REVIEW: Why Love is on the air

You know it’s good when you watch all ten episodes in one sitting, without food or human contact. Netflix original series Love follows the unfortunate love lives of Gus and Mickey in what can only be described as an unromantic comedy.

He’s a dorky, Prius driving, on-set tutor in Hollywood. She’s a cool, chainsmoking, cat loving, radio producer and addict. They tumble into each other’s lives accidentally, and hesitantly weave in and out for the 10 following episodes.

Critics have questioned whether Gus and Mickey’s relationship merits its own show, claiming it’s slow and aimless. It definitely has its ups and downs but at a mere 330 minutes long, why wouldn’t you give Love a go?

Directed by romantic comedy specialist Judd Apatow of Knocked Up and The 40-Year-Old Virgin, the show came from an idea he had years ago where “you would follow a couple very slowly and see every single beat of their relationship”.

Gillian Jacobs beautifully portrays Mickey in a way that you cannot take your eyes off her. She manages to play a self-destructive, drug, sex and love addict to perfection, both accurately and comedically. We see her battle through waves of sobriety. When Mickey turns to the drink, I’d nearly join her.

She can be difficult and frustrating to watch with her unstable, erratic and selfish personality, but it is her hunger for validation that melts our hearts. She seeks validation through her addictions and ultimately just wants to love and be loved.

Paul Rust, co-creator of the show, plays the sensible, practical, forgettable Gus. He is a whisper of a man and the opposite of Mickey, until his long term girlfriend breaks his heart and he falls glasses first, into Mickey’s life. From bizarre threesomes to smoking weed for breakfast, Gus transforms into a cool, two-timing player who thinks he’s made it.

People are calling Love the tale of a “Cool Girl” and a “Nice Guy,” but it doesn’t take long before Mickey loses her cool and finds herself clutching to memories she once had when Gus won’t even return her calls.

Weighed down by her insecurities and feelings of abandonment, she desperately reaches out to Gus, and anyone else within her grasp. From AA meetings to using her roommate as a crutch, Mickey doesn’t see the damage she causes around her. All she sees is Gus.

Meanwhile Gus is off with some Hollywood cliché actress trying to find himself and navigate his complicated feelings for the ever-complicated Mickey.

The highlight of the show for me was the unexpected appearance of comedian Andy Dick, playing his wonderful, witty self. Mickey and Andy embark on a drug induced adventure to The Valley together. It is nothing short of belly-aching, laugh out loud, hilarious.

My only complaint is how slow the show is to get going. I wanted something out of the first four episodes that wasn’t quite there, but what follows definitely makes up for it.

By the finale Mickey and Gus reconnect outside the local shop where they first met. I won’t spoil the ending for you but it might surprise you what happens next.

Ten episodes in six hours is a pleasant binge. You’ve eaten your ice cream, gotten a good healthy laugh and can probably even make it to the gym before it closes.

Netflix seem to be coming out with more and more original series these days that appear to have been created with binge-watching in mind, and I’m not complaining. So if you do nothing else today, or even this week, watch Love.

 

Alana Laverty

 

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