Camp With Josh!" Rebecca gets a makeover from the girls at camp...all set to the song "Put Yourself First."
    • Later in season 2, she gets another one to the appropriately titled song "Makey Makeover".
  • Male Gaze:
    • Is there a reason that Rebecca's intro in "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!" was looking down her shirt as she's bent over putting her shoes on? Yes. The answer is the eye-candy.
    • It's also referenced in "Put Yourself First": the creepy cameraman taking photos of the girls is wearing a shirt with the phrase on it, just in case you weren't sure what he was supposed to represent.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Paula always calls Valencia by the wrong name. Also, Paula gets called Pamela by some Jerkass lawyers in the office.
  • Malignant Plot Tumor: in season three, there's a few early mentions that Darryl wants a baby. By the last episode, Rebecca has donated an egg, Heather is the surrogate, Paula sings a beautiful, horrifying song about giving birth, and it ends up consuming a lot more character energy than Rebecca's diagnosis or recovery. There is even a time skip devoted almost exclusively to gestation, during which Rebecca apparently just repeats her mistakes and makes no progress in dealing with her disorder.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Outright discussed during the song "Dream Ghost", regarding whether the ladies are actual spiritual guides or merely hallucinations. This would also call to question how Rebecca could have a flashback about an event that she presumably wasn't there for.
  • Meaningful Echo:
    • After Rebecca has lost the water supply case and Audra is lording it over her, she tells Audra that it's important to be happy. Audra tells her that she is happy, and that "This is what happy feels like," echoing Rebecca's line to herself in episode 1 when her firm offered her a promotion and she had a panic attack.
    • Greg and Darryl each describe Jayma's wedding the same way, but to Greg it's evidence of how absurd the wedding is, whereas to Darryl it's evidence of how wonderful the wedding is.
      Greg: A chain hotel with vaguely French decor, and Italian food is being served tapas-style while a Filipino girl is marrying a Jewish guy, all with a lightly Arabian Nights-style wedding. What was this Pinterest board called: "Ironic juxtaposition"?
      Darryl: A chain hotel with French decor and Italian food served tapas-style while a Filipino girl marries a Jewish guy in a lightly Arabian Nights-style wedding. It is so romantic.
  • Medium Awareness: "Where is Josh's Friend?" has Rebecca observing during the big musical number that said number blew their whole production budget for the episode.
  • The Mentally Disturbed: Played with. Although the show acknowledges Rebecca's mental illness, it's played for comedy at first, as it fuels her obsession for Josh and thus the show's wacky hijinks. It takes a more serious turn in season 3, where a suicide attempt drives her to get rediagnosed. Meanwhile, other examples of Ambiguous Disorder (such as Karen's "manic episodes"), are still played for laughs.
  • Missing Mom: Deconstructed with Greg's mom: she left him and his dad and married someone else. However, she wanted to take Greg with her, but he was determined to stay with his dad. Greg realizes just how shitty he is treating his mom because of his own decision and decides to be nicer to her.
  • Mohs Scale of Violence Hardness: Level 4. There's little to no actual violence on the show, but blood does occasionally show up, such as the anal waxing gag in the first episode.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Okay, Rebecca and Paula are admittedly breaking and entering Peggy Rose's pie shop, but Rebecca can't help turning it into something out of Mission: Impossible. Lampshaded by Paula:
    Rebecca: [in front of the fridge; dramatically] I don't know, what if it's booby-trapped?
    Paula: Just open the door, Tom Cruise.
  • The Musical: A pretty rare example of this in a live-action television series. Almost every episode has a couple of musical numbers, usually with comic and/or obscene lyrics and staging that lampoon musical tropes while at the same time playing those tropes pretty much straight.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Subscribes to the All in their Heads hypothesis; where the musical numbers mostly exist in the characters' imaginations. Some, like "Once Indescribable Instant" from the season one finale note , are Diegetic.
