If weren’t for Girls, Netflix might have the market cornered on comedies about modern romance between last year’s Master of None, and their new series Love. Where the excellent Master of None took the novel approach of covering the entirety of a multi-year relationship in just a couple episodes, Love season one is a slow burn, covering the days and weeks leading up the beginning of a committed relationship. Over the course of the season’s five hours (that’s 10 half-hour episodes) lead characters Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust) “meet cute“, hem an haw about calling one another, think about whether or not they like each other, think about whether or not they might like other people better, and fuss over whether the whole thing seems worth it or not. It’s fantastic.
Creators Rust, Lesley Arfin, and (now comedy institution) Judd Apatow, understand that in the real world people fall for each other in fits and starts, it doesn’t happen all at once. And when you do fall for someone, it doesn’t end all the problems you had before. Gus and Mickey are fully realized characters with fully realized lives: jobs, circles of friends, anxieties, neurosis. The central tension of Love is how these respective sets of pleasures and problems work for and against two people trying to form a meaningful connection.
While Rust is a delight as the nerdy, charming Gus, Gillian Jacobs is the MVP. Love is the rare romantic comedy in which the female lead is the slob who needs to get her shit together before she is ready for a serious relationship. Mickey is a hot mess of addictions and personality flaws, and Jacobs does career-best work bringing those problems to believable life.
For all the aforementioned realism, Love is also hilarious. The cast is filled out with over-talented, under-exposed performers from the Los Angeles comedy scene. A standout is Claudia O’Doherty as Mickey’s Aussie roommate Bertie, who (more of that realism stuff)is not just a rom-com “best-bud”, but a human being with her own full set of problems, and to whom Mickey has responsibilities as a friend to which she does always live up. In short, it’s a complete world of delights and disappointments, and it’s a blast to hang out there.
Love – Season 1. Netflix
Format: Half-hour comedy
Creator: Paul Rust, Lesley Arfin, Judd Apatow
Starring: Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust, Claudia O’Doherty Brett Gelman, John Ross Bowie, Dave Allen, Steve Bannos, Iris Apatow