Saturday, December 23, 2017

Revenge Fantasies & Crazy In Love: A Taylor Swift and Crazy Ex Girlfriend (the TV show) Comparison

Right now, my two faves are my favorite album reputation and my favorite TV Show Crazy Ex Girlfriend. And so I noticed my two faves have a lot of common. A lot of themes that reputation talks about relate to the themes in Crazy Ex Girlfriend, especially in season 3.

Not that I am calling Taylor Swift crazy because that is a sexist term and it's a lot more nuanced than that.

Taylor Swift Crazy Ex Girlfriend Rebecca Bunch
my two "crazy" faves

Don't Blame Me, Love Made Me Crazy

Taylor Swift has a song called, "Don't Blame Me," where she writes, "Don't blame me, love made me crazy," which is what Crazy Ex Girlfriend's Season 2 Theme Song is also saying! The theme song lyrics are, "I'm just a girl in love, I can't be held responsible for my actions." When you think about it, those two lyrics mean the same exact thing - don't blame me (don't hold me responsible for my actions) because I am in love. The only difference is that Taylor Swift is playing it straight.

In my article  The 4 Types of Crazy as told by the Season 3 Crazy Ex Girlfriend Theme Song, I wrote about the second type of crazy which is "Crazy In Love." Taylor Swift's "Don't Blame Me" falls into this category. "Crazy is how your loving makes me feel, this is where I always want to be," says the season 3 theme song which is a sentiment echoed by "Don't Blame Me."

The Revenge Fantasy: Look What You Made Me Do (That You Didn't Ask For)

The title is a mixture of a Crazy Ex Girlfriend song AND a Taylor Swift Song. By now, everyone probably knows Taylor Swift's song "Look What You Made Me Do." You might not know that Crazy Ex Girlfriend has a song called, "After Everything You Made Me Do (That You Didn't Ask For)." Rebecca Bunch sings that song after she agonizes about how she can get revenge on her ex-fiance who left her at the alter. She sings the song because she believes this is a visceral way of getting revenge - letting the entire world know how terrible of a human Josh is because he's the one who made her do all these terrible things. The comparison isn't perfect but both songs are a revenge song. They are both a way of viscerally letting out revenge fueled emotions. 

The Revenge Fantasy is a huge part of the plot for Crazy Ex Girlfriend Season 3. In the episode, Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy, Rebecca Bunch literally transforms into a Kill Bill (or Swimfan) type of villain. The episode is shot like a horror film where she is trying to act out her revenge fantasy because she thinks this will make her feel better. In comparison to reputation, Taylor Swift also has a revenge fantasy when she sings, "Look What You Made Me Do," or, "I Did Something Bad," or "This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things." In all three of these songs, Taylor Swift tells us she has the power to get revenge on these people. She tells Kanye he can't hold nice things like a parent tells a child because children break things - effectively acting superior to him (TIWWCHNT). She alludes to having done something really bad and not regretting it one bit (IDSB). She says she has a list of enemies she's going to get revenge on. And these people have made her do something that they will regret (LWYMMD).

I Can Feel The Flames On My Skin (Taylor and Rebecca's love of FIRE) 

Taylor Swift mentions fire twice on her album. She writes, "I can feel the flames on my skin," in "I Did Something Bad," which I believe means that the bad thing she has done is setting a fire to something (symbolically). She has basically destroyed something in passion and anger. Taylor Swift also mentions fire in, "Getaway Car," "I struck a match and blew your mind," where she is saying she set fire to her relationship with Calvin Harris. I also think, "The light of freedom on my face," is a reference to the fire. When I hear that lyric, I imagine Taylor Swift looking into the fire and seeing the light that comes from it - symbolizing freedom.

Rebecca Bunch, everyone's favorite arsonist, also loves fire. After she broke up with Robert, she burned his apartment down in a fit of rage and anger and was sentenced to a mental health facility. After she broke up with Josh and Greg, she accidentally burns her apartment down trying to burn all of their stuff. For both Taylor and Rebecca, fire represents revenge and passion and anger.

reputation And The Need For External Validation

Taylor Swift titled the album reputation because for the months following the "Lying About Phone Call Scandal", Taylor had to deal with her emotions regarding her tarnished reputation. I believe Taylor Swift cares A LOT about what other people think of her. That's why in the past, she has been obsessed with controlling her image. With this new album, I think Taylor Swift wanted to let go of controlling her reputation and just let people talk. This is a healthy worldview and I hope Taylor has succeeded.

A Cool Tweet About Taylor I Resonated With:
Rebecca Bunch also needs to learn how not to care what other people think of her. Rebecca also needs to stop seeking external validation through boys or her dad. In the song, "I'm A Good Person," she tries to force people into thinking she is a good person. But sadly, you cannot force someone to like you. You have to know you are a good person in your heart. You have to seek Internal Validation FROM YOURSELF.

Joseph Kahn Director of Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy AND Look What You Made Me Do

Joseph Kahn Look What You Made Me Do
Joseph Kahn Really Likes Multiple Personalities In His Videos
Joseph Kahn directed the episode "Josh's Ex Girlfriend Is Crazy" AND the "Look What You Made Me Do" Music Video which is a cool coincidence! Both the episode and the music video are about a revenge fantasy. In addition, he also put multiple Rebecca Bunch personalities just like he did in LWYMMD where he shows multiple Taylor Swift personalities at the end. Looks like this guy has a signature style!

Thanks for reading! Let me know in the comments if you can think of any other cool similarities between Taylor Swift and Crazy Ex Girlfriend.

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  1. I admire this article for the well-researched content and excellent wording. I got so involved in this material that I couldn’t stop reading. I am impressed with your work and skill. Thank you so much.
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  2. YESSSSSSS I love both of these things so much and see so many similarities. like doing a combination storytelling or something ugh this is amazing