I’ve never quite been a marathon runner as far as media consumption is concerned. As much as I enjoy gaming, play sessions rarely last any longer than two hours before a headache comes over me. Hand me a graphic novel and I’ll spend an hour analyzing every panel of what should have been a 20 minute read. That is to say, I prefer to take my time with my media. That’s why I was so caught off guard when I reached the season finale of the new Netflix comedy Love on the same day I began watching.
The latest from Judd Apatow and co-writers / co-creators Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin is Love, a hilarious yet grounded insight into romance in the age of online dating, hookup culture, and the perpetual immaturity of many young adults. Apatow has a legacy in romantic / comedy television, tackling young love and teenage drama in the cult classic Freaks and Geeks, and depicting slightly more mature relationships in the college-centric Undeclared. But the take on the adult dating scene presented in Love is perhaps the best he has offered yet.
Apatow has a great track record of writing terrifically relatable characters and casting the right actors to help the viewer really sympathize with them. This holds undeniably true in Love, as stars Paul Rust and Gillian Jacobs (whose character was apparently written with her in mind) really sell the humanity of these two thirty-somethings. We’re introduced to familiar character types in Rust’s Gus and Jacobs’ Mickey – the nice boy and the bad girl – but quickly witness them evolve (or devolve) into personalities that are far from archetypal.
Seeing these characters who at first feel predictable begin to reveal hints of their true selves – much like dating someone for the first time – gave me little choice but to hit “play next episode” again and again until, much to my chagrin, I finished all ten episodes of the show’s first season.
But there’s more to love about Love than just Mickey and Gus’ dysfunctional relationship: anyone who has ever felt taken advantage of can feel for Mickey’s roommate Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty), who is far too often manipulated into acting in Mickey’s best interest. And in what is an event I most certainly need to rip off, Gus and his friends get together once a week to write singalongs for dramatic movies that don’t already have theme songs, and the two times we get to witness these jam sessions are simply golden:
Love is surprising, hilarious, heartbreaking, unpredictable, and universal. One would be hard pressed to watch an episode and not find themselves nodding in agreement with the decisions of one character or another. While I’ve never been the type to marathon anything, really, I couldn’t stop myself from strapping in and waiting to see what crazy ride Love would take me on. Luckily, I can report that I wasn’t heartbroken; rather, I was head over heels with Love.