How Crazy Ex-Female friend re-met Greg – The A.V. Club

How Crazy Ex-Female friend re-met Greg - The A.V. Club
Rachel Bloom (left) and Skylar Astin
Photo: Robert Voets (The CW)

Crazy Ex-Female friendhas by no methodology been timid about acknowledging the actual fact that it’s a TV instruct. Essentially, peeling lend a hand the curtain to acknowledge the artifice has been surely one of the most reliably engaging instruments in a crowded toolbox. It’s yielded a reputedly endless provide of routine bits, self-unsleeping title sequences and theme songs, breaks with convention, explain addresses to the viewers, and corpulent musical numbers that on the total mirror what its viewers would perhaps well undoubtedly feel a few recent character.

For a year or two, “Who’s The Unusual Guy?” and its inevitable reprise had been the most grievous example ofCrazy Ex-Female friend’s meta high-tail, but now no longer. With “I’m No longer The Person I Frail To Be,” the assortment reintroduces Greg, a central character from the instruct’s early seasons. When last we saw Greg, he became headed off to industry college, and played by Santino Fontana. Now he’s lend a hand “for the comfort of the assortment… of holidays,” and played by Skylar Astin (Pitch Qualified).

Showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna, co-creator Rachel Bloom, and the comfort of the instruct’s artistic personnel weren’t issue material to merely wink at the viewers about Greg’s recent face. In its build, they made it an integral ingredient of the storytelling, the use of the recasting as a leaping-off ticket explore topics or private enhance, belief, the evolution of relationships, and extra of the scrumptious, sticky psychological stuff the assortment is so adept at exploring.The A.V. Clubspoke with Brosh McKenna about Greg’s return, what the future would perhaps well withhold for him and Rebecca, and Astin’s ability to wriggle his methodology into the Thanksgivings and trot-room outings of a tight-knit solid.

The A.V. Club: At what point after you knew that Santino Fontana became leaving the instruct did you to ranking that Greg would return?

Aline Brosh McKenna:Greg left the instruct sooner than we had intended, obviously, because Santino wished to return to Unusual York. Whereas we had always deliberate for [Rebecca and Greg’s] ingredient to head amiss when it did, we hadn’t undoubtedly ever deliberate to private his character go fully. And so we did our most efficient to undoubtedly wrap up the foremost portion of their storyline in a aesthetic methodology.

Then as we had been planning out this last season, we began taking into consideration that character again, and his relationship along with her, and it undoubtedly did appear admire since here is a season where we’re returning to things that she’s left launch, we began speaking extra and extra about him. Since we had written off amodelof him, would perhaps well we ship lend a hand arather a fewmodel of him? And if we had been going to ship lend a hand a determined model of him, it [would be] fascinating to private him played by somebody entirely rather a few. Due to the instruct performs so much with perceptual things, with the methodology Rebecca sees the sector—it’s a undoubtedly much a first-person instruct—it began to appear stress-free and fascinating.

On the muse it became honest a belief. Rachel and I work laborious on the instruct in between seasons, after which we got captivated by it, after which we got wrathful to view to view him again, and to view what it would perhaps well be admire.

He’s been gone for a undoubtedly long time, and he’s been in restoration for 2 years. So he would be considerably rather a few in particular systems, so much in reveal that he would perhaps well appear entirely rather a few to her.

AVC: Skylar and Rachel went to university together—while you began taking into consideration who would perhaps well play the feature, became Skylar always somebody you had in mind or became there a broader casting route of? 

ABM:After we view of it, he became admire our dream person. We view, “Wow, if we would perhaps well procure him that would undoubtedly be big, and would work big,” after which we honest had been lucky that that we got him!

AVC: How did having a recent actor step into the feature substitute the writing route of for Greg’s character? Does it undoubtedly feel admire it’s coming from the identical quandary, or is it a determined trip?

ABM:He’s peaceable Greg-y, and surely one of the points that we make going ahead is that he’s peaceable the identical person. Your persona doesn’t substitute because you procure lend a hand. So we wished to undoubtedly make that time. In a while, you’ll look for that she expects him to be soentirelyrather a few, and he’s no longer. He’s, in so much of systems, peaceable the identical sarcastic, self-deprecating person.

