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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Friday, September 22, 2023

Netflix's 'Love' takes bleak stance

Netflix recently released the first season of the original series “Love” on Feb. 19, following Valentine’s Day. Already in a committed relationship with “Love,” Netflix has given the series the go-ahead for a second season. The series is co-created by Judd Apatow, the mind behind “Trainwreck,” “Bridesmaids” and “Knocked Up.” The series shares many similar themes to Apatow’s previous work, but this story is in an episodic format, altering the familiar formula.

The series follows the relationship between misfit characters Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust), exploring how very different people can end up together. Gus is a geek who is repeatedly accused of being “fake nice” by his ex-girlfriend. Mickey, on the other hand, is often mistaken as a “cool girl,” suffering from many addictions while she struggles to keep her life together.

“Love” is puzzling because it’s a romantic comedy that has very few elements of romance or comedy. It tells a love story that is not formulaic or cliché, but modern and real. There are no airbrushed leads with blindingly white teeth whispering sweet nothings to each other and sailing into the sunset. This is a story of two messed-up people uniting in the midst of their shambled lives.

There is one purposefully cliché scene in which Gus throws his DVDs out of a moving car because he realizes they are all lies about love. It seems this show’s mission is to do the opposite of those movies that Gus detests: to be a series that depicts the truth about love. Perhaps it is a pessimistic truth, but it’s their version nonetheless. It explores the lives of realistic people with realistic hopes that are often realistically crushed.

The show has a creative way of setting up Mickey and Gus meeting: graphic matches of them going through a similarly awful day before wandering into the same gas station convenience store. This is contradictory to the show’s theme because it suggests that there is a fate that brings people together who are meant to love each other. It remains to be seen whether Mickey and Gus will fall in love, which would confirm that this series is an optimistic show about love dressed in pessimistic clothing.

After binging the first season, it’s clear that the show has plenty of room for improvement. It did not find the right balance between realism and comedy. There were not enough real laughs to be a full-bodied comedy series; it was more depressing rather than anything else. However, the narrative was so loose that the creative decision toward a melancholy tone feels almost directionless. It was hard to stay invested in the characters and the relationship because it didn’t feel purposeful. Yet, this says something about love itself.

Overall, “Love” is funny at certain times, sad most of the time and not at all set on a clear path, but that’s exactly how love can be. When starting this series, keep in mind that you will not always enjoy it, however, it may prove to be worth the ride.

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