  • New Old Flame: The entire plot is fueled by Rebecca invoking this trope. After randomly bumping into her ex Josh in New York, Rebecca convinces herself that their time together was one of the best of her life, and moves to West Covina mostly to make him fall in love with her. Her success is decidedly mixed.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Rebecca helps Josh with his job application for a tech store, but as a result Josh comes off as overqualified and is rejected.
  • Not Distracted by the Sexy: Rebecca calls over Josh to hit on him under the pretense of needing help with her garbage disposal. She makes no mind of White Josh, who not only fixes the disposal, but is having a highly Fanservice-y Shirtless Scene as well.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution: Most of the benevolent things Rebecca does serve to get her closer to Josh and/or keep up a front of being more well-adjusted than she actually is. She does genuinely end up helping people but has to be reminded of her priorities.
  • Nutritional Nightmare: Greg's dad's idea of a tasty snack is a glass of bourbon, a cigarette and a few slices of lardo.note  Lampshaded by Greg:
    Greg: Dad, what is this, a heart attack buffet?
  • Obsession Song: "Feeling Kinda Naughty" turns into one about how Rebecca is obsessed with Valencia.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • When Josh and Rebecca finally connect romantically at the end of season 1, an incredibly happy Rebecca confesses to him that she moved to West Covina just for him, telling him that she knew he was the solution to all of her problems. Josh is, understandably, not quite thrilled, as he is realizing that while he does love her, such behavior is very disturbing.
    • This is Rebecca's initial reaction when Trent tells her that she took his virginity. She shrugs it off quickly though, and they are at it again shortly after that.
    • Rebecca when she wakes up in bed with Greg's dad.
  • One Steve Limit:
    • There's Josh, and then there's White Josh, who is called that because he looks like Josh except he's white. (Oh, and his name also happens to be Josh.)
    • Father Brah's real name is Joseph, same as Josh's father. However, the former is Only Known By His Nickname.
  • Only Sane Man: Played with. A character may think and act like they're the only sane man, but are eventually revealed to be Not So Above It All.
    • Greg often plays this role, commenting on the bizarre behavior of everyone around him, especially Rebecca. When he's around the rest of the cast, his flaws and insecurities become more apparent.
    • Paula is this to Daryl and the other lawyers at Whitefeather & Associates, as she's the levelheaded voice of reason trying to keep things running smoothly. Less so whenever she enables Rebecca's bad decision-making.
    • Nathaniel thinks he's this to the office and often complains that he's Surrounded by Idiots, but gets caught up in the drama just as much as his co-workers.
    • Heather is a straight example, serving as the voice of reason to Greg and Rebecca. While an extreme Deadpan Snarker, she's not afraid to call it like it is and generally later emerges as one of the most sane and sensible of the main cast.
    • White Josh is generally a friendly, mature sensible and caring guy, but he also isn't the slightest bit afraid to call out even his closest friends when they're in the wrong. He is guaranteed to serve as the voice of reason to anyone he is sharing a scene with. He's the one to make sure that his friends get home safe when they're drunk and that the aftermath from parties gets cleaned up. He's also one of the few people to figure out that Josh and Rebecca probably shouldn't be dating anyone, much less each other.
    • Cornelia, the lawyer who replaces Rebecca at the firm in season 3, is completely immune to all the insanity surrounding her. She doesn't even last the episode before everyone else's craziness pushes her to quit the firm.
  • Parents as People: Paula. She may get wrapped up with Rebecca's shenanigans to the point of not giving time to her kids, but she visibly cares about them and stands up for her younger son when the school threatens to forcibly transfer him.
  • Pep-Talk Song: "Face Your Fears" from Paula to Rebecca. It goes off the rails, though, when she starts singing about running with scissors and jumping out of buildings.
  • Pop-Up Texting: Commonly used when characters are texting each other.
  • Precision F-Strike:
    • At the end of the explicit version of "I'm a Good Person," Rebecca sings "Fuck you!" at Greg (although the explicit version also has her call people "fuckwads").
