On Feb. 19, Netflix released its latest original series. "Love" was created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin. Rust also plays one of the main characters, alongside Gillian Jacobs. The series is a "down-to-earth look at dating" and revolves around Gus, an on-set tutor for the fictional tv show "Witchita," and Mickey, a radio program manager secretly struggling with various addictions.
Just from watching the trailer, I was excited to see a fresh take on love and the process of finding someone to share your days with. In all too many shows and movies, we are served a half-believable love story in which two people get together despite (what I see as) deal breaker-level differences, and often it seems that these pairings are based on looks more than anything. For good examples of this, one could look to pretty much any standard rom-com and find bland storylines in which ridiculously attractive characters profess their undying love for each other even if their relationship seems pretty miserable.
In "Love," this is not the case. Nothing about Mickey and Gus is perfect - from the moment they meet, their relationship is filled with ups and downs, mostly due to them not understanding each other and what the other person needs and how they communicate. The way Gus can't stop texting Mickey although he knows that it might drive her away is oddly relatable, and even when I found it impossible to see myself in either of the characters their decisions seemed utterly genuine and authentic.
At first glance, Mickey seems to be the typical manic pixie dream girl, but she turns out to be a thoroughly developed character. As their relationship becomes troubled, Gus tries to write Mickey off as “crazy” due to her unpredictable and at times intense nature. Meanwhile, the viewers see a Mickey that is an addict in multiple senses of the word – alcohol, drugs, love, sex – and a Mickey that can’t find enough peace within herself to maintain healthy relationships with other people. Being on the receiving end of this is no grateful task, and Mickey’s character exemplifies how toxic someone can be to the people around them if they are not able to take care of themselves.
Gus is seemingly just another "nice guy" - dorky, well-meaning and the type of person that tries really hard while always slightly missing the mark. With each episode, more facets to his personality is revealed and he goes from being the awkward nice guy to becoming a truly flawed character. He doesn't quite pick up on signals from other people, and might be a little too self-involved at times to see the bigger picture. This leads to him hurting other people, including Mickey, while never truly understanding his part in making a relationship work or fall to pieces.
As the viewers get to know the characters in "Love," an ambiguous truth becomes increasingly clear - that everyone is flawed, yet there are no real villains, just people with complicated lives and skewed perspectives. With all this being said, I absolutely love this show. Its characters are original and multi-faceted, and it didn’t fall into the all too familiar trap of becoming predictable midway through the season. Watching it was a constant roller coaster of loving and hating the characters and the decisions they make, while gaining an appreciation for the many factors that make a person who they are – for better or worse.