Being in a love hate relationship with “Love”

BY RILEY FANNING

Staff Writer

The new romantic-comedy themed Netflix original series “Love” is cleverly obvious. The title alone is direct and succinct, and the show follows the well worn trope of an unplanned life collision between a seemingly sweet, but unfortunate looking nerdy guy and a super hot, cool party girl.

This show is no complex matrix of characters though, nor is it riddled with a gamut of subplots. “Love” is simple. Gus is a wannabe screenwriter, working as an on set tutor for a child actress. Mickey is the program director of a radio show about relationships.

The characters appear markedly different in behavior, which off the bat begs the question of how these two could possibly meet, let alone fall in love. While the layout is a somewhat basic format, the distinction lies in the addition of some surprising elements not usually tackled in this sort of genre, such as an exploration of addiction and sobriety struggles.

The show’s first couple of episodes are very meandering, consisting of large time blocks spent introducing the audience to the protagonists individually, rather than as a pair. While this can get a bit tedious at times, the drawn out filming adds depth to the individuals and fleshes out their characteristics, as opposed to a sole focus on an all encompassing love story.

The likability levels of the main characters fluctuate enormously with each episode. Gus and Mickey have major personality flaws, making them both hilarious and painful to watch. There are also many intentionally awkward moments in dialogue, which helps add a dimension of realism to the show.

Instead of perfectly phrased declarations of love, characters say the wrong thing, experience frequent awkward silences and never know quite what to do. In fact, most of the time all of the characters say or do the wrong thing. They misread signals, force expectations upon one another and generally do not get along in the way one would expect to see in a show based around the notion of romantic love.

In its own offbeat quirky way, “Love” is essentially a watered down, yet much more relateable version of stereotypical rom-com movie. Life is not perfectly phrased, and real love is not a fairy tale. Most of us fall in and out of awkward encounters and brief flirtations while exploring the dating landscape. The accurate portrayal of love as complicated and uncomfortable is what gives this show an edge.

While the season is not perfect, and could definitely use some fine tuning in the editing room, “Love” is a charming slice of realism in a usually outright unrealistic genre. The somewhat slow start is redeemed through the development of the different relationships and situations, helping the series to really pick up speed in its latter half. The finale leaves you with a with an appetite to know more, and a desire to see the antics of Gus and Mickey in season two.

The Flyer gives the first season of “Love” a 7/10.

 

 

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