Created by Judd Apatow, Love is a satirical, quirky, imperfect representation of modern-day relationships. Perhaps in some ways comparable another Netflix original, Master of None starring Aziz Ansari, it seeks to create an authentic, glamour-free portrayal of love in the 21st century. Apatow is known for his satirical humour, lack of censure and long-winded storylines, and perhaps Netflix offers him the ultimate space to be able to bring this to his audiences.
The premise of the show seemed a little too predictable to me at first; two polar opposite characters get together in an unlikely turn of events and we are there to witness the unravelling of their romance. And yet, the series surprised me. Not only do the characters only meet at the end of the first 40+ minute episode – they don’t even spend much time together during the course of the season. In fact, the audience is invited to see their lives develop separately, in a ‘one step forward, two steps back’ manner, making us wonder whether they will end up together, of whether they are actually not destined for love at all.
Gillian Jacobs’ Mickey seems to be an extension of her Community character, Britta. She is a bit of a trainwreck, going from hate-sex with her coke-addict ex-boyfriend to taking too many drugs and driving around in her car. She is on a path of self-destruction and it is unclear why, but yet beneath all that she is caring, kind, and unable to give up her search for happiness.
Gus (played by Paul Rust) is a geeky type aspiring writer who works as an on-set tutor but yet still hopeful to kickstart his career as a screenwriter. At the start of the season, he is dumped by his long-term girlfriend due to him being “too nice” and he struggles to get over the breakup. We almost begin to see him as the typical nice-guy, the antithesis to Jacobs’ Mickey – and yet he isn’t quite so perfect.
Neither of the characters are the perfect models of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – they are simultaneously likeable and unlikeable, and our opinion of them changes as the show goes on. They seem real, and their lack of a ‘meet-cute’ first encounter emphasizes this.
Their first meeting happens after a sleepless, guilt and drug/alcohol filled night, in a local corner shop. Mickey wants coffee and cigarettes but is unable to pay for them. Gus offers to pay, and we are unsure whether he does this out of the kindness of his heart or because he is unable to carry on watching the argument between her and the cashier. They then proceed to spend the day together hot-boxing her car and driving around LA. There is no straightforward attraction or romantic allusions – but it still works due to the chemistry of the two actors. This sets the tone for the rest of the show – a quirky, mismatched set of charismatic characters just getting by in LA. What the series doesn’t achieve in its storyline, it makes up for in a sense of humour and lack of pretense. Now that the whole season is on Netflix, you have yet another excuse to spend your weekend shamelessly binge-watching the show.
Image courtesy of www.forward.com.