Judd Apatow’s involvement seems to guarantee that relationships will be explored in some way. Whether comedy is a central ingredient (“Trainwreck”) or not (“Funny People”) remains to be seen, but his involvement in a Netflix original series called “Love” seems to hit the nail right on the head.
Gus (Paul Rust) is a wimpy fellow whose wife leaves him because he is ‘fake nice’ even when she reveals her infidelity. This reduces him to living alone in an apartment complex seemingly made up of divorced men and overall losers. He is the tutor for a young actress on a hit TV show, but his true goal is to be able to write for the show.
On the other side of the spectrum, Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) is program manager at a satellite radio station. The work isn’t hard, but she is a recovering alcoholic, drug and love addict which makes her personal life a bit of a disaster. She is also partially responsible for her new roommate, Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty), is a sweet Australian who is new to so much of Los Angeles life.
The two cross paths and find solace in the fact that they are completely different from each other. Mickey has chutzpah while Gus is a nice guy, something she isn’t used to. As they spend time together and form a friendship, the possibility is palpable that there could be some chemistry, be it romantic or platonic.
This begins and ends with the characters. Jacobs and Rust are both fantastic in different ways. Their characters are flawed and, in many ways, opposites, but something about them together on screen makes a lot of sense. Everything hinges upon these people growing up and learning a little bit from each other to overcome their problems.
A careful balance is at least attempted to be achieved between light comedy and existential drama. The realization of being unsatisfied with life or the cumulative consequences of a hard life simultaneously hits these people at the same time. This puts them in situations out of their comfort zones and also forces them to take hard looks at themselves.
The only conceivable gripe is that, at a certain point, things start to turn around for our characters. When it does, they don’t embrace the opportunities, they find outlandish ways to find themselves back in these holes they manage to dig for themselves. It works for the comedy of the story, but from a plot standpoint, it’s frustrating to witness them winding up back at the start of their journeys, in many ways. The Andy Dick episode seems to exist only to prove that Mickey is a screw-up.
‘Love: Season 1’ is a very promising start to a series that has already been renewed for a second season. That’s a good thing because this initial taste has left this Examiner wondering what will happen with Mickey and Gus.
Not Rated Approx 300 minutes 2016