Created and written by comedic auteur Judd Apatow, Love is the latest comedy to join Netflix’s increasingly-impressive lineup.
While we’re only a few episodes in, it’s already very clear Love is approaching things from a different place to Netflix’s other efforts. It’s less of a traditional sitcom than Grace & Frankie, it lacks the drama of Orange is the New Black and it’s not as subversive as Aziz Ansari’s Master of None.
The most elegant comparison I can think of would be to call it a more-grounded You’re The Worst. It’s not interested in the melodramatic highs of modern relationships – but the long awkward and mundane moments between them. Love about holding the idyllic concept of romance to account and finding the humor in all the ways the fantasy just doesn’t hold up.
At the heart of this affair are Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust). The series follows the friendship that emerges between the two after an early-morning trip to a convenience store sees them cross paths. Rust does a great job here as the uncertain, straight-laced (and pop-culture obsessed) Gus but he’s occasionally overshadowed by Jacob’s killer performance as Mickey.
It’d easy to dismiss her performance here as too similar to her previous roles in Community and Girls but below the surface she’s covering a lot of new dramatic ground – capturing not just the frustrated bluntness of her character but also the dark loneliness that binds her together. She’s spent her whole life waiting for love and her rejection of it at the end of the first episode really draws you into the psychology of her plight.
While the two leads are a delight, the side cast of the series is similarly excellent. Claudia O’Dohertyis consistently hilarious as Mickey’s Australian roommate Birdie while Iris Apatow does a fantastic job as the spoiled child actor of supernatural drama series WITCHITA.
Although, it’s early days – I’m really liking how much time the series is willing to commit to fleshing out the very different lives that it’s two characters lead. The show might be called Love but it’s far more concerned with the actual lives than it is their love-lives and that’s refreshing to see. Like Mickey & Gus, Love isn’t perfect – but so far it’s compelling nonetheless.