Love on Netflix (seasons 1 and 2) had been in my watch list for awhile, I just never felt like committing what I assumed would be a sort of off-brand Girls. As part of the Apatow Universe, it does share some of the same appeal as the HBO hit, but is actually much more nuanced. It stars Gillian Jacobs as Mickey, an alcoholic, self-centered, neurotic and Paul Rust as Gus, a sort of nerdy, do gooder with social ineptitude as two early thirty somethings whose lives could best be described as not total disasters. Their jobs aren’t too awful. Their dwellings are totally acceptable. They both own cars. But then they go out into the world, and just shit it all up.
It is pretty clear that we are supposed to root for Gus and Mickey to get together. They are obviously the couple on which the show is centered, but the narrative doesn’t play like a typical romantic comedy. They don’t have a cute, montage worthy courtship phase, mixed with some moments of crisis, ending in a loving embrace that leaves the viewer satisfied with both parties’ choices. By the time season two ends, you probably hate one of them for being an asshole and the other for not noticing. The awesome part though? I’m not sure everyone would agree on who is who. It also feels really good to watch a show, and sort of hope for one of the characters to screw it up. I root for Mickey to make bad choices. Maybe I’m a monster, but maybe I’m just sick of feeling bored when two characters finally get together and make it work. Monica and Chandler. Niles and Daphne. As soon as they actually started dating, it wasn’t worth watching. I like to imagine that Love is based on someone asking “What if Friends only focused on Ross and Rachel, only for the month before and after they “were on a break?” It is so much more compelling to watch two people screw something up, than to watch two compatible people get along season after season. If I needed that in my life, I’d mosey down to the Cracker Barrel and watch some strangers get along over an evening breakfast special.
Big shout out to the supporting cast. Check your local listings.