Best Running Gags in “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend”

by Hayley Taylor
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Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW musical series, is incredibly engaging. Many episodes throughout its four-season run contain kernels of references that fans can appreciate. Today, I’m giving you my list for the ten best running gags in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. These themes and jokes range from meaningful, to hilarious. Grab some boba and pretzels, and let’s get started! 

1. Pretzels

In the first song of the show, Rebecca is raised into the air as she sits on a huge soft pretzel. The theme of pretzels pops-ups up many times in the series. In season four, Rebecca opens up a pretzel stand called Rebetzel’s Pretzels. Even the pretzels themselves sing a song complaining about being a life motif. The puns about the pretzels being “kneaded” by Rebecca and having “twisted fates” also make this the best running gag in the show.

2. Only two hours from the beach!

West Covina is two hours from the beach, but four if you count traffic. While characters like to poke fun at West Covina by saying this, they all love living there. There’s an homage to this running gag in the first number of season three. The song parodies “Belle” from Beauty and the Beast, and they have an old-fashioned sign that says, “68,000 paces to the beach.”

3. Integration of the opening theme song

In season one, Paula and her husband recite the entire theme song when she tries to describe Rebecca’s story. Also, when people ask Rebecca why she’s in California, the intro often cuts in to explain. The season two theme song is used similarly, and there’s also a hysterical reprise sung by Trent. In season three, we see Rebecca watching the theme song on her phone. Lastly, in season four, the “other Rebecca” says something different at the end of the theme song each time. My personal favorite is: “I think I’m a fork! Uh-oh!”

4. Priest school

When Josh doesn’t show up for his wedding, he runs away to become a priest. The joke of how “priest school” sounds like “preschool” becomes a running gag throughout the show. It’s a small and simple joke, but it makes me laugh every time.

5. Life doesn’t make narrative sense.

Josh Groban makes a surprise appearance as he sings about how life isn’t like a movie in season three. This idea of life not making narrative sense carries out in the show after this episode. In season four, there’s even a reprise of the song when Rebecca realizes she needs to make changes in her life. While this show is fictional, it’s spot on about how there’s not always a reason or rhyme in real life.

6. Glitter exploding inside

Rebecca says that seeing Josh makes her feel “like glitter was exploding inside” of her. This phrase becomes a way to tell when a character has an unhealthy love for something. At Greg’s AA meeting, he used this phrase to describe the taste of his first drink. Paula describes her obsession with Rebecca’s love life in a similar way. Who knew glitter could have such a bad connotation?

7. Nathaniel’s love for the zoo

Nathaniel reveals that he loves going to the zoo in a song that parodies “Hot Line Bling.” He says he likes monkeys because “their eyes look like my eyes” (which is one of my favorite lines from the entire show). In the finale, Nathaniel becomes an attorney for a Guatemalan zoo. He repeats this quote in Spanish with tears in his eyes when he holds a Monkey. Also, he finds himself snuggling with Rebecca’s stuffed crocodile named “Ruth Gator Ginsberg” a lot.

8. By far into the season, I mean it’s almost fall.

In the chorus number “Who’s the New Guy,” they break the fourth wall many times. They reference the fact that they’re “characters” and that they’re already far into the “season.” However, they make excuses for each of these references. This also happens when Greg states how long he’ll be back in West Covina. But it sounds more like he’s describing how long he’ll be in the show itself: “I’m actually back for the whole rest of the series… of holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and the finale: Valentine’s Day.”

9. Hocus Pocus

The “girl group 4 evah,” consists of Rebecca, Heather, Valencia, and eventually Paula. In the Spice Girls parody song “Friendtopia,” they claim all citizens must watch Hocus Pocus when they overthrow the government. In season four, Kathy Najimy from the movie guest stars when they go to a showing of Hocus Pocus on Halloween. We love the power this girl group has and can relate to their love of Hocus Pocus.

10. Raging Waters

The water park “Raging Waters” is Rebecca’s version of Paris. However, Rebecca’s dream to go with Josh never happens. She also gets jealous when Nathaniel goes with his girlfriend. Thankfully, Rebecca finally ends up going in season four with Greg. But when the excursion isn’t what Rebecca imagined, she realizes that she shouldn’t value her love life over her mental health. This running gag is great because it manages to be hilarious and profound at the same time.

There are so many great running themes and gags in Crazy-Ex Girlfriend, it’s hard to choose just a few. What are your favorites? Tell us in the comments below!

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