But at the identical time, in so much of systems, hehaschanged. He spent two years in restoration alongside folk that’ve been through subtle things. He’s been through subtle things [himself]. So, I procure it’s expanded his humanity.

AVC: On the planet of the instruct, does Greg appear rather a few to Rebecca because he’s changed, because she’s changed, or some mixture of both?

ABM:Successfully, she thinks it’s because he’s changed after which at the fracture at the fracture of the episode, he’s the one who discovers, “Hiya, perhaps we’ve both changed, and that’s why you look for me otherwise.” And for all all of us know, he sees a rather rather a few person, despite the actual fact that he doesn’t appear to call it that methodology. But I procure it is undoubtedly that they’ve both changed. She’s changed so much, so her perspective is rather a few, and he does private the texture of a determined person.

It became a terribly stress-free opportunity, or it grew to change into out tobea stress-free opportunity that we didn’t notice [was possible] at the time [Fontana left the show]. Qualified to recast the character and undoubtedly address somebody seeming so rather a few. Once you bustle into an ex, and they give the influence of being so extremely rather a few as to be unrecognizable. And that became one thing that we view became comic off the bat.

How Crazy Ex-Female friend re-met Greg - The A.V. Club
Rachel Bloom, Skylar Astin
Photo: Robert Voets (The CW)

AVC: There’s an extended historical previous in film and TV of roles being recast, but I’ve by no methodology viewed it integrated into the build within the rather so explain a device, both by methodology of the staunch action of the episode, and also what’s going on thematically and emotionally.

ABM:That’s what got us taking into consideration it! It looked stress-free, and defending in tone with what we’ve been doing.

AVC: Attain you imagine that interior Greg’s head, Rebecca is all valid now played by Evan Rachel Picket or somebody?

ABM:[Laughs.] Oh, no. No, I don’t explain she seems rather a few to him. I procure that sheseemsrather a few to him, but no longer so much that she undoubtedlyseemsrather a few. , he’s in this restoration route of, so I procure he’s frail to folk metamorphosing. And he or she hasn’t laid eyes on him in that time-frame, but he acknowledges her honest away.

AVC: What became it take cling of to listen to a recent actor read that character for the foremost time?

ABM:Oh, it became undoubtedly stress-free. I mean, he is conscious of Rachel, he became on a instruct with Rene Gube [who plays Father Brah on the show, in addition to writing and producing], he knew a bunch of the folk on the instruct. I even want to exclaim, for a instruct that’s in its fourth season coming into that would be intimidating. He honest blended honest in, honest mixed honest in with the group, and aesthetic rapidly became having Thanksgiving with folk, and going to trot rooms. Socially, it became it became seamless.

AVC: What would Greg’s anecdote private looked admire without that early exit? 

ABM:Successfully, we wouldn’t private had him trail into restoration, and notice that [he needs help] so immediate. It occurs undoubtedly swiftly, that he realizes that he’s an alcoholic and needs to procure drugs. We did that over 4 episodes. We had at the muse conceived that that would occur over [the course of] season two.

After that, with Josh and Nathaniel—with every person undoubtedly—some of their tales revolve spherical Rebecca, but most of their tales revolve spherical their very procure private enhance and experiences.

AVC: Like Josh going to treatment.

ABM:We’ve been we’ve been undoubtedly loving exploring Josh since [he and Rebecca] broke up at the fracture of season two. So, , our view became always to proceed following Greg, and his evolution, and his relationship to Rebecca, and their friendship. We had imagined that he would procure into drugs at the fracture of season two, after which in season three, they would perhaps change into guests. And so we extra or much less shortened the foremost portion of it, after which return to it here. We return here to [look at] what what extra or much less connection they’ll private as guests.

AVC: So aesthetic identical, but with a dramatically rather a few timeline.

