Love: Season 1
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.