TV Review: “Love” About Anything But
In Judd Apatow’s latest series on Netflix, we follow the sporadic start of a relationship between Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust).
The series begins with Mickey and Gus breaking up with their respective partners. Afterward, they both undergo a life-changing moment: Gus is propositioned in a three-way, and Mickey finds herself at a cultish church professing her issues from center stage. Regretfully, neither of these situations are as funny as they are set up to be.
Bouncing back from these experiences, Gus and Mickey run into each other. The vast differences in the characters are glaringly evident from the start. However, Mickey convinces Gus to get high with her, which acts as a great equalizer for their opposing personalities.
Jacobs seems to be typecast as the snarky chic who is beautiful, yet completely unapproachable. Her character Mickey is the LA “cool girl” who works at a surprisingly steady job as a radio program manager. Episode after episode supplies mounting evidence that Mickey is extremely self-centered, a bad friend and an even worse pet owner.
Rust’s character Gus, however, is painfully dweeby. Everything about his character screams “geek”, including the fact that he records and listens to his own therapy sessions. Gus works as a tutor on the set of a TV show for young cast, including Arya (Iris Apatow — Surprise! An Apatow daughter is featured!).
Rust also co-created Love with his real-life wife (Lesley Arfin) and Apatow. But even with Apatow on board and multiple comedians cast, the show is woefully unfunny. It seems a waste of all this comedic talent.
In the first few episodes, a lot of time is wasted dwelling on background noise like the draining, uncomfortable work environments of Gus and Mickey. Gus and Mickey in particular are highly flawed, unlikeable characters, which makes them hard to get behind. The show has a hard time getting off the ground, preventing the audience from getting sucked in. However, the series hits its stride about halfway through.
Mickey sets Gus up with her new roommate, Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty). Bertie, a highlight of the show, is an eternal optimist, and seems game for anything. Gus has a constant dialogue throughout the awkward first date, making his self-consciousness crystal clear. Predictably, the date ends badly with both Gus and Bertie texting Mickey for help.
Andy Dick also makes an appearance in the show, although it seems strange to include him with this cast. He and Mickey have a wild night together on the LA subway, high on sassafras. But Dick’s character taps into his real-life problems along the way, which adds some gravity to the episode.
As Love goes on, Mickey’s issues slowly unfurl, making her character more complex and interesting. But Gus’s selflessness is still confounding: why is he so nice to his co-workers and even Mickey, when they’re such jerks?
After suffering through another life-changing moment, Gus and Mickey find each other again in the last episode. But ultimately, their relationship never gets started. The show mostly follows their separate, opposing lives. And with an audience that starts and stops relationships as fast as they can swipe left, it’s boring to see the relationship happen almost in real time.
With all of the other great shows on TV, don’t waste your time with this one. Especially if you’re into rom coms, you can easily find another show that is exponentially more romantic AND comedic.