Recently I sat down and finished binge-watching the three seasons of the Netflix original series, “Love” and you could say that I absolutely loved “Love.” Created by Judd Apatow, Paul Rust and Lesley Arfin, the show is an anti-romantic comedy about two protagonists who are both fooled by Hollywood into believing in grand gestures and fulfilling the “storybook” relationship.
The show circulates around its two characters: Gus, a nerdy co-dependent, and Mickey, a recovering sex and love addict. The two are introduced to the viewer as individual people in their own toxic relationship with both their job and, what by the middle of the first episode will be revealed as, their exes. Gus works as a tutor to the young actors on a cheesy, supernatural soap opera, Witchita, while Mickey works as an assistant on a radio advice show, both not getting the attention they deserve. After also getting their hearts broken and having an even rougher day at work, they find their way to the local gas station convenience store where the two bump paths for the first time.
What makes “Love” like no other is not only their opposing looks, Mickey being the 70s punk chic and Gus having a Woody Allen vibe, but the hang-ups and flaws the couple has from the start. She’s an insecure addict who wants to try dating “nice guys” and he’s insecure about always being called the “nice guy.” Gus and Mickey are seemingly doomed from the start, yet their pairing is so uniquely different than any other stereotypical romantic comedy couple that movies and TV shows have nailed into our brains as “perfectly happy.” Because of this contrast to the norm with Mickey and Gus’s contrasting personalities and actions, the complex development of each character as individuals that takes place in this series fully plays into the connection the viewer has with them.
Throughout the 10-episode first season, I constantly found myself happily cringing at the moments and situations shared between Gus and Mickey. Each interaction is both horrible and hilarious as the dialogue between the two if often sometimes so uncomfortable that you can’t help but watch. “Love” makes sure the connection between Mickey and Gus is always genuine to who they are as people in the world and I have the writing and directing team of this series to thank for that. It’s not often that I find a show that has authentic, genuine dialogue that I can relate to as much as this.
Writer-director and producer Judd Apatow shares to IndieWire, “The key to a good writing team is to have a huge amount of trust and emotional honesty. You realize, ‘Oh this isn’t just something that they were going to sell, this is their soul. I like when people are pushing themselves as deep as they can go.” Apatow said this in front of Rust, with thome he co-created with Rust and Lesley Arfin. He shared that the series is based on Rust and Arfin’s real-life romance, which explains why the dialogue feels so real.
The initial idea for co-writing with Arfin was to write a movie, yet the two realized there was no true way to fit all they went through in a quick two-and-a-half hours. Rust shared to Fast Company, “The idea was that in a movie, usually the second through fifth date is a three-and-a-half minute montage, just because you’re trying to get through the relationship. But in real life, a relationship takes a long time. It just takes a lot for two people to get together.” Rust and Arfin got married four months after the wrap of the first season.
The third and final season of “Love” is now available on Netflix.
Rachel Blumberg can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org