    • When confronting Valencia for posting a picture of herself in Jayma's wedding dress, Josh's cousin Ruby, whom Valencia pointed out almost never says anything, storms in and calls her a bitch.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Implied from the title, but played with. Rebecca may be pretty fixated on Josh, but latching onto him is just a symptom of much deeper problems that go back pretty far. She Rebecca is crazy, and she is Josh's ex-girlfriend, but she doesn't fit this trope because the latter is not the cause of her being the former. While she tries to fully embrace the trope early in season 3, Rebecca eventually realizes she can't go through with it.

    Tropes Q-U 
  • Questioning Title?: First-season episode "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?" and every episode in Season 2 has a title that ends with a question mark.
  • The Quiet One: Josh's cousin Ruby is pretty much mute.
  • Reality Ensues: Season three starts out as a comedic revenge fantasy. Then comes the episode "Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy" to remind audiences that revenge is never funny or healthy in any way.
  • Reference Overdosed: While the jokes themselves are rather light on Shout Outs, almost all songs are Pastiches, In the Style of... or even outright Affectionate Parody of albums, songs, musical tropes and genres. To completely understand the jokes behind the songs, someone needs to listen to a lot of music and watch many musicals.
  • Running Gag:
    • There is a running joke where a man will say, "I left my wife for a prostitute!" as the reason for his recent behavior. And then in "Josh and I Work on a Case!" The Tag at the end of several window washers exchanging gossip reveals that there's a prostitute going around breaking up marriages.
    • West Covina being 2 hours from the beach; 4 in traffic. In a Brick Joke when the gang goes to the beach they immediately hit traffic.
    • "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" has a running gag in which several characters ask why Paula is wearing Rebecca's bathrobe.
    • (Almost) every street address or business mentioned in the show is located "on East Cameron". Lampshaded in the second-season premiere when Rebecca learns Greg has been going to regular meetings at an address on East Cameron.
      Rebecca: What's on East Cameron?
      Paula: Literally everything.
    • A mini-version in "When Do I Get To Spend More Time with Josh?": Nathaniel continually mistakes Josh (or pretends to mistake Josh) for the guy that changes the water cooler. It then spreads to the rest of the office.
    Maya: Excuse me, sir. Before you go, would you mind changing the water cooler?
    Josh: [cheerfully] Mind? Nah. Love this stuff.
    Maya: Thank you.
    Rebecca: He's not... [Josh tosses the empty bottle on the floor and inserts the new one] ...Never mind.
    • The Truly Butter commercials and ads. Subsequently, Rebecca actually taking advice from them. Just as a fun fact, the flight stewardess in 3.05 is the woman who voices the butter commercials.
    • Valencia visually "playing" instruments during her solo songs, but clearly... not. Just take a look for yourself in "Women Gotta Stick Together" and "My Movement".
  • Satire/Parody/Pastiche: A lot of the songs of the show are pastiches of popular artists. They have all been listed on the Shout Out page.
  • Scatting: Calvin Young, when he takes Paula to a jazz club, starts scatting along to the music.
  • Selective Obliviousness:
    • This is how Rebecca's Ambiguous Disorder most prominently manifests. She constantly denies that she moved to West Covina to date Josh or that she even wants to date Josh, before running across town to "spontaneously" bump into him at a location he checked into on Facebook. As shown in the song "I Have Friends", she has been this way since at least Middle School.
    • Josh has a happy-go-lucky laid back image he really wants to maintain. He's willing to overlook Rebecca's zany behavior and Valencia's put downs to maintain it.
  • Serious Business:
    • Subverted in "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?". Rebecca tries making the Pie Contest Serious Business in order to give herself and Paula something new to base their friendship on, but it's clearly not that important to any of them.
    • Played straight in "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!" In the midst of a serious court case, all it takes is Paula showing everyone the titular text and suddenly it's the most important thing in the world. To the point of the judge presiding the case offering to get Rebecca a police escort to help her break into Josh's place to delete the message from his phone.
    • In "When Will Josh See How Cool I Am?", donuts are this for the biker guys in Greg's AA meeting.
  • Ship Sinking: Greg's father tells Rebecca that Greg is happy in Emory and has found a new love interest. Rebecca then has sex with Greg's dad. Grebecca is officially at the bottom of the ocean.
