If you’ve seen even just one episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, you know that Donna Lynne Champlin is an absolute powerhouse.
Donna plays Rebecca’s BFF and partner-in-crime (literally), Paula. And although the entire cast is obviously amazing, Donna has been a total standout since day one.
The actress is actually a Broadway veteran, and Crazy Ex was the first TV pilot she ever auditioned for. And it’s pretty much been a dream role. Not only does she get to work with the genius Rachel Bloom, but she’s also one of the few plus-size actresses who doesn’t have to explain her weight — on or off screen. She recently told Bust,
“There has not been one line in this entire show for the entire season that addresses my weight. And we’re always eating real food — donuts, burritos. We’re always drinking. That’s a huge thing for us that we’re really eating. We’re not sipping cuts of shit that have nothing in them.”
Not only do that, but they make sure that Paula is a sexual being (again, something unheard of for plus-size character on TV).
“The Internet exploded with plus size women saying, ‘Where the fuck did you get that dress? It’s amazing.’ What I loved about it is it was tight. There was no apologizing me and hiding me. The boobs were up, and the dress was tight and that thing sold out online in a matter of minutes. Again they’re not apologizing for Paula being a size 14. They’re accentuating that she’s a size 14, which is unheard of.”
But it’s not just Donna who’s getting this kind of treatment — it’s the entire cast. She told Vulture,
“It’s one of the most amazing things that makes this world so special to play in. If you have a plus-sized, middle-aged woman, usually there’s an arc that revolves around her age, her size. Or with a Filipino leading man, they’d feel the need to ‘talk about it’” or a bisexual character, having it be ‘a very special episode. Here, I feel like we create the world that we see in the real world, but that we don’t necessarily see reflected back to us. I love it. I’m just ruined for every other show I should ever do, should I ever be so lucky.”
Crazy Ex just finished their third season and the season was a heavy one filled with suicide attempts, new diagnosis, and more. The show has moved far beyond the premise of Rebecca following Josh across the country. And for Donna, it was a lot to handle.
“This season has been very, very difficult for me. I’ve made some emergency calls to my therapist, like, “I had a hard day today, and I just need to talk to you about it.” I have absolutely no shame about that at all. You need to take care of yourself. It’s been hard because of how I grew up, and the dynamics that I set up for myself are very similar to the ones I play in this show. Sometimes it gets a little too close, so you shake it off, call your therapist, and it’s back to work!”
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend airs on The CW.