Judd Apatow has an unnerving knack for distilling the funniest, most authentic, and sometimes rill dark parts of adult life—who could forget the hemorrhoid scene in This is 40?—and one of his latest forays into television, the Netflix original series Love, is his realest yet. Indie-beloved under-the-radar star (and former FLARE cover girl) Gillian Jacobs, best known as eternal buzzkill Britta on Community and the disconcertingly detached artist Mimi-Rose Howard on Girls, stars as Mickey, a perpetually f-cked up, everything-addict who falls for excruciatingly nice Gus, the sad sack who gets walked all over in life, love and career (and just might have a low-key anger problem), played with pitch-perfect dorkiness by Paul Rust. We lived for the series’ debut last year and thankfully, the second season hits Netflix today and picks up where Mickey and Gus left off—trying to make their love work when they’re both in p. much the most complicated times of their lives. Here are four of the realest reasons we heart this show.
1. Love is NOT a rom-com
Like Aziz Ansari’s Master of None, Love is a realistic and relatable take on relationships, in all their modern, selfish complexity. And most of it is v. real and v. unsexy, straying hella far from the typical romantic comedy trope. Case in point: Mickey and Gus’ meet-cute is anything but. She’s coming down from a pill- and booze-fueled all-nighter, he’s up for the day and grabbing snacks. Their paths cross at a convenience store where a wallet-less Mickey is about to steal her coffee and Gus offers to pay. Love is about romantic relationships and is funny AF, but (happily), a rom-com it is not.
2. It captures the complexity of addiction
From the first episode, when Mickey’s deadbeat ex-boyfriend is casually coked up and she grabs a pill bottle (“I need to take these to deal with you”), Love is frank about drugs, booze and all manner of addiction. Mickey gradually reveals the layers of her unhealthy relationship with substances and dudes and the show becomes as much about self-love as it is about romantic love. And Love gets to the root of why Mickey might be constantly chasing a relationship without coming off like a PSA. A fellow addict at a SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) meeting says it for her: “I don’t want to die alone.”
3. It’s as much about friendship as it is about romance
Mickey is the type of friend we’ve maybe been and have definitely had: flakey, self-absorbed, kind of a bad friend—and that makes this show’s exploration of friendships that much more meaningful. Love looks at both lady friendships—like that of Mickey and her Australian roommate cum wingwoman Bertie (played by the hilarious Claudia O’Doherty)—and dude bonds, like Gus and his motley crew who gather for endearingly geeky acoustic jam sessions. It also explores the Work Friend relationship via Gus and his buddy in craft services who offers this gem after Gus wonders if he should have sent a “Sup?” text to Mickey: “‘Sup?’ is perfect, man…nothing dries up a vagina more than a paragraph.”
4. The cast and creators are ridiculously talented
Iris effing Apatow is a revelation as Aria, the anxious, spoiled, Instagram-obsessed child star who well-meaning Gus is charged with tutoring. On the other side of the camera, Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin and Paul Rust (the latter two are husband and wife) wrote the episodes, while Mad Men‘s resident silver fox John Slattery, mumblecore indie god Joe Swanberg and Hollywood veteran Steve Buscemi all directed episodes in the first season. We can’t wait to see the gems that pop by in season 2.
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