  • Silent Credits: At the end of "I Never Want To See Josh Again." Which wraps up with Rebecca Driven to Suicide on a flight to Los Angeles. It is not played for comedy at all.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Audra Levine to Rebecca Bunch. Rebecca has tried to make peace more than once, arguing that they're Not So Different, but Audra's never been interested.
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: In her fantasy numbers, Rebecca is often on the end of a good deal of comedic violence, from the anal waxing in "Sexy Getting Ready Song" through the various physical humiliations of "I'm So Good at Yoga" to being boinked in numerous unlikely positions in "Oh My God I Think I Like You". In "Heavy Boobs", her boobs smack another dancer in the eye and give her "permanent retinal damage" and at the end of the song, Rebecca and all the dancers are moaning in pain from all the boob-swinging they've had to do.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Although the series starts out as a Deconstruction of rom-com tropes, it's actually mostly positive and optimistic, at least at the outset. Then, especially from mid-season 2, the peppy veneer slowly falls apart.
  • Slow Clap: At the end of "Josh and I Go to Los Angeles!," the entire group of plaintiffs from around the San Gabriel Valley give Rebecca a slow clap for trying to help them all.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Aunt Myrnanote  is this in spades in "Paula Needs to Get Over Josh!" (due to her having competed on Star Search).
  • The Snark Knight: Greg feels like an unappreciated sane person who's doing uncharacteristically bad in a backwards town. it takes Heather of all people to make him realize his standards are way too high.
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion:
    • The first song, "West Covina":
      • The lyrics, "My life's about to change, oh my gosh / Because I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with... West Covina!" In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!," this is actually called back when Josh does a reprise of "West Covina" and sings, "It's Nirvana, it's Heaven, it's Mecca / Yes, I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with...West Covina!"
      • Later in the same song, the following line happens: "Look everyone, stop giving me the shakedown / I am not having a nervous—" and she cuts herself off at the last word before saying "West Covina" again.
    • From "This is My Movement": "My movement's getting stronger / There's no containing it / I can't wait any longer / I've really really got to shhhhhhhine a light on this issue!
  • Surfer Dude: Josh, White Josh, Father Brah, and their friends. None are shown surfing, but the cultural indicators are there. Unsurprising for a work set two hours from the California coast (four in traffic).
  • The Tag: Every episode, with the exception of "My Mom, Greg's Mom and Josh's Sweet Dance Moves!", has one.
  • Take That!:
    • Greg's description of his Thanksgiving:
      Greg: "It was like Pearl Harbor meets the movie Pearl Harbor."
    • To, of all things, LinkedIn, after Rebecca has slept with the hippie guacamole guy:
      Hippie Guy: So, I'll call you?
      Rebecca: That's, that's okay.
      Hippie Guy: Text?
      Rebecca: [reluctant] Uh...
      Hippie Guy: Find you on Facebook?
      Rebecca: Take a hint, dude.
      Hippie Guy: [grins] LinkedIn it is. {leaves]
      Rebecca: Ah, dude, nobody is on LinkedIn!
    • Greg thinks it's pretty obvious that after Fight Club, Chuck Palahniuk is a "one-trick pony".
    • Rebecca calls Cornell "the community college of Ivy League schools".
    • Paula scores a double-hit:
      Paula: Twilight! It's only the greatest love story since Shakespeare... In Love!
    • Rebecca says that Anna's salon is so exclusive that "I heard Mary-Kate Olsen had to pretend to be Elizabeth Olsen to get in."
  • That Came Out Wrong: The joke in "I Love My Daughter", in which Darryl, in an attempt to show how his love for his daughter is in no way inappropriate, keeps making one Accidental Innuendo after another.
    • Much of this is a sappy Country Music Parody of the song "Butterfly Kisses" by Bob Carlisle, which has been interpreted as having a similar subtext. Darryl's relationship with his actual daughter has none of that subtext.
  • Those Two Guys: Tim and Jim, a pair of guys at Whitefeather & Associates who rag on Paula.
