Rachel Bloom on 'Crazy Ex-Girlfriend' Season 3, Her Songwriting Process and Plans for a Broadway Musical

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Rachel Bloom plays "a woman scorned" in the "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" season 3 premiere. Tyler Golden/The CW

Rachel Bloom is no Rebecca Bunch, the character Bloom plays on the series she co-created, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. While Rebecca casually ignores her law career in pursuit of ill-advised romance, Bloom puts in 12 to 14 hour days on the set of her Golden Globe-winning CW musical show—starring, writing, executive producing, singing, dancing and songwriting. (So far, no catering.)

Bloom has a sweet spot: Hilariously raunchy tunes. She nailed that genre with her 2010 music video, "Fuck Me, Ray Bradbury" (released on the sci-fi legend's 90th birthday—thoughtful!), and has perfected it with her CW show, which returns for season 3 on October 13. Each episode features at least two songs that both tie into the episode and work as standalone videos—the sort you'd tag your BFF as "literally us." Give "The Sexy Getting Ready Song," "Oh My God I Think I Like You" and "Remember That We Suffered" a listen and you'll see what we mean.

When we left Rebecca at the end of season 2, Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III)—the ex-boyfriend who started all the crazy—had abandoned her at the altar. For one terrifying moment it seemed like the openly depressed and manic Rebecca might throw herself off a cliff. Instead she turns around and makes a promise: "Josh Chan must be destroyed."

In other words, things are going to get deeply crazier in season 3, premiering October 13. Bloom spoke to Newsweek about the upcoming season, her songwriting process and her plans for a Broadway musical and more.

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The Golden Globe-winning actress returns to the CW this Friday for "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" season 3. Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal/Getty Images

The season 3 trailer suggests things are going to get dark.
It's my favorite season. It's the kind we've wanted to do all along. The story Rebecca is telling herself is wildly different. In the first season she was telling herself, 'Josh just happens to be here"' [Rebecca left a high-powered New York City law career to essentially stalk him in California]. In the second she was saying, 'I'm just a girl in love.' This season she's starting out with, 'I am a woman scorned.' The story she tells herself keeps changing, and that's what makes the show so propulsive narratively.

Which songs are you most excited about?
The songs in the premiere are two of the best we've done. The first is Disney-inspired, and the second is 80s-inspired. The second episode has four full songs, and that's very rare for one episode, but there were a lot of emotional highs and lows to cover. And Joseph Kahn, who directed Taylor Swift's "Look What You Made Me Do,"' directed all of episode 4—as well as our new theme song—and the musical numbers in that one are stellar. We're doing some new stuff this year, formatting- and genre-wise.

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The "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" season 3 premiere will feature an '80s-inspired musical number. Greg Gayne/The CW

Walk me through your songwriting process, right up to choreographing the number.
It depends on where we are in the season. Perfect example: For [season 3] episode 8, we were about to go into prep for the episode and we didn't have finished songs. We brainstormed a little, and Jack [Dolgen, songwriter and producer] and Adam [Schlesinger, songwriter and executive music producer] did the first passes and I came in midway to punch them up. We just filmed one of those songs today, which was a dance number, and that took half the day. We are filming the other song Thursday, and the dance rehearsal was today and tomorrow. So it always depends on where we are in the season, and what the number demands. There's a number in episode 9 where I just want to go to the location with our director and choreographer and plan it out there.

We're trying to do a lot of things [with our songs]. They need to relate to the story and the characters, but you also can't [write anything] too specific to the characters because then they read as plot-y rather than funny. For example, last season we knew we needed a duet between Rebecca and [her best friend] Paula [Donna Lynne Champlin]. The original song was "What's The Right Emoji To Say I Love You?" But Adam brought up the good point that there are a lot of songs about emojis. He came up with "You Go First," which is like, "I want to tell you I'm sorry, but you go first." It's such a relatable emotion, but also specific to to Rebecca and Paula. Finding the concept is always the hard part.

The show does a great job of bringing the funny to the complexities of mental illness, without trivializing or turning Rebecca (who in addition to depression and anxiety possibly suffers from a personality disorder) into a caricature. Did President Trump's determination to overturn Affordable Health Care—which could limit drug coverage—or the rise of the "alt-right" affect how you wrote the season?
Things change too quickly in this administration, so we try to look at the macro trends rather than things that are going on right now. We're a show about relationships, and we're very interested, especially this season, in finding a common ground between people. It was apparent even last year with the character of Nathaniel [Rebecca's new boss]; we haven't really dug into him yet, but he's probably a classic, old-school Republican—definitely way more fiscally conservative than someone like Rebecca. But part of what I love about that character is taking someone who is an alpha male and going, "OK, what's made him that way? What's his soft underbelly?"

I feel very helpless using social media to try and change people's minds; everyone is just shouting at each other. We have a song in season one, "I'm A Villain In My Own Story"—that's when you start to get into trouble, when you see people as villains, or as binary good and evil. That's not what people are. So I think in some way current events have made us swing even more towards what we were already doing, which is exploring the humanity in everyone.

Could there ever be a Crazy Ex-Girlfriend where Rebecca gets healthy?
Yes, absolutely. It's just a matter of what's the story there. We've had her on different upswings: She almost had a good relationship with Greg in the last couple of episodes of season 1. She was somewhat on the mend when she turned Josh down in the eighth episode of the second season. She goes through stints of recovery. The hard part—and this is true for [anyone] getting better as a person—is making it stick.

You sang a charming song at the Emmys this year. How was performing live?
The thing I'll say about award shows and live events is: There's a prompter! Donna Lynne, Vinny and I performed "We'll Never Have Problems Again" at the TV Upfronts [when the industry presents shows to potential advertisers in the spring]. We were changing who sang what and Donna Lynne was like, "Oh god, how am I going to memorize that?" I said, "Donna Lynne, there's a teleprompter." Donna Lynne comes from Broadway, and she goes, "A teleprompter?" And I was like, "Yeah!"

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Rachel Bloom at the 2017 Emmy Awards performing an original musical number, "The Best Part of the Show," in which she introduced the accountants from Ernst & Young. Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Speaking of Broadway, your fans would love to see you there. Any plans for that?
Yeah! A Broadway musical is definitely a massive goal and priority. I wrote a musical before we pitched Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and some of the subject matter overlaps. It was literally called Broadway Crazy. Around the time I was writing it, I met with Aline [Brosh McKenna, co-creator of Crazy Ex] and she separately came up with the idea for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend — that was her idea, and we just intersected. I would take some of the songs I wrote for Broadway Crazy and find a different angle on the story so as not to be repetitive. But my priority right now is making the TV show the best it can be, and finishing a book. I have a book deal!

Earlier this month you tweeted out a Crazy-Ex Girlfriend fan theory, where you proposed that Rebecca is secretly Greg, who left last season, in disguise.
We were on set, filming a particularly heavy episode for me, and I just wanted to laugh. Fans ask about Greg a lot, tweeting and Instagramming me—"Bring him back!" I'm not gonna bring him back because you demand it—we have a story we're telling! And then I thought, 'Oh, but it would be funny if the justification for his leaving was that he literally is Rebecca, so he's been here the whole time. And then it just spiraled from there.

This is a #crazyexgirlfriend fan theory I'm working on. pic.twitter.com/VzBpZVHSDN

— Rachel Bloom (@Racheldoesstuff) September 15, 2017

Given the show features a woman who ditches her life for an ex-boyfriend, what is the most embarrassing thing you've done for an ex?
Made a TV show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend just to get through to him. He knows who he is.