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-Girlfriendarsenal, 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.