  • Three Minutes of Writhing:
    • "The Sexy Getting Ready Song" includes this as part of a parody of contemporary R&B.
    • As does "Sex with a Stranger".
    • "Put Yourself First" did this with five high school girls and a creepy Terry Richardson lookalike furtively snapping photos of them while wearing a shirt that says "Male Gaze".
  • Through the Eyes of Madness:
    • The musical numbers are played as if they're really happening, but many are also implied to be taking place within Rebecca's head. In later episodes, other characters start singing without Rebecca being present, implying her "madness" has spread to them.
    • Season 2 hints that the reason Mrs. Hernandez is The Voiceless is because Rebecca is too absorbed in her own problems to notice that Mrs. Hernandez does, in fact, speak.
  • Time-Shifted Actor: Ava Acres, who plays Rebecca's younger self in flashbacks and in adult Rebecca's occasional bouts of psychosis.
  • Title Drop:
    • In "That Text Was Not Meant For Josh!" Paula and her husband Scott don't just drop the title in conversation, they drop the entire expository theme song which is then followed by the title card.
    • Season 2's theme song is dropped similarly in "Can Josh Take a Leap of Faith?"
    • Rebecca says "Josh is irrelevant" in the episode of the same title.
  • Toilet Humor:
    • In "My First Thanksgiving With Josh", Rebecca eats a ton of spicy food at the Chans' party and then really badly needs the bathroom; luckily, we only witness the eventual aftermath.
      Rebecca: [lying facedown on her couch] Ohhh... my butthole's the gateway to hell.
    • Greg and Rebecca share more toilet humor in the first season finale; subverted as it's used to show about how much they have come to care about each other in spite of the fact that they're trying to behave like they don't:
      Rebecca: Hey, um, so, so the rea— The reason I, I, I came over, um, uh, was I, uh, I wanted to ... [Southern accent] Tell you that I...[sniffs] ...Did you fart?
      Greg: Yeah, I did. I, uh, ate a bean burrito out of the freezer from the 90s, 'cause I don't care, and, uh, I have a candle. Do you want it? I have a triple wick. I can get it. —I don't care, though.
      Rebecca: Nah, I don't care, I mean, it's, you know, it's the body. The body makes things. So I get it.
      Greg: I'm gonna, I'm gonna get it. [goes]
      Rebecca: [nodding] Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, just, cool, um... I'll probably let one rip, too, 'cause farting is hilarious. It's classic humor.
    • Season 3 has the musical number "This is My Movement", in which Valencia tries to communicate her passion for her current efforts to bring people together on social media. Unfortunately, her choice of words throughout the song make it sound like she's referring to a bowel movement instead, which Heather lampshades.
  • Too Hot for TV: Certain musical numbers were filmed twice: once with clean lyrics and once with explicit ones that were too racy for the CW. The explicit versions can be found on Rachel Bloom's Youtube channel.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: The third season's Theme Song ends with Rebecca sitting on a toilet apparently watching said Theme Song on her phone, and then going, "What?" Though it works perfectly well as a throwaway gag, this is also a plot point: The entire third season is about Rebecca slowly coming to terms with—and, for that matter, acknowledging the existence of—her mental illness.
  • Triumphant Reprise:
    • "Rebecca's Reprise" is one for "You Stupid Bitch", "I'm The Villain In My Own Story", "I Love My Daughter" and "We'll Never Have Problems Again"
    • A more subtle one happens in the season 3 finale. After Rebecca decides to plead guilty and go to prison, an instrumental version of "I'm a Good Person" starts playing in the background, which then continues into the credits.
  • Truth-Telling Session: The episode "Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy" starts with one. Rebecca's friends finally learn the truth about Robert; when they confront her about it, she flies off into a spiteful rant and blurts out all the opinions she'd been holding back about them. Everyone's shocked and hurt, except Heather, who full-on admits that she's right.
