Territory Stories

Sunday Territorian 14 Feb 2016



Sunday Territorian 14 Feb 2016


Sunday Territorian; NewspaperNT




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Community newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.; Australian newspapers -- Northern Territory -- Darwin.

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Nationwide News Pty. Limited

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SUNDAY FEBRUARY 14 2016 TV 27 V1 - NTNE01Z01MA TV this week Sunday, February 14, 2016 Youd have to be crazy to miss the new musical comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, now airing on Eleven. Guy Davis speaks with its co-creator and star, Rachel Bloom. Rachel Bloom may not be a household name just yet but give it a few minutes and thats likely to change. The unfairly talented writer and performers profile has been slowly but steadily rising over the past few years, initially due to a series of YouTube videos that showcased her wicked sense of humour and terrific prowess as a singer and actor. Clips such as Historically Accurate Disney Princess Song, in which the fantasies of Blooms fairy-tale character bump up against the conventions of ye olde times (such as child brides and unchecked diseases) caught the attention of millions of viewers. (A warning, however: Blooms humour can get a tad racy and risqu. Just so you know.) Her YouTube videos also caught the attention of more than a few Hollywood big shots, including Devil Wears Prada screenwriter Aline Brosh McKenna, who got in contact with Bloom just over two years ago to discuss a possible collaboration on a TV series. It was like this blind date, Bloom recalls. Aline didnt know what I was going to be like, because in the videos I played this glammed-up personality, but for the meeting I showed up wearing my glasses and cargo pants and Aline went, Oh, good, this person is sane, this person is like me. We just clicked, and we came out of that meeting knowing we were going to make a show called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. And they did! Now airing on Tens digital channel Eleven, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend tells the story of Rebecca Bunch, a successful but depressed New York lawyer who impulsively quits her job and relocates to California in search of the happiness thats eluded her (and in pursuit of Josh, the hunk she briefly dated in her teens). Needless to say, nothing Blooming talent really goes according to plan. But Rebeccas quest to figure out who she really is and what she really wants is funny, moving and eyeopening not to mention toetappingly tuneful, with many of the situations expressed and elaborated upon in song and tremendously played by Bloom, who recently picked up a Golden Globe for her performance. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend was an idea Aline had for a movie, and when she watched my videos she realised that it could be a TV show starring me and using music to tell the story, because she had seen friends otherwise intelligent people! just debase themselves for love, Bloom says with a laugh. And there was also the idea that women are sold such contradictory messages love will solve all your problems, so get married and Labour of love: Rachel Bloom is the co-creator and star of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, showcasing her wit and singing prowess (below). have kids, but there are also conflicting pressures to be a career woman and have it all. Aline has been writing romantic comedies for years, and this was a messed-up deconstruction of the genre shes been writing. Indeed, all the trappings of the traditional romantic comedy are evident in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, from the pushy but adorable best friend (Donna Lynne Champlin as Paula, who eagerly indulges and enables Rebecca) to the love triangle that develops between Rebecca, the happy-go-lucky Josh (Vincent Rodriguez III) and Joshs sardonic friend Greg (Santino Fontana). But theyre often given a twist thats wry or witty or just plain odd, even down to the title of the show, which is just a little ironic, as the opening credits indicate. Oh, yeah! Bloom laughs. Im so glad we have a musical opening that uses the words nuanced and sexist. The musical element of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a standout, with the catchy songs making the more ridiculous elements of Rebeccas life make a bit of sense while taking rational situations to ridiculous extremes. The songs are inherently fantasy, so they allow us to distill a persons emotional state or point of view in the way we couldnt if it was just, say, a monologue, Bloom says. A song can give us subtext in a way that wouldnt be there if someone was speaking. They give an insight into a person that they wouldnt normally express. The show is also winning praise for its sensitive but forthright depiction of depression, but one has to wonder if Bloom has an eventual happy ending in mind for Rebecca. Well, we kind of know in broad strokes how the show ends, Bloom says. The second Rebecca is happy, theres no show anymore. The show is about someone trying to figure out what actually makes her happy and what she wants out of life, and the show is a search for identity. I think Rebecca knew she wasnt happy and then sought out the wrong cure a man. She was losing herself in the fantasy of love, which was like a drug. But while the decision to chase after Josh wasnt right, the decision to pursue her own happiness was right. n Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Thursday, Eleven 8.30pm. Bloom: The songs are inherently fantasy, so they allow us to distill a persons emotional state or point of view in the way we couldnt if it was just, say, a monologue. Two nice things happened when Nines new sitcom Here Come the Habibs premiered the other week: It got some very solid ratings, attracting close to two million viewers nationwide at its peak. And it didnt lead to rioting in the streets. You see, there was a bit of chatter before the culture-clash comedy about a Lebanese-Australian family that wins the lottery and moves into a posh and primarily Anglo Sydney neighbourhood went to air about how potentially divisive, inflammatory and insulting the show might be. A lot of such chatter came from people who hadnt actually seen the show, by the way, but thats in the past now, so lets move on. After all, series co-creator and co-star Rob Shehadie has plenty of celebrate. Not only the good ratings All my first cousins tuned in, which helped, he laughs but the generally positive response Here Come the Habibs received. Looking on social media, I found everyone was very positive, Shehadie says. Well, not everyone, because its not everyones cup of tea. Thats fine, there are certain shows that I dont like, and I dont expect every person in Australia to like this show. But generally the response has been positive, and Im relieved that we have the first episode out of the way because impressing viewers the first time is always the toughest thing to do. Shehadie adds that he was happy Here Come the Habibs was able to dispel some of the misconceptions that had surrounded the show. What you got to see is theres nothing racist about it, he says. When the Habibs moved in next door to the ONeills, the ONeills werent trying to get rid of them because of their background or their culture its because Olivia ONeill wanted the house that was once in her family. So we kind of shut down all those keyboard warriors that were calling it racist. Yes, there was the odd stereotypical joke in there but it was lighthearted, because making a show that was familyfriendly. Shehadie gives Nine a bit of credit for that degree of relatability, saying that the makers of the show had more of a straight comedy in mind but the network, which has more expertise when it comes to doing a show thatll appeal to as many Australians as possible, suggested adding a few dramatic elements and a bit of a love story as the series progresses. n Here Come The Habibs Tuesday, Nine, 8.30pm. Fuss turns to fun and laughs After some early controversy, Nines new sitcom Here Come the Habibs is now attracting attention for the right reasons its funny and entertaining. Guy Davis speaks with the shows Rob Shehadie. Here come the laughs: Rob Shehadie (fourth from left) with his Here Come The Habibs co-stars Camilla Ah Kin, Sam Alhaje, Helen Dallimore, Tyler De Nawi and Kat Hoyos.