The Golden Globe-winning star and co-creator of The CW’s quirky musical-comedy series is again singing and dancing across West Covina as the occasionally reality-challenged attorney Rebecca Bunch for a second season of romantic misadventures. But this time, as Bloom reveals, Rebecca’s moving forward with a greater degree of self-awareness following her epiphany about exactly why she’s doing what she’s doing in the SoCal suburb: it’s all for the love of Josh Chang.
Bloom dishes all about the new season, the new songs and even a new singer among the returning cast.
What’s the big picture scope of Season 2?
Rachel Bloom: Change is hard. Changing your life is hard: once you isolate what might make you happy, how do you actually put that into practice? And so that’s something we’re really exploring. That’s why we have a new theme song because the old theme song was the thesis statement of Season 1, which is denial: “I happen to be where Josh lives. That’s why I’m here.” And that’s not the season anymore. She’s blatantly been like, “Yep. That’s why I’m here.” And so where we go from there.
You guys set a pretty high bar for yourselves already.
Luckily, we kind of know the overall arc of the series, so we know what we wanted to do with her this season emotionally, and what we wanted to do with the rest of the characters. So it’s a matter of just following that line, and how do you execute that?
It’s been interesting to see her grow as a person, and still not lose sources of comedy in her character. What was the challenge of finding new jokes in the evolving Rebecca?
Well, now, she’s finally admitting she’s in love. Whatever shape that is, there were so many — I mean, we couldn’t do many love songs last year because she was in denial for a lot of the time. And so the ability to even do that opens up a whole different world. Even though, if she’s rejected or whatever, the idea to actually have her admit to herself certain feelings and be in the throes of all of these things that she’s not denying anymore, it opens up this whole new world of stories and songs.
Where does the new season pick up?
I will say it’s more than a second and less than 20 years. It’s going to absolutely explore every repercussion of what just happened.
Where is she at with her relationship with Paula?
Good. They came to kind of a detente, kind of a conclusion. But Paula and her, they kind of made up before she slept with Josh, and so that has repercussions as well. And Paula is going to be exploring within herself: “Why did I act the way I did?” And Paula is doing a lot of soul searching this season.
I’m really excited for what we do with Paula this season and what Donna Lynne [Champlin] does with it. We just filmed the musical number with her the other day, and she just knocks it out of the park. And man, I am trying so hard to get her a Golden Globe Award. I mean, everyone in our cast is amazing, but the things she does with the character of Paula and works with us on, I’m really excited for what we’re doing with Paula and exploring what is the feminism with the character of Paula, and what are her dreams? What are her goals? She’s not just a sidekick.
Are we going to see some new characters or faces return?
Gabrielle Ruiz is now a series regular, so that’s really exciting. We will be seeing some new [characters], but not for a while. There are a lot of things to deal with just the characters we have. But you’ll see.
And Daryl and White Josh …?
They are still going strong! They are my favorite. I mean, I got to be on set when they first kissed, and man, my heart, like the Grinch, grew like five sizes. I love them as a couple. We love writing storylines for them. They’re both brilliant actors, I mean, brilliant.
And David Hull — the character of White Josh has changed so much because David Hull, beefcake-looking gym trainer, is whip smart and so insightful. And so it’s been so funny to explore the contradictions within a character like that, what could be a joke. “Oh, he’s a gym trainer, and he’s kind of like this buddy. And he could be a dimwit, and he’s not a dimwit at all.” He’s really smart and insightful, and I love that relationship.
Has the music come easily? Were you afraid you might dry out after doing so many songs in Season 1?
It’s definitely – because we’ve done so many songs and so many songs last season were things that I’ve always wanted to do, with a musical TV show, we come around this season, we’ve got to think a little bit more for genres, but I’m really proud of what we’ve been doing.
But ah, man, there’s one song in particular, I’ll tell you about it after it airs. We had six or seven drafts in the trash bin. And so some come easy. There was another draft that we wrote in 15 minutes, so it’s 15 minutes to five days.
It’s a train that keeps moving no matter what I do. So all you can do, if you’re falling a little behind, is run as fast as you can and you’ll catch up with the train. But that’s the thing, there’s no choice but to work. Especially for me: every day I get to set, I have to be in these scenes. So even if I’m like, “I’m not feeling it today,” that doesn’t matter.
I work with such amazing people. We are getting to do the exact show we want to do. So every day, even on the hardest days, it’s still fun and it still is a joy. And often the hardest days are the music video days, which are also the most fun days. So there’s a real big payoff for everyone on the crew.
Tell me about the musical genres you get to play with.
Sure, sure. We have “Lemonade,” it’s not a parody, but it’s a “Lemonade”-like sendoff in the very first episode that’s just this kind of very high production value, dreamy, filled with symbolism and metaphor musical number. We have kind of a late ’90s rock song coming off. We have a Disney song. Paula does a Disney song, let’s just say. That’s a lot. There you go.
Did anybody get a little more musical attention than they got in Season 1 this time around? Do we see other characters that are getting more singing time or dancing time?
Coming up is Vella Lovell, who plays Heather Davis — she has some songs coming up!
What’s the big challenge you wanted to set for yourself in Season 2 — for you in particular?
Make it still feel real, and to keep challenging ourselves and keep doing new stuff, especially with the musical numbers. Not touch on things we’ve done before. Last season was so bucket list, especially personally for a lot of the songs we did. So this season, it’s like, “Okay, how do we do new stuff that doesn’t feel less-than? That doesn’t feel like a ‘de-heightening?'”
Season 2 of “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” premieres Friday, October 21, on The CW.