TV review: Love, Netflix (4 stars)

TV review: Love, Netflix

Offbeat romantic sitcom from Judd Apatow starring Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust

After Aziz Ansari wowed audiences with his take on modern dating and the systemic problems with the entertainment industry in another Netflix Original, Master of None, it’s difficult not to make comparisons with Judd Apatow’s Love which examines the same subjects. Each series reflects very different experiences of the industry but the relationship woes in both are keenly observed and speak universally.

Mickey (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust who also takes on writing duties) meet at a gas station at low points in their lives. Mickey has taken leave from her co-dependent relationship and is dealing with her alcoholism while Gus has been dumped for being too nice. Mickey doesn’t have any close friends and she finds herself bouncing around with old acquaintances and her new housemate Bertie (Australian stand-up comedian Claudia O’Doherty). Gus on the other hand, has a tight-knit group of friends who get together at his apartment to make up theme tunes to films that don’t already have one. A refreshing take on the gender roles allows the characters their own personal growth without either of them magically coming up with solutions to each other's problems.

Maggie Carey (who also wrote and directed The To Do List) directs one of the funniest episodes which sees an awkward date turn into a hilarious competition of one-upmanship. However the most compelling aspect of Love is its frank portrayal of addiction. A darkly funny episode directed by Joe Swanberg sees Andy Dick and Mickey get messed up and ride the LA Metro in the wrong direction while high. While this provides solid metaphor for the bad choices people sometimes make in life it also allows for a sobering discussion between two struggling addicts. The episode also nails the uncertainty of early courtship and the frustration of meeting what could be the right person at the wrong time in your life.

The entire series has a strong grasp on the importance of loving yourself, the entire cast gamely throw themselves into their roles with Jacobs and Rust turning in convincing performances at each stage of their burgeoning and messy relationship.

Love is available on Netflix from Fri 19 Feb.

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