Remembering Adam Schlesinger: 10 Memorable ‘Crazy Ex-Girlfriend’ Songs (VIDEO)
Adam Schlesinger, the Grammy- and Emmy-winning songwriter and Fountains of Wayne frontman, died on Wednesday of complications from the coronavirus. He was 52.
Schlesinger wrote songs for movies, most notably the title track from That Thing You Do!, and also penned original songs, like “It’s Not Just for Gays Anymore,” for the Tony and Emmy awards ceremonies.
Schlesinger’s biggest contribution to television was as the executive music producer for all four seasons of the CW hit comedy Crazy Ex-Girlfriend. Along with collaborators Rachel Bloom and Jack Dolgren, Schlesinger wrote or co-wrote all of the show’s 157 songs, deftly mixing comedic situations with catchy pop hooks and pitch-perfect genre parodies.
Colleagues and co-workers of Schlesinger’s, including Tom Hanks and Rachel Bloom, paid tribute to the songwriter on Wednesday night.
There would be no Playtone without Adam Schlesinger, without his That Thing You Do! He was a One-der. Lost him to Covid-19. Terribly sad today. Hanx
— Tom Hanks (@tomhanks) April 2, 2020
In Schlesinger’s honor, we’ve picked a few of our favorite Crazy Ex-Girlfriend songs. Scroll through our choices below to sample the late songwriter’s comedic genius.
“Settle for Me” (Season 1, Episode 4)
“Settle for Me” is a showcase for Santino Fontana’s old-fashioned dancing and crooning, but the sentiment is modern: “If you’re a broken condom,” Fontana sings, “I’m Plan B.” Grim.
“What’ll It Be?” (Season 1, Episode 6)
“What’ll It Be” was the first indication that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could really tug on our heartstrings. It’s a clear “Piano Man” pastiche, but it rings with sincerity.
“Gettin’ Bi” (Season 1, Episode 14)
Pete Gardner is absolutely delightful in this Huey Lewis-inspired coming-out number, with exuberant lyrics that are purposely TMI.
“Love Kernels” (Season 2, Episode 1)
Only Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could open a season by pulling off an extended tribute to Beyonce’s Lemonade, let alone one that jokes, “This video ate up our production budget / Darryl is now played by a broom on a stand.”
“Ping Pong Girl” (Season 2, Episode 2)
Adam Schlesinger’s years in pop-punk band Fountains of Wayne really show in this song — it’s just as punchy and catchy as any genuine entry in the genre.
“Santa Ana Winds” (Season 2, Episode 11)
What if the wind were an omniscient narrator that sang Four Seasons-style songs commenting on the show’s plot developments? It’s not a question anyone was asking, but the songs, sung by actual former Jersey Boys actor Eric Michael Roy, are just wacky enough to work.
“Let’s Generalize About Men” (Season 3, Episode 1)
Is “Let’s Generalize About Men” making fun of women who dismiss all men as the same, or men who think that’s what women do? The answer is kind of both, which is what makes this song truly genius.
“The Buzzing from the Bathroom” (Season 3, Episode 2)
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is never better than when it lets its minor characters shine in unexpected ways, like when Michael McMillian’s character realizes what his wife has been doing in the bathroom (hint: it’s not an electric toothbrush). A Les Mis-style lament is a brilliant concept, and the fact that it’s perfectly executed only makes it more impressive.
“I Go to the Zoo” (Season 3, Episode 3)
“I Go to the Zoo” is another song concept that sounds like it shouldn’t work on paper: it starts as a clubby slow jam and turns into a love letter to baby pandas. Again, what makes this song so good is that Scott Michael Foster’s delivery stays totally earnest, even as he rhymes “Ferrari” with “calamari.”
“Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal” (Season 4, Episode 13)
“Anti-Depressants Are So Not a Big Deal” is what finally won Schlesinger, Bloom and Dolgren their much-deserved Emmy for Outstanding Music and Lyrics. The upbeat dance number parodies La La Land and provides an important message about mental health, a subject that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend tackled intelligently and often.