Crazy Ex-Girlfriend returns from its winter hiatus Monday night, and one of its new musical numbers stars Valencia in a send-up of Lilith Fair–inspired female-empowerment songs, “Women Gotta Stick Together.” Josh Chan’s girlfriend, played by Gabrielle Ruiz, opens wearing suede boots and an uncharacteristically bright smile before singing, “Women have the power, the power to make a change. Like this girl should pluck her eyebrows, and those jeans should be exchanged.” What, you thought Crazy Ex-Girlfriend would do a straightforward female-empowerment song?
“What we were trying to get at comedically was the ways in which women express competition in their own way, which is through an intense passive aggression,” said Aline Brosh McKenna, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend co-creator and executive producer with Rachel Bloom. “It’s an ode to passive-aggressive compliment-insults. Complisults. We should coin that.” During the episode, Rebecca tries to become a part of Josh’s crew as another way of inching closer to her crush. Of course, Valencia sees through her but decides to invite her along on their weekend beach trip, hoping that when spending time with them, Rebecca’s true motivations will be exposed.
“Valencia is in some ways Rebecca’s nemesis, but what we’re trying to do with the song is show that she’s someone who’s been socialized to see women as rivals. As much as she’s an antagonist, in this case, she’s kind of right. She’s not wrong that someone’s trying to sneak up on her man,” said McKenna. “If you look at the story from Valencia’s perspective, this loon showed up in town and started chasing her boyfriend and denying that she’s doing so. I think she has a completely legit point of view, don’t you?”
The ensuing fantasy song is a crystallization of Valencia’s worldview, in which she’s helping other women in the only way she knows how: by insulting them. “If you stopped and asked her, she thinks that she’s saying nice things because she’s so internalized a kind of passive-aggressive mean-girl voice that she doesn’t quite realize that she’s insulting these women,” said McKenna. Call it girl negging.
“Girl negging is a really specific thing,” said McKenna. “I had a friend in the seventh grade confide to me very helpfully that if I didn’t deal with my unibrow, I would never get a boyfriend. She for sure thought she was being helpful. I think one of the things with women is that their aggression is couched in helpfulness.” She continued, “Once the women have been told they smell like sausages, she’s emancipated them to do something about it.” You can’t fix a problem until someone points it out!
Watch an exclusive clip of Valencia negging every girl in sight above.