I feel for the censors over at the CW. I really do. It can’t be easy trying to get Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s writers to tone down the show’s more suggestive material enough to avoid those pesky FCC fines, though it sounds like they’re trying their hardest; co-creator and star Rachel Bloom explained the lengths she had to go to just to get the word clitoris on the air last year. In any case, I hope the network’s hardworking, antacid-popping legal team had a good, long holiday, because the show’s midseason premiere debuted on Friday, and it’s starting 2018 off with a bang, if you catch my drift.
There are two songs in the latest episode, which is titled “Nathaniel Needs My Help!”, and neither of those songs involves our heroine, Rebecca Bunch (Bloom), who is still in therapy and struggling to maintain appropriate boundaries in her new romantic relationship. Instead, the musical numbers belong to the episode’s B and C stories, the first of which sees Darryl (Pete Gardner) plowing ahead with his plan to have a baby, even though his recent breakup means he’ll be a single parent. He already has a surrogate and an egg donor picked out, which leaves just one question: Are his sperm healthy enough for him to father a child?
They are indeed, as explained in the extremely literal “My Sperm Is Healthy,” our first Crazy Ex-Girlfriend song of 2018, and the one that probably forced some poor Standards and Practices assistant to work overtime, deciding whether Gardner dabbing in front of giant dancing sperm crossed some kind of an ethical line.
Gardner is one of the many secret weapons in the Crazy Ex-Girlfriend arsenal, and while no Darryl-centric song has ever managed to top the sheer joy of “Gettin’ Bi,” the new “My Sperm Is Healthy,” in which he raps about the state of his swimmers, certainly tries to re-create that formula. An exuberant Darryl once again overshares in the workplace, but this time, it’s not about his sexuality but his virility: “Even though I’m no teenager/ My boys still throw a rager/ They got bottle service in every cervix/ Blowin’ eggs up like a pager.”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend has never shied away from getting sexual—don’t forget that this is the same show that gave us an entire song about penises just a few weeks ago. What really distinguishes “My Sperm Is Healthy” isn’t its subject matter or even its two (!) Tom Hanks references. It’s the fact that there are two versions of the song: the censored, broadcast-friendly version aired by the CW—the one above—and another, more explicit version shared by Rachel Bloom.
That doesn’t happen too often for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, and when it does, it’s usually for a good reason. The explicit version of “I Give Good Parent” from Season 1, for instance, is substantially different from the version that got past the censors, but it’s so delightfully filthy that it’s no wonder Bloom wanted to share it with fans. (A sample: “Your home’s such a beautiful, comfortable space/ Like my pussy, you two have wonderful taste.”) On the other end of the spectrum, “It Was a Shit Show” was aired on the CW as it was originally performed, but with the word shit bleeped out for obvious reasons. An uncensored version was then released online and elsewhere.
It’s less clear why a song like “My Sperm Is Healthy” needed two versions, as the differences between the censored and uncensored songs are extremely subtle. However, this does give us a window into what, exactly, was considered too risqué for a song about sperm. Take this change, for instance:
Explicit: “Aw shucks, gee whiz/ I got that high-end jizz”
Censored: “Aw shucks, gee whiz/ I got the best sperm in the biz” and later, “My sperm just aced the quiz”
Occasionally, the censors have accidentally made a song funnier by forcing the writers to find a workaround, as I’ve pointed out in the past. This is one of those times. The clean version of “My Sperm Is Healthy” keeps teasing that “gee whiz” rhyme, but it never delivers the expected “jizz,” which makes for a funnier, more surprising listening experience. All thanks to censorship!
On the other hand, the clean version also loses gems like this line …
Explicit: “When I come, I come like the sun/ So wear special glasses or avert your eyes”
Censored: “My sperm shines brighter than the sun/ So wear special glasses or avert your eyes”
… which materially alters the meaning of the joke, so we’ll call this one a wash. In any case, both versions are out there, so prudes and pervs can take their pick.
I think I’ve devoted quite enough space to dissecting a song about a fictional character’s sperm count, so let’s move on to the episode’s other song, “Get Your Ass Out of My House,” which is sung by Josh’s frustrated mother, Lourdes, played by the consistently great Amy Hill. Lourdes is sick of her millennial son hanging around his childhood bedroom, which she explains to him via a karaoke ballad:
Now this was a song that could have used a second, explicit version, because I found myself mentally replacing the line “get your ass out” with “get the fuck out” every time. Otherwise, it’s a fun, not-too-flashy song that combines the frustration of parents whose grown children just won’t move out with the idiosyncrasies of the karaoke experience, right down to the highlighted font and random background images. That combination feels a little random, but now at least parents have a brutally honest script to follow when their adult children just won’t take a hint.
Best Song of the Week: Neither. One is all style, the other all substance, so instead, I’m awarding this week’s Best Song to the adorable, 10-second ditty sung by George (Danny Jolles) in the breakroom of the law firm, which begins, “Coffee time, George/ Time for George’s coffee/ A little time just for George!”
It’s such a silly, seemingly throwaway moment, but Jolles apparently improvised six different versions of that tune, including one that parodied “The Sexy Getting Ready Song” from Season 1:
Update, Jan. 8, 1:22 p.m.: There’s video!
Read more about Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
• Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Returns With an ’80s-Inspired Anthem About How Terrible Men Are
• Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Newest Batch of Songs Elevates Double Entendre to an Art Form
• Behold the Perfect Inspirational Musical Theater Song for People Who Hate Inspirational Musical Theater Songs
• Scott Michael Foster on Auditioning for Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, His New Solo, and Being “Suspiciously Good-Looking”
• Josh Groban Is Here to Remind Us That Life, Like TV, Doesn’t Always Make Narrative Sense
• Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Ronettes-Inspired Song Is Zany and Fun—Until You Listen to the Words
• Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Explains Why, When It Comes to Mental Illness, Labels Aren’t Always a Bad Thing
• This Faux-Swedish Pop Song About Penises Was the Best Part of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’s Midseason Finale
One more thing
You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.
Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.