The Netflix original series “Love” shows how hard, awkward and shitty love can be, as it follows extremely flawed characters as they try their best to find the one. I expected another show where a boy and a girl love each other, and everyone else knows the rest. I at least expected the characters to fall in love. I probably would have skipped over the show if my co-worker hadn’t recommended it to me. I was surprised, though, by its unique characters and the bizarre journey I was taken on through a weird, but real, storyline.
Season 1 follows alcoholic, sex and love addict Mickey Dobbs (Gillian Jacobs) and adolescent-looking adult Gus Cruikshank (Paul Rust), who meet at a gas station when Gus offers to pay for Mickey’s coffee and cigarettes. Gus’ girlfriend had just broken up with him for being “fake nice,” and Mickey is in an on-again, off-again relationship with a coke addict. Mickey repays Gus for her gas-station goodies with weed and an odd day, which is meant to be the end of their relationship. The two of them continue to run into each other throughout the season, misunderstanding each other and dancing around wanting to go on a date; Mickey wants to go on a date with Gus, but she doesn’t want to bring him into her issues.
Season 2 appeared on Netflix March 10, and it provided as many awkward moments as the first. Mickey says she wants to be alone for a year, but Gus makes her think twice. She tries to get away from him, but she ends up being stuck in his apartment after a lockdown. Mickey spends the night after trying to escape the police and getting Gus caught. The two keep hanging out and start to act like a couple, but they are non-exclusive, or so Mickey thinks. They grow closer throughout season two, as she gets help with her addiction, with a few bumps along the way.
The unconventional plot isn’t the only thing boasting the show’s realistic charm. The characters aren’t great people. Mickey is the definition of a hot mess. She goes to a party and jumps from the roof into a pool, immediately regretting it after the jump causes her pain. Although she’s constantly lying and fucking things up (when she’s not fucking her exes), you want to root for Mickey, but she always disappoints, even at the end of the season when she decides to seek help.
In season 2, Mickey seemingly has her life together, but she still messes up from time to time, but hey, she’s trying, right? She even says, “Maybe with Gus, I can be happy.” Gus is kind of an asshole, though. His ex-girlfriend is right when she calls him “fake nice.” He cares too much about what other people think of him, and he’s a pushover. He works as a tutor for child actors on TV and movie sets. When the actress he’s been tutoring, Arya (Iris Apatow), needs to pass a test, Gus takes it for her so he won’t lose his job or get in trouble.
The myriad of side characters, whether they are exes, AA members or two old guys who live together in a college-student complex, help the show maintain a realistic theme. Although the characters are weird at times, they aren’t unbelievable. Bertie, Mickey’s roommate, is an Australian who is as nice as Gus and runs focus groups. She ends up in a relationship with Gus’s friend Randy, who, while on shrooms, discusses killing people.
There are so many cringe-worthy moments, which would normally be a bad thing, but the interactions between the characters feel authentic. One of the most realistic scenes happens on a date between Gus and Bertie in an episode ominously called “The Date.” The two are extremely nice, and they don’t want to be on the date in the first place, but they’ve promised Mickey.
The date plays out as awkward as can be, and everything that can go wrong does go wrong. Viewers experience Bertie and Gus’s weird get-to-know-you conversation, typical of a first date. They’re seated around obnoxiously loud people, the waiter mixes up their drinks and they have a conversation on whether to ask for another table or stay at the one they’re at, which is under an air vent. When they do switch tables, they talk about switching back. Yikes. But life is unplanned, uncomfortable and awkward.
Season 2 delivered its share of second-hand embarrassment. Anytime Gus and Mickey argue, their actions make you want to crawl into yourself and tell them to stop yelling at each other. At a party for her job, Mickey brings Gus as her date. Mickey’s boss, who she slept with to keep her job and found out actually wanted a relationship with her, starts talking to Gus when Mickey leaves him alone. The dramatic irony has viewers on the edge of their seat. Gus and Dr. Greg hit it off, and as always, shit hits the fan when Dr. Greg finds out Gus is Mickey’s date.
“Love” is full of authentic moments between its weird, not-so-likeable characters and their weird, cringe-worthy interactions. The most ironic part: None of the characters are in love, yet. The show is full of psycho ex-boyfriends, drugs, sex, Blu-rays, freak-outs and plenty of misunderstandings.
So, add “Love” to your watch-list because it’s been renewed for a third season. The show is an easy binge, with its thirty-minute episodes and entertaining stories. Every episode is a new adventure. Season one is a shit-show, and Season 2 provides a glimpse of hope, but it leaves the impression that it will implode in Season 3.