Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom) is TV’s reigning queen of bad choices, and she makes another in the second season premiere this Friday, October 21, at 9 p.m. Eastern on The CW. Her co-conspirator is Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III), and their act is sex. But as they sing in the musical number The A.V. Club is premiering below, “We Should Definitely Not Have Sex Right Now,” they know that they should not be getting down and dirty. Fornication between these two should ostensibly be something of a victory for Rebecca, but given where last season ended, the situation is complicated. After all, Rebecca had been sleeping with Greg (Santino Fontana), before he drunkenly rebuffed her at a wedding and she ended up in Josh’s embrace. There, in a post-coital cuddle, she awkwardly confessed that she moved to West Covina to be with him. Now they’re in an emotionally unbalanced relationship: She’s fully invested, while he’s trying to keep things chill, but sex is on the menu, regardless. The A.V. Club talked to Crazy co-creator Aline Brosh McKenna, who broke down the song and talked about the episode’s Donald Trump moment.
The A.V. Club: The big news in the video is that Josh and Rebecca are having sex.
Aline Brosh McKenna: In the first episode we talk about how they are having that kind of no-strings relationship that we refer to as “f-sploitation.” I think everybody is familiar with these relationships where two people are on different pages about the level of commitment they want to have. The person who is more interested in commitment is saying, “Oh no, it’s fine, it’s fine, the relationship is fine the way it is, I don’t need anything more than this. I don’t want anything more than this. I’m fine.” Rebecca’s kind of minimizing what she wants out of the relationship, and they both know that this is not a good idea for different reasons. But I think when you’re in those relationships, you often have these things where you have a very smart, cogent conversation about why this wouldn’t be a good idea and then you do it anyway—and that’s what the song is.
AVC: Last season you ended with them getting together, but then there’s a moment of, “Oh shit, what did Rebecca say that may have thwarted her grand plan?” Why did you want to take it into this no-strings attached relationship? This is sort of what Rebecca wanted, but not exactly.
ABM: I think a lot of the time when you have these asymmetrical relationships where you’re more into someone than they are into you, you often end up having to buy back things. Whether it’s like too doting of a look, too many phone calls, too fancy of a greeting card, anything you’ve done where you feel you’ve sort of overplayed your hand. And that’s what she does at the end of season one. She overplays her hand big time. So she has to buy that back. Then because of that he kind of knows that she’s more into him than he’s into her. That’s why the fact that he continues to sleep with her, knowing that they have this lack of mutuality, that’s why we call it f-sploitation. He really is getting great, free, available sex from someone who is crazy about him. Given that people, and occasionally men, don’t examine the situation too closely, they just go with what they’re being offered.
AVC: He is into her on some level. Does the song show him inching toward a greater maturity and then tripping up on it?
ABM: No, definitely not. The song is definitely about two people who have come to the conclusion that it would be terrible terrible idea for them to have sex, having sex. I think it’s one of the more relatable songs that we’ve done in that everybody has gotten into a sexual situation thinking, “Huh, this is probably not a good idea” and then done it anyway.
AVC: What were some of the musical influences when you conceived this song?
ABM: The song was written by Rachel, Adam [Schlesinger], and Jack [Dolgen], as are most of our songs. It came out of developing that first story. Weirdly, I was more involved with this one than I usually am because I said something like, “They should do a song about how they shouldn’t have sex. Maybe they sing a song called, ‘We Should Not Have Sex.’” And I walk out of the room and I came back 20 minutes later and Rachel and Jack had written 90 percent of the lyrics. Because it was such a simple idea and it really came across to them a certain way. Then they worked with Adam to finish the song and kind of come up with the groove and the track. One of the things [Adam] is particularly good at is finding the right musical vibe that complements the lyrics the three of them have written. I think we had imagined that he was going to do a track that was more ’70s sultry, and instead he did a track that has sort of a Sade vibe to it, a little bit more of that ’80s smooth vibe to it. It was getting a sexy track that sort of conveyed “we’re very attracted to each another and we are going to pretend it’s not a big deal.”
AVC: There’s also the question of what happened to Greg. What was your thinking behind having Rebecca and Josh processing what their relationship means with Greg sort of still in the picture?
ABM: One of the things that makes their relationship kind of sexy right now is it has this bit of the elicit. They’re worried about how Greg’s going to feel about it. They know if he found out about it would be hurtful. So they have a lot of well-reasoned logic about why they should not have sex. But the conclusion they come to after much discussion is, we should definitely not have sex right now, while they’re having sex.
