BY TRACY LITTLE
Not to be confused with its Netflix bedfellow Gaspar Noe’s Love (which is not safe to watch at work, in public, or any time before midnight and DEFINITELY not around children under 21 if you ask me), I binged watched this Netflix series and was incredibly disappointed…
…that there weren’t more episodes. (Gotcha).
Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin, and Paul Rust’s comedy series stars Rust as Gus Cruikshank alongside Gillian Jacobs as Mickey Dobbs, Gus’s polar opposite. Gus is an on-set tutor for a television series and is the stereotypical nice guy nerd type. Mickey works as the punchy, balls-out radio producer for an on-air psychiatrist.
Mickey is a hot mess in a handbasket, wrestling with trying to be an adult while hiding her relationship insecurities behind codependence, drug and alcohol dependence, and an acerbic streetwise attitude. The teetotaler Jacobs plays all this convincingly. Gus is fresh out of what he thought was a comfortable relationship, after he was dumped for being an indulgent and giving yes-man. He’s responsible and confident but trying to find his footing back on the singles market.
The series brings a lot of comedy and directorial talent to the table: Charlyne Yi, who in real life is a bandmate of Rust’s; Claudia O’Doherty; Mad Men’s John Slattery; Dean Holland of The Office and Parks & Recreation; Michael Showalter from The State andWet Hot American Summer; Steve Buscemi of everything awesome; Maggie Carey; and Joe Swanberg.
The series is a little slow-going as you get to know the characters. You don’t get too in-depth about the leads other than what you see them go through on screen and through brief glimpses into their past. Gus tapes his therapy conversations and listens to these sessions in the car where you overhear his lack of sexual experience. Mickey has an on again/off again relationship with Kyle Kinane’s Eric who admits that he’s just as much of a hot mess as Mickey is, he’s just more honest about it. You’re not sure where Mickey comes from other than that she has an addictive personality and an adversarial relationship with her mother.
Love is definitely worth watching. It’s refreshingly real, and honest. Mickey has obvious commitment and self-esteem issues and takes advantage of the support system she has in her friends, who smartly call her on her bullshit. It’s helpful. She starts to see herself through their eyes and sees that she needs to make a change. She’s found this great thing in Gus that she doesn’t want to lose but self-destructively sabotages it with her insecurities.
Gus is getting a little taste of what he missed out on sexually and while he really likes Mickey, he’s not really ready to commit fully. He and Mickey seem to be kismet, but their timing is off. Really off; Mickey attends a Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous meeting and decides that she wants to try and change herself for the better, but she still wants to hang on to the connection that she and Gus have. Gus doesn’t have too much tolerance for her insecurities but there’s something about her that draws him in.
I’m pleased to hear that Season 2 has already been announced and is slated to air in early 2017 so you’ve got a year to watch and rewatch this series.
Tracy Little and spouse, fellow film review contributor Craig Little, run a food a blog at Littles’ Bites.