Fashioning The Crazy Ex Girlfriend: Costume Design As Mad Resistance In The Post Network Era
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 15:27 by Michel Ghanem
Until the relatively recent proliferation of feminist criticism, television studies and fashion studies have both been marginalized as frivolous and unimportant. Mental health research, now known within Disability Studies as Mad Studies, considers alternative methodologies rooted in anti-oppression against the representation of madness on television. These various fields, particularly research on madness, have been hidden discourses—whether feared (disability) or gendered feminine and therefore identified as non-consequential (fashion and television). Within these areas of research, intersectional perspectives have been neglected, which has allowed popular culture to perpetuate tired tropes and stereotypes in relation to the way mad individuals have been depicted, written, and importantly, costumed. I unpack these complexities through Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015–2019) as a subversive example of costume design’s resistant possibilities. I analyze pivotal themes in the series by putting episode scenes, specific ‘looks,’ and an original interview with costume designer Melina Root into dialogue. Ultimately, as I argue, fashion on television, with its rising budgets and production quality, is complicit in the construction of on-screen female identities, particularly in regards to problematic ‘crazy woman’ tropes and othering representations of madness.