  • Tyrant Takes the Helm: Rare sympathetic example. Rebecca and Daryl offhandedly put Paula in charge of the office. She immediately puts her foot down and cracks the whip on everyone who's been annoying and bullying her the entire episode, insisting they get some of the years worth of back paperwork done. She actually finds out Tim, one of the office bullies, is in the country illegally, but draws the line at having him deported because he has kids. She settles for blackmailing him into washing her car instead.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In "Why Is Josh in a Bad Mood?", Paula uses "smash your butterfly" as a euphemism for sex. Later on, after Rebecca yells out, "Do it, Greg, smash my butterfly!" in the bedroom, Greg says this:
    Greg: If you're going for obscure metaphors, I'm right there with you. I will crumble your zebra. I will sauté your giraffe. I will flambé your cockatoo.
    • Later, in the bar, when she offers to come and find him on his break, he says that she could help him to "zest the porcupine".

    Tropes V-Y 
  • Victoria's Secret Compartment: "Josh's Sister Is Getting Married" has Rebecca pull out lollipops from her cleavage when she or someone else is feeling stressed. Mentioned in "Heavy Boobs" from the same episode:
    Here is a list of all of the objects
    That I can hold under my boobs:
    Stapler, 10 pencils, paperback copy of "Arabian Nights"
    Dog bowl, remote control, hard back copy of "Wuthering Heights".
  • Villain Protagonist: A strange case. For all intents and purposes, Rebecca is a much nicer person than Valencia is. However, she is also constantly scheming to break up Josh and Valencia, and tells lies about why she really moved to West Covina. So if the audience were to look at things in a different way, the hero of the story is the Alpha Bitch, and the villain is the supposed Nice Girl. Rebecca considers this possibility in "I'm the Villain in My Own Story" (see Villain Song below).
  • Villain Song:
    • In "Josh is Going to Hawaii!," Rebecca has a rather meta-villain song called "I'm the Villain in My Own Story", which lampshades just how sinister the song sounds.
    • Paula's "After Everything I've done for You" song is basically her revealing all the sinister things she's done just to move the plot along.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Rebecca has one of these in "All Signs Point To Josh...Or Is It Josh's Friend?", leading her to believe that she is pregnant. She isn't. She ate an egg salad sandwich from the vending machine, and as Paula points out, "they ship those sandwiches in hot trucks from Colorado".
  • Waxing Lyrical: In "That Text Was Not Meant for Josh!", when Paula and her husband talk about her dealings with Rebecca, the dialogue is basically the lyrics for the theme song (to underline the point, the scene ends with the series title card! - and the normal title sequence doesn't appear on the episode). This happens again in "Can Josh Take A Leap Of Faith" with the lyrics for the season 2 opening theme: it's a much darker turn this time, as it's her mother trying to defend her against arson charges in a flashback after she was dumped by the professor with whom she was having an affair.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Can Josh Take A Leap of Faith?" Josh leaves Rebecca at the altar to become a priest. Meanwhile, flashbacks reveal that back in college, Rebecca was having an affair with one of her professors, who happened to be married at the time. Despite his promises that he would leave his wife for Rebecca, he ended up dumping Rebecca instead, causing her to set fire to his home in revenge. She was then committed to a mental institution where she kept singing all the time. Meanwhile, back in the present, Rebecca and Paula unite to ruin Josh. Hell of a way to end a season, huh?
    • "Josh's Ex-Girlfriend Is Crazy" and "I Never Want to See Josh Again" form a one-two Wham Episode conga line. In the former, Rebecca tears down all her friends, terrorizes Josh, and has Josh tell her he never wants to see her or he will call the cops, resulting in her lowest moment: sleeping with Greg's dad and then deciding to go back home to her mother. In the next episode, Rebecca is too depressed to do anything, so her mother secretly drugs her with anxiety medication. When Rebecca finds out about this, she leaves back to LA on a plane...and ends up downing the entire bottle of pills one by one. The episode ends with her finally asking for help from the stewardess.
  • Wham Line:
    • In "I'm Going to the Beach With Josh and His Friends!" Rebecca is finally able to say to Paula in regards to Josh, "I love him so much." This indicates that she is less able to lie to herself.