AVC: What did you want to explore with that romantic triangle over the season?
ABM: Rebecca has sort of cast herself at the center of this triangle. It’s not 100-percent clear that these men see the situation quite the way she does. She has definitely cast herself as the dramatic heroine, torn between these two men, and she’s making the mistake that people make of defining herself based on which man she’s having a relationship with. We all know that’s not a good idea. But she would rather not think of the realities of her own issues and her own mental health. She would much rather spend time obsessing over this boy, that boy, which is a thing that’s very easy to fall into especially when you’re in your 20s. The conversations you should be having about your priorities, sometimes gets transferred to, who should I be dating?
AVC: You have a new opening credits sequence, which ends with a picture of Josh’s face. The situation with Greg had Rebecca questioning whether Josh was the person. Is the credits sequence representative of what she really feels or what she’s trying to convince herself of now?
ABM: When they made love, she feels like she got 1,000-percent confirmation that he loved her and they are meant to be together. The first season was about denial; the second season is about certainty: “I know we’re meant to be together; it’s just a question of him figuring it out.” She really triples down on Josh. With respect to the triangle, anytime you really find yourself in a triangle of this kind, it really has nothing to do with the other people and has more to do with it has to do with where you are in your life. That’s an unnatural situation that doesn’t have to do with any mutuality or adult behavior. We always say that on some level that a lot of these characters’ behavior is sixth-grade behavior. She is very much in a sixth-grade love triangle.
AVC: One of her own invention.
ABM: Exactly. And having shepherded two children through sixth grade, I feel like we are doing an accurate job of conveying that.
AVC: Where do you see Josh’s place in all of this? He’s into the sex, but is obtaining his love an unreasonable goal for Rebecca. He has been attracted to her for a long time.
ABM: For sure. He’s not just been attracted to her, but I think part of him is very much in love with her. I think he really respects and admires and looks up to her. She’s one of the very, very few people on earth who takes him seriously: She takes his goals seriously, she takes his values seriously, she takes his family seriously. She really puts him on a pedestal. He loves that. I think the problem for Josh is that sometimes he substitutes others’ opinions of him for his own goals and his own mission in the world. But she has such an exalted view of him, and he’s very attracted to that. She kind of sees a better future for him than he ever could have imagined for himself. I think he finds that bewitching in addition to what we now see is their physical chemistry.
AVC: What is Rebecca’s goal for this season?
ABM: Her goal is to make sure that Josh understands that certainty that she sees, that written-in-the-stars destiny that she sees. As always, her goal will wander and waver and she will question herself and question those things. But overall it’s what we said in the credit sequence. She’s a girl in love and she can’t be held responsible for her actions.
AVC: Once again, there are a range of styles and musical influences at play. Do you have a different aim for the music this season?
ABM: The goals for the music are always to elucidate the emotional highs and lows of the episodes and to get into the characters’ psyches in a way that we can’t strictly through dialogue. We always write the episode first and when we look at the episode we look at the sort of highs and the lows and the little nooks and crannies of the characters arcs and what we can kind of bring out in there. We have just gotten better at identifying those more quickly; we’ve gotten better at identifying what the song that’s going to work more quickly. The whole process has been expedited because the first season we were doing something that hasn’t been done before in terms of doing two or three new musical numbers per episodes, originals. We did 49 last year, and we are on a pace this year again to do two or three per episode. The process has gotten smoother, but they serve the same function in the story.
AVC: In the premiere, Josh is talking to Hector (Erick Lopez), and they mention that because Rebecca is “crazy,” she’s therefore really good at sex. That’s a long-held belief, I think, by men. It came up recently in the presidential hoopla: Trump once made that comment about Lindsay Lohan. So what did you want to get at with having them buy into this about Rebecca?
ABM: It is a common thing that you hear and it’s really a not very woke thing to be saying about women. But it is a thing you sometimes hear guys say. I think that more than crazy, in her relationship with Josh, Rebecca is emotionally desperate and eager to please him. And if you go to bed with people who are emotionally desperate to please you, you probably get more out of it than if you go to bed with someone who could take you or leave you.
AVC: What do you think about the political relevancy of that comment in 2016?
ABM: I just didn’t think that you’d find a presidential candidate saying things that supporting characters on sitcoms say. But nothing surprises me anymore when you have a guy who checks out Hillary Clinton’s butt.