Do you ever find yourself watching things and not know why? My girlfriend and I checked out the trailer for Judd Apatow’s new Netflix show Love last week and I felt myself entirely whelmed. It didn’t look amazing or terrible. It didn’t even look necessary. A relationship comedy about two middle class white folks in L.A. I resolved I could skip it without missing out. Cue a bored Saturday on my bed cruising Netflix and the show stared back at me from the banner. I had nothing to do and to assuage guilt over watching mediocre television, I checked a few reviews. The praise was favourable and hinted at depth couched in the middle of the series. I loaded up the episode and watched. 40 minutes later I looked back and the clock and figured what the hell? I had nowhere important to be and had the time. I left the house three episodes deep, wondering what it was I actually liked about the show.
It’s not slapstick and I think that’s a big pull. In fact the show feels even keeled, not front-loaded with a whole lot of drama or high-stakes. Hell (ever so slight spoiler), the characters don’t even meet till the end of the first episode. There’s something to the slow pace and relative down to earth nature of the plot that feels endearing, rewarded. It’s not treating the audience like idiots and stabbing us in the face with blunt points. We know they’re gonna get together, but how well is that entanglement crafted? The central characters, Gus and Mickey, aren’t particularly likeable, but they have their charms. They both carry their baggage and they aren’t flat out handed things on a platter through plot armour. They’re called out for their bullshit by their friends and co-workers on a regular basis which gives the series somewhat of a tangible quality. In fact, the secondary characters seem to flesh the show out a ton with occasional flashes of depth. Sure, caricatures exist, but they don’t stay two dimensional for all that long.
Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from the show. I haven’t placed the bar high, so it’ll be tough to be disappointed. I certainly don’t expect a treatise on modern dating with the quality of Master of None. Aziz nailed it through and through, pairing the eerily resonant truth and consequence of relationships with an exploration of societal inadequacies. Love thus far is certainly no You’re the Worst, which pivoted unapologetically terrible people into each other’s orbit and veered into a frank and brutal depiction of depression (in a comedy, no less). Then again, Love could pull a Forgetting Sarah Marshall and rise above its assumed mediocrity. If puppets come out, the show has nowhere to go but up.
Why are you even reading this anyway? I’m sure by the time this is posted, you’ll have binged the whole series.
Give me a few days and I will have too.