    • In "When Will Josh And His Friend Leave Me Alone?", Paula's son Brendan's offscreen line when the doorbell rings, "Mom, I'll get it since you just had an abortion!"
    • The last two lines of season two immediately set the tone for season three.
    Rebecca: Josh Chan... must be destroyed.
    Paula: ...What did you have in mind?
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: In the song "I'm the Villain in My Own Story," Rebecca sings, "Who is this song's composer? It's like ridiculously sinister. Like ridonkulously sinister."
  • A Wild Rapper Appears!: Nipsey Hussle appears in "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," but as soon as he sees all the stuff Rebecca uses to get ready, he leaves, saying that he needs to apologize to a whole lot of "bitches." The stinger is him calling some "bitches" and apologizing to them.
  • Woman Child:
    • It's implied that Rebecca hasn't matured much past her teen years.
    • Josh still acts like a break-dancing Big Man on Campus despite having few prospects and almost no ambition to succeed.
    • Hector still lives with his mom, and it's clear that, apart from the dating-like subtext, their relationship hasn't changed very much since he was a kid.
    • Heather is the The Slacker variation of this, having stayed in community college for way too long and making very few concrete life choices. It doesn't stop her from dispensing advise.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • The entire theme of the show is Rebecca thinking she's the heroine in a grand romantic story but (mostly) not grasping how she comes off, or that she's in a black dramedy musical TV series rather than a romantic comedy film.
    • Paula likes to pretend she's the sassy best friend in a campy Romantic Comedy and Rebecca is the lead. This leads to bad advice on how to get Josh and/or destroy Valencia. Or destroy Josh.
    • The second season has Rebecca thinking she and Josh are now totally in love and having a fun romance. Josh, having realized how Rebecca was stalking him in the entire first season, is now concerned he's in a horror story stuck with an insane woman.
    • The third season has Rebecca embracing the horror story genre, staying with it even after being reminded that the villain usually dies at the end. When it doesn't turn well, Josh Groban sings that it is "The End of the Movie," and she leaves West Covina.
  • Yandere: For a show called "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", it would be perfectly normal for anyone not familiar with it to expect the eponymous character to be this. As it turned out, Rebecca avoids the "violent" part of the trope (well, most of the time, see below), but fits the Stalker with a Crush part to a T, and her schemes, while not nefarious, can take ridiculous proportions just so she can spend more time with Josh:
    • She threatens with physical violence a kid in order to find out about Greg's whereabouts.
    • During the Triceratops drug trip, she imagines herself as, well, a triceratops, and in her hallucination she rips Josh's heart out and feast on it in a very bloody fashion. When she wakes up, she straight up says that she wants to kill Josh. Uh-oh.
    • After taking Nathaniel's nasty comments about Josh for a whole episode, on top of being stressed over the threat of seeing people get fired if she didn't fulfill his objectives, she snaps, takes a pen and jumps on him, fully intending on stabbing him. Interestingly enough, later on she asked Josh to recreate this event as foreplay.
    • Season 2 finale gives us another example, and a quite poignant one at that: it is revealed that Rebecca actually is a bona fide Yandere. Back in law school, she was in love with her married teacher, who led her on and ultimately decided to stay with his wife, taking full advantage of her. Rebecca's reaction was to set his place ablaze. What follows is a slow downward spiral in which Rebecca is prosecuted for her actions and ends up in a mental facility in which she is on pills every day and is singing to herself. And now, she has been rejected again and left at the altar, no less. Now there is no doubt that she is, in fact, unhinged, no longer on meds, and potentially dangerous to others.
    • The start of Season 3 mostly plays these tendencies for laughs, as it turns out Rebecca's pretty bad at coming up with revenge schemes when she's actually trying. Until Josh finally gets around to reading the file Trent gave him and shares it with Paula, causing Rebecca to feel like everyone has turned on her. At that point, she goes completely off the rails and starts stalking Josh like the villain in a slasher movie.
  • Yet Another Christmas Carol: "Josh Has No Idea Where I Am!" is this, only without the Christmas. Dr. Akopian serves as Rebecca's "dream ghost."