ABM:Precisely. Santino had a one-year deal, but I procure we hoped that things would determine [with] him. So we had been going to private Greg and Rebecca ruin up, but it undoubtedly became going to decide on rather longer.

AVC: The agreeable subplots in this episode are about folk missing things—Valencia and Father Brah missing their window, Josh missing out on a agreeable portion of the high college trip, Paula missing those texts. Can private to peaceable we be shopping for resonance with those subplots in Greg and Rebecca’s storyline here?

ABM:Positively, positively. The theme of the episode is adjustments over time, and what folk perceived, and what the sector has perceived, and what the characters private perceived with the passage of time. So we’ve deliberately save [Greg] in an episode where all americans goes through what occurs when time goes by, and things private changed, and so now we private these two storylines echo, honest a minute bit, the identical dilemmas from rather a few lenses.

AVC: It assuredly seems as despite the actual fact that Rebecca’s reference to Greg is the most historically rom-com-esque within the instruct, and here we procure a song a few assortment of meet-cutes.

ABM:, we tried for three primitive ones. Nathaniel is form of the inconceivable, Mr. Qualified, James-Spader-from-the-’80s, form of untouchable finest man that you simply’re in esteem with. Or even admire a Richard Gere inLovely Girlsort. Model of the wintry, shut down, inconceivable well off asshole. So he’s a trope, too. Greg is form of a tragic sack, most efficient buddy, “friendzone” man. Then Josh is the high college quarterback, quandary of delivery hero sort. So our scheme, as with Rebecca, became to decide on one thing that became a stereotype—the crazy ex-girlfriend, after which Paula’s a sidekick, and Darryl’s a goofy boss—and form of procure interior those characters to view what it undoubtedly feels take cling of to undoubtedly reside interior those characters. So he’s surely one of the tropes, but with the esteem pursuits, we’re always responsive to exploring tropes that exist already in rom-coms.

How Crazy Ex-Female friend re-met Greg - The A.V. Club
Rachel Bloom, Gabrielle Rodriguez, Vella Lovell
Photo: Robert Voets (The CW)

AVC: Are Valencia and Heather honest about Greg’s feature in Rebecca’s existence?

ABM:Successfully, I don’t know! I mean surely one of the things that cracked me up about that is that it’s admire while you ruin up with somebody, you’ve been going out for three years, and all americans goes, “Oh my god, thankgod,” and you had no view. It undoubtedly became comic to us that they’d an opinion about it, but they by no methodology voiced it because they didn’t want to be wrong, and she became pursuing relationships with folks. That’s a valid count on of [to answer] after your last count on of: He’s the individual that would seem, to [Heather and Valencia] most admire endgame, because they are decrease from the identical cloth in a technique. Nathaniel is form of a prince charming, and Josh and Rebecca positively did no longer sit down at the identical table in high college. So I procure that on the skin, on the face of it Rebecca and Greg are the most externally matched.

AVC: Yeah, it seems as despite the actual fact that all of Rebecca’s esteem pursuits mirror rather a few aspects of her persona. Like if Nathaniel is form of the ruthless points of her, and presumably also the “wow, you’re undoubtedly broken” and “holy shit, your folk” points—

ABM:And he or she’s honest a minute snobby, too.

AVC: Precisely. And then the happy points, as well to the self-obsessed points, are Josh—

ABM:And Rebecca is without problems both of those things.

AVC: So, what about Rebecca is reflected in Greg? What makes them decrease from the identical cloth?

ABM:I procure they’re neat within the identical methodology. I procure they private the identical—rather then her interest in musicals and rom-coms—references by methodology of books they read: Kurt Vonnegut, . And I procure that that Greg grew up in an ambiance where he felt admire a weirdo because he’s an psychological, offbeat man who listens to Pogues records or whatever. That’s why I declare “externally.” I procure when they trail to the e book shop, they trail to the identical portion. They private an psychological connection which is accurate, versus her psychological reference to Nathaniel, which is assuredly in defending with snobbery and stuff admire that.

AVC: Were there any conversations with Santino about the recasting of the feature, and where the character is headed?

