Love: Sea­son 1

ADULT ED­U­CA­TION

Empire (UK) - - THE VIEWING GUIDE - OLLY RICHARDS

JUDD APA­TOW co-cre­ated this Net­flix com­edy about two thir­tysome­things fum­bling their way to­wards a pos­si­ble re­la­tion­ship and in com­mon with most Apa­tow projects, it’s re­ally about the ter­ror of find­ing you’ve be­come a grown-up with­out ever learn­ing how to ac­tu­ally do that.

Gil­lian Ja­cobs (Com­mu­nity) is Mickey, a ra­dio man­ager whose de­fault mood is mildly ir­ri­tated and is un­der the in­flu­ence of at least one stim­u­lant. Paul Rust is sup­posed nice guy Gus, a tu­tor to a child star, who wor­ries he’ll screw up just about any so­cial in­ter­ac­tion, then does. They cross paths when both are at their low­est ebb and start hang­ing out, based on mu­tual at­trac­tion and co-de­pen­dence.

There are a lot of sec­on­dado­les­cence com­edy shows around at the mo­ment and it’s hard to find any­thing Love does that isn’t be­ing done bet­ter else­where. It’s not as funny or as bold as Net­flix’s sim­i­lar Mas­ter Of None, which can do episodes about fem­i­nism or sec­ond-gen­er­a­tion im­mi­grant guilt with­out ever seem­ing ‘is­sue-y’. And it can’t match the di­a­logue of the slightly younger char­ac­ters in Girls (also pro­duced by Apa­tow). It’s amus­ing, with Apa­tow’s loose, let’s-just-see-wherethis-scene-goes style and strong sup­port char­ac­ters, but in a way that raises a smile rather than a laugh.

Then there’s the core prob­lem, which hope­fully will be re­solved in the al­ready com­mis­sioned sec­ond sea­son: we aren’t given much rea­son to root for these two as a cou­ple. Gus and Mickey don’t seem es­pe­cially well-matched and there ap­pears lit­tle short­age of other op­tions — by far the fun­ni­est episode sees Gus dat­ing Mickey’s room­mate Ber­tie (a sunny Clau­dia O’do­herty, who could carry her own se­ries as the op­ti­mistic Aus­tralian new to LA), so it’s not as if they’re each other’s only shot. Also, Gus is pretty aw­ful, and not just be­cause he’s the sort of per­son who goes to a party and starts play­ing a gui­tar un­in­vited. He’s self­ish and self-pity­ing. Mickey’s no pic­nic, but at least owns her screw-ups.

There’s good stuff here, but it needs a stronger pull for the will-they-won’tthey, oth­er­wise there’s re­ally no rea­son to care about the an­swer.

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