ABM:We let him know we had been doing it. After we determined to ship [Greg] lend a hand, we let him know.

AVC: What, if the leisure, does Skylar Astin ship to Greg that’s recent or rather a few from what Santino introduced to the feature?

ABM:There became always a puny sense, and it became it became how he became written, that Greg became always very neg-y towards her from the second they meet within the bar. He is conscious of that she’s in esteem with somebody else, and he pursues her, no longer [in spite of it], but extra or much lessbecauseof it. He’s honest a minute of a emotional masochist. So he stumbled on somebody who didn’t undoubtedly care about him, became having a look for previous him, and now he’s developed. He’s been confronted with these traits in himself. So he’s extra unsleeping, and I procure it has made him a hotter, kinder person.

And here is much less about the actor, and extra about the character. I procure the character is a hotter, extra linked, developed individual that understands when Rebecca tells him what took quandary along with his dad, even supposing he’s understandably disgusted and upset. He also has been in so much of meetings where he’s heard many folk, , [who] originate an excessive amount of meth and wind up in ditches. And he is conscious of, with somebody who’s combating their psychological health, he is conscious of the form of extremities that they’ll turn out with. So I procure his compassion and humanity when she tells him all of that. That’s a determined man. The person we knew sooner than would private undoubtedly been wrathful to punish her. But that’s how we wrote the character. That’s no longer indicative of the actor.

Skylar himself has a warmth to him which makes him, I procure, a natural fit for the recast. His instincts are naturally very warmth and kind and linked. And in reveal that makes him a valid fit for what we’re writing now.

AVC: Would this Greg ever recount “Make a choice For Me”?

ABM:Successfully, he would know that that’s pathological. He would glance lend a hand on that and declare, “Wow,that’swhat I view of myself. That’s what my opinion became. And that’s what I became shopping for in a partner, became somebody who made me undoubtedly feel admire shit,” because he became at his most self-loathing along with her. So he would perhaps well want the identical impulse—I mean, you don’t trail into restoration, or trail into treatment, and all of a unexpected don’t private the impulses. But you can take a look at them. It’s doubtless you’ll well presumably additionally look for them, which is whatshe’sdoing. Qualified?

I mean, in this season, she sees the rabbit holes she frail to eagerly sure down, and she assuredly begins going down them, and will get admire caught midway through, but she is conscious of what she’s doing. I always explain when she’s pushing Tucker down the corridor, dressed as a busboy, and she’s going, “Wait, here is admire the in model shit I frail to originate, here would perhaps well be no longer a big view, but I even private a valid reason for it. I’m in search of to give this baby the childhood toughen that I didn’t private.”

AVC: Progress!

ABM:Yeah. So she has an figuring out of what she’s doing. An consciousness, which is undoubtedly extra or much less all you can ask of somebody who’s combating these issues. And he’s the identical. So I procure he has so much of the identical impulses, but he’s in a house now to form of healthily mirror on them. So I procure he would perhaps well want anbustleto recount “Make a choice For Me,” but he would perhaps well glance within the mirror, and judge that to his meeting and declare, “ what? I had an bustle to uncover this lady she would perhaps well address me admire shit. That’s presumably no longer the most efficient ingredient.”

AVC: Is there the leisure that you simply can uncover us about where this relationship, or the season, is headed?

Successfully, they’re going to employ additional time together and procure to snatch one one more. And also he’s going to procure to snatch so much of the different characters on the instruct, too. That’s been tremendously stress-free. And truly, the next episode would perhaps well be the kookiest, craziest episode we’ve ever performed. I mean, it’s bonkers. That became so stress-free to make. And I will honest declare—puny spoiler for that episode—Greg spends most of his time with Nathaniel. So that became one other stress-free ingredient about bringing him lend a hand: We’ll be in a position to combine and match him with the different folk, and that’s been big. In particular he and Scott Michael Foster, [who] bonded straight away.

But he and Rebecca are going to try and determine what’s there, and what’s left, and is there the leisure. I procure you can look for in this episode and in episode nine, that there’s a solid connection there. What originate you originate about that?


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